Decolonizing initiatives to accompany police presence at #UBC #yteubc #idlenomore #bced #occupyeducation

by Stephen Petrina on November 8, 2013

Wei Laii, The Ubyssey, November 6, 2013– As a student who had studied at UBC, I am very displeased with the lack of new educational initiatives in response to the six reported cases of sexual assault against young women on the UBC campus.

I do not need armed officers with a saviour complex to harass me about how I can make their jobs easier and become more grateful by policing myself. I resist slut profiling, racial profiling and all other tactics informed by colonial oppression.

Granted, not all officers have been resistant to practicing anti-oppressive solidarity and responsibility. However, we need to look to recent news and examine our police force as an institution with an organizational culture of colonial oppressive values — including but not limited to gender policing, systemic sexual assault against indigenous women and the colonial construction of their bodies such acts require, and insidious systemic misogyny within the RCMP.

It’s important to acknowledge that we need a lot more than increased arrests, criminalization and demonization of perpetrators of violence. An increased police presence alone does not ensure students’ feelings and realities of safety, physical, emotional and cultural. At best, police presence is a bandage solution that makes some students feel safer, others less safe and retraumatized, and it may deter public acts of physical violence.

In our society, systems of oppression include but are not limited to white settler colonialism, ableism, Eurocentricism, heterosexism, cissexism and hegemonic masculinities.

In the cases of UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan, the operation of some of these systems on both campuses have been documented in “Implementing Inclusion,” a report released by UBC in May 2013. The report presents “the substance of concerns voiced to [UBC] during the consultation process that pertain to the lived experiences of students, alumni, staff and faculty at both campuses” and includes concerns about race and ethnicity, gender and transgender and disability. If not to become a place of advocacy in the world, UBC must at least become a place of good mind, by dealing with oppression in its own backyard where students are suffering and ill.

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