News | Orientation week reforms show mixed results

Contingency plans improve, but Frosh culture slow to change

Reforms to Frosh, the results of a year-long collaboration between the First Year Office, faculty associations, Student Services and the Students’ Society of McGill (SSMU), included more thorough leadership training and better coordination between organizers.

The reforms aimed at making the Frosh experience more inclusive of all students – such as those younger than 18 – as well as more accommodating to the surrounding Milton-Parc community.

According to Josh Greenberg, VP Events of the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS), “Everything for the most part went pretty smoothly.”

Asa Davis, VP Internal for the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS), echoed Greenberg’s positivity.

“They put a strong emphasis on making sure we had events for under-agers and I think we did a very good job of that this year,” he said.

Ahan Ali, director of the McGill Student Emergency Response Team (M-SERT) – formerly known as McGill First Aid – saw an upsurge in calls made to the service compared to last year, but ascribed this to more M-SERT involvement with Frosh organizers.

“Each of the individual faculties actually reached out to us this year, so we were able to cover a lot more events than in years past, especially at specific club events,” he told The Daily.

Despite the reforms, there were still reported cases of Frosh leaders leading their groups in offensive chants as well as giving Froshies – participants in Frosh events – inappropriate nicknames and writing them on shirts.

“That has always been an uphill battle,” Davis admitted, “because the leaders think to what they have been able to get away with in previous years.”

“It’s inevitable though that the message will be lost on some,” Greenberg added. “But every time we hear about an incident we do remind leaders every day via text message ‘scale it back, keep your kids in line.’”

Although some of the reforms were aimed at making Frosh less centered on drinking, Frosh leaders were still allowed to drink on the job.

According to SSMU VP Internal Michael Szpejda, “A big part of why we continue to allow drinking at Frosh is because harm reduction is proven to be more effective than completely removing drinking.”

One of the more negative events of the week was a report of a group of Engineering Frosh participants being lead into a Concordia building shouting offensive chants aimed at the university.

Both Davis and Concordia Security declined to comment on the incident.

According to SSMU President Josh Redel, “It is one of the lingering parts of Frosh from years past, and it happened again this year for some reason.”

“It has been taken care of and the EUS will be issuing a public letter of apology to Concordia,” he added.

The attempted reforms also failed to address complaints from the surrounding Milton-Parc Community.

Stephane Belanger, Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) inspector for station 38 – the Plateau Mont-Royal South station – told The Daily that there were “a lot of noise complaints… the same [amount] as previous years.”

 

with files from Lola Duffort