UBC requires Commerce Undergraduate Society to pay $250,000 to fund sex-abuse counselling
UBC president Stephen Toope says it's essential that student leaders involved in a controversial FROSH week rape chant "make tangible amends" for their conduct.
Toope made the comment in response to a fact-finding report that confirmed first-year students were urged to spell out the letters y-o-u-n-g as a group. Each letter was the basis for a sentence that collectively called for nonconsensual sex with underage girls.
“At the same time, the whole UBC community needs to embark upon deeper, transformative and lasting change that would make such chants entirely and obviously unacceptable in our community," Toope said in a UBC news release.
Toope, vice president students Louise Cowin, and Sauder School of Business dean Robert Helsley have announced that the Commerce Undergraduate Society will contribute $250,000 over three years to "fund a professional position to provide student counseling and education on sexual abuse and violence".
UBC will provide additional resources, according to the news release.
"We all need to be involved—those who made serious mistakes and misjudgments, and those who didn’t,” Toope said. “UBC is seizing this moment to strike at the violence, sexualization and discrimination that still lurks below the surface in pockets of our society."
All 81 Commerce Undergraduate Society FROSH leaders, the society's executive council and board, and FROSH executive committee members will participate in community service.
In addition, the society will issue a public apology.
The Sauder School of Business will change its curriculum "to provide leadership in promoting safe, inclusive and respectful environments".
A four-member fact-finding team interviewed 62 students and four staff members.
"The YOUNG chant was used by the majority of FROSH leaders," the report states. "This and other chants containing sexist and derogatory language (defined by leaders as the 'bus cheers') were chanted on the bus trips only."
Student leaders instructed participants not to videotape the chant or post anything about it on social media.
"The bus cheers including the YOUNG chant are not new to this year's FROSH and alumni report that they have been a part of FROSH in the past," the report adds.
The purpose, according to the report, was "to take people out of their comfort zone and bring them together".
"It has been reported that some students opted to leave FROSH altogether, some as a result of feeling uncomfortable," the report states. "While first-year students were not forced to chant the bus cheers, hearing the cheers was unavoidable. Some first-year students reported that they were not forced to participate in any activity they were uncomfortable with, but by opting out and sitting on the sidelines they felt excluded."
The student leaders later reported feeling embarrassed and ashamed. Everyone contacted agreed that the chant was wrong.
"We heard from the majority of leaders that they saw the negative fallout and subsequent reflection as a learning opportunity and hoped that something positive would come from it," the report notes. "Organizers of FROSH genuinely felt that they had done training on equity, diversity, and physical safety. Upon reflection many organizers felt they had not given appropriate thought to emotional safety."