UBC investigates frosh chant promoting non-consensual sex
Published Saturday, September 7, 2013 6:48PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, September 7, 2013 10:08PM EDT
The University of British Columbia is investigating after a chant promoting non-consensual sex with underage girls was reportedly used to rally first-year business students during frosh week.
The lyrics of the chant, which were tweeted by a first-year UBC business student and later came to the attention of the university's campus newspaper, The Ubyssey, are similar to a chant that was sung by students at Saint Mary's University in Halifax last week.
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.”
Older student leaders reportedly encouraged first-year students to chant the offensive lyrics on a school bus.
Vaibhav Verma, a first-year commerce student, said he was on the bus but chose not to sing along.
“Personally, I listened to it and I kind of ignored the chant because for some people it was a bit vulgar,” he told CTV British Columbia.
UBC said its Sauder School of Business and the office of the vice-president of students will investigate.
"The events are deeply, deeply troubling to us, to me and to all the university community and indeed the community more broadly,” business school dean Robert Helsley told CTV.
“These events are completely inconsistent with what we try to accomplish as a school.”
According to Jacqueline Chen, a frosh co-chair at UBC, the offensive chant is a tradition of the business school’s three-day orientation.
"I think it’s all passed down year after year … from forever, I guess," Chen told The Ubyssey.
She said the Commerce Undergraduate Society, which organizes the orientation week activities for business students, had been chastised for the chant in the past.
"We had problems a very long time ago with the cheers,” Chen said, but added that the chant was allowed to continue being performed so long as it stayed "in the group."
UBC said any disciplinary measures following the investigation will follow the university’s policy on discipline for non-academic misconduct.
“It’s all the way from warnings through expulsion from the university, however, it’s really too early to speculate about what that outcome might be,” Helsley said.
Caroline Wong, president of the UBC Alma Mater Society, said the incident will “greatly affect” plans for next year’s Frosh Week.
“We will not tolerate any of this kind of behaviour or language,” she said.
In the meantime, student leaders are receiving anti-violence training from the campus’ sexual assault support centre.
An almost identical chant was performed last Monday at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, and caused widespread condemnation after it was captured on video and posted on Instagram. It was sung by student leaders in front of approximately 300 first-year students.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Norma Reid