All Posts Tagged With: "Saint Mary’s University"
Instead of drinking, focus on the sex predators next door
Last month, hundreds paraded through the campus of the University of British Columbia to protest sexual violence, speciﬁcally six unsolved late-night outdoor attacks on female students since April. A hooded predator prowling dark grounds in search of coeds is a familiar conceit, one that informs how we think of sexual violence on campuses. Recently it was given airing in a Toronto Life story that claimed increased safety measures at Toronto’s York University, where women receive “rape whistles” at orientation, haven’t prevented campus grounds from being “a hunting ground for sexual predators.” (The school has taken legal action, claiming the article “presents a wholly distorted picture of women’s safety on the campus.”) Yet the UBC march to “Take Back the Night”—a rallying cry since the ’70s—bristled with more nuanced references to the reality of campus sexual assault, the vast majority of which are never reported nor easily framed in black-and-white terms. Signs held high connected the current attacks with entrenched “rape culture”—sexual violence being ignored, condoned and normalized, witnessed in the “rape chant” on the UBC campus in September. Other placards decried the RCMP reporting some UBC victims were wearing short skirts: “My little black dress does not mean yes,” read one.
UBC administration responded to concerns and fear with predictable reassurances. President Stephen Toope described the university as “one of the safest campuses in North America” and announced “unprecedented police and security measures to make sure students feel safe.”
Professors clog up clinic with students who may not be ill
Jane Collins is a very dedicated campus nurse. So dedicated, in fact, that she offers her cell phone number to students at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax so she can advise them after hours. She picked up on the first ring when Maclean’s On Campus called to find out whether she’d really stopped writing sick notes for those who show up to the campus health clinic, as reported by CBC.
She hasn’t entirely but says that, after 19 years on the job, she’s fed up that professors still ask students to get excuse notes for missed midterms, which is often a waste of time. The registrar has twice asked deans to pass that message along to professors but it’s not getting through.
Commerce Society sorry for rape chant
VANCOUVER – A University of British Columbia undergraduate society involved in a frosh week chant glorifying the abuse of underage girls has pledged to contribute $250,000 for sexual abuse counselling and education for students.
The university released a report Wednesday about the incident, saying student leaders of the Commerce Undergraduate Society will be held accountable because they did nothing to stop the offensive chant heard by most first-year business students.
However, the report found no evidence that any of the student leaders involved planned or directed students to use the chant, though four of them resigned over the scandal last week. The report called the chant an “oral tradition.”
The song students sang on buses going back and forth to the university from a hotel in Richmond, B.C., spelled out the word ‘young’ with the lyrics, “Y is for your sister … U is for underage, N is for no consent.”
Robert Helsley, dean at the Sauder School of Business, said he will ensure such inappropriate events never happen again so all students can feel safe and welcome.
The entire UBC community must embark on complete and lasting change that will make such chants unacceptable, said university president Stephen Toope.
Anger over rape chant continues
A former student at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax returned two degrees Tuesday that he earned 18 years ago at the school, saying he’s disgusted by a chant sung at frosh week that glorified the sexual assault of underage girls.
Trailed by a group of reporters, Daren Miller of Calgary walked to the school’s campus carrying his bachelor’s degrees in arts and commerce where he was met by the university’s registrar, Paul Dixon.
The two exchanged few words before Dixon took the scrolls and walked away.
“To me, those degrees are valueless,” said Miller, 42. “I wanted to distance myself (from) the embarrassment and shame I felt from this sort of culture.
“I am not that kind of guy.”
Reaction to SMU chant brings to mind Mao… and elephants
I’m not the sort of person to justify one wrong with another—well, actually I am, so stop reading now or hang in—but to invoke a hackneyed bit of rhetoric, am I the only person in Canada who thinks the frosh controversy utterly daft? Initiation rites at Halifax’s St. Mary’s University include chants. This year’s song sheet had a vulgar golden oldie that till now has barely caused a ripple. Last week the same lyrics became a tsunami, perhaps because Nova Scotia is, well, far northeast and has never heard of Miley Cyrus twerking.
If you’re not familiar with the lyrics in question, I can tell you it takes some googling. CBC’s dead-serious talking heads pronounced the words to be the end of civilization as they knew it, but daintily avoided saying them—very twee. My faith in the great Canadian people holds we have a low enough sex drive and high enough moral standard to read them without engaging in rape and pillage: “Y is for your sister, O is for oh so tight, U is for underage, N is for no consent, G for grab that ass, SMU boys we like them young.” Not uplifting reading, not Yeats and not the much-honoured poet Philip Larkin, though it brings to mind his line, “They f–k you up your mum and dad,” which, had Larkin known him, might also have included the name of Colin Dodds, the president of SMU, who, on hearing the chant, exclaimed, “What do you think I feel?” and then answered his own question with, “I feel sick to my stomach.”
Why cutting orientation isn’t the answer
Russell Smith, in the Globe and Mail, would like you to know Frosh Week is disgusting and boring, and drinking is deeply boring. Those are some of the reasons he thinks universities should do away with the matriculation ritual that tends to include binge drinking, dancing and making friends with whom you will drink and dance for the next four years. (Boring, right?)
Smith’s visceral dislike for frosh activities is the aftermath of his own “miserable” experience. A Queen’s University alum, Smith recalls the gruelling and often unhygienic initiation rites inflicted on 17-year-old engineering students. He argues that the brightest minds wait out the debauchery in their dorm rooms, praying the school year will bring real fun—the kind that involves learning and all that jazz.
It’s no coincidence that Smith’s takedown came shortly after this week’s wildly stupid and offensive bi-coastal misogyny display in which students at SMU and UBC were caught on camera reciting poorly written chants about the thrills of sexually assaulting underage girls. It was a double whammy to our national ego. Canada’s emerging scholars: too base to respect the laws of consent, too dim to write a rhyming couplet. Smith’s antidote to this apparent problem is to one-up the dean of UBC’s business school—who has suspended funding for Frosh Week in light of the scandal—and eliminate the event from college calendars forever.
In his words: “Universities can teach maturity. They can teach teenagers how to be adults and that means to function outside a clique or a tribe. Frosh-week bonding makes a fetish of immaturity. It serves no pedagogic function and universities should stop encouraging it.”
Making regular use of the campus showers serves no pedagogic function either, yet for some reason universities tend to encourage that too.
Saint Mary’s frosh chanted about non-consensual sex
HALIFAX – About 200 students rallied on the campus of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax today, saying it’s time for young people to talk openly about consent, sex and gender equality.
The rally comes a week after the university made headlines for a chant that promoted non-consensual sex with young girls, prompting the president of the student union to resign from his post.
The chant, captured on video and posted on social media, was sung at a frosh-week event for about 400 new students at the school.
Lewis Rendell, a student who helped organize the rally, says rape culture and victim-blaming is a societal problem that extends beyond the university.
Saint Mary’s University isn’t the only Canadian school to come under fire for offensive activities and events.
Two student executives with the University of British Columbia’s commerce undergraduate society quit Wednesday after a chant similar to the one sung in Halifax was recited at a frosh-week event.
On Tuesday, the engineering society at the Memorial University of Newfoundland apologized for handing out beer mugs with a sexually suggestive message at an off-campus student party.
In response to the outcry over the chant, Saint Mary’s University announced a special panel this week that will look at ways to prevent sexual harassment on campus.
Commerce society student leaders resign
VANCOUVER – Two student executives with the University of British Columbia’s commerce undergraduate society have quit and the annual frosh orientation will end after students at the Sauder School of Business took part in a chant that appeared to endorse rape.
President Enzo Woo said in a news release Wednesday the performance of the offensive chant at the society’s orientation event on the Labour Day weekend should never have happened.
He said the fact the chant is tradition isn’t an excuse and doesn’t make the offense less serious.
“I am deeply remorseful at what has transpired. It would be naive to think that these problems can be solved overnight, but we have an opportunity moving forward to institute a culture of recovery and acceptance,” Woo said.
Officials will investigate
VANCOUVER – Officials at the University of British Columbia say they will investigate reports that a chant endorsing non-consensual sex was recited during frosh week.
A statement on the university’s website says it’s alleged the chant was made on one or more buses taking students between events during frosh orientation activities run by the UBC Commerce Undergraduate Society.
The statement says the university takes the reports “very seriously.”
It says a “thorough investigation” will be conducted jointly by the Sauder School of Business and the office of the vice-president.
How to cut down on bad behaviour like at Saint Mary’s
Though I couldn’t wait for orientation to end, I did learn a few valuable lessons about respecting the students around me at an optional short conference on campus culture and etiquette.
The key word is “optional.” If frosh week had a mandatory component that taught all students about what’s expected of them, instead of just how to get drunk in the beer gardens, I think universities could prevent incidents like Saint Mary’s rape-referencing orientation chant.
Individuals, not “rape culture,” are at fault here
By now, anyone who reads the news will have heard of the appalling frosh-week chant at Saint Mary’s University in which students loudly proclaimed their interest in raping everyone’s little sister.
Appropriately, everyone was outraged. The news media was all over it, administrators fell over themselves to apologize, the student leader apologized, and there’s sensitivity training all around.
That was the right response. But these days it seems that we are no longer satisfied with bad behaviour being punished appropriately. It’s not enough that those who have done wrong are brought to account. Today, it seems, everyone must be brought to account for everything.
And so I shouldn’t have been surprised to see this editorial in the Dalhousie Gazette blaming me, you, and everyone we knew for the gormless barking of the leg-humping Huskies of Saint Mary’s.
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.”
It’s one big party this week from Acadia to Western
Instagram and Twitter feeds from Acadia to Western are bursting with photos of raucous football games, wild parties and budding friendships. We’ve gathered the best shots of #frosh 2013 so far and plan to post many more. Want to be part of our coverage? Tweet your frosh photos to @maconcampus now. Want more? Add us on Facebook and visit Maclean’s On Campus daily.
What students are talking about today (April 11th)
1. Legally Blonde, the film starring Reese Withersoon as a California girl who conquers Harvard Law School, is now officially a classic. Most of today’s undergraduates would have been too young to watch it back in 2001, but they’ve apparently downloaded it somewhere. This spring there have been successful stage productions on campuses from Trent University to Western University. The Neptune Theatre in Halifax is staging it from now until May 26th. Saint Mary’s University’s Journal gives it a good review.
2. This week may be the last chance students get to gather and protest recent provincial budget cuts to universities before they disperse for the summer. Approximately 300 people marched on the Alberta legislature on Wednesday to protest a 7.3 per cent cut there, reports The Edmonton Journal. Students also protested on the other side of the country in St. John’s, Newfoundland, reports The Telegram.
3. Dr. Donna Cave, Director of Wellness Services at the University of Alberta, has a weekly advice column for readers of The Gateway student newspaper. I suggest checking it out this week’s submission. She offers scientifically sound (and hilarious) advice for acing your exams. In case you don’t have time to read it, here’s a summary. As little as 20 minutes of exercise daily reduces anxiety and depression, so hit the gym. Sleep deprivation can cause as much impairment as being drunk, so avoid the all-nighters. Oh, and eat properly or your brain won’t work so good.
4. A new Mexican Barbie has offended some Latin American professors in the U.S. She’s “dressed for a fabulous fiesta in her vibrant pink dress with ruffles, lace and brightly coloured ribbon accent,” according to toymaker Mattel. The pet Chihuhua—and passport—are also raising eyebrows. Jason Ruiz, an American studies professor at Notre Dame University, told ABC that passports are a point of “great sensitivity for people of Mexican origin, especially Mexican immigrants.”
5. Medical students at the University of Alberta have released a Disney-themed musical video—not a Lip Dub but something original that they actually wrote and performed. With their notorious workload, it’s amazing they found the time. Then again, there’s a reason they got in. Check it out:
Shelagh Crooks earns a 3M National Teaching Fellowship
Shelagh Crooks, who teaches philosophy and education at Saint Mary’s University, is a 3M National Teaching Fellowship recipient for 2013. Maclean’s On Campus is profiling all 10.
When Shelagh Crooks started teaching first-year philosophy students, she’d give them something to read and then ask, “what did you think?” She was expecting them to defend the author’s position, refute it, or identify passages that confused them. Instead she got mostly blank stares.
“They didn’t know how to read critically and ask, ‘What is this person’s position? What evidence has he put forward for that position? Is that evidence sufficient to justify what he’s saying?’,” she explains. “They [didn't] really know how to read.”
Tuition paid in change, plus mental health & flying potatoes
1. Mount Royal University student Devin DeFraine is opposed to a fee for paying with credit cards, so he instead paid his tuition at the Registrar’s Office on Wednesday using 105 kilograms of coins. “If they’re gonna nickel and dime us, I’m gonna nickel and dime them,” he told CTV News.
2. Winnipeg is gripped by IKEA fever. More than 1,000 people lined up in the cold for the grand opening, reports Winnipeg’s Free Press. The first Canadian IKEA opened in Halifax 40 years ago.
3. Queen’s University’s long-awaited Principal’s Commission on Student Mental Health includes 116 recommendations including more flexible exam timetables, a fall reading break, better training and pet visits. The year-long commission followed a number of student deaths in 2010 and 2011.
Hot dog vendor (and convict) is running for city council
Students know him as The Dawg Father, PhD (professional hot dogger), and while they may not all eat from his eponymous grill at Dalhousie University, they know Jerry Anthony Reddick. The man has become a minor celebrity among students at Halifax’s universities.
This fall, The Dawg Father has cooked up something new: a plan to get elected to city council by campaigning on student issues, like the cost of education and affordable housing.
The timing seems ripe. On Saturday, for the first time in Halifax’s history, the majority of the city’s 35,000 post-secondary students will be eligible to vote in municipal elections.
While some on campus would welcome an advocate on city council, others are wary. With ten criminal convictions, The Dawg Father has a history of clashing with Halifax law enforcement, which he details on his website where he says he owes the city more than $80,000 for traffic tickets and also asserts that the “po-po” have “evil intentions” for him due to “systemic racism.”
How to deal with a roommate who’s the polar opposite
By Rosemary Counter.
A decade ago, which might as well be a century in technology years, Michelle Titus was like many ﬁrst-year university students: away from home, stuck in a “teeny tiny, horrible” room, and living with a complete stranger she couldn’t stand.
In her defence, it was a bad match from the start. Titus was popular and outgoing, the soon-to-be relationship columnist at the University of Waterloo’s student paper. Her roommate was an introvert who’d wishfully described herself on her application as a “social butterﬂy.” “On paper, we should have been the best of friends,” says Titus, now 30. In real life, following some drama worthy of Mean Girls, they were estranged by the end of the year.
39,000 students can’t use their bus passes
A Saint Mary’s University student said he quit his classes on Monday because the transit strike in Halifax has made it too difficult to get to school. ”I was already missing assignments and quizzes and stuff due to the strike,” second-year criminology student Chase Sabourin told CBC News. “The strike could be over this week, it could be another month down the road. I’m not going to wait around hoping it’s going to end tomorrow,” he added. Sabourin said he plans to return in September. Seven hundred Amalgamated Transit Union workers went on strike on Feb. 2. rendering Halifax’s 39,000 student transit passes useless, at least for now.