On March 11 – 15, 2019 students will head to the polls to determine, among other things, the future of the AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC). The AMS is asking students to approve an additional $5.67 student fee increase to support survivors of sexual assault, ensuring stable funding for the SASC and guaranteeing access to independent, confidential, and comprehensive sexual assault services at UBC.
Support the SASC. Vote YES to the SASC Fee Referendum during voting week March 11-15, 2019 at amsvoting.as.it.ubc.ca
Why does the SASC need more funding?
- While the SASC fee has remained fairly steady for 14 years, demand for SASC services has grown exponentially, particularly in the last two years. To keep up with demand and ensure survivors are adequately supported the SASC:
- Expanded from two coordinators in 2002 to nine staff and 50 volunteers in 2018
- Extended its hours to 8:00am – 10:00pm, seven days a week
- Provides accompaniment services for survivors to UBC Urgent Care Centre
- Expanded its educational outreach and events across campus
- Provides free menstrual supplies, condoms, lube, and pregnancy tests
- Provides support to family and friends supporting survivors
Why can’t the AMS use their surplus to fund SASC instead of increasing fees?
- Budget surpluses are an unreliable source of funding because external factors such as student enrolment, performance of investments, and interest rates are beyond our control and therefore impossible to predict. These factors can cause the AMS budget to go from a surplus position one year to a deficit position the next.
- AMS by-laws also mandate that any surpluses at the end of the fiscal year must go to pay down accumulated deficits from previous years.
How was the SASC funded in 2018-19? Can you not continue to do the same?
- This past year the SASC was funded from the Sexual Assault Initiatives Fund (SAIF). SAIF is intended for student-run sexual assault projects throughout the year. It’s not a stable source of funding as the amount available to SASC varies each year depending on the number of student initiatives.
Why doesn’t UBC fund the SASC?
- Independence from the university is one of the SASC’s greatest strengths. Our independence means that we are never in a conflict of interest should an incident involve UBC faculty or staff. Survivors receive support that is unbiased and completely on their side.
- UBC’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (SVPRO) is university-funded and does excellent work, however survivors should have to right to choose the service they feel most comfortable with. The AMS SASC provides them an independent alternative to UBC’s SVPRO.
Hasn’t demand for the SASC decreased with the creation of SVPRO?
- Together with SVPRO, the AMS SASC has been able to support more survivors than ever before, but unfortunately the need still surpasses the services currently available.
- It’s also about choice. Our independence from UBC on top of our extended office and on-call hours and hospital accompaniment give survivors more options if/when they need it.
Why is the SASC doing hospital accompaniment?
- The Sexual Assault Service at UBC Urgent Care Centre provides immediate assessment and treatment for anyone who requires it. However the centre isn’t able to provide the one-on-one support many survivors need at this crucial time.
- In addition to a survivor’s immediate comfort, our staff can provide information about sexual assault, legal options, and referrals in order to support survivors through making important health decisions after an assault.
I’ll never use the SASC, why should I have to pay for it?
- You may never visit the SASC, but you will be impacted by our work. We are creating a better UBC through our education and outreach efforts, reducing incidents of sexualized violence and creating a climate of consent across campus.
- Sexualized violence can happen to anyone, of any gender, at any time. It may never happen to you, but if it does we are here to support you.
- The SASC also provides support to people supporting survivors. So while you may never become a survivor, you might find yourself supporting someone who has.