Public statement regarding Aboriginal student safety

By: UBC President Arvind Gupta; Linc Kesler, Senior Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Affairs; and Janet Teasdale, Managing Director, Student Development and Services

UBC is very concerned that a student on our campus has been experiencing an extraordinarily stressful situation and is fearful for her safety. We deeply regret any ways in which responses to her concerns have made her feel less safe or added to her distress. We are aware of the often hidden violence experienced by many women, the violence experienced by Aboriginal women in particular, and the failure of many social institutions to adequately address it. We know this is a responsibility we share.

First and foremost, we want to ensure this student’s safety and wellbeing. UBC is committed to doing everything we can to protect her and her family. We have provided her with increased security and we are working with her to ensure she and her family have access to support services from UBC.  In addition, we intend to work with the RCMP, Victim Services and other community agencies to provide the full range of services required to support her.

While these steps will help address some of her immediate concerns, we agree whole-heartedly that we must continuously review and improve the quality of our services and campus safety measures. We deeply respect her and those who support her for their courage and persistence in bringing attention to the challenges faced by Aboriginal women in getting the help they need, and we will do our best to work for positive and necessary change.

Situations such as this one demand that we examine all of our services to see what lessons can be learned. UBC will conduct a thorough review of her case that will include an examination of UBC’s liaison with the RCMP, the role of campus security, and the coordination and delivery of services. We look to the RCMP, others on campus to join us in addressing the safety of this student, all women students, and all Aboriginal women and others who come to or reside on our campus.  Together, we need to ensure that no student feels neglected, marginalized or unheard.

We will act to address the immediate concerns raised by this situation. In May, UBC will hold a Campus Safety Roundtable – involving students, staff, faculty, on-campus residents and others – to look back at the many steps we’ve taken over the last two years to improve campus safety and security, to determine the extent to which those measures have been effective, and to identify further actions we should take to address these issues. We look forward to working with Aboriginal students, other students, staff, faculty and other campus residents to create a more caring and responsive community.


Susan Danard
UBC Public Affairs
Tel: 604.822.2064
Cell: 604.312.0845