The Current

Frosh Week Gone Wrong

In the movies the Animal House-style pranks of university are a goofy initiation to a new phase of life. But the antics at Saint Mary's University have many criticizing student leaders for a lack of good judgment, a national disgrace. We discuss what is and isn't appropriate when it comes to university initiations....
In the movies the Animal House-style pranks of university are a goofy initiation to a new phase of life. But the antics at Saint Mary's University have many criticizing student leaders for a lack of good judgment, a national disgrace. We discuss what is and isn't appropriate when it comes to university initiations.



Does Frosh Week need reforming?

They've said so-long to their parents, met their room-mates and now students, many away from home for the first time, experience the parties and pranks of frosh week. Frosh week is prompted as a chance to socialize and perhaps make another reluctant step into adulthood.

But the mix of excitement, independence and alcohol can be volatile.

Ryerson engineering students were made to crawl in their underwear through ice and snow last year... and in 2011, a 19-year-old Acadia University student died following heavy drinking.

And then there was this week's chant at Saint Mary's University in Halifax.

 

It's hard to make out, but the Frosh Week student leaders are singing the praises of underage, non-consensual sex.

frosh-200.jpg

Saint Mary's University says it will
conduct a special review to find out why
student leaders were chanting about
non-consensual underage sex .

One Saint Mary's student was crushed at the behaviour of her fellow students.

"I cried for three hours last night, after I saw this. I am a rape survivor, and I have been affected by sexual violence against underage minors. As a Saint Mary's student, I don't feel that this is entertainment. I don't feel that this is something they didn't know better than to say. I have friends who are members of the team that are in charge. And they're good people, I just think they weren't thinking. But they have a responsibility to think through what they are teaching our first years". Saint Mary's Student

We made multiple requests for comment from Saint Mary's University Student Association president Jared Perry. They went unanswered. Perry remains president, but stepped down from his role as chairman of the Nova Scotia-wide association of student unions. Jared Perry says he's repeated the chant every year since enrolling at St. Mary's in 2009 ... but only now does he realize how inappropriate it is.

  • Lewis Rendell is a 3rd year student at St Mary's University, and a board member of the Saint Mary's Women's Centre. She says there's still a great deal of tension on campus, especially between women's groups and the student union leadership.

  • Zachary Strong is in his final year of Engineering Physics and Management at McMaster University where he's been an orientation leader since 2009. He wants more responsible frosh week activities at McMaster. He was in Hamilton.

  • Ravanne Lawday is a 3rd year English student at the University of Alberta. She wants to see changes in the way frosh week is run, she feels her experience didn't really set her up for real life on campus. She was in Edmonton.

What do you think ... Should Frosh Week exist anymore? Do you have a Frosh experience to share?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Liz Hoath and Peter Mitton.

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