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A University of British Columbia graduation ceremony on May 24, 2012, in Vancouver. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)
A University of British Columbia graduation ceremony on May 24, 2012, in Vancouver. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

UBC business school ends frosh-week support over offensive chant Add to ...

The Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia has pulled its support for frosh-week activities because of an uproar over a chant that promoted non-consensual sex.

“What is reported to have happened at frosh this year is deeply upsetting and is completely inconsistent with the values of the school and UBC,” Robert Helsley, dean of the Sauder School, said in a statement Monday. “Based on initial information I have received, there is enough for me to conclude that the school should end its support for frosh.”

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The action came as the UBC administration launched an investigation into the incident, which occurred last week on a bus carrying first-year students to frosh-week activities.

The frosh events were organized by the Commerce Undergraduate Society, but supported by the Sauder School of Business.

In a joint statement, Dr. Helsley and Louise Cowin, vice-president, Students for UBC, announced that several steps have been taken in response to the incident. The statement said the Sauder School of Business “will no longer support the CUS frosh events,” but suggested there will be support for some future activities that have been vetted in advance.

“Recognizing that orientation of first year students is critical … Faculty will support future CUS community and team-building events, provided the School has credible assurances from the CUS that they will satisfy the university’s standard of appropriate student conduct,” the statement said.

The statement also said that “starting this week, the Sauder faculty will be increasing emphasis in the curriculum on issues related to respect, dignity and ethics.”

The university has appointed a fact-finding team to investigate the incident, and it is expected to report back by next Monday.

Over the weekend, two unnamed student leaders who helped organize frosh orientation events resigned from CUS.

In a joint statement CUS president Enzo Woo and Caroline Wong, president of the Alma Mater Society of UBC, apologized for the event and promised to co-operate with investigations.

“Both the AMS and CUS will be actively and transparently participating in UBC’s investigation into this incident and the AMS will be conducting its own investigations into the orientations run by all undergraduate societies,” the statement said. “The co-chairs of the CUS orientation team have tendered their resignations but will continue to assist with the investigations as needed.”

The resignations came just two days after the student newspaper, The Ubyssey, reported that frosh had been using a chant nearly identical to one that earlier in the week caused a furore at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. In that incident, a video surfaced featuring students chanting about engaging in non-consensual sex.

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