09/09/2013 15:43 EDT | Updated 11/09/2013 05:12 EST

Racy mugs at Memorial engineers' party questioned

Novelty beer mugs made for a party thrown by Memorial University engineering students are raising questions about sexism on campus.

At the beginning of each semester, the student engineering society at Memorial hosts a big welcome back party called D-Day. The party features souvenir plastic mugs.

This year's mug featured a picture of a scantily-clad woman with the caption "If she's thirsty, give her the D (day)." The expression 'Give Her the D' comes from an infamous internet meme expression 'Give Her the Dick.'

Mfanwy Price, the president of Memorial's student engineering society, said the mug was meant to be a joke.

"This year's design was selected by our executive which consists of six females and eight males, so it's important to note that too," said Price. "At the time we just thought, you know, it fits in pop culture and it's a laugh."

"Anybody who kind of looks at the cups out of context without kind of knowing the background of what went on that year in pop culture may find them a bit offensive as most comedy is," added engineering society information technology director David Oake.

Student parties at other universities under fire

The cartoon and phrase on the mug is coming at an uncomfortable time on Canadian university campuses.

Two other Canadian universities, St Mary's University in Halifax and University of British Columbia in Vancouver, have come under fire for sexually charged and publicly embarrassing orientation week student parties.

Reaction to the mug on Memorial's campus has been mixed.

"It's not very appropriate for a back to school event," said student Grant Rose. "I think they (female engineering students) might feel a little bit separated from their faculty."

"That's kind of sexist, I guess," said student Jasmine Redmond. "Now, some people think it's funny. Like, I find it funny, but that's just my opinion."

Price and Oake said the engineering society is sorry if anyone has been upset or offended by the mug.