Western University is the latest postsecondary institution to apologize for a frosh-week activity linked with a rape-related comment.
Complaints from concert-goers and Western students flooded Twitter on the weekend after Juno award-winning rapper Classified reportedly said “give it up for rape” during a performance for the university’s orientation-week festivities on Saturday.
While the University Students’ Council of Western University took to Twitter to apologize for the comment, the rapper denied condoning rape.
Classified, whose real name is Luke Boyd, defended himself on Twitter, saying there had been a misunderstanding. “Explained myself a few times now. If people don't wanna accept my apology or what happen. Not much more I can do, I know my where I stand,” he tweeted.
“I would never make a rape joke. I have 2 daughters. Sorry for the misunderstanding,” he added.
Western University and its student council issued a statement online apologizing “to those in attendance who were offended – the USC and Western do not support what was presented.”
“His comments and actions were outside of the realm of Western [values],” Patrick Whelan, student president of Western’s University Students’ Council, told The Globe. Mr. Whelan said Western takes these issues seriously, and even had guest speakers during frosh week to raise awareness about on-campus sexual violence.
Pop star Sean Kingston was originally scheduled to headline the concert, but after learning Kingston was embroiled in a sex-assault-related lawsuit, the university cancelled his show and booked Classified instead, Whelan said.
The incident at Western University comes shortly after St. Mary’s University and University of British Columbia students were caught chanting rape-themed lyrics. The SMU student president and two UBC student leaders have since resigned from their positions.
Both SMU and UBC have indicated they will launch investigations into the incidents.
“University campuses are rife with sexual assault, and it is perpetuated by these types of chants,” said Irene Tsepnopoulos-Elhaimer, executive director of Women Against Violence Against Women, a rape-crisis centre based in B.C.
Statistics Canada stated over 21,800 cases of sexual assault were reported to police in 2011, however, the Toronto Police Service website states that only 6 per cent of sexual assaults are reported to the police.