The latest information unveiled by the RCMP is of grave concern to the University of British Columbia and calls for additional safety and support measures.
In a letter issued today to Vancouver campus students, faculty and staff, UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope thanked the RCMP for its efforts. “The investigation is critical to restoring the safety of the Vancouver campus,” he said. “We are working closely with them to solve these crimes.”
The university also announced today additional measures to strengthen security and support those who may be affected by the growing sense of alarm on campus.
Speaking at the joint press conference where the RCMP stated the investigation now covers six possibly related sexual assaults committed between April 19 and October 27th, Vice President, Students Louise Cowin said UBC is deploying additional security around student residences immediately, and increasing counselling services for students.
“As understandable as it may be, this is not a time to give way to anxiety,” said Cowin. “This is a time to rally in support of one another and take action together to stay safe.”
The university has implemented a series of measures over the past month to enhance campus safety and is working actively with the RCMP to identify further interventions.
“The RCMP is working around the clock, with assistance from UBC campus security, to quickly identify and apprehend the perpetrator responsible for these attacks,” says Sgt. Peter Thiessen, spokesperson for the Lower Mainland District RCMP. “We want to speak to anyone who may have information that can assist us, including any other victims or witnesses that have yet to come forward.”
New UBC measures announced:
• Additional nightly security patrols around student residences
• Organization of RezWalk, an evening escorted walk program for students in residence – from the residence’s common area to individual buildings
• Increased availability of UBC Counselling Services
• Further support for the AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre and for AMS Safewalk
UBC measures taken to date:
• UBC Safety Working Group set up to look at overall campus safety and security, including consideration of closed circuit safety cameras
• Significant escalation of nightly Campus Security patrols
• Mass safety alerts to students, faculty, staff and resident groups
• Wide distribution of information on safety and community resources
• Emergency meetings to alert students in residences
• Provision of support for AMS Safewalk
• Increasing intensity of campus lighting from dusk to dawn
• Ensuring emergency ‘blue phones’ are in good order
• Reaching out to nearby pubs, restaurants and bars, as well as organizers of campus evening events to ensure patrons get safety information before leaving
• Distribution of safety whistles
Stay Safe – web site for UBC Vancouver campus safety updates and resources.
UBC Campus Security – information on personal security