Okay, I’m too angry to bother even trying to be all eloquent about this. This is the response I just got from UBC to my letter regarding the misogynist, racist anti-abortion hate group that gets invited to UBC every year by a bunch of hate-mongering students who call themselves “pro-life.”
This is one of the most insidious and self-congratulatory apologist pieces of shit I have ever read. I am shaking with rage over this right now, and I don’t even go to UBC any more, I don’t even have to interact with these assholes on a daily basis. What must women who are actually on that campus be feeling about all this? How targeted, how unsafe, how traumatized and unwelcome must those women feel? THIS kind of shit is why I dropped out of UBC in the first place, not coincidentally in the same year that hate messages and threats of violence were written all over the Feminist Collective and Women’s Centre’s women-only space (and my office door, btw) when I was coordinator of that space. You can imagine what UBC did about it: precisely shit all (aside from some elected student government asshole implying that I might get disciplined for putting up posters saying WE WILL NOT BE TARGETS in unapproved places in the SUB after the student society wouldn’t even make a statement amounting to the idea that threatening to rape feminists for being feminists might be, you know, not really okay). Shit doesn’t change much. Please, take a minute if you haven’t (and if you have, consider taking another one) to let UBC know that hate speech is not free speech and that this is unacceptable.
Here is the letter. Have a barf bag ready.
Thank you for your comments. While I appreciate your opinion in this matter, I would like to frame what happened in the context of Professor Stephen Toope’s March 3, 2009 message to the UBC community regarding respectful debate. Professor Toope writes, “As a university community, we place a paramount value on the free and lawful expression of ideas and viewpoints.”
In the case of Ms. Davidson’s choice to remove her clothes as a form of protest, it is the notion of “lawful expression” that is the pertinent issue, including the choices Ms. Davidson made when asked to put back on her clothes by a Campus Security staff member.
The reason that Ms. Davidson was invited to speak with the Student Conduct Manager was not only because she chose to take off her clothes, but also because she refused to put them back on, and further that she informed Campus Security that she was not a student, when in fact, she was.
It was because of these choices that Campus Security, quite properly, brought the allegations of a breach of the Student Code of Conduct to the attention of the Student Conduct Manager, who in turn, met Ms. Davidson to discuss the allegations.
Ms. Davidson is not being disciplined – under the University Act, the President is the only person who can discipline a student. Before the President could make such a decision, the case would be heard by the President’s UBC Vancouver non-academic misconduct committee. As part of this formal process, the student would be invited to attend a hearing to fully explain/defend her/his actions. The complete rules for the Committee process can be found here:
I believe our actions in this case demonstrate that common sense was applied – the student was not disciplined. Moreover, the new Student Code of Conduct, and the way in which it was implemented, demonstrates our ability to be flexible and respond in an appropriate way to the specifics of each case.
We are not debating one form of free expression versus another. We are simply applying a code of conduct with the kind of care and understanding to which our students are entitled.
Louise Cowin, Ph.D.
Vice President Students | Office of the VP Students
The University of British Columbia | Vancouver