Tom King, BA Politics
LSE Rugby Club has been embroiled in a freshers controversy after handing out leaflets branding women “slags”, “trollops” and “mingers”.
The materials handed out at the students’ union-run freshers’ fayre held last week contained a string of slurs; describing women who played sport at the School as “beast-like” and saying “homosexual debauchery” would not be tolerated. In an LSE vocabulary guide, the club said “the barmaids are often quite tasty” in LSESU’s Three Tuns bar, encouraged members to “stare at the crumpet on the treadmills” and said students at KCL – dubbed “Strand Polytechnic” – were “scum” who “will all work for us one day”.
— Bad Housekeeping (@bad_housekeeper) October 3, 2014
The School and the students’ union have been inundated with complaints and have pledged to investigate the incident. In a statement, LSESU said “We immediately confiscated all materials and launched an investigation. This investigation will be thorough. It will hear from both individuals that complained and the Club itself. This will allow us to determine any appropriate action.”
“We are committed to our equal opportunities policy and safeguarding our members.”
“We will also be responding to the deeper cultural concerns about discrimination within the AU [Athletics Union].”
The rugby club has now committed to sending all its members to diversity workshops. In a statement they said “We can see that the language used in that leaflet must have alienated many potential members and we are ashamed and saddened by that.
“As a club, we will be taking steps to ensure that something like this cannot happen again. We have a lot to learn about the pernicious effects of ‘banter’ and we are organising a workshop for all our members.”
This is the second year LSE’s freshers fayre has been marked by controversy. Last year, members of the Atheist Society wore t-shirts depicting Jesus and Mohammed in ways which were considered offensive and were asked to cover them up by the students’ union.