One of the most anticipated events of Orientation Week, or Frosh Week, is the Tri-Campus Parade. On Friday, first-years from the three U of T campuses, professional faculties, and colleges gathered at Varsity Stadium for parade mustering.
Parade mustering involves orientation leaders encouraging first-years to cheer in order to build up excitement. While cheers that promoted the unity and uniqueness of each individual college could be heard, other chants containing expletive-filled insults were also made loud and clear.
College rivalry is a ccontentious issue at U of T. Many colleges have begun enforcing stricter criteria when selecting their cheers due to the problems posed by rape culture and misogynistic cheers.
The intensity of college rivalry too, has recently given rise to discussions about potentially abolising the college system. Others argue that the college system fosters a greater sense of community at universities with at many students as U of T.
Not all share this viewpoint. Tristan, a member of Victoria College majoring in linguistics, told The Varsity that he does not understand the purpose of separating the university into colleges. He feels that it is a case of contention.
Nadia, a first-year student in life sciences, took a different approach as she passionately spoke about the merits of college rivalry: “I want everyone to know that St. Mikes is the best one there… we totally took over the streets and today we’re going to do the same,” she said before the parade.
The Varsity spoke with several students from different divisions, most of whom expressed support for friendly rivalry and said that their interactions with other divisions were positive. Some students said that they would prefer less negativity, with one student citing a banner that read “Vic makes us sick” as an example.
At Trinity College, however, none of the first-years were willing to be interviewed. When approached by The Varsity, a frosh leader said that there is a policy that first-years cannot speak to non-trinity students during frosh week. The Trinity orientation coordinators denied that such a policy exists and stated that there was no communication from them encouraging students not to talk to people outside of trinity. Trinity is no stranger to controversy, as the college has already come under scrutiny in the past for other controversial frosh practices.