Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Last updated: 3 hours ago

CUS referendum for sexual assault education and counselling programs fails

File Photo Geoff Lister/The Ubyssey

File Photo Geoff Lister/The Ubyssey

A Commerce Undergraduate Society (CUS) referendum on whether to spend $200,000 over the next two years on sexual assault education and counselling services in response to the Sauder FROSH rape cheer has failed.

During a press conference in mid-September, Sauder School of Business dean Robert Helsley pledged this $250,000, of which $50,000 — the maximum amount that can be allocated for a single unbudgeted project — would be provided by the CUS board. The additional $200,000 had to go to a vote by Sauder students before it could be given.

Yesterday, Helsley issued a statement addressing the rejection of the referendum.

“I was deeply disappointed to learn that the referendum … was unsuccessful. I know that the wider community will be disappointed as well,” the statement said.

According to CUS president Sean Fleming, the CUS board of directors thought the programs would have been “a positive step forward” for their student society.

“But we are ultimately democratically elected by our students and run under democratic processes that allow students to have their voice heard on these issues, and we are going to respect their decision,” said Fleming.

Fleming said the original $50,000 pledged by the CUS will still be used to support initiatives to promote awareness of sexual abuse.

“We’re still working with our different campus partners, including the AMS, to see how to best develop that money, and to make the most positive impact here on campus,” Fleming said.

In his statement, Helsley listed a number of other measures that will be introduced, including a new orientation program to replace the CUS-led FROSH, training with the AMS Sexual Assault Support Center for CUS leaders and curriculum changes that will promote ethics, gender and cultural sensitivity understanding.

Approximately 26 per cent of Sauder undergrads voted in the referendum, and nearly 70 per cent voted against spending $200,000 on the proposed programs. Had the referendum been passed, $52 of CUS students’ tuition fees would have gone toward sexual abuse services.

Third-year Sauder student Aaron Yeung thought the services could have been well used. “This is a very difficult topic to talk about,” he said. “As a male, I don’t have to worry about [sexual assault] on a day-to-day basis, but considering all the sexual assaults that have been occurring, I do think that some sort of program would help with that as well.”

“It’s very difficult to put a price on these things,” said Amanda Jones, a second-year Sauder student. “For example, if one case of sexual abuse was prevented by this program, can we say it’s worth it? As a member of the Commerce Undergraduate Society, though, I have full support for the appropriate committees to make the right choices with our budget.”

  • MaliciousTypo

    The Commerce Undergraduate Society said that “it has pledged $250,000 toward funding a new professional position at the university”. Now it isn’t, because CUS voted on it and it didn’t pass. How the hell is that a pledge then?

    Genius. When there was all the media attention focused on these chants, CUS said it would spend a ton of money to try and fix it. Now that the media attention is gone, it quietly withdrew from its commitments. I would cuss, but then again, it is CUS. What else could we expect?

    • StudentInSauder

      The CUS is bound by its constitution to hold a referendum to get student approval for any un-budgeted spending in excess of $50,000, the pledge was to support a referendum to approve this funding, which they did.

    • IdontThinkSo

      Sauder is already spending $50,000 on it, and they would have spent another $200,000 if students had not voted against it – it was not the CUS’s decision to drop the hiring of a counsellor. Your accusition of them is invalid.

      That being said, I don’t think it would have been a good idea to spend $200,000 of over 3300 students’ money on a counsellor’s salary just because the CUS administration messed things up by condoning the singing of questionable chants. A counsellor does not cater prevention, it’s for damage control afterwards – and a UBC responsibility, especially considering the sexual assaults of the recent months.

      • Marina Adshade

        The chants were not “questionable”, as you suggest. Questionable implies that there is some debate as to whether or not they were inappropriate. If there is anyone left that feels that the appropriateness of chants describing the rape of minors is up for debate, the funds of are clearly needed.

        • Sanguifer

          I feel that the appropriateness of the chant describing the rape of minors is up for debate, yes.

          For the record, the complete chant was (and I quote from the link in the article):

          “An actual cheer at ubc,” a Sauder School of Business first-year wrote on Twitter. “Y-O-U-N-G at UBC we like em young Y is for yourrr sister O is for ohh so tight U is for under age N is for noo consent G is for goo to jail.”

          G is for go to jail.

          That is most definitely NOT CONDONING the rape of minors. It is quite obviously the opposite. This chant describing the rape of minors condemns it, and I think You’d agree that the condemnation of the rape of minors is not an outrage.

          The university basically wanted to spend 250k on programs that enforce a notion that is _already present in the student body_. Sure, they’ll probably use some better PC language while they’re at it, but for 250k, they gotta do something, I guess. Oh, and while they’re at it, they’ll probably alienate every male on campus.

          If the university is concerned that some students may not get the sarcasm in the chant, I’d suggest they raise their admission standards. This is not kindergarten, it’s a bloody university. Basic understanding of sarcasm should be mandatory.

          • Claire

            Sanguifer, you are a great example of why students need professional help understanding the cultural repercussions of the chant you just copied here. The chant condones rape AND going to jail. This chant would be expected in a jail, not an university.

          • J.G. te Molder

            Much, much more than that; these are business college students, wrong spelling, especially used twice in a row isn’t stupidity, nor a typo.

            Thus, Goo to jail and Noo consent is deliberate, and has multiple hidden meanings:

            First, there is Noo consent, aka new consent; aka feminists attempt and rapeifying all sex where a woman isn’t giving express enthusiastic consent. Consent isn’t enough anymore, a woman needs to scream out her enthusiasm for it, or else…

            Goo to jail. Obviously, this basically means that you are fucked as a man. Any accuser can always say, “it wasn’t enthusiastic enough”, indeed, even a filmed enthusiastic consent won’t keep a man out of jail, because how could a woman give genuine enthusiastic consent to sex if it was going to be filmed? Thus the only way to prevent going to jail should this new rule be put into law, and it pretty much already is in college kangaroo courts, would be to deny any sex even took place…

            Which means you can’t leave any goo… see how that goes?

            Of course, the noo and goo is obvious, but let’s not forget the tripple r in yourrr sister. That too should have some meaning, right? Obviously, one of the r’s as to be for “rape”. The second being “rant” perhaps. Your Rape Rants; the same rants used during rape awareness lectures that use “do you want it to happen to your sister?”

            The very same lectures that paint all men, especially those at the college they’re given at, as vile paedophilia rapists; you know, what the first glance look at the chant claims they are. Making it not something they sing about themselves, but sing to everyone what feminist rape awareness classes make them out to be.

            So this chant is a rallying cry telling everyone the vile nature of these rape lectures… but how to disseminate this information to everyone instead of just a niche, eh? Like say, get it on the news; for feminists to pounce on; so anyone smart enough to just fall for it may actually go research it… like chant it public in front of cameras with a slight change of the last sentence; from Goo to jail, to Grab that ass!

            And they fell for it; feminists spread an anti-feminist, anti-sexist, anti-male-demonizing, anti-rape-hysteria, and take-caution-against-rapist-by-default-school-policy message across the country to anyone smart enough to listen and take notice.

          • Alex Reynard

            Um. Maybe the extra letters just mean you’re supposed to hold those syllables longer when you sing it.

      • P.

        $200,000/3300 students=$60 per student. Is that really too much to pay for the price of female Sauder students NOT having to live with the idea that sexual assault will probably just be ignored during FROSH? Is it too much to pay to try to change this horrible, twisted idea?

        Counsellors ARE expensive. They’re not free, and in my opinion they do quite good work. That being said, I understand your point about damage control afterward; it’s not really directly in itself a preventative measure. But what about all the potential female students who went to FROSH this year or last year? They might have things to discuss… As well, it’s my understanding that the money will not only go to counsellors, but also to other initiatives: “…a new orientation program to replace the CUS-led FROSH, training with the AMS Sexual Assault Support Center for CUS leaders and curriculum changes that will promote ethics, gender and cultural sensitivity understanding.”

        Sauder students who chose to reject the referendum, shame on you.

        • IdontThinkSo

          I also find it very unclear what your point is. You say $200,000 is a
          price worth paying to “not have the idea of sexual assault ignored
          during FROSH, this horrible twisted idea”. And “female FROSH
          participatnts might have things [sexual assaults] to discuss”, you are
          making very serious accusitions here. Is it just a tool to make your argument seem stronger or do you actually have any evidence?

          Your understanding of where the money would have gone is also not quite correct – the $200,000 considered for the referendum would exclusively be used for the counsellor and not for the new FROSH, training or curriculum changes. The only way this money could have benefitted the community is when the counsellor would have initiated educational workshops and so on, but there is only so much impact 1 single person can make while having a full-time commitment to 1-on-1 counselling.

          Do your research on what the referendum would have actually done other than having Sauder undergraduates paying an overdue UBC responsibility. The recent sexual assaults on campus validate this need that had been ignored by UBC until now. Just because a group of maybe 20-30 CUS/Frosh people decided it would be fun to sing such chants is no valid reason to make thousands of students pay for UBC’s lack of financial commitment to counselling.

  • RJ

    Good riddance. Such a PR stunt with student money. CUS needs to repair and address their issues from within, not penalize all Sauder students to help them publicly do it. They’re already giving $50,000 – that’s a pretty substantial amount.

  • Gromit Dog

    What a farce. As a commerce alumni UBC called me to beg and grovel for a donation and seeing how they waste money due to an innocent chant i don’t think they need any more outside money when they are going to piss away money on this PR stunt. Good grief, i thought we went through the gender bait shakedown already, why is it still going on? If your student body is voting 70% against any sort of financing then where is your mandate to spend the $50k let alone pick up the phone and harass alumni telling them your hard up?

    • ACMEsalesrep

      I believe the mandate was the ethical and moral obligation to try to make amends for the students’ wholly inappropriate behaviour. Am I to take it that ethics and morality have no place in business?

      • Alex Reynard

        So why don’t you make amends for it? You’re as guilty of that chant as any of those students who were asked to have their already-outrageous tuition raised to pay for something someone else did. Donate 52 bucks to the school right now, I dare you.

  • shaDoutEL

    Hesley’s response is pretty grand, if you haven’t read it here it is.

    http://syruptrap.ca/2013/11/sauder-dean-fires-student-body/?fb_action_ids=10152037702445719

    Wouldn’t it be great if a faculty was a company? That way you could have people pay for their jobs!

  • jtw

    The CUS leadership did a great job of getting the rest of the student body absorb what was essentially their responsibility. When they made the “pledge” it is unthinkable for them not to expect the vote to fail, which then places the blame onto every Sauder student as opposed to the few individuals that were supposed to be representing them. In the same way individual Sauder students were in no ways responsible for the chant, nor do I think it would be fair for each student in the faculty to pick up the tab for such an initiative. Personally, if such a position was deemed necessary, I think it would be fair for EVERY student to be contributing towards the cause and had I still been a student, would be happy to do so.

    I would be pretty pissed off as a Sauder student right now – but perhaps that is a fitting lesson for the business world.

  • Captain Zero

    wooooow you are deep down that hole of Man Angst aren’t you. you’ll make a good politician some day.

    • J. Russell.

      I’ll take “Foot-In-Mouth Ad Hominem Attacks” for $1000, Alex.

  • Sarah B

    You linked to AVFM? Wow. And you missed the satire? Unsurprising.

    • Mike

      Yep I missed it. You see, I am used to satire being funny, so I got confused.

      • Sarah B

        I find it disturbing that even thinking it was not satirical you would think a dead firing a class of students would actually happen.

        • Alex Reynard

          To be fair, I read it and it had me convinced too. The person who wrote it did an incredibly good job capturing the tone of someone who is so pissed off they write something vicious in haste that makes it through their usual decorum barrier. But it also seemed a little too perfect, so I Googled a line from it to be sure. I was rather stunned to find it was satire. What can I say, it’s a damn well made hoax.

  • Zimba Zumba

    So the students refused to pay blood money. Good for them.

  • Jesus_marley

    “As a male, I don’t have to worry about [sexual assault] on a day-to-day
    basis, but considering all the sexual assaults that have been
    occurring, I do think that some sort of program would help with that as
    well.”

    No, as a male, you simply don’t have the concept hammered into your psyche from childhood. The fact is that you are at as much risk on a day to day basis as any other person, male or female. You just are not continuously told about it ad nauseum so you don’t live in constant fear of the possibility. Ignorance is bliss, as they say.

  • J. Russell.

    So they were trying to get all the students to pay the salary of a Sexual Assault Counselor because of a very bad and faux pas stunt some idiots pulled?

    Yeah, I don’t think that would’ve flown. Not everybody is morally outraged enough to pay for someone to be on staff to stimy the flow of this alleged avalanche of “Rape Culture”, nor high-horsed enough as to assume *all* students need to be sat down and forced to conduct a meticulous and thorough discussion on the matter.

    Seems like the people writing these proposals are out of touch with the students, and equally as doubtful as to their competence to be upright, morally just citizens who don’t go around sexually assaulting “Y.O.U.N.G.” girls at the behest of a Bro-Chant.

  • bind bind

    They got fifty thousand dollars to advance ‘the cause’ and they bitched about it.

  • Gene Novak

    As long as you realize the same is true of any feminists or far left leaning sites I have no issue.

  • Alex Reynard

    “As a male, I don’t have to worry about [sexual assault] on a day-to-day basis”

    Sure you do, Aaron. You’ve just been raised to believe that it’s not important if it happens to you.

  • Funcuz

    This caught my eye.
    Do you have any idea what MRAs actually stand for ? Do you know what they fight against ? Do you actually know any statistics concerning men in the Western , developed world ? Any other part of the world ?

    These , of course , are rhetorical questions but they serve a purpose. In this case , hopefully , these questions may impel you to do research on the matter. Whether you do so out of spite in order to attempt a stinging riposte or genuine interest is up to you of course. Nevertheless , I think it’s fair to assume that you’re going to be surprised when you actually research what you’re discussing without getting your information second-hand.