The real problem with turning a blind eye

from the CBC news website

Saint Mary’s University frosh chant cheers underage sex

Frosh week leaders, student union executive sent to sensitivity training

Saint Mary’s University in Halifax is promising disciplinary action after a frosh week chant glorifying underage sex with girls without consent was posted online.

A 15-second video posted to Instagram on Monday shows orientation week leaders leading a cheer about the sexual preferences of Saint Mary University men.

On a crowded football field they shout out, “Y is for your sister […] U is for underage, N is for no consent […] Saint Mary’s boys we like them young.”

Students said the chant has been used at frosh week for years.

On Wednesday Jared Perry, the student union president, called it an oversight and apologized.

The university’s senior director of student services said the administration had no knowledge of the chant until Wednesday at noon. Keith Hotchkiss said he was “disgusted.”

All of the 80 frosh week leaders and the entire Saint Mary’s University student union executive have been ordered to take sensitivity training.

The executive is also being sent to a conference at St. Francis Xavier University next week to learn about issues of sexual violence and consent.

The short video is garnering a backlash of disgust and anger.

“It’s derogatory, really. Underage. No consent. It’s saying that’s OK. It’s definitely not. It’s a bad message. It’s saying we like the frosh girls, we like them young. It’s not good, it’s not cool,” said Shannon Neville.

“I have a little sister, too. It’s definitely inappropriate,” said Luke Simms.

“Kind of heart-wrenching. Because I don’t think that girls especially should be subject to this,” said Melanie Duffy. “It’s promoting violence and a negative image of girls.”

Well then!    I am a middle-aged grandmother, not a University Director … so perhaps there is something in this story that I am missing.    Last year, most of the members of the Dalhousie University Women’s Hockey team were suspended for the season for hazing!  Suspended!   For some of them, that was a potential athletic career breaker with broader implications than the loss of one season!

To be perfectly honest, I do not know what disturbs me more about this weeks story!    Was it the horrific lyrics “glorifying underage sex with girls without consent”    Was it that out of  80 frosh week leaders and the entire Saint Mary’s University Student Executive there was not one single person to step up to say “this is wrong”?

Was it that clearly the participants are not as ‘smart’ as their cellphones?    If there is one thing this generation should have learned in high school it is that these days if one is going to do anything in the company of others, one had best be prepared to ‘own it’!

Was it the overly optimistic idea that a remedial conference on sexual violence and consent is going to prevent future occurences of this sort?    That sensitivity training will turn things around right away?

Without something more serious than a slap on the wrist, it is going to take a lot longer than one week to change a cultural mindset that saw nothing wrong with publicly promoting underage sex without consent!    When the military finally starting tackling a similar issue ,  change only began after a decade .. not a week .. of regular, mandatory sensitivity training and workshops for every serving soldier!

To be perfectly honest … that is not even close to being the worst bit!    Lets face it … some of those participating will go on to become educators and executives!   Lawyers and judges!    Others will work in human resources and be employed as psychologists!    What a sorry start for those who will be responsible for managing the consequences of ‘underage sex without consent’!

What time is it?     It is never time for a quick fix when so much is at stake!


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