USSU executive member targeted with suspected date-rape drug

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A suspected drugging occurred at Louis’ Pub and other student leaders may be at risk on campus.

While attending an event at Louis’ Pub, the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union vice-president operations and finance, Deena Kapacila, was allegedly the target of an attempted drugging, commonly referred to as a “date-rape drugging.”

On Oct. 14, Kapacila attended an event in Louis’ Pub with her co-worker, Vice-President Academic Affairs Jessica Quan, where they were approached by a man who attempted to persuade Kapacila to drink a beverage that she believes had a substance in it. Kapacila says that the drink had a specific colour and texture and was in a glass that was not being used in the pub that night.

Kapacila says she has reason to believe that this individual may be preying specifically on student leaders, because they expressly asked Kapacila if she was an employee of the USSU.

“If this is a bigger thing, then I wouldn’t be surprised if folks are treating this like some kind of game,” Kapacila said. “I would really hope that isn’t the case, but after Saturday, I wouldn’t be surprised — especially since the individual verified who I was several times, which I thought was strange.”

Kapacila states that a separate incident of sexual assault targeting a U of S student leader has occurred, but she could not speak further to the issue. As of yet, this assault has not been reported to Protective Services.

After Kapacila’s encounter, she and Quan left the situation and walked to the washroom. Kapacila says that she needed time to process the incident, after which she talked to the bartender and Louis’ security staff to have the individual kicked out of the pub.

Kapacila filed a report with Protective Services on Oct. 20, but the campus community has not yet been alerted of this incident and whether it is a possible threat to students. The USSU executive warned select student leaders who attended a meeting of the Association of College Presidents on Oct. 18 about the incident at Louis’.

Harold Shiffman, the manager of Protective Services, says that he and Kapacila have viewed footage of Louis’ from that night in an attempt to identify the individual. Currently, Shiffman believes that the individual is not a U of S student.

When contacted about the incident, USSU staff could provide no comment about any measures taken by Louis’ Pub to deter future incidents at the campus pub.

Kapacila explains that she did not consider the possibility of threats to her safety at the event because of the small number of people who were in attendance.

“My case puts everyone on notice that it doesn’t matter how many people are there, because people are going to take advantage of situations … they think they can perpetrate in, which is really, really unfortunate. But, I think [what] surprised me was the number of people,” Kapacila said. “If there’s 30 people at [an event], I would never expect that to happen.”

Ashley Clouthier, the co-ordinator of the Women’s Centre, feels sickened and heartbroken that someone might have purposely targeted members of the USSU executive, because it has a female majority.

“The people I know who are in positions of leadership, specifically the executive team, they are amazing and strong, and I have no doubts they are looking out for each other,” Clouthier said. “Just the idea that someone would want to commit an act of violence against [them], against how far we’ve come — it speaks volumes.”

Despite the incident, Kapacila is positive that acts of violence are not going to prevent the USSU executive or any other student leaders from pursuing their goals.

“We’ve come through so many barriers to get here. You being a bit of a creep trying to put something in our drink is not going to stop us,” Kapacila said. “I hope we catch the folks that are doing this, but you know, I hope they realize that this is the first step to becoming a lot more [of a] female-leadership-driven campus, so if that’s their goal, then good luck.”

Nykole King / News Editor

Photo: J.C. Balicanta Narag / Photo Editor