Tom King, BA Politics
LSE has disbanded its men’s rugby team after the club distributed “sexist” leaflets during the School’s freshers’ fayre last week.
Nona Buckley-Irvine, the students’ union General Secretary, announced the decision this evening; saying “After considered deliberation and a wide investigation, LSE Men’s Rugby Club will be disbanded for the rest of the academic year and not be allowed to represent LSE or LSESU. They will be withdrawn from any competitions already entered into.”
The booklets contained a string of derogatory descriptions of women as “slags”, “trollops”, “beast-like” and “mingers”. They said “the barmaids are often quite tasty” in LSESU’s Three Tuns bar, encouraged members to “stare at the crumpet on the treadmills” and told prospective members “homosexual debauchery” would not be tolerated.
In a statement, Buckley-Irvine said “The booklets distributed by the Rugby Club are clearly sexist, and demonstrate a culture within a club that is unable to challenge misogyny, sexism and homophobia.”
“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 onto both individuals and the Club as a whole, and individuals will be sanctioned separately in addition to this decision concerning the Club.”
In a section on nearby King’s College – dubbed “Strand Polytechnic” – students were branded “scum” who “will all work for us one day”. Buckley-Irvine said “This snobbery towards students from other universities is unacceptable. The LSE is a great institution, but that doesn’t excuse elitism or classism.”
LSESU had arranged women-only and LGBT-only spaces to discuss the leaflets amongst the student community.
The club had apologised for the incident, saying the leaflets were “inexcusably offensive” and committed to “learn[ing] about the pernicious effects of ‘banter’ and…organising a workshop for all our members.”