Nova Scotia

Pro-rape chant prompts Saint Mary’s grad to return degrees

One graduate is returning his degrees and a second is calling for students to withhold the $70 fee students must pay the Saint Mary's University Student Association, following a frosh-week chant that promoted rape was posted online.

Former Saint Mary's frosh leader protests $70 fee

Daren Miller earned two degrees from Saint Mary's University. (CBC)

One Saint Mary's University graduate is returning his degrees and a second is calling for a boycott of a $70 fee paid to the student association after a frosh-week chant glorifying rape was posted online.

The frosh event was organized by the Saint Mary's University Students' Association.

In a video posted to Instagram, the students used the word "young" as an acronym in a chant that included the lines: "Y is for your sister […] U is for underage, N is for no consent […] Saint Mary’s boys we like them young."

Daren Miller said he was outraged when the chant began going viral.

The Calgary man earned two degrees from SMU, but now plans to return them because of the chant.

"It's very sad to think about returning these degrees, but it is necessary to speak because it is so wrong," he said.

The university's response to the controversy was to appoint the former head of Nova Scotia's task force on cyberbullying to advise the president's council on sexual violence prevention.

Critics like student Alexandria Bennett said that's not good enough. The former frosh leader said she complained about the chant last year.

She said students should be able to withhold the mandatory annual $70 fee paid to the student association. It helps fund things like Dirty Bingo, which was the last frosh event she attended.

"I don’t want adolescents to have to go on stage and have a  fake an orgasm competition to win a TV. That's disgusting to me," she said.

Student representatives oversee orientation week at Saint Mary's, a common practice across the country, while university administrators serve more in a "consultative" role, university spokesman Steve Proctor said earlier this week.

Jared Perry, who was the president of the Saint Mary's University Student Association when the chant was filmed, has since resigned.

The university said two student organizers will face disciplinary action over the incident after someone launched a formal complaint for alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct.

Proctor said SMU will not name the students, in accordance with university policy.

The university has already stated that the students' union executive and all 80 frosh week leaders will undergo sensitivity training after the incident, which university president Colin Dodds called "inexcusable."