McMaster University has suspended an engineering student group over a songbook containing what the university calls “sexist, violent and degrading material.”
“The material is highly repugnant,” said provost and vice-president, Academic David Wilkinson in a press release. “The University has clear expectations that everyone on campus show respect for each other. The engineering songbook that we have learned about is highly disturbing and is the exact opposite to everything for which the University stands."
The suspended group is called the Redsuits, student volunteers from McMaster’s Engineering Society who promote spirit throughout the year on campus, recognized by wearing red jumpsuits. According to the MES’ website, one of their main roles is to have a presence during the university’s orientation week to welcome new first-year engineering students to the campus.
An excerpt from a chant listed on the MES website reads:
“We are the engineers, so pity us.
The profs are jerks, the work is hideous.
But we’ll still smoke and drink and fool around, we’re nookie-bound…
As a result of the suspension, the Redsuits will no longer be able to run or participate in any events on-campus effectively immediately, according to the press release.
They will also not allowed to play a role in the upcoming Welcome Week in September 2014.
Wilkinson said a full review of the group and the songbook will be launched by an investigator external to the university.
Any events that happen off-campus related to the Redsuits will also be part of that review.
The MES is run by current students in the engineering faculty and is financed independently of the university.
More to come.