HAMILTON - An Ontario university has suspended an engineering students' group and launched an investigation after a songbook was found to contain "sexist, violent and degrading material."
The provost of Hamilton's McMaster University says the material connected to the Redsuits student group in the Faculty of Engineering is "highly repugnant."
David Wilkinson says the university expects everyone on campus to show respect for each other and the songbook is the exact opposite to everything the university stands for.
He says McMaster has worked for years to build an inclusive student culture but it is clear in this instance that "there is far more work to do."
The Redsuits are no longer allowed to run or participate in campus events or help organize the university's Welcome Week activities this fall, where they typically promote engineering pride and spirit.
The group — named after the red jumpsuits its members wear — is part of the McMaster Engineering Society, which is financed and run independently from the university.
The university's dean of engineering said the material found in the songbook was upsetting and "entirely unacceptable."
"The Redsuits organization has a significant track record of positive work...but that the same organization appears to condone the songs and supports unsanctioned and risky activities for students runs completely counter to the values the university works to instill," Ishwar Puri said in a statement.
"Sadly, the small number of students within the organization and the red suits they wear have now become symbols of intolerance and a sexist mindset that has no place at the university or in our society.”
The action by McMaster comes about three months after outraged complaints surfaced over student chants at universities in Halifax and British Columbia.
The president of the Saint Mary's University students' association stepped down in September after a frosh-week chant glorifying the sexual assault of underage girls was captured on a video that made national headlines.
And the University of B.C.'s Sauder School of Business cut support for annual first-year orientation activities after a similar chant was sung on one or more buses during orientation events sponsored by the Commerce Undergraduate Society.
Also on HuffPost:
'The Maneater' Becomes 'The Carpeteater'
The University of Missouri's student newspaper, <a href="http://www.themaneater.com/" target="_hplink"><em>The Maneater</em></a>, had an April Fools' joke that didn't go over well. They renamed themselves <em>The Carpeteater</em>. They also included a section called "Whore 'Um." "Derogatory profanity toward women isn't funny. It isn't satirical. It certainly isn't journalism," <a href="http://www.jschoolbuzz.com/how-the-maneater-pissed-off-mizzous-campus-again/" target="_hplink">wrote an angry</a> Mizzou student. The editor-in-chief <a href="http://collegemediamatters.com/2012/04/11/maneater-editor-in-chief-also-resigns-although-he-was-not-involved-in-april-fools-issue/" target="_hplink">resigned</a> and the paper canceled the 2013 April Fools' edition. Photo Credit:<a href="http://collegemediamatters.com/2012/04/07/missouris-maneater-shocks-offends-with-carpeteater-april-fools-edition-cancels-next-years-issue/" target="_hplink"> J-School Buzz via College Media Matters</a>
Rochester Institute of Technology Cancels "F*ck Cats"
A student magazine decided to remove the phrase "F*ck Cats" from their April Fools' Day edition. Why? Some school administrators at RIT were concerned with the word "f*ck." Others raised a concern that "cats" might be interpreted as a crude reference to female anatomy. Chris Zubak-Skees explained on the <a href="http://infinityquad.com/2012/04/03/distorter-cover-changed-at-administrators-request-profanity-removed-printed-copies-discarded/" target="_hplink">Infinity Quad </a> blog: <blockquote>Heath Boice-Pardee, associate vice president for Student Affairs, said he became concerned with the content of the cover, which said "F*CK CATS," ... After readers expressed confusion about "cats" as a reference to women, I followed up with Boice-Pardee, who confirmed that there was a concern by some that the reference was to not just women, but rather a term for female anatomy. "This was not my interpretation," he said, but it was a concern others had.</blockquote> The cover was eventually released with a photo of a cat and the words "rub and sniff."
'The Medium' At Rutgers Promotes Hitler, Uses Jewish Student's Name
College officials <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/rutgers-pro-hitler-satire-daily-medium_n_1412747.html?ref=college" target="_hplink">are investigating</a> the <em>Daily Medium</em> -- a weekly student-run newspaper funded in part by the university -- for a pro-Hitler editorial, published in its April 4 issue, and attributed to someone who didn't write it. The column, "What about the good things Hitler did?," was attributed to Aaron Marcus, even though Marcus didn't write it. Marcus is a student and columnist for the independent student paper The <em>Daily Targum</em>. He also happens to be Jewish and lost family in the Holocaust. "To say anything praiseworthy of someone like Hitler and to have people actually believe it was coming from me, even in a satirical manner, is just really painful for me and my family," Marcus told My9TV.
BU, Frat Dwarves, And The Disney Free Press
Boston University's student newspaper changed its name to "<a href="http://www.boston.com/Boston/metrodesk/2012/04/student-newspaper-april-fools-edition-angers-students/mWTRbdM7idTKApwhRWHzUJ/index.html" target="_hplink">The Disney Free Press</a>," and ran an article about a date-rape incident involving "the fairest of them all." "Seven frat dwarves were arrested last night after they allegedly drugged'' and sexually assaulted [a female BU student]," the paper wrote. Students at the school didn't think it was funny, especially after multiple recent sexual-assault incidents involving BU students. Not to mention that the article was published the week following the anti-rape event, Take Back The Night. "We want to apologize for our ill-thought-out April Fools' issue and are so sorry for offending our readers," <em>The Daily Free Press</em> editors tweeted. The editor later resigned.
Student Editor Who Reported Wrongly JoePa Died, 'Dies'
Devon Edwards, a student journalist and editor of Penn State's <em>Onward State</em>, <a href="http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/168530/penn-state-student-publication-kills-former-editor-who-prematurely-killed-paterno/" target="_hplink">mistakenly reported</a> in January that Joe Paterno had died, when in fact JoePa was still alive at the time. In what some considered an ill-conceived joke, Onward State "mistakenly" <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/OnwardState/status/186536316526272512" target="_hplink">tweeted</a> that Edwards had passed away.
'Jesuits Gone Jewish' At Fordham University
<em>The Ram</em>, a student paper at Fordham University, sparked <a href="http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/96022/jesuits-gone-jewish-sparks-outcry-at-fordham/" target="_hplink">outrage</a> with is a column titled "Jesuits Gone Jewish" in their April Fool's edition. They joked that the school would become Jewish, and used a byline of "Herschel Q. Goldberg, staff investment banker."
London School Of Economics
Two male British university students <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2063405/LSE-students-forced-hiding-penning-joke-rape-university-newspaper.html" target="_hplink">went into hiding</a> because of reaction to their piece in <em>The Beaver</em>, a student journal at the London School of Economics. In a satirical sex column called the Agony Uncles published in November 2011, they told an imaginary reader to punch his girlfriend in the back of the head during sex. They also said "It's not rape if you shout 'surprise.'"
The University of Colorado Denver Advocate
In 2010, the Advocate, a student paper at the University of Colorado Denver, <a href="http://www.ucdadvocate.com/news/uproar-over-april-fools-issue-1.1310420#.T4X8U47fgXY" target="_hplink">caused an uproar </a>with its April Fools' Day issue. The students found several articles offensive, including "In the search for healthy eating, don't overlook the toilet," "Dear white guys," and "Enjoy Obamacare if you like payin for illegal Mexicans" The students were mad enough to actually hold rallies demonstrating against the articles, which were all written as satire. The writer of the "Enjoy Obamacare" column <a href="http://www.ucdadvocate.com/theforum/satire-race-and-raw-nerves-1.1309865#.T4X9O47fgXY" target="_hplink">said later</a>, "I will not apologize for calling that racism out, nor do I regret calling it out through satire, a subtle yet effective means of social commentary."
Iowa State Daily
The Iowa State Daily canned its "Just Sayin'" feature after running editions that featured anonymous comments <a href="http://www.iowastatedaily.com/opinion/article_32fc33c0-6184-11e1-846c-001871e3ce6c.html" target="_hplink">from readers</a> like "Just had a staring contest with a squintey. They are fearless" and "I just saw a squintey inside a building. ... They have started the invasion." The <a href="http://www.iowastatedaily.com/news/article_027d8128-61ba-11e1-acc9-0019bb2963f4.html" target="_hplink">editors thought</a>, at first, they were referring to squinnys, or ground squirrels. Only after an <a href="http://www.iowastatedaily.com/opinion/article_3919e23a-60ac-11e1-b330-001871e3ce6c.html" target="_hplink">uproar accusing</a> the student paper of publishing racist material did they realize the problem. The EIC <a href="http://iowastatedaily.com/opinion/article_17365646-61bd-11e1-a5a5-001871e3ce6c.html" target="_hplink">apologized</a> and they got rid of the "Just Sayin'" feature.