The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Deborah Buszard, sends out an email in the aftermath of the discussion surrounding Stephen Porter, speaking on the importance of the wellbeing of students and faculty.
On Tuesday, January 23, an email was sent out to UBC Okanagan from the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Deborah Buszard. The purpose of this email was to acknowledge that January is Sexual Assault Awareness month, and for Buszard to share her “personal views on this important issue,” and inform the population “of the various sources of support that are available on this campus.”
This email comes in the wake of the discussions surrounding Stephen Porter, the UBC Okanagan Psychology Professor who has been asked to step aside from teaching by the College of Psychologists, in relation to sexual harassment and boundary issues. UBC has not issued a formal statement relating to Porter, other than that he is still currently employed.
“[Buszard] acknowledges that both the student population and the community ‘may feel frustrated when [UBC is] unable to share all of the information about any particular case.’”
Buszard states that UBC Okanagan takes “complaints of inappropriate behavior very seriously,” and UBC’s guiding principals in regard to sexual assault or misconduct are outlined in UBC’s Sexual Assault and Other Sexual Misconduct Policy. She acknowledges that both the student population and the community “may feel frustrated when [UBC is] unable to share all of the information about any particular case.” However, Buszard states “[UBC] is bound by provincial legislation designed to protect the privacy and confidentiality of all parties… it is designed to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and with impartiality. This is true not only for those facing accusations but just as importantly for those making complaints or raising issues.” She explains that there is a risk of alienating anyone who might come forward if they believe that their story will not be kept confidential.
Buszard finishes her email with a call for the campus and community to stand together while reiterating that “sexual assault, harassment or other inappropriate behavior has no place on our campus or in society,” and that she will do everything she can to combat it, and hopes that UBC can provide the “tools and confidence to combat it from where you stand, too.”
If you are a victim of sexual harassment-assault, or other misconduct, the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office has recently opened on campus. It serves to help both students and faculty and is located between the residences Kalamalka and Niccola, in on of the Niccola townhouses.