VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Some law students at UBC are being scolded for starting a so-called “snitch sheet,” which lists fellow classmates along with their alleged COVID-19 public health order violations.
The spreadsheet’s existence came to light on Tuesday, when the Career Services Office at the Allard School of Law emailed second-year students, saying it had come to their attention that one of more students created a list of “alleged peer non-compliance” with current provincial orders, brought in to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The UBC student paper, The Ubyssey, has a copy of the email and first reported on the spreadsheet.
“While it is absolutely frustrating to see people skirt public health orders, public shaming of this nature is completely inappropriate and unlikely to lead to increased accountability or change in behavior,” the email said.
Looks like some UBC @AllardLaw students have been keeping tabs on classmates during the pandemic. Email sent to second-year students reveals the existence of a spreadsheet, listing students + their alleged violations of public health orders. More on @NEWS1130. Pic from @Ubyssey. pic.twitter.com/DXabOY8g7m
— Monika Gul (@MonikaGul) January 29, 2021
The infractions listed in the spreadsheet were apparently gathered from social media. The list, the Ubyssey reports, was meant to be shared with students and potential employers during the upcoming recruiting period for summer internships, which can be highly competitive.
The email from the career centre, of which a copy has been shared by The Ubyssey, tells students involved to “immediately delete and destroy this spreadsheet and refrain from otherwise sharing the information (with peers, students at large, or externally).”
“Collecting and sharing your peers’ personal information without their express permission crosses both ethical and professional boundaries. Aside from satisfying a vigilante urge, there is nothing helpful that comes from such a spreadsheet,” the letter added.
“You are all part of a community (both at Allard, and more broadly, within the legal profession), and are reminded of the importance of treating each other with kindness, compassion, deference, and professionalism.”
The email one of two the career centre sent this week. The Ubyssey says another email sent on Wednesday said first-year law students appeared to be “involved or are responsible” with the aim of disrupting of 2L recruitment.
The Ubyssey reports UBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Public health orders
Under current public health orders, British Columbians are not allowed to gather with people outside of their household. Masks are also required in all indoor public spaces.
B.C. Public Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry warned earlier this week that the province was “on the threshold” of another spike in COVID-19 cases, and that if the situation worsened, further restrictions were possible. It’s believed those crackdowns would target situations where community transmission has been happening.
“If we find that people are trying to bend the rules to suit their own needs, right now, that is going to mean that transmission will continue in our communities, and we’ll have to look at additional ways to prevent that,” Henry said, Monday. “We’re still in a very high level, and it is those same things, it’s those travelling, and having social interactions that are not protected.”
Meanwhile, the public safety minister has said current penalties for COVID-19 rule-breakers “by and large have been working.”
Days later, Premier John Horgan confirmed the province would not be increasing fines for those caught breaching health orders, despite growing frustration across B.C. He did claim, however, that the province would come down on rule-breakers “like a ton of bricks” — he just didn’t outline how.
“We’re taking steps to ensure that the full force of the law comes down on those – particularly those that are violent – but particularly those that are also trying to find ways to circumvent the rules, to find loopholes,” Horgan said.
-With files from Kathryn Tindale, Liza Yuzda, Denise Wong, and Lisa Steacy