UBC cracks down after frosh chant promotes non-consensual sex
Published Monday, September 9, 2013 9:53AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 9, 2013 9:49PM EDT
The University of British Columbia announced three “immediate measures” on Monday in the aftermath of reports that student leaders of its prestigious business school led a cheer promoting underage, non-consensual sex during an orientation event.
In a statement released by Sauder School of Business Vice President Louise Cowin and Dean Robert Helsley, the university has announced:
- It has put together a fact-finding team to look into reports of the chants;
- It has increased emphasis in the curriculum on issues related to “respect, dignity and ethics”; and
- It will no longer support the Commerce Undergraduate Society (CUS) FROSH events.
“What is reported to have happened at FROSH this year is deeply upsetting and is completely inconsistent with the values of the school and UBC,” said Helsley in a statement released Monday afternoon. “Based on initial information I have received, there is enough for me to conclude that the school should end its support for FROSH.”
The announcement comes a day after two members of CUS resigned after reports that student leaders led the cheer. It is not immediately clear if the students who resigned helped to lead the cheer.
Lyrics of the chant were tweeted by a first-year business student and later came to the attention of the University's campus newspaper, The Ubyssey.
"They acknowledge that this behaviour and language is inappropriate," AMS President Carine Wong told CTV BC.
The UBC chant reportedly included the phrases: "Y-O-U-N-G at UBC, we like 'em young," "Y is for your sister,” "N is for no consent," and "G is for go to jail"—which are similar to the lyrics from a chant by Saint Mary's University students last week.
Older student leaders reportedly encouraged first-year students to chant the offensive lyrics on a school bus, and not to tell anyone about it.
An online petition has since been launched, urging the university to discipline the student leaders who led the cheer under the student code of conduct. The code states that any behaviour that endangers the health or safety of any person is prohibited.
"Similar to the offensive cheer at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, the CUS FROSH chant perpetuates rape culture and is completely unacceptable. The chant creates an unsafe environment for students," the petition states.
As of Monday morning the petition had more than 500 signatures.
On the UBC campus, student reaction to the cheer was mixed.
"It's definitely not a very appropriate cheer, but I don't know exactly what action should be taken against the people who've done it," one female student said.
One male student said that the students may have just gotten carried away with the high-energy frosh week activities.
"It's so offensive, like how could anyone ever say this? But when you're in that energy it's totally different," he said.
Wong said the university and the AMS will be conducting their own investigation into the incident. As well, all commerce and undergraduate society leaders will be undergoing anti-violence training from the school's sexual assault support centre.
With a report by CTV British Columbia’s Norma Reid