UBC Students Demand University Do More to Address Their Concerns on Returning to Campus


On Thursday, July 22nd, 2021, the Alma Mater Society of UBC Vancouver sent a letter to both the UBC Executive and the UBC Board of Governors demanding that the university take greater action to address student concerns around a safe return to campus in the fall. The letter, signed by both President Cole Evans and Vice-President Academic and University Affairs Eshana Bhangu, comes after students, faculty, and staff have continued to voice concerns around the university’s inaction on addressing community anxieties about its return-to-campus planning.

In a survey commissioned independently by the AMS, over 80% of respondents voiced support for requiring vaccinations in student residences – a move that other post-secondary institutions in Canada have already implemented. Additionally, only one-third of respondents said they felt comfortable with UBC’s return-to-campus planning. The survey gathered responses from almost 8,000 UBC students.

While the AMS acknowledges that the University’s return-to-campus plan is consistent with government-issued guidance, the Society believes that the University has the ability to do more than what we are currently seeing. The social nature of university life combined with the emergence of new variants has created questions and anxieties from students and other community members that have gone unaddressed. In the letter, the AMS outlines three of many options available to UBC to take a more proactive approach to its planning for the upcoming fall term. These options include requiring vaccines in student residences, mandating masks to be worn in lecture halls, and stronger, more transparent communication to the UBC community around planning, student safety, and risks to student health.

“Students have serious concerns about their health and safety as we get closer to returning to campus” said President Cole Evans. “The University has a responsibility to make sure that students feel safe when attending UBC, and our data clearly shows that we are not even close to meeting that expectation yet.”

“Our letter outlines clear and easy steps UBC can take to make our campus community safer” said Vice-President Academic and University Affairs Eshana Bhangu. “UBC always prides itself on being a global leader, and yet we see other Canadian institutions surpassing us in initiative. It’s time UBC gets serious about being proactive and investing the appropriate time and resources in addressing the student anxieties that we bring up time and time again”

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