Skip to content

Some UBCO students concerned for safety after on-campus homicide

Students online have taken notice of the recent rash of police incidents

Some students at UBC Okanagan say they are feeling confused and scared after multiple police incidents on or near the campus in the last few months.

The latest result in the death of a 24-year-old security guard working in the University Centre building. Harmandeep Kaur was assaulted around 6 a.m. Saturday morning and died of her injuries in the hospital Sunday evening.

Shortly after the attack, Kelowna RCMP identified and arrested a suspect, who also works at the university. He has been detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act.

"It feels a bit unsafe, or it is like uncertain. I guess because it is unpredictable what could happen to really anyone," a student told Castanet on Tuesday.

"I do actually hear of some people who feel not safe here now and that don't even want to go into the UNC anymore. So I know it is rough, but I think it's going to be OK," said student Sergio Boggio.

On Feb. 8, police were called to the nearby Academy Way area after reports of gunshots fired.

On Dec. 22, RCMP responded to a report of an axe-wielding man in the 300-block area of Academy Way. A man was arrested and was in possession of two axes.

On Sept. 23, tactical officers swarmed the U TWO apartment after a domestic assault and reported hostage taking.

Students online have taken notice of the recent rash of police incidents.

"Anyone else feeling uneasy on-campus/around academy?" asked a post Monday on the UBCO subreddit.

"All in all, feeling super unsettled by the most recent tragedy and upset that we are expected to proceed as normal without knowing any details yet. Details need to be released ASAP so campus members can have some understanding of how this occurred," the post continued.

UBC Okanagan tells Castanet they continue to work alongside the RCMP to ensure staff and students feel safe on and around campus.

"Our campus is truly disturbed by the recent loss of life, and it is understandable why some feel uneasy," said associate director of public affairs Nathan Skolski. "We would urge caution in connecting events that do not appear to be related and that do not pose an ongoing risk to UBCO."

"The RCMP are our close partners in dealing with any incident on or around campus that may be criminal in nature. We work hand in hand with them and rely on their expertise in assessing risk and ensuring critical services are available quickly if and when needed. We also meet regularly with our community partners, neighbours and property managers in that area on Academy Way, recognizing that while those residences may not be owned or operated by UBC, many of the residents are students, faculty and staff," Skolski added.

An employee at the university tells Castanet he worked closely with Kaur. He says she was always happy and positive and really enjoyed working as a security guard.

Students at UBCO grew to know her though her work on campus as well.

"I knew a couple people that knew her and I know that when they found out it was pretty rough on them. She was especially close to some people that work in the EME. She always helped us you know. If you were locked out, she would help," Boggio said.