Course: governance 101. Grade: F. UBC has much to learn about following its own rules.

Scientific discussion is best held in the appropriate forum between qualified stakeholders who have knowledge of the methodology and of the quality of the evidence they rely on to reach conclusions. It is meaningful and important to keep the conversation active on a topic and Universities are the natural place for this to happen, but it is equally important that our institutions of learning curate the quality of the material they allow to be presented.

An upcoming June-23 anti-SOGI talk at UBC, a repeat of a canned presentation by Jenn Smith which was rejected by Douglas College and Trinity Western University, is set to try to repeat its attempt to shroud itself in science and inclusion to claim that “men can not be women” and that transgender women harm children.

Jenn Smith's poster advertises that transgender activists are harming women and children
Jenn Smith’s poster advertises that transgender activists are harming women and children

Why UBC would allow this talk to proceed is troubling. Whereas free expression and the discovery of the truth are important pursuits, the truth is precious and University should know better than to knowingly amplify falsehoods. This is in part why both Trinity Western University and Douglas College have declined to host Smith [1] on review of the evidence provided to them by concerned citizens. Smith’s difficulties with facts were widely written about by a Medium blogger Concerned Islander [2].

I have written at length about concerns with Smith inciting discrimination on prohibited grounds. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

Tweet by UB Stidents Against Bigotry decrying UBC’s decision to allow Jenn Smith to speak on campus

UBC is responsible for maintaining a high standard for events it is associated with or allows to occur on its property. In fact, it has guidelines on the matter.

Talk speaker Jen Smith seems intent on proving that he is the standard of behavior and that anybody who approaches their own gender identity from a different lens than his is delusional or lying.

Smith also claims that people standing up for transgender people is trying to groom children.

(Smith’s pronouns are he/him). Everyone gets to choose their pronouns.

Smith has claimed at past talks that trans advocates are colluding with “big pharma” to “turn children transgender”. This is hate propaganda.

Smith relies heavily on long-outdated studies and conspiracy theories to buttress his core argument: “I am normal and you are evil. The law is evil. Trans people are broken”. This could be amusing circus for aficionados of the absurd unaffected by his propaganda, but UBC is hosting Smith and allowing its brand to add credibility to his argument and he has been traveling the province making these absurd claims.

Whereas everybody has a right to an opinion, nobody has any right to misrepresent data to meet their personal narrative and justify their experiences as being more valid than anyone else’s. Nobody gets to state opinions as if they were facts and support them with evidence they know is false is an act of propaganda, not interpretation of science.

Nobody has a right to incite hatred through disinformation and UBC has the reaponsibility and the means to fact-check what will be presented by Jenn Smith and the anti-SOGI “Canadian Christian Lobby”.

It seems inconceivable to me that a public talk at UBC where someone would say, with apologies to members of the affected communities I am listing, that Jews or Blacks or Muslims or Christians or immigrants or indigenous persons or francophones or Albertans are grooming children for abuse, are mentally ill or delusional, are predators, or are liars would ever be allowed to take place.

So why is the University of British Columbia allowing anti-transgender and anti-gay populist propaganda leveraging discredited information collated by an anti-LGBTQ2+ religious group to be presented as if it was thevtruth in their own facilities by somebody who advocates for the erasure and conversion therapy of the LGBTQ2+ community and is set to do it again?

Why did UBC allow Megan Murphy to say transgender women are men at UBC? Why was Bill Whatcott allowed to incite hatred in front of The Nest during the Tribunal hearings that found him guilty of inciting hatred and discrimination for doing what Smith is about to do?

Why does UBC repeatedly allow events to present material in its facilities that section 7 of the BC Human Rights Code prohibit anyone from publishing in a book or displaying on a screen? Why does this material inevitably find its way to the Internet to do the maximum possible damage?

The University of British Columbia has binding codes of conduct and inclusion guidelines that address such things but it’s choosing not to apply them because the leadership of the University does not seem to think that inciting hatred on the basis of gender identity or expression is an equal prohibition from the other explicit prohibitions from discrimination.

As an aluma of this University who continuously gets asked for money to support my alma mater and was asked my my university to feature me as a success story for their program, I am disgusted by UBC’s conduct regarding anti-trandgender hatred. I can not possibly associate my name with an institution that cultivates hatred or allows others to do it.

It seems to me from what I see so far that I am not considered as valuable as stakeholder as the other stakeholders that the university does stand up for when it applies it’s policies just stop hate propaganda on its campus.

To my knowledge, I have never seen a UBC-sanctioned event that us explicitly racist or homophobic or anti-indigenous or in violation of the explicit prohibitions from discrimination UBC is mandated and required to adhere to, without administrative consequences at UBC and an apology.

I was a Mechanical Engineering student in the early 1990s when the EUS “Red Rag” newsletter put out an issue that was hurtful and humiliating to First Nations persons and other communities.

It was an awful publication and the university correctly reacted harshly.

The consequences were far-reachibg and the engineering students deservedly felt the consequences of our collective misstep.

I support the consequences that happened to this student body at the time and wonder what will happen in the current case.

If UBC discovers after the fact that the warnings of affected communities turn out to be accurate, can we expect an apology?

Will UBC pay reparations to the Pride Collective? Will there be a cake and an “I’m so sorry” hug, complete with a photo opportunity for “doing better next time”?

Could we maybe skip all that and the court case and prevent the preventable instead?

I do not understand why the University of British Columbia makes a special exception to one explicitly prohibited grounds of discrimination over the others. It is against the law for them to do this.

Major institutions are held to the highest standard, and UBC is failing to live up to its own standards.

On governance 101, I give it UBC F for failing to adhere tonite own values and to the policies it wrote.






2 responses to “Course: governance 101. Grade: F. UBC has much to learn about following its own rules.”

  1. Well done: Vancouver Pride took a stand UBC and Vancouver Library leaders should have months ago. – Morgane Oger Avatar

    […] choices that UBC and VPL made were legal ones, but they were made with full knowledge of what was coming. I […]


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