SMUSA president steps down

HALIFAX (CUP) AND SACKVILLE – Jared Perry, the Saint Mary’s University student under fire after the inappropriate frosh chant that has been causing a stir nation-wide, has resigned his post as president of the Saint Mary’s University Student Association (SMUSA). The announcement was made via press release.

Vice-President, Student Life Carrigan Desjardins also resigned her position. Desjardins was the SMUSA executive who was in charge of Orientation Week and the event at which over 80 leaders and 350 or more new students were singing an offensive chant.

A video was posted on Instagram of students chanting “Y is for your sister, O is for ‘oh so tight,’ U is for underage, N is for no consent, G is for ‘grab that ass,’—Saint Mary’s boys, we like ‘em young.”

The university has announced that disciplinary action has been called for against two student leaders involved with the frosh week chant. Their names have not been released, in line with SMU policy. The students will go before a disciplinary panel within the next ten days. Disciplinary action could range from fines to expulsion.

Any member of the SMU community—student, faculty or staff—can call for disciplinary action against another.

Perry announced his intention to run again in the by-election to fill his now-vacant position, and said he is “personally deeply committed to addressing the damage incurred this week by being part of a long-term change commitment.”

Desjardins could not be reached for comment.

With the resignations, SMUSA only has one remaining executive.

It is unknown who will fill the role of interim president; a decision will be made by the Board of Directors of SMUSA.

The Ubyssey reported on September 6 that Orientation events at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business featured a nearly identical cheer to the one at SMU. The co-chairs of the Commerce Undergraduate Society’s orientation team have tendered their resignations.

Mount Allison Students’ Union President Melissa O’Rourke said that she would be very surprised if a similar event were to happen at Mt. A, highlighting the level of oversight for Orientation, and its status as a joint process between the student union and the university.

“We have a very thorough process to ensure that everything that goes through is approved … all the house chants and everything go through the university,” she said, continuing, “At SMU it’s basically the student association that organizes the events, and the university doesn’t have much to do with it.”

Ron Byrne, Vice-President, International and Student Affairs at Mt. A, also praised the university’s process to ensure that orientation is as inclusive as possible.

“The entire experience has to be welcoming,” Byrne said.

Byrne highlighted the collaborative nature of orientation planning at Mt. A and explained that there is a lot of feedback and discussion between all the groups involved in organizing. O’Rourke and Byrne agreed that Mt. A has a good process in place to ensure that students feel safe and secure during their first weeks of school.

“They can definitely reflect upon this and continue to move forward,” O’Rourke said of SMUSA. “I think Jared did what’s best for his organization,” she added.

Byrne noted that while the cost of the incident is enormous, he is hopeful that it will create a learning opportunity far beyond Saint Mary’s.

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