On Campus

Saint Mary’s students in trouble for offensive chant

Orientation leaders apologize for jokes about sexual assault

HALIFAX – A spokesman for Saint Mary’s University in Halifax says senior administrators were shocked after seeing a video of students in a frosh-week chant condoning non-consensual sex with underage girls.

Steve Proctor says the “sexist and offensive” chant posted on Instagram was led by student orientation leaders at the campus.

Proctor says the Labour Day incident occurred just days after senior school administrators and police met with student union officials and orientation organizers stressing the importance of discouraging sexism and sexual assault during frosh week.

“We were surprised,” he said in an interview.

“The senior director of student services had met with the (student) executive and the organizing committee … and spoke about these very issues and the need to be respectful.”

He says the student union has apologized for the incident and promised the chant will no longer be part of frosh week activities.

Proctor said he was uncertain of the precise history of the song, but added a less sexist version had been sung on the campus in the past.

He said this year’s version, which states Saint Mary’s male students prefer non-consensual sex with underage girls, was more sexually charged than earlier chants.

“It’s certainly the last year the chant will be sung,” he said.

He says all of the student leaders involved in orientation week and the three members of the student union executive will take sensitivity training.

The student executive will also attend a conference at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., and make a presentation at Saint Mary’s University about the issue of consent and sexual assault, said Proctor.

—Michael Tutton

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.