If you’d visited Turl street last Friday, you’d have been caught up amongst brawling students, throwing punches and screaming at each other. You would be forgiven for thinking you’d just stepped into the middle of a football crowd in the 80s, at the height of the violent era.
What started as a seemingly innocent event, the ‘Turl Street dash,’ was fuelled by alcohol and quickly descended into something altogether more sinister.
Students drank twelve or fifteen pints, depending on which year they were in—a ridiculous quantity of alcohol, surely enough to turn anyone into a drunken, incoherent mess. But it was not just the drink that was to blame for the turn of events, it was that dangerous combination of too much drink and a ‘crowd mentality’ that the students adopted. Things were taken just that bit too far.
There were only a few students involved in the actual fighting but, worse, hundreds of students stood around, jeering, shouting, and encouraging the fighting. These students’ actions were as bad as actually throwing the punches; they too are responsible for the escalation of the violence. The only difference is that there will be no ramifications for them.
The colleges will punish those few students who urinated on the colleges and attacked other students, and shamefully ignore the mass who stood there encouraging.
Many students are indignant about the interest surrounding their Turl Street brawl; they feel that the facts have been distorted, and that their Friday night exertions were ‘not that bad.’ This may be the opinion of someone in the crowd who instigated the chanting and, in any case, was likely too drunk to remember the evening in too much detail. But this was not the case for many students, and it was not the case for those passers-by unlucky enough to stumble upon this event.
‘Friendly rivalry’ is all very well. But this event was not just ‘banter’ as students are fond of suggesting of even the most offensive and dangerous events. There is no wonder there is so much interest in this event, both Oxford, and international. Students at Oxford are in an incredibly privileged position, urinating on colleges and breaking bikes is not acceptable behaviour.