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Stop behaving inappropriately, engineering students urged

Kim Allen, chief executive officer of Engineers Canada, issued an open letter to engineering students in January, urging them to avoid participating in "inappropriate activities."


Kim Allen, chief executive officer of Engineers Canada, issued an open letter to engineering students in January, urging them to avoid participating in “inappropriate activities.”

The letter was written in response to an article in the National Post on January 23 about extremely degrading and sexually violent wording that appeared in a McMaster University engineering student songbook. The provost of the university in Hamilton, Ontario is investigating and has suspended the activities of the “Redsuits” student group responsible.

Allen writes: “It saddens me to read the recent article about yet another engineering group participating in inappropriate activities that tarnish our reputation as an inclusive and forward-looking profession.”

He points out how engineering is “inherently creative and concerned with human welfare,” and then continues, “But after hearing about events such as those happening on our campuses, how should Canadians view us? Are your actions, individually or collectively, raising the prestige of the profession? Would you not prefer to be seen as positive enablers, rather than as being sexist, violent and degrading?”

He encourages students to start behaving professionally: “From the day you attended your first class in an engineering program you’ve become part of the engineering profession. Your colleagues, your professors and future employers have certain expectations, and so it is in your best interest that you start behaving like a professional.”

To read the full text of Allen’s letter to students, click here.

This article was amended on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 1.16 p.m.

 February 7, 2014, 1.15 p.m.