A recent Ryerson University event has some people wondering if students have crossed a line.
A YouTube video uploaded Thursday shows scantily-dressed students at the Toronto school crawling through snow and slush outside. The routine was organized by a Ryerson Engineering Student Society (RESS) committee and was meant for students who wish to earn their "covies" (coveralls for engineering students) and want to be frosh leaders in the fall, according to student newspaper The Eyeopener.
Those overseeing the event can be seen squirting the students with water guns and throwing snowballs, and one male slaps the behind of a female student.
"Students in Ryerson's Engineering department get put through unpleasant hazing," the video description said. "Is this OK?"
RESS president Rose Ghamari said it’s not hazing, but “more of a spirit event,” and maintains students aren’t instructed to strip, according to the Toronto Star. She also said that if applicants don’t join in the event, they still have the opportunity to become frosh leaders.
Many who commented on the YouTube video agreed that the acts were voluntary and in good fun, while a few expressed concerns. The activity has been a tradition since 2006, according to Newstalk 1010.
Ryerson University president Sheldon Levy addressed the incident in a statement published on the university website Saturday.
“The university is categorical in affirming it does not condone student conduct that demeans individuals in any way, and I am making clear our shock and anger in the face of this departure from dignity,” the statement read.
It also said the university executive will meet with Ryerson Engineering Student Society’s “leadership” on Monday.
Ghamari said RESS "will be ensuring better practices and proper guidelines are put in place for future events so as to not cause any confusion between an enthusiastic demonstration of spirit and hazing.”
Do you think the event is harmless fun, or does it cross a line?