Councilor says appropriate action was taken
A group leader at the Arts and Science Federation of Associations’ annual orientation event was kicked out for “inappropriate contact” with launchees (formerly knowns as “froshies”).
The leader, who has not been identified, had too much to drink during one of the events and began to have “sexual contact” with several launchees during Launch Week, according to ASFA Sensitivity Committee member Mariah Gillis.
“[He] was asked to stop three times, didn’t, and was kicked out,” Gillis said during the October regular council meeting on Thursday.
The group leader had persisted despite a rule that leaders were not allowed to have any sexual contact with event-goers.
While Gillis wouldn’t name the leader, she did say he was not an executive of ASFA or member of the ASFA council. She also said it was event coordinators who caught the leader “making out” with multiple women during the event and that none of the women have come forward to complain. Gillis said it was made clear to leaders before the event that no sexual contact would be tolerated under any circumstance.
However, “because it happened on the last day of events, there wasn’t much penalty because he was done his job,” she said. “It was something that was out of our control.”
Gillis also said despite the incident, this year’s orientation event represented a huge step forward in ASFA’s commitment to making these events a safe space. Around 450 launchees and 50 group leaders were given consent and harm-reduction training through a program developed by the Centre for Gender Advocacy. According to a committee report shared at council, “the workshops didn’t simply cover sexual consent, but also touched on deconstructing rape culture and gender roles. They were a crucial first step in changing frosh culture at ASFA and Concordia overall.”
This is a change in tone for ASFA, which has faced problems in the past including a human rights complaint filed against ASFA’s former president and former VP social by a fellow executive who said she was being sexually harassed and subject to racial comments. As part of the organization’s attempt to move away from this reputation, ASFA renamed their week of orientation events “Launch Week” to dispel the stigma of sexual misconduct surrounding frosh activities.
Gillis was a member of council during the 2014-2015 academic year when the debate around offering consent workshops was ongoing. For her, the decision represents a huge victory in changing the culture and reputation of ASFA. “ It feels really good [to have these workshops],” she said. “It was nice to see students talking about consent, and some really great discussions were had.”