SFOAC Says Classy VS Trashy Pub Could be Seen as Discriminatory

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

  • Outside of the SFOAC office in Johnston Hall

    Outside of the SFOAC office in Johnston Hall

  • Johnston Hall home of the SFOAC

    Johnston Hall home of the SFOAC

  • A blank canvas outside the Bullring

    A blank canvas outside the Bullring

By Zoey Ross

On March 25 an Aggie pub took place at Peter Clark Hall and the theme was Classy VS Trashy.

The Student Federation of the Ontario Agricultural College (SFOAC) is the hosting and governing body of these weekly events. The published OAC Do’s and Do not’s list includes the bullet, “Don’t miss a single Aggie pub”. These weekly events have turned into tradition, but are not without controversy.

“Trashy and classy are two labels given to women based on judgements about their dress and behavior. These labels cause and perpetuate the discrimination of women,” said Amber Sherwood-Robinson a student, social activist and executive of this seasons V-Day.  “A woman needs the power to label herself whatever she pleases, but for another person or institution to do that for her is the major problem at hand.”

The full statement from Sherwood-Robinson was read to Elliot Armstrong, president of the SFOAC.

“I can see how it can be viewed as a problem or as [Amber] said, discriminatory,” said Elliot Armstrong, President of the SFOAC. “We try and find a theme where participants dress up for if they see fit.”

While Armstrong said the SFOAC will continue to be more mindful, he does not think that any policy or process change is needed at this time.

“I don’t think there would really to be any process changes in terms approvals, but I guess that’s just my thinking,” said Armstrong.

Armstrong further explained that his interpretation of the event Classy VS Trashy was the difference of wearing a suit representing classy or something like a roughed up t-shirt for those who choose to dress trashy.

“I think there are worse themes it definitely could have been,” said Armstrong.

Every week a different Ontario Agricultural College club hosts the Aggie pub as a fundraiser. The events must first pass the requirements of the SFOAC Student Risk Management Program (SRM). It is not mandatory to send themes to SRM for approval.


In the last year the themes have ranged from Under the Sea, to 18 and Barely Legal which took place last September.

“I think it’s just another example of rape culture on our campus and how it’s been normalized,” said Brittany Skelton, the local affairs commissioner from the Central Student Association (CSA). CSA is the Guelph undergraduate student association. “Despite whatever their intentions are I think they need to recognize the impact of their words and the impact of the culture that they are perpetuating, not only amongst young women […] but folks from various identities and how they are creating very unsafe spaces and further perpetuating harm against them.”

When asked if there was a pattern Skelton replied with one word - “Yes.”

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