The Sauder School of Business says it will pay for a special sexual abuse counsellor, after UBC commerce students voted to reject funding for the position, in response to frosh week chants condoning rape.
The university had expected the Commerce Undergraduate Society (CUS) to put up $200,000 to help fund the multi-year program, after it emerged students were led in a chant about having non-consensual sex with under-aged girls.
However, student funding for the position was rejected in a CUS referendum on Friday, with only 245 students out of 815 voting in favour of underwriting the position, which would have provided student education on sexual abuse and violence.
Sauder Dean Robert Helmsley said he was disappointed with the CUS vote, and that he’s now looking for some leadership from his students.
“Fifty-thousand dollars has been provided by the CUS already; the other $200,000 will be provided by the school. The university is also contributing some funding," said Helmsley.
"I am very hopeful that in the proposal that will be forthcoming from the CUS, they will find other ways to make a contribution."
The news comes at a sensitive time for the campus community, as police continue to hunt for a man who has sexually assaulted several women on campus over the last few months.
In recent weeks, some on campus have questioned whether the community takes the issue of sexual assault seriously and some have resorted to putting up posters urging readers: 'Don't be a rapist!'
Helmsley said the Sauder school is working with others across campus to raise awareness and understanding of such issues and to completely change the culture of the CUS.
He also said he hopes to create a more positive and respectful environment for his students and that the new counsellor position is already posted and would be filled as soon as a suitable person had been found.