I read once that opinions articles should encompass all the possibilities of the issue at hand and express all the potential of the future. But I also believe that the capital, the system, should always be questioned, should question itself, and ultimately, be accountable for its actions.
So here I want to make McMaster University accountable for suspending the Engineering group called “Redsuits” from Welcome Week 2014 by telling my personal welcome week story from my first year four years ago.
I came to McMaster University in September 2010. I was (and still am) a proud off-campus commuter from Hamilton, and alongside joining SOCS, I looked to my faculty to inspire school spirit within me. Unfortunately I did not find a home within the Humanities reps. I found them off-putting because I felt that they did not care. I have seen tremendous attempts by the Humanities reps to change (and I believe they are only going to get better) but four years ago, their reps were not inspired to engage with the first years (or at least, I did not meet the ones who were). So on faculty night, a fellow Hummmer and I went with our Engineering friends to their faculty night.
Now, faculty nights are traditionally off-campus, and as unofficial off-campus rules go, cheers can be sung that are not allowed on campus. I was not told anything about the Engineers having a dirty songbook. My Eng friends did not have access to a handbook that said “Prepare yourself for the scandal.” On campus during the week, we had seen their superheros running around with plungers, we even heard a rumor that their reps drink beer (all the reps?! Aren’t they, like, 20 years old?). So we were prepared for a fun night out, meeting reps and fellow first years. And then we got onto a bus. And that is when the truth came out about the Redsuits.
Reps came up to me, talked to me, tried to get to know me, my interests, what classes to take and profs to watch out for. The Engineers made me feel so accepted and included in ways my own faculty didn’t that I will always remember that night as a real welcoming to academia. It was the most amazing feeling to come to a new place and have people actually care that you are a person, not some firstie. I cannot say that for more than half of the classes I have attended at this school. But I can say that for the Engineers.
McMaster University is making a huge mistake in suspending the Engineers from Welcome Week 2014. The MSU is only backing them up because they have to. And the other faculty groups should take a stand against this if the Engineers are banned from participation. That group has the most fun and offers great help and support to so many young adults coming into school. If they are banned from Welcome Week, then I am ashamed McMaster cannot understand the great social impact they have versus the stupidity of a few students to publish such profanity.
Those cheers have been around since at least the 1980’s. Every rep group has cheers that are dirty, that go back to our parents’ time, and are not sung. They come out at reunions, sometimes off campus. But the fact that they exist within every group means that the Engineers are being persecuted for – quite literally – the sins of our parents.
The Redsuits as a whole do so much good that it is completely uncalled for the University to punish them all.
Long live the Redsuits.