NS: Calgary businessman returns Saint Mary’s degrees over rape chant

Haley Ryan, Metro Halifax
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Daren Miller, a chartered financial analyst, flew into Halifax yesterday to return his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce degrees to Saint Mary’s University in the wake of a pro-rape chant caught on video during frosh week.

Daren Miller of Calgary poses for a portrait in Halifax prior to returning his degrees to Saint Mary's University on Tuesday.

[HALIFAX, NS] - In the cool air of Tuesday morning, Daren Miller leaned his two degrees from Saint Mary’s University against the fence around the former Halifax Infant’s Home and walked away.

Miller, a chartered financial analyst living in Calgary, flew to Halifax to return his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce degrees to Saint Mary’s in the wake of a pro-rape chant caught on video during frosh week.

Hundreds of first-year students were led in a chant spelling out “young,” with lines like, “u is for underage, n is for no consent.”

Saint Mary’s registrar Paul Dixon greeted Miller and accepted the degrees after they were placed against the fence.

“I feel very sad having done it. It represented five years of extremely hard work,” said Miller, who graduated in 1995.

The degrees will also be removed from his resume, Miller said, because he wanted to distance himself from the culture of misogyny at the university.

Miller called for Saint Mary’s president Colin Dodds to step down on Tuesday, and have the school hire someone with experience handling “damaged reputations” because a culture shift can only happen with “change at the top.”

“The university respects his right to protest,” said university spokesperson Steve Proctor, who added Miller had turned down Dodd’s invitation of a private meeting.

Miller said despite his own feelings, turning over the degrees was also to stand with those who feel “marginalized” at Saint Mary’s, and with victims of sexual abuse across the country.

“For me, this will go away,” Miller said. “For … someone who has been abused, that will live with them their entire lives.”

Miller said he is “under no illusion” that rape jokes and sexist behavior are just a Halifax problem.

“My idea of Canada does not include this rape culture. I was absolutely shocked to see something like this is 2013,” Miller said. “I think men need to understand, particularly on a campus scene, that no means no.”

Geographic location: Saint Mary, HALIFAX, Calgary Canada

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  • Kelly Shannon
    September 19, 2013 - 12:47

    As a fellow alumnus, these actions appear to me to be self serving media crap... why else would someone who calls themselves and alumnus turn their back on the institution when it is obviously in need... and to suggest publicly and without any understanding of the respective roles played by the elected student leaders vs the administration, that its President must step down is patently absurd. I have two daughters myself and find the student behavior inexcusable, as did Dr Dodds, but lay blame where it is due and stand in support of the Institution and not the actions of a few student elected leaders. SMU deserves better Alumni support than this self serving attention grab... good riddance to the traitor

  • Rose Hicken
    September 18, 2013 - 19:03

    Mr. Miller is obviously a man of high morals and convictions. It takes a good man to do what he did and I want to say, "Thank you".