British Columbia

Seminars on sexual consent now mandatory for UBC fraternities

Fraternity members at the University of British Columbia are now required to take workshops on sexual consent, bystander intervention and healthy masculinity.

$1,000 fraternity fine if a member doesn't attend

Students at the University of British Columbia sit and chat in the Student Union Building, or 'The Nest' on Jan. 12, 2018. (Tristan Le Rudulier/CBC)

Fraternity members at the University of British Columbia are now required to take workshops on sexual consent, bystander intervention and healthy masculinity.

The Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC), which represents 10 fraternities voted last week to require all 1,500 fraternity members to attend yearly workshops.

There are 10 fraternities and eight sororities at UBC, involving thousands of students.

'Its shocking that something like this wasn't put in place before," said IFC President Jamie Gill.

"When people aren't educated on such a topic, a lot of problems can arise and as a first step, education is necessary."

Last October, as the school year was getting underway, new and executive council members were required to attend their first training session, hosted by the Alma Mater Society Sexual Support Centre.

Two fraternities at a time took part in the sessions, where 70 -125 members tackled subjects like Consent 101, bystander intervention and healthy masculinity.

"There was a lot of learning going on, and a lot of healthy conversation, and a lot of clarification going on at these seminars," said Gill.

Following those sessions, the decision was made to make them mandatory for all executive and fraternity members, and was voted into the council's bylaws last week.

A decision was also made to fine any chapter $1,000 if a member doesn't attend the free seminars.

Alex Dauncey instructed the seminars, in his role as the healthier masculinities volunteer co-odinator at the AMS Sexual Assault Centre.

While he was happy with the way the members were taking in the class, he said there's always a little discomfort when subjects — like the definition of sexual assault and sexual consents — come up.

"One workshop will never be enough," said Dauncey. "What I really want to see is: 'How are these fraternities going to take this up? How are they going to make it part of their own culture?'"

According to UBC Campus Security statistics, 182 sexual assaults have been reported since 2009 at the Vancouver and University Endowment Lands campuses. RCMP confirmed 68 of those assaults.

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