University students say warning about spiked drinks sends wrong message
Published Saturday, March 5, 2016 2:29PM AST
Officials at St. Thomas University and the University of New Brunswick are warning students about reports of drink-spiking and advising them to take precautions.
Bruce Rogerson, the director of security at UNB, says three students reported last week that they felt they had been drugged after drinking their own drinks.
“They ended up going to the hospital with their friends,” says Rogerson. “We were unaware of it. Had we been aware of it at the time, we probably would have gotten out a better timely message.”
After learning of the incidents, Rogerson sent an email identifying prevention tips, such as sticking with a friend when going out to a bar, club or party, refusing drinks that look, smell or taste strange, and not leaving drinks unattended.
But some students are taking issue with the email, saying it didn’t mention anything about the actual culprit and the fact that drink-spiking is illegal.
“It didn’t mention that sexual assault is illegal. It didn’t mention anything about what UNB’s response would be if they found out that one of their students was participating in it, so it was just missing a lot of information that was really necessary,” says student Reid Lodge.
Lodge says while the university had good intentions, its approach is outdated.
“I would love to see UNB start educating people, not just about the potential risks to you, but how people can be risks to others,” says Lodge.
UNB sent out its note to students before STU, so when STU learned of the negative reaction from students, it made some changes to its own message.
“We put a note on the top saying we’re not putting the onus on the victim or any sort of blame situation, but we think if there’s been a number of incidents in a short period of time, it’s enough for us to get some safety information out there,” says STU spokesperson Jeffrey Carleton.
The Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre says it would like to see the conversation shift, instead encouraging people to watch out for a perpetrator, rather than a drink.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Laura Brown