A former UBC graduate student is taking the school to BC’s human rights tribunal of the school’s failure to act in a string of alleged sexual assaults and harassment cases.
Glynnis Kirchmeier, a graduate of the History department, says she made a complaint against another student in 2014 which the school never acted on.
“UBC’s chance to do the right thing is over. Clearly they have zero interest in the safety of women. The university is going to be tried in the court of public opinion, then it will be tried by the BC Human Rights Tribunal, and I suspect it will be tried in civil court as well”
Kirchmeier says her case will focus on the University’s handling of multiple sexual assault incidents over the past 20 years.
Kirchmeier was joined by several students and staff at a press conference today, slamming the school for it’s failure to act in cases of sexual assault.
Caitlyn Cunningham, another former History graduate student, says she reported a sexual assault last July — but that it took the school more than 18 months to act on her complaint.
“What I found was that campus administrators tasked numerous students with time consuming, unclear non-academic misconduct that honestly went nowhere until the release of the CBC Fifth Estate documentary”
Cunningham says she never took her complaint to police, because she was assured the school would take action.
“Had i sat in a room with them in July of 2014 and they suggested that filing a police report may be the best course of action and then they would support me as I do that, then maybe I would have. But instead I was promised they would handle it. And I trusted them.”
While the accused student was finally expelled this week, Cunningham says it’s too little too late.
The school earlier this week confirmed the expulsion, and issued a statement that it does not tolerate sexual assault.
But students have gone online to suggest the administration was aware of a “serial predator” for years, and failed to act.
Sarah-Jane Findlay, Vice President of UBC’s Office of Equity defended the school’s actions at today’s press conference.
“We do have to let due process unfold as it will. I understand due process can be frustrating and lengthy at times, but we are required to follow the process.”
That message was echoed in a statement yesterday from interim UBC president Martha Piper, apologizing to the victims.
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.
The school’s student advocate says sexual assault is “absolutely a problem” on campus, and is calling on the school to create a sexual assault response team, similar to those present at other universities.