Saint Mary’s University (SMU) frosh were welcomed to the university with a highly offensive chant condoning the rape of underage women.
About 80 of the Halifax university’s frosh week facilitators performed the chant during the annual “Turf Burn” event. In total, about 400 students were present. The song, first shared via Instagram, went viral on September 4. A video of the chant is available on YouTube. It features the frosh leaders dancing while shouting the extremely offensive lyrics:
SMU Boys, we like them young
Y – is for your sister
O – is for oh-so-tight
U – is for underage
N – is for no consent
G – is for grab that ass
Jared Perry has resigned his positions as Saint Mary’s University Student’s Association (SMUSA) president and chair of StudentsNS following intense backlash from parents, alumni, and others. StudentsNS is the provincial lobby group of which the Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) is a member.
“The lyrics are disgusting. They are terrible,” said Perry. “As odd as it sounds, we didn’t see the message.”
In a press conference on September 5 held to address the outrage, Perry said that the song is a regular feature of SMU frosh weeks, passed on since at least his first year at the university. Perry participated in the chant.
Perry was unable to provide an explanation for the chant’s persistence, despite annual presentations on sexual assault during SMU’s frosh week.
“The chants have been going on every year,” said Perry. “So have the presentations.”
The Ubyssey, University of British Columbia’s student newspaper, reported on September 6 that a variation of the chant was also a part of the Sauder School of Business’ frosh week. Frosh leaders there were instructed to keep the chant a secret.
The SMU chant was rapidly condemned by Nova Scotia premier Darrell Dexter, the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, StudentsNS, the Canadian Federation of Students and SMU students, amongst many others. StudentsNS is currently participating in a campaign to combat sexual assault on campus.
On September 6, SMU announced it would form a task force on the prevention of sexual assault. Wayne MacKay, a Dal law professor and director of the Nova Scotia Commission on Human Rights, will chair the presidential council.
Along with Perry, Carrigan DesJardins resigned from SMUSA. She served as the association’s vice president (student life). SMU says that two students will be facing disciplinary action.
All 80 facilitators will be attending sensitivity training. The SMUSA executive will participate in a conference on consent to be held at St. Francis Xavier University.
In the statement announcing his resignation, Perry said that he will run for the presidency of SMUSA again.
Craig Walsh has been appointed as the student association’s interim president for a maximum of 30 days until the position is filled.