UBC Graduate Student Society Brings Renewed Focus to Harassment and Discrimination on Campus

on July 28, 2015
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MEDIA RELEASE

Vancouver, BC – At the July 16 council meeting of the Graduate Student Society of UBC Vancouver (GSS), the GSS responded to calls from members to be more active in addressing issues of harassment and discrimination at the university by establishing a special committee to conduct research and develop policy recommendations with respect to the issue of harassment and discrimination at UBC. The Council’s vote to create the committee was unanimous.

More specifically, the committee will gather testimonies from UBC graduate students about their experiences with discrimination and harassment at UBC, research the efforts of universities in Canada and the U.S. to eliminate harassment and discrimination on campuses, and to develop policy proposals and recommendations aimed at preventing and rectifying the types of behaviours that students have reported.

While supportive of new initiatives being considered by UBC’s administration in the area of sexual harassment and violence on campus, GSS President, Tobias Friedel reflects on the comments of several GSS councillors, “Graduate students face unique challenges; the large majority of them work under research supervisors, a relationship that carries with it an inherent power imbalance. Additionally, many graduate students are employed by UBC as teaching assistants and subject to discrimination and harassment from students. UBC is not alone in its struggle to adequately address these types of issues and the Graduate Student Society wants to be an integral part in finding solutions and change the culture at our university.”

Because of the key objectives of the GSS and the committee, Friedel indicates that the GSS is actively seeking students at large from the UBC graduate student community to serve on the committee.

“This matter concerns all of us. We want all graduate students to tell their story and help us create a safer UBC,” Friedel adds.

For more information, please contact Tobias Friedel, President of the Graduate Student Society of UBC Vancouver, at president@gss.ubc.ca.

The Graduate Student Society of UBC Vancouver (GSS) is an independent student society that advocates for over 10,000 graduate students at UBC Vancouver to the administration of UBC and all government levels to enhance graduate student experience. The GSS was incorporated under the Society Act of BC in 1982. For more information, visit www.gss.ubc.ca.

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UBC Graduate Student Society Brings Renewed Focus to Harassment and Discrimination on Campus