UBC Commerce Undergraduate Society takes steps to ensure student safety at future events
Vancouver, B.C. – September 11, 2013 – In light of recent events, the Commerce Undergraduate Society (CUS) of the University of British Columbia is taking decisive action to ensure the safety and comfort of all students at future CUS events. The CUS reasserts its commitment to creating an inclusive, welcoming environment for all students, following concerns raised over an inappropriate chant that was recited by students during a CUS-sponsored orientation session held on the weekend of August 31st.
In order to recognize their ultimate organizational responsibility and deep remorse for what has occurred, the President, Enzo Woo, and Vice-President Engagement, Gillian Ong, of the CUS have resigned from their respective positions, effective immediately.
Woo stated, “The performance of offensive chants at a CUS orientation event should never have occurred. The fact that it was a tradition neither excuses the CUS from its actions, nor in any way alleviates the gravity of this situation. As the leader of the CUS, I am deeply remorseful at what has transpired. It would be naïve to think that these problems can be solved overnight, but we have an opportunity moving forward to institute a culture of recovery and acceptance. I hope that my resignation can serve as the crucial first step in this process and I can help heal the community that has been an enormous positive influence in my life.”
Ong added, “In order to best aid in the rebuilding of our student community after these events, I recognize that as a responsible student leader I must step down to allow the society to implement the changes that it needs to create a positive, inclusive environment for all students.”
The CUS will also be ending its annual, independently-organized FROSH orientation event, and will be working with the Sauder School of Business to ensure any future orientation activities are planned and executed collaboratively following consultation and agreement with the Sauder and UBC administrations.
Moving forward, all student leaders involved with the CUS will be undergoing Anti-Violence Ally training facilitated by the Alma Mater Society’s Sexual Assault Support Centre (AMS SASC) to ensure such behaviour is never again perpetuated by members of our student society. The CUS will also be working with the UBC and Sauder administrations to offer joint educational initiatives that will allow all students to be participants in creating a comfortable and safe university environment. Finally, the CUS, AMS, and SASC will be engaging the wider community in an open roundtable discussion to reflect on the feelings of discomfort and anger these actions may have caused in order to jointly move forward in a more inclusive manner representative of our world-class institution.
For the past 70 years, the Commerce Undergraduate Society has played a pivotal role in shaping the future of Bachelor of Commerce students at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School Business. The CUS is among the largest business school student societies in Canada, both in terms of its $1.2 million annual operating budget and its hundreds of student volunteers.
The CUS supports its members through services and clubs that assist in the personal, professional and academic success of its students. This includes offering tutoring services, social functions and large-scale conferences that offer insights into career opportunities along with networking opportunities with industry professionals.
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