Langara College contributed about $1,200 to anti-bullying campaign Pink Shirt Day to show their commitment to making the school a safe space.
Last year, more than 10 organizations benefited from the event, which has raised more than $650,000 since 2008. Jen Schaeffers, executive director of CKNW Orphans’ Fund, organizes Pink Shirt Day. She said they have seen a major decline in t-shirt sales this year.
“We’ve noticed a little bit of an erosion in terms of our ability to fundraise in the province because so many people are doing their own small campaigns and not participating in the larger campaign,” said Schaeffers.
Pink shirts raised money for campaign
Reba Noel is the coordinator for student engagement programs at Langara. She said the college purchased 200 official pink shirts for staff and volunteers to wear on Wednesday, at a cost of $6.00 each.
“I think it’s important for every institution…to recognize and put forward that they’re not going to tolerate bullying,” said Noel.
Bullying a part of college too
Bullying isn’t confined to middle school or high school, though it may look a little different at the college level, said Maggie Ross, manager of student conduct and judicial affairs at Langara.
“Adults are less likely to engage in physical bullying and more likely to engage in psychological or social bullying, including bullying though online media,” said Ross.
The student conduct department handled 16 cases of physical and verbal assault and 10 cases of harassment between January and December of last year, she said. These cases do not include faculty or staff incidents.
A student with bad memories
Second year theatre arts student Arash Ghorbani has seen bullying take place at Langara, and admits he has bullied classmates.
“We are all bullies to each other, we just aren’t aware of it. Bullying has so many different forms,” he said.
Ghorbani was bullied at age seven. Older kids pulled his hair and teased him on the school bus, an experience that reminds him of the kind of pain bullying can inflict.
“Even now I think about it, and we’re not as invincible as we think we are…writing on the washroom walls, saying really nasty things about each other, that’s a slow way to kill someone, you know. That’s like poison,” said Ghorbani.
Reported by Ash Kelly
Video by Tyler Hooper