Bigotry masked as banter

The shutting down of the LSE rugger club came swiftly, after no one copped to writing the leaflet.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, Nona Buckley-Irvine, general secretary of LSE students’ union, said the club would be disbanded for the academic year after the flyer handed out at the freshers’ fair on Friday described women as “mingers”, “trollops” and “slags”.

The club apologised for the offending booklet, which said “outright homosexual debauchery” would not be tolerated and that women playing sports were “beast-like”. The leaflets were confiscated after uproar among students. The LSE and the students’ union launched an inquiry on Monday.

That’s still this academic year, so they’ll be back next autumn, probably with a good deal more oversight of their publications.

Buckley-Irvine said the sanctions were implemented after no one from the club took responsibility for the derogatory comments, adding: “It is important to note that in our investigations with members, the club was blamed as the body who produced, edited and gave out the booklet. Not one person within the club was willing to take personal responsibility for the booklets. In this case, responsibility does have to fall on to both individuals and the club as a whole, and individuals will be sanctioned separately in addition to this decision concerning the club.”

Buckley-Irvine also spoke out against the derogatory references to “poly” students, referring to former polytechnics which have now been converted into universities.

I went to an all-girls crammer in north Oxford when I was 17. We were told not to date students from the poly in Headington. I’m not even joking; that happened.

On Tuesday the university began an investigation into the incident and also held a women-only meeting to discuss the misogynist comments and wider issues affecting female students. Buckey-Irvine added: “Our actions in disbanding the club demonstrate the seriousness of the situation, and our commitment to challenging cultures that allow misogyny, sexism or homophobia to exist.”

The decision met with approval from fellow students. Lisa Mckenzie tweeted: “Rugby team has been disbanded for misogyny. None of them would own up to their ‘slag’ lit cowardly and misogynistic.”

Dalia Gebrain wrote: “A great stance taken by @LSE against bigotry masked as banter. People dismiss how harmful this culture is.”

“Banter”=hostile work environment.


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