University Ordered to Pay Former Student $50,000 for Discrimination

A recent decision by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has ordered the University of British Columbia Okanagan to pay $50,000 to a former student who was discriminated against based on her sex and disability. The tribunal found that the university’s handling of her allegation of sexual assault by another student worsened her PTSD and caused harm that prevented her from participating in the investigation process.

While the university had established a commitment to supporting survivors of sexual violence, the tribunal determined that its response did not lead to a reasonable investigation or create a discrimination-free learning environment. The discrimination faced by the former student was deemed severe due to the power imbalance and her unique vulnerability.

As part of the ruling, the university is required to compensate the former student with $50,000, in addition to nearly $7,000 in lost wages and approximately $8,000 in expenses. The former student, who suffers from PTSD, reported the assault in 2013, but the accused student denied the allegations and claimed that the encounter was consensual.

It is worth noting that the university’s previous president, Santa Ono, dismissed the former student’s complaint in 2017, citing a lack of evidence. The university later attempted to challenge the tribunal’s decision to hear the case in 2019 but was unsuccessful.

The case highlights the importance of universities addressing allegations of sexual assault with sensitivity and diligence, ensuring that survivors are supported throughout the investigation process. Upholding a discrimination-free learning environment is crucial for the well-being and success of all students.

What was the outcome of the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal’s investigation?

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ordered the University of British Columbia Okanagan to pay a former student $50,000 for discrimination based on her sex and disability.

What was the reason behind the discrimination claim?

The discrimination claim stemmed from the university’s handling of the former student’s allegation of sexual assault by another student.

What impact did the university’s handling of the situation have on the former student?

The university’s handling of the situation exacerbated the former student’s PTSD and prevented her from participating in the investigation process.

What actions did the university take in response to the allegations?

The university’s then-president dismissed the former student’s complaint in 2017 due to a lack of evidence. The university later attempted to challenge the tribunal’s decision to hear the case in 2019 but was unsuccessful.

What is the significance of this case?

This case highlights the importance of universities addressing allegations of sexual assault with sensitivity and diligence, and maintaining a discrimination-free learning environment for all students.