I am sorry for all the hurt the original UBC Accountable letter caused. I don’t want to silence women or students. I stand in support of persons harmed by sexual assault, harassment and misconduct. I recognize that history and the weight of the courts have silenced women about sexual assault and have always been prejudiced against them.
I believe that now, more than ever, writers have to stand together. We are on the brink of some terrible times. We have to lash out against darkness and any forms of silencing.
I believe if UBC conducts an independent investigation this will open the gate for survivors to a safer environment. I believe it will help us adhere to our codes of justice concerning accused persons.
I believe forging new guidelines is the only way forward.
How can we make progress now? It would be good to open the discussion to other people in the community, asking them to commit to change and action. Complainants should be consulted in forging these guidelines, students should be consulted, lawyers should be consulted, those who sit on boards of governance in universities should be consulted.
I also feel that, though the Creative Writing department was criticized in the original letter, I didn’t agree with that criticism.
I believe the department sought to protect both the complainants and the accused. Things went so terribly wrong for everyone because UBC appears to have had no clear process to follow in a crisis. In the meantime this is my own flawed, imperfect letter: I would like people – writers, teachers, students, university administrators, lawyers, judges, and those who have suffered sexual assault or misconduct – to come together in demanding that universities across the country create fair and just guidelines for dealing with sexual assault or harassment or misconduct, for the benefit of all.