EDITORIAL: With harassment allegations, students deserve better at UBCO

The lack of communication with students isn’t good enough for the Kelowna campus

In today’s day and age where it seems every day brings us another sexual harassment scandal, we are all becoming more aware of just how harmful it can be to deal with the disgusting and criminal actions of men.

And with high-profile cases coming fast and furious in Hollywood, or with politicians or celebrities, it can be easy to forget that sexual assault and sexual harassment is happening all around us. Even in small town B.C. Yes, even in Kelowna.

The problem is, people are still afraid to talk about it, scared to report it.

And while that hopefully is starting to change, our institutions need to be leaders, not stick their heads in the sand.

This past weekend’s news about a UBCO professor being taken out of the classroom due to sexual harassment and power issues is a scary reminder that it does happen right here in our town.

But the fact that the university has not communicated with its student body after the incident, as outlined in our story, is alarming.

It is up to our places of higher learning to help educate. It should also be paramount on those institutions to be a leader in fighting abuse.

But as of Thursday afternoon, six days after it was made public that a UBCO professor was allegedly abusing his power, students have heard nothing official from UBC Okanagan. It wasn’t the university who issued a statement, it was the College of Psychologists who posted the notice on their web site and it was reported by media.

Students on campus have expressed frustration in the university and have been left hanging this week, wondering what their school is doing to help them.

Last year the university instituted a sexual harassment policy and in December, opened an office to deal with it. The problem is, students say they don’t know where the office is and have heard little information about it.

It’s time UBCO steps up and is better, is more proactive in helping students and helping the community. We all know about the great things the university does thanks to its legion of communications workers who churn out positive news on a daily basis.

But it’s time to deal with the ugly as well, before it’s too late.

These are our students you are looking after and we ask for more transparency and communication for them.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


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