We are announcing today the measures we are taking, following our careful consideration of the report by the fact-finding panel charged with looking into the Commerce Undergraduate Society FROSH chant. Some facts have now been established and publicly acknowledged. UBC Sauder School of Business first-year students were led in a chant advocating rape and sexual violence. The chant was led by C.U.S. FROSH leaders during the week of September 3rd 2013.
The report, which we have made public, found no evidence of C.U.S. leaders’ advance directives to use the chant during 2013 FROSH events. However, the report determined that this and other offensive chants were a C.U.S. oral tradition, that no C.U.S. leader intervened to stop anyone initiating the chant, and that the vast majority of first year students attending the C.U.S. FROSH events would have been exposed to the chant. The report also concludes that some C.U.S. FROSH activities were inappropriately sexualized.
After serious consideration, we believe it is essential that the C.U.S. leadership and all the FROSH leaders be held accountable for what took place, and that they make tangible amends. At the same time, the whole UBC community needs to embark upon a deeper, transformative and lasting process of change that would make it near impossible for such blatant intimidation and abuse to take place.
The measures we are announcing today address three broad areas: holding accountable the student leaders who were involved in this year’s CUS FROSH events; supporting robust education and change efforts at the Sauder School of Business and across the entire university; and restoring the community’s trust.
To further address the more pernicious, systemic aspects of the casual acceptance of violence and sexualization that we believe manifests itself in incidents such as the C.U.S. FROSH rape chant, Vice-President Louise Cowin has been charged with leading a special task force to report back early next year. The Task Force will marshal UBC’s best thinking and its resources to outline broader actions to support the kind of transformative, robust change we believe is necessary.
In closing, we are extremely sorry that our students were exposed to this appalling chant and to some inappropriate FROSH activities. Should other disturbing incidents come to light, we will address those as well. We are determined that future welcome week activities – run by UBC or our student groups – will make all new students feel respected, safe and engaged.
We are seizing this opportunity to strike at the sexual violence and intolerance that we know still lurks beneath the surface in pockets of our society. UBC is so much better than this. The opportunity that these disturbing events present will allow us to find out more about ourselves and grow so we can together accomplish that which is bigger, bolder and better: a truly respectful, safe and inclusive university culture that supports the best in all of us.
Stephen Toope, President
Louise Cowin, Vice-President, Students
Robert Helsley, Dean, Sauder School of Business