The president of Western University is issuing an apology over the “unacceptable” convocation speech by alumnus Stephan Moccio.
Moccio, a composer, musician, and pianist, who has written songs for Celine Dion and Miley Cyrus and worked with David Foster, spoke at a graduation ceremony on Monday at the London, Ont., school where he also received an honorary doctorate in music.
Beginning his 13-minute speech by recalling a sign he saw when arriving at the campus almost 30 years ago, Moccio’s comments degraded women.
“My earliest memory of driving in off the 401 with a sign that said, ‘Thank you fathers for dropping off your virgin daughters,'” he announced before launching in to a song about Western’s Delaware Hall — an all-female residence until 1986.
“Ooh-ah, Deli is the res, ooh-ah, Deli is the res, you move to the left, you move to the right, peel your banana and oomph take a bite,” he sang.
Shortly after his speech on Monday, university president Amit Chakma condemned Moccio’s comments as “unacceptable and not in keeping with what Western values in a respectful learning and working environment.”
Chakma apologized for Moccio’s comments and the “distraction” the speech caused, adding, “Western must remain steadfast in its commitment to creating a safe and respectful environment for all.”
Following the outcry, Moccio also issued an apology for his inappropriate remarks undermining women’s issues.
“I apologize without hesitation to the entire Western community, graduates, family and friends in attendance today,” he said via statement issued by the university. “I realize the words chosen were not only wrong, but undermine decades of work on this very campus to bring justice to important women’s issues. I will strive to better represent the values of my beloved alma mater in the future.”