Campus Watch

University of Plymouth: Conservative Society Suspended after Circulation of Offensive Images

Conservative undergraduate students from Plymouth University have sparked fury and outrage after a picture of them wearing shirts covered in offensive graffiti was posted on Facebook.  

The students’ outfits were covered in graffiti and offensive slurs including “F**k the NHS”, “Blair was right”, “Juden” (‘Jew’ in German), and a Star of David.  In addition, the graffiti contained references to Donald Trump and Barack Obama. In the pictures online, a student also has a Hitler moustache and another makes the “White Power” hand gesture.  

Witnesses reported that the students were “rude, obnoxious and offensive” and made anti-Semitic jokes and remarks.

In response, Plymouth University’s Student Union suspended the Conservative Society, and the Conservative Party launched an investigation.  The students have been condemned by both Labour and Conservative MPs, including House Leader Andrea Leadsom, Labour MP Luke Pollard and Conservative MP Johnny Mercer.

The University of Plymouth’s advice centre has reportedly advised students involved in the scandal not to attend the University for fear of being attacked by other undergraduate students.

Nikita Zychowicz

University of Hull: Not a Class Act – Riding Club Slammed for Chav-Themed Social

A ‘chav’ themed social was recently held by The University of Hull’s riding club.

“the theme goes without saying but think BIG hoop earrings”

On the group’s Facebook page, the event’s organisers provided society members with tips on what to wear, such as: “the theme goes without saying but think BIG hoop earrings”. There were also photos attached of girls in sports wear, snapback hats and hoop earrings, which attendees copied on the night.

This event comes months after the University of Leeds hockey club were condemned after holding a ‘chav’ social, resulting in the team being banned from taking part in competitions, as well as the captain being stripped of her role.

Hull’s riding club weren’t unaware of Leeds’ hockey club’s controversy; the Facebook event used pictures from, and quoted the description of, the Leeds social.

In a recent study, the University of Hull was ranked highest in the UK for class equality.

Charlotte Loughlin

University of Manchester: Manchester’s Move to Jazz Hands

Last week, the University of Manchester’s Students’ Union announced that it would replace traditional applause with ‘jazz hands’ at a large number of its political events. This move came as part of an effort to make events more accessible for students with disabilities.

In British Sign Language, jazz hands are indicative of ‘loud applause’. The move signals the Union’s acceptance and adoption of a ‘minority’ language.

A spokesperson for the Union claimed: “Inclusivity is one of the students’ union’s founding principles. We recognise that minority groups are underrepresented in political environments and we are working to address that.” Additionally, it is hoped that the replacement could reduce the anxiety and stress experienced by some students caused by loud whooping and cheering at events.

The switch does not constitute a ban on traditional cheering at gigs, theatre productions or sports matches. Instead, ‘jazz hands’ will be primarily encouraged at political events held by the Union.

Lily Mead

University of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico: Law Graduate’s Spider-Man Costume Hits the Web

A law graduate from The Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez in Northern Mexico has gone viral after he accepted his degree dressed as Spider-Man.

Hiram Yahir Salas Romero, 22, decided to break his university’s graduation dress code, which mandated “dark suits, white shirts, and shoes”.  Romero smuggled a Spider-Man costume into the ceremony and, while accepting his degree, whipped off his gown and held up a placard reading “For the love of my life, my mother”.

In comments made after the stunt, Salas Romero said that he believed that law students are often considered to be “too square”, and that the stunt was an attempt to change that image.  

Nikita Zychowicz

University of Brighton: Uni Accused of Endorsing Prostitution after Freshers’ Fair SWOP Stall

The University of Brighton provoked a public outcry with the presence of a sex workers’ support group at their recent freshers’ fairs. The stall was run by the Sex Workers’ Outreach Project Sussex (SWOP Sussex), a welfare organisation whose aims include dispensing safety information, legal advice, emotional support and sexual-health-help to women and trans women working in the sex industry in Sussex.

The attendance of SWOP Sussex at the university’s fairs was criticised by some as a university endorsement of prostitution-financed education.

Tomi Ibukun, president of Brighton University’s student union, rejected this criticism as a misinterpretation: he told the Sunday Times that SWOP Sussex were there to inform students of the “specialist support” available to them.

In a statement released by the Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement (SWARM), student sex workers hit back at the criticisms too, saying that “It should not be necessary to argue in favour of basic healthcare information and harm reduction strategies […] We do not believe that trying to stop students doing sex work by not talking about it is a suitable approach”.  

Nadia Vermeulen-Rostane

Images: [BBC, Pixabay]