Ever since it was revealed in September 2013 that commerce students participated in offensive rape and "Pocahontas" chants during frosh events, the University of British Columbia has been working to redeem itself in the public eye.
The February 18 report was put together by the UBC President’s Task Force on Gender-based Violence and Aboriginal Stereotypes, which was created in November 2013.
"Universities reflect the larger community, and as the events that took place on our campus last fall demonstrated, they are not immune to incidents of violence and discriminatory practices," the report states. "Correspondingly, UBC is not alone in having instances of gender-based violence and acts of discrimination against Aboriginal peoples emerge as issues of concern on our campus. Incidences of gender-based violence and systemic issues of discrimination have been reported on campuses across Canada and the United States."
The task force proposes strengthening the university's employment equity policy to make sure there's a commitment to diversity in hiring decisions. Diversity in appointments should also be tracked, according to its report.
Another recommendation calls for the development of guidelines so that the Point Grey campus's presence on unceded Musqueam territory is consistently and explicitly recognized.
An equity action plan should be formulated to provide a "clear framework for UBC and its community, outlining the values, responsibilities and expectations that direct our commitment to diversity, equity, and safety and that serves as a reference point for the development of other policies", the report says.
Recognizing the discrimination faced by trans people, the task force wants UBC to appoint an Intersectional Transgender and Gender Diversity Task Force to spearhead the development of an intersectional gender and sexual diversity strategic plan.
There's also a recommendation for a "culture of equality course requirement" that would apply to all undergraduate and professional degree students. "The requirement will include a coherent cross-list of all existing courses that deal substantively with intersectional gender-based violence and Aboriginal peoples. Each unit will provide a comprehensive list of courses clearly identifying the qualifying subject matter from which students can choose to meet this graduation requirement," the report notes.
The report calls for UBC to introduce a "mandatory online pre-arrival orientation module for all new students consistent with UBC policies and values to a respectful, inclusive, and safe environment that includes topics of intersectional gender-based violence, sexual assault, consent, Aboriginal histories and cultures, racism, homophobia, colonialism and ableism and introduces the concept of bystander awareness".
"In a university culture of equality, orientation to UBC values would be included alongside physical, discipline based and social orientations, and student leaders would feel pride in passing on a culture of equality to new students," the report states. "In essence the fostering of a culture of academic and cultural integrity contrasts with and displaces its opposite, including the fostering of a rape culture or the replication of colonialist attitudes toward Indigenous peoples."
UBC is accepting feedback from students, faculty, alumni, staff, residents, and others on the draft recommendations until March 5.
Along with the report, the public input will go to UBC president Stephen Toope for consideration.
The task force's members include professors, administrators, a post-doctoral fellow, the Alma Mater Society president, and a student senator.