Get UBC to take immediate action on the Syrian Refugee Crisis

This petition made change with 67 supporters!

The Syrian Refugee Crisis no longer makes front page news, but it has not gone away. Yes, the federal government has brought 25,000 refugees to Canada, but many more millions of Syrians have been displaced, and just 2.6% have been offered settlement somewhere in the world. At least 12 million Syrians cannot access food or medicine. There is still much work to be done.

What is UBC doing to help?

So far, nothing. Martha Piper has left office without taking action on the crisis or even responding to a single one of our emails. Instead, UBC spent the past year celebrating its 100th anniversary while families were being torn apart and children were drowning in the Mediterranean.

What can UBC do to help?

Universities across Canada have been using their resources to help Syrian refugees in ways that individuals (especially students) cannot accomplish on their own:

- Ryerson University has partnered with Lifeline Syria to help sponsor 25 Syrian refugee families or 100 total individuals, with wealthier members offering financial support and student volunteers helping on the ground with settlement support. Eleven Ryerson leaders have personally pledged $5,000+ and the university has raised over $270,000 so far.
- The University of Toronto, York University, and OCAD University are partnering with Ryerson and Lifeline Syria to respond to the crisis.
- The University of Toronto has committed $500,000 to match (1:1) donations of any size from students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters. It is also developing a $1-million Scholars At Risk fund to one hundred $10,000 bursaries for refugees in Canada.
- The University of Ottawa has committed $200,000 and will seek donations to match that amount, making for a total of $400,000 in new funds to help refugees from Syria and other countries. They are also offering (1) pro-bono legal help to anyone interested in sponsoring refugees, (2) a Certificate Program in Lebanon for refugees who remain there, (3) UOttawa scholarships for eligible Syrian refugee students, and (4) financial support (beyond tuition) to refugee students who come to UOttawa.
- The University of Alberta is offering 10 four-year scholarships to Syrian refugee students, arriving as early as January 2016.
- The University of Regina has pledged to match (1:1) at least $200,000 in donations for refugee students every year. Student fees already contribute $100,000 to the WUSC Refugee Student program. The donation matching will allow them to accept double the number of refugee students they already do.
- McGill University is tripling its number of refugee students it admits through WUSC.
- Other universities in the Eastern Hemisphere are waiving fees and offering additional financial/settlement support to Syrian refugees.

We need to pressure incoming President Santa Ono to take immediate action so we can help those who need it NOW.

Suggestions include:

- Offering full-ride scholarships to Syrian refugee students with additional settlement support.
- Providing more funding to World University Service Canada-UBC to bring additional refugee students to our campus (we currently accept 4 per year).
- Training faculty, staff & student volunteers to help provide settlement support on the ground.
- Urging wealthy administrators, faculty, alumni, and donors to become refugee sponsors and assisting them with organizational support.
- Setting up a central refugee crisis fund, matching donations, and urging individual departments and faculties to contribute.
- Organizing UBC-wide fundraisers in place of extraneous events.
- Organizing emergency discussion forums with students, staff, and expert faculty to devise additional innovative ways to help with the refugee crisis.

“We want to have an on-the-ground response that is responsible and sustainable; this is people’s lives that we are talking about.” - Paul Davidson, President of Universities Canada 

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