The UVSS has been advocating to the provincial government to increase their support to end gender-based violence on campuses across the province.

This December 6th, the UVSS has signed onto a joint letter with other groups (UVic Student Walkout to End Gender-Based Violence, AVP, GEM, Students for Consent Culture, and Safe Campus Coalition). You can find the official letter here.

Add your voice to to this call to action. We’ve included a template letter below, based off the official letter. Copy and paste the letter, edit and add your own personalized message, and send to the key elected officials listed below.

  • Tips on writing effective letters to elected officials:
    • Provide your name and address in the email header
    • Add a personal element. Why does this issue matter to you?
    • Directly address the elected officials you are sending it to, rather than being general (e.g. “Dear Premier Horgan” or “Dear MLA Smith”)
  • When you’re done, email the letter to:

Dear Minister Kang, Minister Farnworth, Parliamentary Secretary Lore, Premier Horgan, and  [INSERT YOUR MLA’S TITLE AND LAST NAME HERE]

I am writing this letter to call attention to the pervasive issue of sexualized and gender-based violence in post-secondary environments in BC, and across the country. This National Day for Remembrance and Action on Gender-Based Violence, students are once again reminded that our post-secondary institutions continue to be sites where violence is perpetrated and many people suffer without proper access to care. In responding to these issues, the voices and needs of survivors must be considered first and foremost, not institutional reputation. While we are appreciative of the ongoing work that this government has initiated to address gender-based and sexualized violence, we know that more needs to be done — urgently.

This is a call to action. The students of the University of Victoria stand in solidarity with survivors and allies across the country to demand that our provincial leadership do more. We call upon the provincial government to:

  • Properly invest in sexualized violence prevention and response in post-secondary institutions, beginning with an annual investment of $5 million per year, over the next three years, towards targeted on-campus initiatives; and
  • Conduct a fulsome review of the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act, including extensive consultations with students and survivors, to ensure the legislation includes minimum standards of care for survivors, and proper accountability mechanisms for institutions.

This essential work requires ongoing, sustainable funding. Much of this work is conducted in conditions of scarcity, which can lead to high degrees of burnout and compounding harm for survivors. While the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training has developed several important initiatives through the one-time investment of $760,000 in 2019, far more resources are required to ensure that our post-secondary institutions can properly respond to the needs of their campus communities.

The Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act (Act 23) was an important step in developing proper institutional responses to sexualized violence, however, the current legislation is woefully inadequate. Act 23 includes very limited guidelines and accountability mechanisms, leaving significant gaps where harmful practices continue to be perpetuated. The current government has a critical opportunity to act as a leader for the rest of the country on campus sexualized violence by building legislation that reflects the needs and perspectives of survivors.

[INCLUDE A PERSONAL STATEMENT, IF YOU WOULD LIKE: This could include why this issue is important to you personally, and any other thoughts you feel your elected representatives should hear on the matter of sexualized and gender-based violence in post-secondary. Please do not share the personal identifiable information of anyone who has not given you explicit consent to do so. In all communications related to this initiative, we ask that you be respectful, but still firm.]

Students are encouraged by the promise of a provincial Action Plan to end gender-based violence as a critical opportunity to bring about these changes, and we hope to see survivor and student voices meaningfully included in its development.

I wish to reiterate the urgency of these calls to action, and eagerly await your reply. If sexualized and gender-based violence truly have no place on our campuses, then steps must be taken to make this a reality.