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Event participant allegedly attempted to pressure female student into sex

A report by La Rotonde was released on Oct. 17 detailing alleged incidents of a highly sexual nature as part of a bar crawl event called Vet’s Tour, hosted by the Science Students’ Association (SSA) at the University of Ottawa.

An editorial on the event in La Rotonde implies that the event saw a lack of respect for sexual consent, saying, “How could we dare to say loud and clear that the event is based on a solid foundation of respect and consent, for self and for others, while it promotes drinking and impulsive sex?”

The report also alleges one participant attempted to pressure a female attendee into having sex with an event judge, which would give their team more points.

According to La Rotonde, the female student said, “Honestly, I don’t know. It’s too slutty for me.”

The article goes on to allege that the student’s teammate told her to “do it, he’s (expletive) hot,” and the judge asked the student if she had a condom with her or if she was taking birth control. When the student replied no, her teammate suggested to the judge to have anal sex with the female student. The group was eventually interrupted when they were told they had to move to the next bar.

Vet’s Tour featured teams of eight to ten participants from federated bodies across campus, which competed for points from a list of challenges. Some of the challenges were lighter in nature, such as eating a shawarma in a minute and a half.

However, many other challenges were much more sexual, including, “have sex in a given place, pierce the clitoris, eat a donut placed around a team member’s penis, exchange cum orally, or even put their penis on a McDonald’s counter and ask the cashier for a Super Size Me,” according to La Rotonde.

Media outlets such as CTV, the Toronto Star, and the Ottawa Citizen reported on Vet’s Tour following the publication by La Rotonde.

The major focus of these stories was to condemn the sexual acts involved with the pub crawl, which some U of O students and alumni have objected to through letters received by the Fulcrum.

In an email to the Fulcrum, a U of O alum who was involved with the SSA in their time at the university, and wished to remain anonymous, said that “All the execs had WRC training and the Pride center training on consent, inclusivity, and safe spaces. All the judges were sober.”

The alum also noted that not every member of a team needs to complete all the tasks.

“You could be on a winning team and have not done a single sexual act. This isn’t in theory, this actually happens.”

In one letter to the Fulcrum, a third-year U of O student who attended this year’s Vet’s Tour, and requested to remain anonymous, wrote that after reading the articles in La Rotonde they were angry and “horrified a night of consensual sexual activity with friends was being turned into a portrayal of rape culture.”

“I had the right to a private sexual experience with multiple people. The journalists and editorial staff at La Rotonde took away that right, and were the only people who violated me in any way during my Vet’s Tours experience.”

The letter also alleged that La Rotonde’s coverage “portrayed kinky sexual activities in an extremely negative light.”

“Framing these sexual acts as a perpetuation of rape culture when done with consent is a horrible disservice to both the people who consensually practice them on a daily basis, and actual victims of sexual assault,” they said.

The University of Ottawa also responded shortly after the publication by La Rotonde, condemning the behaviour.

“The University of Ottawa strongly condemns a recent event at which some students were encouraged to behave disgracefully, and denounces any behaviour that runs counter to the values and policies the university has implemented to prevent sexual violence on campus,” reads the post.

The statement continues, “The university reiterates its zero tolerance approach to sexual violence.”

A statement on the Science Students’ Association’s website was also released to condemn any actions “that contribute, promote or normalize sexual violence and rape culture on the University of Ottawa campus and the community at large.”

“We deeply apologize to anyone who felt unsafe or pressured to do anything at any of our events, as this has never been the intention of the SSA,” the statement reads.

The SSA announced in the statement that Vet’s Tour has been cancelled indefinitely, “as the SSA continues to learn and improve our functioning and our understanding of how sexual violence is perpetuated on our campus.”

“The event was ill-conceived, wrong and not an accurate reflection of the SSA beliefs as stated above. Again, the SSA apologizes to anyone who was negatively affected by the event.”

With files from Graham Robertson and Savannah Awde.