The dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Memorial University has condemned the use of beer mugs bearing a sexually suggestive message at a recent student engineering party.

"It's offensive, it's not respectful, and it has no place in engineering, in the faculty, or in any environment that I'm a part of," said Greg Naterer.


Memorial University engineering students received plastic mugs like this one at an orientation week party. (Adam Walsh/CBC)

"As a faculty, we are doing the very best that we can to be welcoming to women and female students in engineering, and this clearly was bad judgement on the part of the students themselves."

Mugs made for welcome back party

The novelty beer mugs were made for a big welcome back party thrown by Memorial University engineering students at the beginning of each semester.

The party, called D-Day, featured souvenir plastic mugs. 

This year's mug featured a picture of a scantily-clad woman with the words, "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.'

Myfanwy Price, 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 others -- St. Mary's University in Halifax and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver -- have come under fire for sexually charged and publicly embarrassing orientation week 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."  

Naterer added that he has met with Price, and said she now understands the seriousness of the incident. 

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