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by Sophie Donszelmann,
Complaints were launched against the content of flyers distributed by the LSESU Men’s Rugby Club at the Freshers’ Fair this past week.
Members of the LSESU Feminist Society flagged up the flyer as being extremely offensive due to its derogatory references to women and homosexuals.
Described by a student as a demonstration of “blatant and extensive sexism, homophobia and racism” the flyer informed news students of “everything this club holds dear, debauchy [sic] hedonism, and misogyny”.
The leaflet, entitled “LSE Rugby Purple Warrior,” contained a photo of a semi-clothed woman’s torso wearing the Rugby jersey.
The seven page document included an overview of the club’s events in the first week, a who’s who of club members and a glossary of club-related terms, all of which contained phrases with which students took issue.
The literature promised prospective members a year including Tour and its “downright depravity of fag night” and hustings for club captains which would include questions “predominantly about their sexual persuasion” while assuring readers that “we at the LSE do not enjoy drinking urine or participating in various forms of homosexual humiliation”.
Ironically, the same text also stated that “Wednesdays never fail to produce the perfect hedonistic cocktail of barbarianism, beverages and women all shaken well with a liberal lashing of homo-eroticism.”
The leaflet’s appendix contained references to “hockey, netball and rugby birds” as “beast-like women who play sport just so they can come out with us on Wednesdays” whilst adding “don’t let them tell you otherwise”.
The Zoo Bar, a nightclub frequented by members of the Athletics Union on a Wednesday night, was listed as the only place in the world where “so many mingers look so appealing,” while encouraging interactions with “netball slags” and opportunities to “pull a sloppy bird.”
The LSESU Feminist Society launched an official complaint with the Students’ Union against the distribution of the leaflet on the grounds that the text “contained numerous sexist, racist and homophobic comments… This contributes to a hostile attitude and environment for women and sexual minorities, putting students off participating in sport, in going to the AU night on Wednesdays, and in general making students uncomfortable on their own campus.”
Students have reacted to excerpts of the flyer posted on social media, which have received attention from alumni and suggestions of a letter writing campaign to LSE administration to express their concern.
The Men’s Rugby Club is an official member of the LSE Athletics Union.
The Beaver also believes that publication and distribution of such content is in potential violation of the School’s Ethics Code, in particular article 4, which calls for all members of the community to be treated with “equal dignity and respect.”
In an apology released to the Beaver, the Men’s Rugby Club said that the flyers “contained inexcusably offensive and stigmatising language and we would like to make it clear that this absolutely does not reflect the views and values of our club”.
The Students’ Union released a statement saying that “We immediately confiscated all materials and launched an investigation. This investigation will be thorough… and will allow us to determine any appropriate action.”
A full statement has been issued by Men’s Rugby and can be read here.