CTV News Vancouver has learned university administrators met with a UBC student after one of her professors claimed the young woman had been drugged at an off-campus event, as the school urges potential victims to come forward to Mounties.
Professor Marina Adshade says the student had confided in her about being drugged or roofied while at a bar in Vancouver over the weekend. She says the young woman also told her that while she was in hospital, she encountered six other students receiving medical treatment for suspected druggings at a weekend fraternity party on UBC campus.
"To hear about 6 students in one night in frat parties at UBC campus – I think that's alarming and I think that's something everybody needs to be sitting up and paying attention to," said Adshade, who gained widespread attention on Twitter for posting about the student’s revelation.
On Wednesday, vice president of students Ainsley Carry issued a statement acknowledging that the university had learned about the alleged druggings via Twitter, announcing that his staff had asked University RCMP to open an investigation into the matter.
"What has been described here is a crime and we are taking it very seriously," he later told reporters in his office. “We met with the fraternities this morning at 9 a.m. and they have been completely cooperative with all our discussions thus far."
Carry said UBC campus security had not received any reports, and both Vancouver police and the BC RCMP told CTV News they were aware of the claims but that no one had come forward complaining of druggings over the weekend. Vancouver Coastal Health says it was unable to verify the claims after contacting emergency departments in their jurisdiction.
But Carry acknowledged there may be a number of factors preventing victims from coming forward, including fears they won’t be believed, assuming that their parents would be notified, or expecting to be penalized for drinking on campus.
"I am very concerned about precisely what you have examined. We do not take action against students who have been drinking or believe they may have done something wrong, our focus is what may have happened to them as a result of someone else's behaviour," he said, insisting that privacy is paramount, including from students’ parents.
Concerns around fraternities
The Interfraternity Council, which represents the organizations on campus and claims 1,500 members, issued a statement Wednesday afternoon announcing they have “indefinitely suspended all social functions” and urging anyone with information to contact UBC RCMP at 604-224-1322.
“We take any issues concerning the safety of the UBC community and the community at large very seriously,” says the IFC, adding that they are “working closely with the pertinent groups.”
The statement did not acknowledge if there was a party over the weekend, closing with this statement: “This matter is presently before the RCMP, and due to its ongoing nature, the IFC cannot comment further.”
Adshade believes it’s time to have a discussion about whether UBC even has fraternities.
"I think UBC needs to take a really long, hard look at the role fraternities play on the campus,” she said. “Why it is that we allow all of these essentially secret societies that are cut off to 65% of the student population that are women, that are exclusive and work outside of any type of governance of the university – why they allow this to persist?"
While the university and RCMP are encouraging any potential victims to come forward, they’re also recommending campus support services.