The event occurred last Thursday and involved students vying to lead the frosh week activities of the Ryerson Engineering Student Society next fall.
Video of the event has been posted online, showing the students crawling in the slush on Lake Devo — a fountain that is converted into a skating rink when it freezes over the winter.
Some of the people leading the event can be seen spraying the participants with water guns. And in one case, a male student slaps the behind of a female student who is crawling in the slush.
Rose Ghamari, the president of the Ryerson Engineering Student Society, told CBC News that the event was meant in part to have future frosh leaders get a sense of what the experience will be like for incoming engineers.
She said the event was "kind of like a preparation to have them get a feel of how it's going to be during frosh week."
According to the Environment Canada website, the temperature, as measured at Pearson International Airport, was slightly below 0 C throughout Thursday.
Students were 'excited and enthusiastic'
Ghamari said the people taking part in the event were "excited and enthusiastic about it," but she said there was no plan to have half-clothed students in the cold and wet slush.
"Our intention was never to have anyone crawl through the slush. That was not the purpose of the event," Ghamari said.
"The event did get out of hand, which is why that unfortunately occurred."
Sheldon Levy, the university president, said that what happened was unacceptable and the school will take steps to ensure similar behaviour never happens again.
"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," Levy said in a statement posted to the Ryerson University website on the weekend.
"We have very strong policies in place that have been invoked immediately to deal with those involved."
Levy said that the RESS leaders will meet with the university executive on Monday.
Ghamari said she was looking forward "to meeting the administration to discuss next steps and to ensure that incidents like this don’t happen again."Suggest a correction