Student's claim that UBC mishandled sexual assault complaint moves forward

A University of B.C. student’s human rights complaint over how the school handled her sexual assault report will be allowed to go ahead, but the case against her alleged attacker has been dropped.

But B.C. Human Rights Tribunal drops Stephanie Hale's claims against alleged attacker at Okanagan campus

Stephanie Hale alleges the university failed to take action after she reported a sexual assault, leading her to struggle in class and take indefinite medical leave. (Jeff Bassett/The Canadian Press)

A University of B.C. student's human rights complaint over how the school handled her sexual assault report will be allowed to go ahead — but the case against her alleged attacker has been dropped.

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal said Thursday that Stephanie Hale's complaint against a fellow engineering student at the university's Okanagan campus was filed too long after the alleged 2013 incident to proceed.

On the other hand, tribunal member Steven Adamson wrote that there is a real public interest in examining how the university handled Hale's claim that she had been sexually assaulted and injured at a party.

The tribunal generally considers claims filed within six months of an incident, but will make exceptions for complaints that it considers to be in the public interest.

In documents filed with the tribunal, Hale says she was sexually assaulted, choked and hit by the male student. He has denied those claims in interviews with The Canadian Press, saying the sex was consensual and that Hale asked to be struck and choked.

Hale alleges she reported the incident to multiple university employees, but none of them took any action in response or suggested she file a complaint. As a result, she says her grades fell, and she began suffering from nightmares and feeling suicidal.

Other claims tossed

In Thursday's decision, the tribunal also dropped the portions of Hale's complaint that relate to a 2015 class photoshoot, when she claims a photographer hired by UBC asked her if she was "the boobs" of the group. Hale was the only woman in the class at the time.

Hale has been on medical leave from the school since 2015. In the meantime, her alleged assailant has graduated.

With files from The Canadian Press