Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Climate of fear on UBC campus

Security increased after six sex attacks

  • Print
The UBC campus in Vancouver has seen heightened security measures following a series of sexual assaults.

DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS Enlarge Image

The UBC campus in Vancouver has seen heightened security measures following a series of sexual assaults.

VANCOUVER -- A series of sexual assaults at the University of B.C. has prompted an unusual "climate of fear" and unprecedented police and security measures, the university's president said Wednesday.

RCMP say there have been six attacks on women at UBC's Vancouver campus since April, with the latest incident occurring on Sunday.

UBC president Stephen Toope stressed Wednesday the current situation on campus is "extremely unusual," and that the school now has a higher police and security presence than ever.

"This is one of the safest campuses in North America," he told reporters. "There is not normally a climate of fear or insecurity on the campus."

The RCMP's major crimes section believes one man is responsible for three attacks this month and similar incidents in April, May and September.

All the women were attacked while walking alone late at night on campus.

Hours for a program called Safewalk have now been extended so students can have two people walk them home as late as 4 a.m.

An outside security company has been hired to bolster the university's resources and volunteers have also stepped in to patrol the campus, Toope said.

"At the same time the RCMP has increased dramatically their patrols on campus and we're working very much in collaboration. There is far more police presence on campus than ever in the history of the campus," he said.

"We are putting the resources that are necessary to keep the campus as safe as it possibly (can be). Frankly, we are not counting our pennies at this moment."

Toope said the university has already spent millions of dollars to upgrade lighting in the last two years.

Since this month's attacks, the university has also increased the intensity of existing lights from dusk until dawn, said Lucie McNeill with UBC public affairs.

Toope said the issue of security cameras has been raised, but he is hesitant about them because of privacy concerns.

"This is a university campus," he said. "I certainly am reluctant to make a commitment at this point that the entire campus should be subject to surveillance."

A campus-security working group is expected to report in a month with suggestions on enhanced security measures, Toope said.

RCMP say the assault suspect has been described as a 6-foot Caucasian man in his mid-20s to early 30s, and that he has attacked the victims from behind.

In one case this month, a woman reported her attacker ripped her nylons, but fled when she screamed.

The university has consistently warned students not to walk alone at night since the attacks, but organizers behind a student-led rally expected to take place on Wednesday night say UBC and the police should not be blaming women for inviting attacks by choosing to walk on their own in the dark.

Still, some say it makes sense to take precautions.

"I find it very sad that women are mad at UBC for encouraging them to walk safe and take precautions. Why? because they feel this is indicating that it's the woman's fault," wrote someone under the name of Abbie Wilson on the Take Home The Night rally's Facebook page.

"What if the sexual assaults were actually murders? Would we be mad at UBC telling us to be careful? Absolutely not. We would be vigilant and would see it more of just trying to protect ourselves."

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 31, 2013 A13

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

HSC ready for Ebola

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Winnipeg Free Press 090528 STAND UP...(Weather) One to oversee the pecking order, a pack of pelican's fishes the eddies under the Red River control structure at Lockport Thursday morning......
  • Down the Hatch- A pelican swallows a fresh fish that it caught on the Red River near Lockport, Manitoba. Wednesday morning- May 01, 2013   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Will you get out and vote for a new mayor and council?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google