Does Frosh Week still have value?
Currently two Canadian universities are making headlines because of inappropriate behaviour encouraged during their Frosh/Orientation Weeks.
The article I link to at the end of my rant asks if Frosh Week still has value. This is my answer:
If Frosh Week (the week of orientation mostly for students living in residence) hasn’t seen many changes from my day (1979), then it has no value, in my opinion.
On our first night we were offered great quantities of alcohol, paraded around campus en masse (the boys), and pressured to sing odd and sometimes crass chants outside the various female residences while dropping our pants and exposing ourselves. The ladies were then encouraged to dance in their windows and bare what they would. Some did, some didn’t. Many were so drunk that they just danced like hookers in the brothel doorways in Amsterdam.
Back then it was seen as every Soph’s (second year students on the orientation committee) duty to keep the Froshes humble. Our end-of-the-week Kangaroo Court involved mostly sober public humiliation in the light of day for anyone who had dared to overstep the Frosh/Soph boundaries in the previous 7 days.
Because WE dared to stand up to the Sophs and mock the head Soph in a skit during talent night (we held a mock-trial of our own, charging him with having sex with two different freshettes, including a re-enactment using a stuffed beaver and no nudity. Yes, we also used an absolutely crass chant.), our punishment was to be lined up, honey poured down the front of our pants, peanut butter smeared on our faces, and forced to bow face-first into a bowl of flour, apologizing for our transgression out loud, to the Soph and the crowd (but not to the two ladies, whom we never named).
We were the lucky ones. One musclebound frosh was ‘coerced’ into stripping to his tighty-whiteys, stand on a table, and flex during the remainder of the proceedings.
Almost every chant/song we had was sexual in nature, though nothing as crass as St. Mary’s University’s nasty under-age rape/no-consent one. Our school symbol was the beaver, so it lent itself to a lot of rudeness. The men’s ball hockey teams had names like The Penetrators and The Cunning Linguists. I made a few good friends in my three years in residence there, but at times (especially during the first year) it was hellish.
Now, in all fairness to the school, the college administrators knew very little about what was happening. Also, in my first year I was roommates with the wildest member of seventeen guys in our residence from the same graduating class from a certain Toronto private school. Life that year was a zoo, and some day I’ll tell you some of the really dark stories about drunk driving, abusive practical jokes, breaking into a female residence, putting a car in the chapel foyer (one of the fun incidents I instigate), and the writing of The Beaver Cookbook, my first self-published tome.
Nope, Frosh Week was pretty much a waste of time, and only slightly better than a fraternity hazing. Although I didn’t exactly live in fear, I did have to look over my shoulder much of the time, and that’s no way to get an education.
Ciao for now,
The article which inspired my response:
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