UBC students vote down sexual assault counsellor
Published Sunday, November 3, 2013 5:36PM PST
Last Updated Sunday, November 3, 2013 7:03PM PST
Commerce students at the University of British Columbia have voted against spending $250,000 on sexual assault counselling services.
The votes were counted on Friday, even as the campus ramped up security to protect female students from a man police believe is responsible for six sexual assaults on campus and who remains at large.
“I was deeply disappointed,” said Sauder Dean Robert Helsley in a statement posted to the Sauder School of Business website. “I know the wider community will be disappointed as well.”
At a September press conference, the university and the Commerce Undergraduate Society pledged $250,000 in counselling services and sexual assault education.
The measure was in response to revelations that the Commerce Undergraduate Society’s Frosh Week involved a chant that glorified underage rape.
However, a student referendum is required before the CUS can spend more than $50,000. That meant the $200,000 extra was put to a referendum.
When the votes were counted Friday, 70 per cent of commerce students rejected the measure.
“The gut reaction to students not approving the referendum is that the students are insensitive,” said Geoff Lister, coordinating editor of the campus publication The Ubyssey.
He said he had heard Commerce students thought the $52 per Commerce student cost was too high when other counseling services already exist on campus.
“Many students, I think, thought of this as a reaction rather than an actual measure that would have a real positive effect, and it hadn't really been thought through,” he said.
The Commerce Undergraduate Society will still spend the original $50,000 pledged by the Commerce Undergraduate Society on counselling services.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Jon Woodward