British Columbia

UBC investigates frosh students' pro-rape chant

The University of British Columbia has pledged an investigation after its students reportedly sang a chant advocating rape during frosh week.

Chant condoned non-consensual sex with underage girls

2 UBC student leaders resign over frosh chant

10 years ago
Duration 4:17
Chant about underage sex comes days after similar incident at Saint Mary's University in Halifax

The University of British Columbia has pledged an investigation after its students reportedly sang a chant advocating rape during frosh week.

The incident took place on a bus ride during the Sauder FROSH, a three-day orientation for the Sauder School of Business, organized by the Commerce Undergraduate Society (CUS).

The chant condones non-consensual sex with underage girls saying, "Y-O-U-N-G at UBC, we like 'em young, Y is for your sister, O is for oh so tight, U is for underage, N is for no consent, G is for go to jail."

Business student Vaibhab Verma was on the bus at the time and said he chose not to think about it.

"I listened to it and kind of ignored the chant, because for some people it was a bit vulgar," he said.

Robert Helsley, dean of the Sauder School of Business, said he had no idea such chants were going on. (CBC)

"If you don't feel like doing the chants, you can just ignore them and that's what I did."

Robert Helsley, dean of the Sauder School of Business, condemned the cheer.

"This is a deeply, deeply troubling event and one that we take very seriously...and we will take steps to ensure that nothing like this happens at UBC again," he told the CBC.

Helsley previously issued a joint statement with Louise Cowin, UBC vice-president for students, saying the chant is of grave concern to all members of the UBC community.

"Such behaviour would be completely inconsistent with the values of UBC and the Sauder School of Business and completely inconsistent with the instruction that the Commerce Undergraduate Society receives on appropriate conduct prior to FROSH," the statement said.

'If you don't feel like doing the chants, you can just ignore them'—Vaibhab Verma, first-year business student

Helsley and Cowin said the university is taking the reports very seriously and that UBC and the Sauder School of Business would conduct a joint investigation into the incident.

"Any disciplinary measures will follow the university’s policy on discipline for non-academic misconduct," they said in the statement.

"The university will also take steps to educate students about the harm caused by such behavior and ensure that all student led activities meet the university’s standards of appropriate student conduct and are consistent with the values of the institution."

'Little control over leaders'

The use of the chant at UBC came to light after a first-year business student posted the lyrics on Twitter, condemning the chant, along with a report in the student newspaper, The Ubyssey.

Students say the chant has been used for 20 years, and this year frosh week organizers didn't prevent it, allowing students to chant it "in the bus," but not in public.

The CUS has issued a statement, saying there was little they could do to stop the chants.

"While we do our best to provide a safe and controlled environment during formal Sauder FROSH sessions, there is admittedly little we can do to completely control what some leaders may expose their students to," it said.

The CUS said it would take "all feasible steps going forward to ensure all unacceptable behaviour is fully eradicated  from our orientation event."

Caroline Wong, president of UBC students' society, says the controversial tradition will be gone soon. (CBC)

Meanwhile, Caroline Wong, president of UBC students' society said this is an opportunity to move away from such behaviour.

"[This is] an opportunity for us to create a more inclusive and safer campus community. So the tradition will be gone after this," she said.

"And we'll be working with our other campus constituencies to make sure this doesn't happen again."

The revelations come only days after student leaders at Nova Scotia's Saint Mary's University were caught on camera chanting about non-consensual underage sex during frosh week at the Halifax school.

Jared Perry, chair of Students Nova Scotia and president of the student council at Saint Mary's, stepped down from his position in light of the controversy.

Saint Mary's president Colin Dodds is forming a presidential council to investigate the incident and ways to prevent any other situations.