Statement on police incident and a call for change

Like many in our community, we are appalled by the violence depicted in a video of a police wellness check in January involving a student in the community.

We condemn the behaviour shown in the video and the use of excessive force in any situation.

Recent reports indicate that an independent investigation into the police conduct is under way and we support a thorough review. The public must be able to have confidence in our community’s first responders and trust that appropriate help is available when needed.

We agree with calls for closer partnerships between police and community services and for the greater use of social workers and mental health nurses for wellness checks in the community.

At UBC, the safety of our community is paramount. If a person is in distress on the Okanagan campus, the Campus Security team is available immediately, at any time, by calling 250-807-8111.

If you or someone you know has been directly or indirectly affected by this news or any other situation, a variety of support services are available to help.

  • Counselling and mental health services are available to all UBC students – including on the Okanagan campus from Health and Wellness counsellors and nurses who can be reached at 250-807-9270 – as well as through 24/7 access to Studentcare’s EmpowerMe support services. EmpowerMe can be accessed by phone at 1-844-741-6389 or via EmpowerMe online service.

More information on mental health supports for Okanagan campus students can be found here and for Vancouver campus students here.

  • Free mental health services with doctoral students and registered psychologists are available to anyone in the Okanagan, on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 12 and 4 p.m. through UBC Okanagan’s Virtual Walk-In Wellbeing Clinic. Call or email as the clinic can take both virtual walk-ins or scheduled appointments. This service is part of the UBCO Interprofessional Clinic, which can be reached by email or 250-807-8241.
  • Free Psychological First Aid is also available to anyone in BC with a registered psychologist from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. The service offers psychological First Aid 30-minute telephone calls, free of charge, to any BC resident (19+) affected by COVID-19. This service is being offered by the BC Psychological Association in partnership with UBC’s Okanagan campus.

You can fill out a request online or leave a message on the toll-free phone number: 1-855-527-0847. A registered psychologist will call you within 24 to 48 hours.

  • The Province of British Columbia has developed a 24/7 free, confidential counselling and community referral service available to post-secondary students province-wide via app, phone and web. Please use this link for more information: Here2Talk.

We have significantly enhanced access to mental health services across UBC and at the Okanagan campus in recent years, and we will continue to strengthen those resources. As part of this, we will work to improve community awareness of existing services for students such as mental health supports and where to find assistance at any time, on- or off-campus, in a time of need.


Santa Ono
UBC President and Vice-Chancellor

Deborah Buszard
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal
UBC Okanagan

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