BRITISH COLUMBIA

UBC Frosh: Rape Chant Requires Amends, Says Stephen Toope

09/18/2013 01:45 EDT | Updated 09/18/2013 04:14 EDT
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The University of British Columbia says that "tangible amends" are to be made following the reporting of a pro-rape chant being sung on buses during part of Frosh Week.

The news came on Wednesday, following a fact-finding inquiry into the presence of the now notorious YOUNG chant at events held by the Commerce Undergraduate Society, the student arm of the Sauder School of Business.

The report found that the chant had been a CUS tradition for many years, something that The Huffington Post B.C. reported earlier after discovering an attempt had been made by some CUS leaders in 2009 to ban the practice.

The report also found that most first year students attending the CUS Frosh events would have been exposed to the offensive chant, that the words were handed down year after year and seen as a "rite of passage", and that other CUS Frosh events were inappropriately sexualized.

The fact-finding inquiry solicited information and thoughts from students about the use of the YOUNG chant. A first year BCom student stated: “I was hesitant to participate in [the YOUNG chant] but when a leader does it, it seems like a rite of passage.”

A second year BCom student said in an email: “The CUS Frosh organizers have a false impression that the cheers are ’fun’.”

“After serious consideration, we believe it is essential that the CUS and all Frosh leaders make tangible amends,” said UBC president Stephen Toope in a press release. “At the same time, the whole UBC community needs to embark upon deeper, transformative and lasting change that would make such chants entirely and obviously unacceptable in our community.”

UBC says the measures put in place fall into three categories: enhancing responsibility and accountability; restoring community trust; and education and culture change.

Practical amends by the CUS (where four leaders have already resigned) include a voluntary contribution of $250,000 to be combined with university funds to establish a professional position to provide student counseling and education on sexual abuse and violence, the press release states.

Other measures include structural changes to the CUS and its relationship with Sauder, training around sexual violence for CUS leaders and the creation of a UBC task force to "integrate faculty expertise and community resources to address broader cultural issues related to violence and sexualization."

“We all need to be involved – those who made serious mistakes and misjudgments, and those who didn’t,” Toope said in the statement. “UBC is seizing this moment to strike at the violence, sexualization and discrimination that still lurks below the surface in pockets of our society.”

Read the full UBC fact finding report.

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