You will likely see the #BreakTheSilence posters around campus.  These are designed to help remove the stigma around discussing sexualized violence and to create an environment that encourages discussions about how we can be proactive in making our campus a more safe environment for everybody.  

Before the introduction of the Sexual Assault Policy and Procedures at the University of New Brunswick, Dr. Lucia O’Sullivan, PhD Graduate Student Charlene Belu and Senior Director of Counselling Services Rice Fuller conducted a Climate Survey on Sexual Assault at UNB.  From October 2015 to February 2016, students participated in a survey that would open our community’s eyes to the reality of sexual assault at UNB.  It also gave students a secure forum through which they could anonymously disclose their experiences on campus - good, bad and ugly. The #BreakTheSilence campaign features 4 statistics from this survey;

  • In over 60% of sexual assault cases, both the student and the other individual had been drinking alcohol
  • 62% of students’ experiences of sexual violence occured in a home known to them
  • 90% of sexual assaults happened between two people who knew each other
  • 1 in 5 students experienced an incident of sexual assault since coming to UNB

While this survey uncovered this frightening information, it also featured slightly more encouraging information about the role of bystanders. For example;

  • 73% of respondents felt that the UNB administration would take a report of sexual assault seriously;
  • 93% of respondent said they would “stop having sex with a partner if they say to stop or imply to stop with their behaviour, even if it started consensually; and
  • 82% of respondents said they feel safe on campus.

 UNB recently released its first ever stand alone Sexual Assault Policy and Procedures document and has hired a Campus Sexual Assault Support Advocates for both campuses. The Student Union and UNB administration have partnered to show students how sexual assault has impacted our student body and to encourage campus community members to educate themselves about UNB's sexual assault procedures. By reading the Sexual Assault Policy and Procedures and knowing who your Campus Sexual Assault Support Advocate is, UNB will become a safer, more supportive place.

View the Sexual Assault Climate Survey Here.
See press release here.
See media coverage here.

Statistics from O'Sullivan, Belu, Fuller (2016), UNB Sexual Assault Climate Survey

Advocacy Weeks

Over the last two weeks, myself, Katie Beers (VP External), and Travis Daley (President), took to the New Brunswick Legislature and Parliament Hill in Ottawa to meet with politicians, senators, and other stakeholders about student issues.  As members of the New Brunswick Student Alliance (NBSA) and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), we participate annually in these advocacy weeks. In order to achieve meaningful change on student issues, we join these collective organizations to have strength in numbers and diversity as well as to benefit from the research the full-time staff of these student organizations are able to do.

Through our provincial advocacy week with the NBSA, we were able to complete our biggest and most successful week to date.  We met with nearly 20 MLAs, university administrators and other stakeholders such as the Federation of New Brunswick Faculty Associations. We were able to meet with the Liberal Caucus, Progressive Conservative Caucus and the Green Party Leader. During these meetings we took the time to go over our eight lobby asks of the provincial government and received good reception and feedback from government. These asks included the expansion of the Tuition Access Bursary to include a sliding scale, extending Medicare coverage to international students so they don’t have to pay for it and increasing funding for Mental Health spending in the province and dedicating a porting of that funding to Student Health Centres on campuses.  Each of these requests focused on increasing funding supports to Post Secondary Education to improve access and quality of life during study.

At the federal advocacy week with CASA we also experienced the organizations most successful lobby week yet, meeting with over 160 MPs, Ministers and Senators.  During these meetings we focused on nine issues surrounding Post Secondary Education funding support issues that the federal government could help alleviate. We talked about the grace period that students are eligible for upon graduation, during which students are able to take 6 months to get on their feet before having to start repaying their student loans. We asked the federal government to invest 26 million dollars to cover the cost of interest during this grace period to make it a more affective interest-free grace period. We asked the government to invest more money into the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSP) which allows access for Indigenous, Metis and Inuit students to access PSE. This would alleviate the 100,000 Indigenous, Metis and Inuit students who want to attend University or College but lack the funding.

In past years, through these advocacy weeks we were able to accomplish funding increases such as the Tuition Access Bursary, a 50% increase in Canada Student Grants and the Repayment Assistance Program so that students don’t have to start paying off their loans until they make $25,000 a year. Advocacy weeks are an important strategy focus our efforts to both help students and encourage the government to invest in our future employees, business owners and politicians. We’re happy to advocate for students and would love to hear any feedback you may have! Feel free to send me an email at external@unbsu.ca.


Katie Beers

Vice-President External

Fall Reading Week Plebiscite and By-Election Results

We would like to express our gratitude to UNB students for participating in our recent by-election and Fall Reading Week plebiscite.   We are happy to say that this by-election boasts the highest turnout in over half a decade.  The majority of students (97%) that participated in this plebiscite voted in favour of a continued push for a Fall Reading Week at UNB.  We believe that this is a signal to our council, to the UNB Administration and to President Eddy Campbell that students are seeking a sufficient break in the fall semester here at UNB.  We will proceed by working with the Registrar's Office, UNB Senate, and the appropriate committees to discuss implementing a Fall Reading Week at UNB.  We acknowledge that this is not a quick process; however, students have voiced their concern and it is imperative that the UNB Administration act accordingly.

New representatives were also elected to the UNB Student Union Council.  The following are your elected councillors: Brianne Washburn, Education Councillor; Emily McMillan, Nursing Councillor; Julija Rans, Inclusion Councillor; and Haley McLean, Accessibility Councillor.  We are pleased to welcome these newly elected councillors to represent their constituencies.

We would also like to acknowledge the efforts and hard work of our CRO and DCRO, Michael Liddiard and Nick Williams. These individuals ensured the smooth running of this election. We are very grateful for your support.

The UNBSU team has been working hard to guarantee a successful year for you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Student Union about our advocacy efforts, the services, and entertainment opportunities we offer if you have any inquiries.


Herbert Bempah, Vice-President Internal

Welcome to Wellness: Remembering Carter

This post is written by a lifelong friend and UNB student, Emily Wright, in memory of Carter Asbell, and in honour of the enduring strength shown by his family, Gail, Dave, and Mason. 

In the past few years, talk about mental health has been on the rise, across Canada and across our own campus.  Through events like Bell Lets Talk, companies like Wear Your Label, and campaigns such as UNB’s #MyDefinition, stigma is being reduced and stereotypes are being eliminated.  Another note, I personally think is crucial, is people are finally learning that mental illnesses come in many shapes and sizes. For example, bi-polar disorder, eating disorders, and depression, (just to name a few) all look different on everyone – there is no standard.

Take Carter Asbell, a former UNB student and friend of many on campus, for example.  Although he was never officially diagnosed with depression, he ended his own life. I think I speak on behalf of all of his friends and family when I say that it was a shock. Words cannot do justice how full of life he was. His smile was infectious, and he made it his personal duty to bring joy to everyone. There is not a single person whose life is not enriched for having known him. This is why it still, to this day, boggles my mind that he died from suicide, because I had no idea the emotional pain he must have felt.

Since losing Carter, I’d like to think I have become more conscientious of both my actions and my words. You never know what someone is going through, and how casually throwing around “kill me now,” or “she’s so OCD” may affect them. This is why I’m overjoyed at how much more attention is being focused on mental illnesses, both in terms of media and research. The more we learn, the better equipped we will be, to both educate and cope. For example, a correlational study published in early 2016 suggests that individuals who received a concussion at some point in their life, had a long-term risk of suicide three times higher than that of the normal population (Fralick, Thiruchelvam, Tien, & Redelmeier, 2016). This is an important realization, that could help explain many circumstances, like Carter for example. He sustained numerous concussions from sport and play, and this could be a contributing factor towards the impulsiveness of his decision. The more we learn, the more questions we can answer, and the more we can understand.

I speak now to my fellow peers at UNB, because over time, suicides rate in our population have been increasing dramatically. As the semester continues, things will get busier, harder, and more stressful, but I beg you all to find time for your mental health, because nothing is more important. While getting the A+, beating your record, or going to that party, may seem like it’s a top priority, just remember that mental health will always be the foundation of your life.

If you’re ever feeling stressed, down, or anxious, I invite you to walk to the quad and take a seat on the metal bench with the number nine on the sides. This bench was placed in honour of Carter, and is open to all. It’s meant to be a place of fortitude and reminiscence. If you just need a quiet moment, or if you have someone of your own to remember, please sit there, knowing that it represents the spirit of someone beloved by many, and knowing that you are not alone. As Wentworth Miller said, “like a dandelion up through the pavement, I persist.” We all persist. 



Pictured above: Carter's friends on his bench in the Quad. 

Pictured above: Carter's friends on his bench in the Quad. 

Student Event Risk Management

As many student leaders are aware, the University has introduced a pilot program: Student Event Risk Management (SERM).  This program is led by a committee composed of a variety of different stakeholders from across campus, including our Vice President Finance & Operations, Grayson Beairsto, and President, Travis Daley. The UNBSU has been representing student concerns to this committee since it formed. One significant result of this program is that clubs and societies must now submit an event application form in order to booking space on campus. This is a common practice among many universities and allows the Student Union to be more aware of events taking place to provide additional support to clubs and societies.

Since the introduction of this program, students have raised many valid concerns.  We have worked to express these concerns to the committee.  Additionally, we ensured that the committee held a forum on the processes allowing students to directly vocalize their thoughts directly to the decision-making body. The UNBSU representatives requested the SERM committee commit to addressing the following points:

  • Make event organizing training more accessible to students by providing an online module available as soon as possible. In the meantime, student event planners can meet with the UNBSU VP Finance and Operation prior to submitting an application.

  • Redefine what is considered a high risk event based on attendance to eventually reduce the amount of applications needs to go to the committee.

  • Ensure all events are processed without bias and only the facts presented are considered in the approval processes.

  • That the application be as minimally demanding as possible for students.

  • That the committee’s sole job is to aid groups in reducing risk.

  • An appeals mechanism be put in place allowing students to challenge decisions.

  • That the UNBSU be treated as a partner and this process will not reduce autonomy

The committee as a whole was receptive to this feedback and has agreed to address it. Students should feel assured that the UNBSU is continually advocating on their behalf. If you have feedback in regards to SERM, please feel free to email questions@unbsu.ca

Wellness Week

Previously entitled Mental Health Week, The UNB Student Union is celebrating its first annual Wellness Week from October 3rd to October 7th!  Although Mental Health is a priority for UNB and the Student Union, general Wellness is pertinent and must be observed.  Wellness Week will allow UNB students to celebrate all other aspects of Wellness including Emotional, Intellectual, Physical, Occupational & Social.  All students are encouraged to participate in the array of activities to be entered to win various prizes and raise money for the Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick.  We look forward to seeing you at our first ever Wellness Week! 

Pub Tour Stance

Some of the best memories for  university students are those that they make during student organized events.  However, UNB wants to ensure that students are gaining those experiences in the safest and most memorable of ways.  The Student Union has never supported, endorsed or funded any pub tours as we don’t have insurance coverage and because of the many safety concerns involved.  Therefore, we understand the university's decision.  We know this will be disappointing for students and we are here to listen to your concerns.  If you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to contact us at questions@unbsu.ca.