You may have seen media coverage, regarding UBC being featured in the fifth estate program about sexual assault and harassment on university campuses. We admire the courage of the women who came forward to bring attention to this crucial issue.
I want to apologize to the women in these cases who feel they have been let down by our university. While the university had to wait until it had the necessary facts to take action, I acknowledge that the process took too long. Due process can be frustrating and time-consuming. However, the university reached an appropriate conclusion. As an institution, we are committed to justice for the survivors of sexual assault.
I appreciate the light the women have shone on this issue, and I want to make a pledge. We will begin a discussion with our students, faculty and staff on a separate sexual assault policy that will enable the university to take action in a more timely and effective manner.
We will be reviewing the steps that were taken in these cases to determine how they might have been handled more effectively and expeditiously. As an institution, we are constantly looking at ways to improve our processes to make them more responsive and effective.
Information about support services for students, reporting options and assistance with reporting is available at http://students.ubc.ca/livewell/topics/sexual-assault.
In addition, you can find information on supporting survivors and what you can do to promote a caring and respectful community at http://students.ubc.ca/livewell/topics/sexual-assault/support-sexual-assault-survivors-help-end-violence.
Finally, let me be clear – sexual violence is unacceptable and is not tolerated at UBC. Students who have been found to have committed sexual assault following due process will be expelled from the university. Staff or faculty members who have been found to have committed sexual assault following due process will be terminated.
Martha C. Piper
Interim President and Vice-Chancellor