Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Saint Mary's University takes action in response to frosh rape-themed cheer

A spokesman for Saint Mary’s University in Halifax says senior administrators were shocked after seeing a video of students in a frosh-week chant condoning non-consensual sex with underage girls.

INSTAGRAM

Saint Mary's University is calling on an expert in bullying to lead a new task force on preventing sexual violence, following a national controversy over a rape-themed cheer at a frosh week event.

Wayne MacKay, the former chair of a provincial task force on bullying, was appointed by the school after a video surfaced of a chant during frosh week activities at the Halifax university.

"As I watched events unfold at Saint Mary's University over the last week, I saw that there is clearly more work to be done along the road I have already been travelling in relation to human rights," Mr. MacKay said in a statement released by Saint Mary's Friday morning.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. MacKay is a professor at Dalhousie's Schulich School of Law.

He was also called upon frequently to comment on the death of Nova Scotia teenager Rehtaeh Parsons. The provincial government has been focusing on raising awareness around sex and bullying following the death of Ms. Parsons, who attempted suicide after she was allegedly sexually assaulted by several young men at a party in 2011. The 17-year-old had been the victim of bullying and cyberbullying after the incident, according to her family.

Mr. MacKay and his team will make recommendations to "foster a cultural change that‎ prevents sexual violence, inspires respectful behaviour and a safe learning environment with the Saint Mary's community," according to the statement.

The questionable cheer recorded at Saint Mary's is based on the word YOUNG – "Y is for your sister … U is for underage, N is for no consent … St. Mary's boys we like them young."

The chant was led by student orientation leaders at the campus in Halifax.

University president Colin Dodds said he was shocked by the video and issued an apology on behalf of the school.

"I accept that I and the university administration have a role to oversee and guide student leaders. We failed in that responsibility," he said in a statement.

Story continues below advertisement

Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay, who is a Nova Scotia MP, called the chant "offensive and dangerous."

"As somebody who has sisters, nieces who are currently in university in Atlantic Canada, it's deeply troubling," he said.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Ontario politics reporter

Jane Taber is a reporter at Queen’s Park. After spending three years reporting from the Atlantic, she has returned to Ontario and back to writing about her passion, politics. She spent 25 years covering Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. More

Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.