UBC task force issues recommendations on “rape culture and colonialist violence”

Report calls on university to make taking a "culture of equality" course a graduation requirement

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      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.

      To that end, UBC released today (February 20) a report containing 14 draft recommendations aimed at addressing "rape culture and colonialist violence".

      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.




      Feb 20, 2014 at 5:10pm

      Sure I'll take your forced course in Marxism but only if it's free, and if I can use my mathematical reasoning to tear most of the flimsy propaganda holding it together without being failed. What kind of assignments will this new course have? If I totally destroy your arguments do I still fail because I didn't hand in the desired politics you were looking for? Don't we already have ethics and philosophy courses? .

      The only decent recommendation is the part about new students clearly being told what is and what isn't consent, that solves the problem this task force was set up to deal with, which was "rape culture" remember? Not colonialism or weird gender and identity politics. Do TAs now have to conform to this mandatory diversity because I'd rather learn from a good TA not somebody just given the job who mumbles through and is a terrible tutor because they were chosen based on superficial profiling to satisfy a statistical figure enforced by ID politics.

      Toope if he has any sort of self preservation will not go along with this mandatory course. Students can go to other schools, they're not going to pay extra for this.


      Feb 20, 2014 at 6:13pm

      Toope and Cowin are embarrassments to UBC.I am totally ashamed to be a graduate of UBC.And Toope is jumping ship to the Munk School at U of T.Good riddance!Help!!!!!!!!!!


      Feb 20, 2014 at 8:57pm

      I look forward to reading the report as the language will be wonderful. Why is it that those "studying" social justice issues seem incapable of picking a single issue? They manage to link every concern they can together in the "great continuum of injustice" and when the time comes to discuss one issue there is always another. "Colonialism" is a popular buzz word at the moment on the left, especially concerning pipelines and resource extraction, so really this report is about the environment, right? As usual the "solution" is to spend more money on people and programs that parrot the party line of the report. The only shock is that I didn't notice the word "microagression" here but I would wager it is in the report.

      degreed over n over

      Feb 20, 2014 at 10:52pm

      Shameful it becomes a requirement in this Herr 21st century that racism I got .rape a massive oft untold problem and that's the prob ,no transgendered poly,rape victim,race should near need be discriminated nor homophobia should exist worst people forget is *our home on my native land * o C Canada should truthfully say.. so no one has the right to cause pain to any others considering if ur not aboriginal ur not aboriginal are so what rights does anyone have to slander in harm to anyone else as we all are not true canuck but US aboriginals
      Just a crazy 21st century thought u know already.GOD BLESS BEIN a canuck!! Thx!

      Patty Bushwaugh

      Feb 21, 2014 at 4:23pm

      Congratulations, commenters. You have proven the necessity of this policy.


      Feb 21, 2014 at 5:08pm

      @Patty, Sorry we aren't buying into the bullsh*t this study spits out. From studying the "rape culture" - whatever that is - the study went into quota hiring etc. Never a good idea. These "intellectuals" don't want anyone to think for themselves, they want everyone to lockstep into line with the usual socialist crap we have come to expect from our schools and universities. Funny how you lefties rail about how other people think just because it doesn't agree with your thinking. When you require people to think just like you, you become the oppressor. Look in the mirror!!


      Feb 21, 2014 at 5:36pm

      There's no point in even talking to them, or giving any feedback whatsoever.

      The new meme in the "gender studies" circles is that any disagreement with their ideology confirms the correctness of the ideology, and/or the impossibility of a person not of XYZ identity holding a legitimate opinion. They're trapped in a hall of mirrors constructed out of shitty po-mo Theory.


      Feb 21, 2014 at 8:03pm

      Here's an anecdote. There were 2 women up for a position once as station manager for CITR. The one who was passionate and involved was denied due to being the wrong skin colour because of bullshit diversity quotas. Sucks to be you, your goals crushed via racism. The other was not qualified to organize a hotdog stand, but given the position anyways because of skin pigment, and ran the office into the ground before embezzling a ton of student money then fleeing the country.

      Don't go to UBC, go to any other school it's overrun by lunacy. Canada is full of schools that will gladly accept you whereas UBC wants as much money as you can give them so they can noodle around with nonsense like enforced 'colonialism' courses. You don't have time for this junk, trust me you will be busy just trying to keep up in discrete math without having to worry about writing colonialist essays you don't need or want to do.


      Feb 21, 2014 at 8:20pm

      Ugh, why are we being collectively punished for this. Why didn't they recommend to dissolve the frats and garbage like frosh which is just a factory of weirdo creepy institutionalized sexual humiliation hazing and basically the cause of the underlying problem, which was a hazing to sing the original "rape chant".

      Go after them, we don't sing rape chants or have time to harass women, we have extreme amounts of work to do to finish our degrees and can't afford your collective punishment course. Student loans don't pay for non credit courses, so how am I going to pay for this drivel.

      It wasn't just the rape chat

      Feb 21, 2014 at 11:30pm

      The Pocahontas chant is pretty offensive in this day and age, especially since the revelations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission came out. I may have an unpopular opinion, but I feel that it is not a bad thing that a university with a reputation considers some kind of ethics training. I for one think it would benefit society to ensure all university students have that kind of understanding. I think they can find a way to do it without making it too much of a burden on students.