UBC promises 'lasting change' following rape chant
President Stephen Toope lays out actions following 'appalling' chant sung at frosh week
The president of the University of British Columbia says the school needs to undergo a "lasting change" to make rape chants "obviously and entirely unacceptable."
UBC president Stephen Toope made the promise at the release of a report into the singing of a chant promoting non-consensual sex with minors at a student orientation earlier this month.
He said in addition, the Commerce Undergraduate Society will make a $250,000 donation to fund a position to provide counselling on sexual abuse, and make a public apology for the chant.
Also, all 81 CUS frosh leaders will have to do community service.
"After serious consideration, we believe it is essential that the CUS and all frosh leaders make tangible amends," said Toope.
"At the same time, the whole UBC community needs to embark upon deeper, transformative and lasting change that would make such chants entirely and obviously unacceptable in our community."
Toope said university officials have also heard unconfirmed media reports that some students were singing chants that were derogatory to aboriginal people during frosh events, and said that the university plans to investigate those allegations.
Students interviewed for report
UBC vice-president Louise Cowin said more than 60 students and four staff were interviewed for an internal report into the incident, which concluded that while nobody was instructed to use the chant at frosh events, it was a oral tradition that student leaders failed to address and stop.
Cowin said the vast majority of first-year commerce students were likely exposed to the chant and student leaders had to be held responsible.
In addition, Toope said the university would be promoting a dialogue across the university aimed at changing attitudes toward sexual assault, and would work to restore the community's trust in the institution.
"We all need to be involved – those who made serious mistakes and misjudgments, and those who didn’t," said Toope.
"UBC is seizing this moment to strike at the violence, sexualization and discrimination that still lurks below the surface in pockets of our society."
He was joined by and Sauder School of Business Dean Robert Helsley at the announcement on Wednesday morning.
Chant promoted sex with minors
Earlier this week, Toope apologized for the "appalling" chant sung by commerce students during a frosh week orientation event.
Four of the student leaders of the CUS have resigned since news of the chant first broke on social media.
The university cancelled the remaining CUS frosh events, but has yet to announce disciplinary action against any students.
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.
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."
The same chant was recited at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, prompting the resignation of the president of the student association there.