SASC criticizes lack of survivor-centric principles in UBC’s response to fraternity drugging allegation

In response to the recent drugging allegation at UBC fraternity events, UBC immediately launched into an investigation with RCMP. But the Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC) disagrees with UBC’s decision to move forward with the investigation without consulting the survivors.

The allegation occurred on October 1 in the wake of a tweet by Dr. Marina Adshade, a UBC economics professor. Following her tweet, the university published two statements, one on October 2 and the second on October 4 by VP Students Ainsley Carry.

“This morning, my staff asked UBC RCMP to open an investigation into the matter. At the time of this request, I can confirm UBC RCMP have not received any complaints of druggings last weekend,” read Carry’s statement from October 2.

“The safety of our students, faculty and staff is UBC’s first priority therefore, notifying our community and stopping this potential threat was the focus of our first response. We take these matters seriously.”

In Carry’s second statement, he cited various support services on campus for those affected by the news. One of the resources was SASC.

On October 7, SASC posted to Facebook addressing the allegation and UBC’s response.

The post was critical of UBC’s call for an RCMP investigation without survivors directly asking for it, which SASC said undermines their survivor-centric principles.

SASC also agreed with Adshade's post on Twitter that argued fraternities align with systemic sexualized violence.

In a written statement to The Ubyssey, Interfraternity Council President Adan Moallemi said the fraternities support SASC's work on campus and will continue to ensure fraternity members receive SASC training “to become better advocates and active bystanders against sexualized violence.”

“It’s our hope that we can continue to enable fraternity men to be leaders of an ever evolving culture on campus with the guidance and knowledge that the SASC has provided us over the past few years,” read Moallemi's statement.

In a written statement to The Ubyssey, SASC Manager Annette Angell said, “at the SASC, we aim to centre survivors’ experiences and voices in both our support services and our advocacy efforts. Much of the media attention around the recent drugging at fraternity events, as well as UBC’s response, focused on criminal and legal responses. Urging survivors towards reporting limits the options available to them and also minimizes the community wide impacts of violence.”

“It was important to us at the SASC to make a statement that made it very clear that reporting is one of many options for survivors of violence, whether they were directly impacted by recent events or were triggered by media and institutional responses,” she added.

In terms of what UBC could have done better, Angell wrote that “while UBC may not have direct jurisdiction over fraternities ... they have the capacity to legitimize or disrupt violence on campus, including violence at fraternities.”

“For example, the university could still limit fraternities’ capacity to recruit and host events on UBC property and at university-sanctioned events. It is important for all actors to take accountability for violence occurring in our campus community,” she wrote.

Despite the SASC’s own efforts to educate UBC fraternity members through the newly implemented annual SASC training, Angell added that “a single presentation cannot instantly change a culture.

“For cultural change to happen, it has to come from the bottom up.”

When asked about SASC’s post, UBC declined to comment further.