This past week, as you likely already have heard, St. Mary’s University in Halifax, NS made headlines for its frosh week activities which included a chant making light of and encouraging the rape of underage girls. You may also have heard that the same chant was used at UBC last week, albeit nobody caught it on video. I really have nothing new to add to the chorus of voices denouncing such violent speech and the campuses, student unions, and university administrations who have allowed this type of thing to happen unchecked at countless institutions for years. The difference at St. Mary’s is that the perpetrators were caught and called out, which has focused much needed attention on the issue and hopefully some real change will come about from it. I am a former St. Mary’s and current UBC student and I can’t claim to be super proud of either of those things at the moment. These universities and others have a great opportunity to do something good right now. I hope they don’t waste it.
In lieu of reading my uninformed opinions on this issue, I offer to you the words of my friend and colleague at UBC, Lucia Lorenzi. Lucia is a fellow PhD student in the English department and her research centers on the very issues that have reared their heads this past week. Read what she has to say about these events; hers is not only an informed opinion but an important one. Read her posts “Bitches and Drinks” and “Rape Chants at UBC”.