"These are great leaders,” said Jared Perry, president of the Saint Mary’s University Students' Association. “This was simply a moment with a lack of judgment.”
The chant spells out the word young, and includes the lines: “Y is for your sister […] U is for underage, N is for no consent […] Saint Mary’s boys we like them young.”
Perry said the chant had been used for years during orientation week.
“I definitely agree that’s not appropriate,” he told CBC’s Information Morning. “It’s not tasteful, and I sincerely apologize to everyone who has been offended.”
Perry said events set for Wednesday night at the school were cancelled as staff met with orientation leaders.
“A lot of them showed a ton of remorse for their actions. Many of them ended up crying, speechless, jaw drops, and they’re very disappointed by their actions. It’s one of those things that you don’t realize until after the fact.”
Outrage after video goes viral
The 15-second video, which was posted on Instagram, has been taken down. But reports on the cheer have been viewed thousands of times.
“People are mad. People are upset. People are angry,” said Steve Proctor, a communications manager for Saint Mary’s University. “People don’t understand how it could happen. That’s the reaction shared by the administration.”
Proctor said senior administrators who have been on the football field in the last few years have never heard the cheer.
"As you can hear in the clip, you can't even tell what they're saying," he said. "If we had heard the cheer, action would've been taken immediately, as it was in this case."
“I really believe… nobody who was actually doing the cheer believed in what it was.”
All of the 80 frosh week leaders and the entire Saint Mary’s University students' union executive have been ordered to take sensitivity training. The executive will also attend a conference about sexual violence and consent.
“I hope that people will look at how we react to this and how we move forward,” said Perry. “This is a huge learning experience for myself, my executive team, and all the orientation week leaders. Hopefully we’ll be able to implement some sustainable practices that will help tackle this.”
Proctor said the school will use this as a teachable moment.
“This is a problem, this is a concern that stretches not only across the province, but across the country.”