Halifax university renames frosh week to 'Welcome Week' one year after sexist chant
Published Wednesday, August 27, 2014 11:26AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 27, 2014 1:33PM EDT
First-year students entering Saint Mary's University will be experiencing a very different frosh week nearly one year after orientation leaders led a chant glorifying non-consensual sex with underage girls.
This year, student leaders at the Halifax university will receive two days of training and are required to sign a charter of responsibility ahead of orientation week, which has been renamed “Welcome Week.”
University administration said the issue of consent, the school's code of conduct and matters regarding sexual assault will be covered in new online training for the welcome week leaders.
Last year's controversial chant, which was captured on video and widely circulated, caused widespread backlash led to the resignation Saint Mary's student association president.
In the wake of the chant, the university commissioned a report looking into preventing sexual violence on campus.
Dalhousie University law professor Wayne MacKay, who authored the report, said he hopes the changes to orientation week will result in a safer campus environment.
"Will this result in less sexual violence on campus? Will it produce a safer and more respectful learning environment -- that's the goal," MacKay told CTV Atlantic on Wednesday.
He said the message he hopes to convey to students is the need for universities to be inclusive.
"Women are not there as sexual playthings," He said. "They’re there as colleagues. And if you're engaging, for example, in sexual conduct, you need to be sure that it is a consensual situation."
Video of the controversial chant, which was posted on Instagram, was performed in front of about 300 first-year-students.
“SMU boys, we like them young,” the students can be heard singing at the start of the video.
The chant included the phrases: “Y is for your sister,” “U is for underage,” and “N is for no consent.”
It was decried by school administration as sexist and offensive.