Dear members of the UBC community:
I would like to begin by acknowledging that I am speaking to you from the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Musqueam people.
I am pleased to report that as of this week, 93.86 percent of UBC students, faculty and staff have declared their vaccination status and 96.39% of those are fully vaccinated, with another 1.63 percent partially vaccinated.
Because of this high rate of vaccination, in conjunction with our policy on masking, there is almost no evidence of COVID community spread at UBC, whether in residence, in classrooms or in work locations. My thanks goes out to the UBC community for coming together so strongly to help to ensure our campuses are COVID safe.
Yesterday, November 11 was Remembrance Day. On this day each year we honour those who have answered the call of duty, serving their country as peacekeepers, as soldiers fighting against tyranny and oppression, as first responders, and in other ways.
We honour them and we reflect on their valour and their sacrifice, and on our duty to them, to their well-being and to their re-integration into civilian life.
And we resolve to ensure that their efforts were not in vain, to do our best to prevent future conflicts, so future generations can live in peace, justice and harmony.
We owe so much to the veterans who have served and sacrificed for our country, preserving and protecting the freedoms we enjoy today.
They serve not just overseas, but here at home as well, with search and rescue missions, with floods and winter storms and – more recently, helping the country cope with the COVID-19 crisis.
They have given so much to our country. And on November 11, we pay tribute to them. But they deserve more than just recognition on one day a year. Therefore, at UBC we are resolved to create a veteran-friendly campus to help them and support them.
Therefore, I am proud to say that UBC is becoming a veteran-friendly campus. We have several programs and services underway for veterans and serving members, including wellness support, housing, counselling services, specialized courses and programs and much more.
Through these measures and others, we will begin to repay the enormous debt we owe our veterans, who have given so much to their country.
My unsung hero this week is Tim Laidler, a veteran, a UBC graduate and the executive director of the UBC Institute for Veterans Education and Transition. Tim has long been an advocate for supporting veterans and serving Forces members at UBC, and his advocacy and initiative have been instrumental in making UBC one of Canada’s most veteran-friendly universities.
Over the past three months, he has worked tirelessly to raise over 2.5 million dollars to support safe houses in Afghanistan for vulnerable Afghans destined for Canada.
Thank you, Tim, and best wishes everyone.
Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor