Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Former University of British Columbia students Glynnis Kirchmeier and Caitlin Cunningham, back, listen during a news conference at the university in Vancouver, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, regarding the university's response to alleged sexual assaults by a former student who was expelled recently.

DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The British Columbia government is studying whether the province's 25 postsecondary institutions need one set of policies to deal with sexual harassment and assault in the wake of allegations the University of British Columbia didn't appropriately respond to complaints of assault and harassment, says the advanced-education minister.

"This has been a work in progress and this issue has come up across Canada. … We are in the learning phase on this and incrementally asking institutions to ensure that they have suitable policies in place," Andrew Wilkinson, the Minister of Advanced Education, said in an interview.

On Sunday, graduate students in UBC's history department reiterated allegations detailed in an episode of the CBC's the fifth estate to air Monday. They denounced the response of the university administration, suggesting it was aware of sexually aggressive behaviour by a graduate history student, but was slow to act.

Story continues below advertisement

Caitlyn Cunningham, who graduated in November, 2014, alleged she was assaulted off-campus by the student in April, 2013, and reported the incident to the university in June, 2014, only to see her concerns get bogged down. The student was expelled earlier this month.

At a news conference at the student-union building at UBC, student Glynnis Kirchmeier said she is working on a complaint to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal after 22 months of dealing with four university offices on the situation.

She said she is fine-tuning the complaint with her lawyer and hopes it will include the views of others dissatisfied with the university's handling of sexual assault and harassment complaints. Ms. Kirchmeier said she hopes to file the complaint by year's end.

"UBC's chance to do the right thing is over. Clearly they have zero interest in the safety of women. Now the lights are turned on and the university is going to be tried in the court of public opinion and then it is going to answer to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, and I suspect it will be tried in civil court as well," she said. "UBC did this to itself."

Kaitlin Russell, another student at the news conference, said UBC needs a sexual assault response team for students in distress that would be available for consultation on a 24-hour basis.

On the weekend, the university apologized for how it handled the allegations. The "process took too long," said interim president Martha Piper in a statement released online. "Due process can be frustrating and time-consuming. However, the university reached an appropriate conclusion," she said.

Canadian provinces are increasingly turning to legislation to force universities and colleges to adopt specific policies on assault and harassment. In October, the Ontario government introduced a bill that would require every postsecondary institution to have such procedures in place. Last week, Manitoba introduced a similar bill, which would also ask universities to report statistics collected under assault or harassment policies.

Story continues below advertisement

Some say that such policies not only help victims but can raise awareness and possibly prevent or arrest issues quickly.

"It's not ever too late to do the right thing but why were appropriate processes not put in place before these allegations," said Kathy Corrigan, the NDP critic for advanced education.

The United States, however, has had a mixed experience with campus-based assault and harassment policies. As a result of federal requirements to prevent sexual discrimination, many colleges and universities deal with allegations through campus procedures rather than by calling in police. But that, as critics have said, can leave a perpetrator to assault again.

Related topics

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies