By: Aaron Grierson
Yet another Welcome Week has come and gone. As a veteran faculty rep, I’ve seen a lot of faces, many of which change, but some of which stay the same. Often times, these faces are of friendly reps that have been around almost as long as I have. Others, however, are anything but friendly and certainly set an interesting precedent given that we’re expected to not only represent our faculty but also McMaster as an institution and Hamilton as the city it belongs to.
Now I may not be the loudest rep, and I’m certainly not the most maroon in spirit, but I am a reliable, committed and loyal rep who has hopefully helped improve the Welcome Weeks for a few first year students for the last four years. For all the friends I’ve made and the good times I’ve seen, this last year helped cement some unpleasant revelations that have been shaping up in recent years, despite my fond memories as a rep.
I’ll begin with the newest experience for me: hearing about two reps that showed up drunk to a faculty event who proceeded to not only take first year students to a bar, but make out with them as well. Now other reps should see two flaming hot, red flags if nothing else. We’re on contract to neither drink nor get personal with first years. To everyone else, it shouldn’t sound like these guys are players, but uncouth and irresponsible. When I heard about this I was absolutely dumbfounded that these individuals had the audacity to try such shenanigans, especially since they were nowhere near campus and everyone was being bussed.
If you’re willing to contest that, you’re probably a player yourself or an engineer.
If you’re an engineer that will continue repping next year or hopes to become one for next year, I have a request: please, please, please come up with some sort of new shtick we all have to put up with. At least every other year. Is that really so much to ask? I know I’ve been around for four years, but honestly, if you’re going to be almost entirely useless after move in (beyond faculty day and night, I assume), can you at least be funny about it?
You’ve dried out like a rusted car engine. You don’t really do a whole lot for anyone, and quite frankly, I’m bored and it seems safe to say the same for most people that aren’t Redsuits. Of course, those of us that remember last year are glad you didn’t steal the faculty cup again, and we’re much obliged you didn’t waste hours of our lives again.
Now, as we came to the end of the Week, we’re all expected to be tired. Much to my surprise, some of us were hit harder this year. Particularly, a good friend of mine who I’ve always considered to be born of an indomitable spirit shut down right about Sunday afternoon. His reasons for doing so, though not fully disclosed here, kindled some thoughts in my own head.
A major one was the way the reps and MSU choose to impart the values that for several hours before hand are drilled into the heads of all reps. Simply, they are inclusivity, respect, being willing and able to help and knowing where to go as well as being polite – and not just out for some tail. I get that music (yes, even of the pop genre) is meant to be harmless fun, but there are several problems. First, and probably most obviously is that not everyone likes it, and when it’s all that’s played all week, some people might feel left out. Especially those of us that can’t dance or sing.
Second of all, both the lyrics and videos (both of which were showcased on at least one occasion) hardly exude any of the above listed values. Most of the songs are about sex, or at least getting someone to call you to get laid, maybe. Never mind the sort of dance moves a lot of people bring to the floor. First years might not be involved, or even new to this sort of thing, but it is a definite double standard as far as what monkey says and what monkey does.
Maybe I’m just old and bitter, but maybe, just maybe, the planners need to rethink what it is they should be cracking down on and how they do it.