AMS Statement on Ricardo Duchesne and Mark Hecht Event

On October 9, Ricardo Duchesne and Mark Hecht are scheduled to speak on the UBC-Vancouver campus at an event hosted by the UBC Students for Freedom of Expression. In the past, these speakers have made arguments and written about topics including immigration, diversity, and multiculturalism from perspectives that community members have regarded as hateful and intolerant.

The AMS is concerned that this event could enable discrimination, and we have zero tolerance for speakers and events that create an inequitable and unsafe environment for students on our campus. We recognize the concerns that many students have that this event undermines the safety and respect of members of the community and we stand against these events.

The AMS is committed to fostering an environment of respect for the dignity, privacy, and diversity of all persons on campus; an environment in which there is zero tolerance for hate, prejudice, and discrimination. We acknowledge that the consistent and repeated instances of these kinds of events that students have spoken out against underlines a responsibility for the AMS to address this issue in a systematic way. We are dedicated to taking critical steps both internally and through our advocacy to do so.

The AMS urges the University to reflect on the impact that this event and others like it has on students that may feel unsafe or targeted and the consistent student action on this topic. We will play an active role in ensuring that the University takes action on this issue, and we are supportive of the University’s commitment to crucial discussions surrounding the Space Rental Policy (UP9) and the Academic Freedom Statement. This work must involve the voices of students who have taken action to show their concerns on this topic.
For any individual who may feel unsafe or targeted by Duchesne and/or Hecht’s remarks or those inspired by their remarks, the AMS has a multitude of services available to assist and support individuals on this campus.

  • The AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC) offers ongoing confidential emotional support to people of all genders affected by sexualized and gender-based violence and oppression, as well as their friends and family. SASC is open every day from 8am – 10pm on the third floor of the Nest, room 3127. SASC operates from a feminist, intersectional and trauma-informed approach. People can drop in or book an appointment by calling (604) 827-5180.
  • AMS Speakeasy provides peer support, information and guidance in a safe space of non-judgment and acceptance. The service is available for students and faculty members; no issue is too big or too small. The Speakeasy reception desk is located on the third floor of the Nest, room 3125. Appointments can be booked online at: calendly.com/speakeasyvice.
  • AMS Safewalk is a transportation service that accompanies students, staff and visitors with its driving and walking teams across UBC after dusk. Safewalk prioritizes those who are vulnerable and feel unsafe travelling alone, allowing them to travel with a greater sense of security from one location to another. To use Safewalk, call (604) 822-5355 or use a UBC Blue Phone and ask for Safewalk.