Tonight, Blues committee members will vote on a potential merger of the currently separate men’s and women’s committees.
The presidents of the Women’s and Men’s Blues committees, Gwenyth Audran and Philip Baker respectively, proposed the merger in order to standardise the awarding of Blues status across women’s and men’s sport across the university.
However, the presidents’ proposal is expected to meet opposition with captains of a number of teams signing a letter in opposition against the merger.
Writing in The Oxford Blue Bird, a website aiming to provide a “comprehensive coverage of all Oxford sporting matters”, Oxford University Rugby Football Club’s Women’s Blues Captain, Abby D’Cruz expressed her opposition against the merger.
She express her disapproval writing, “the lack of information, consultation, and due process afforded to the proposal has rendered the merger ill-equipped to recognise, much less address, the concerns of the committees it seeks to unite.”
The letter also took issue with the presidents writing, “given there are no fundamental differences between the male and female sports worlds at Oxford, it seems illogical to separate the organisations that help run them”, in a letter advocating for the merger.
D’Cruz wrote in response that this sentiment was “idealistic at best and irresponsible at worst”, citing examples of what she called “an institutional level of bias”, including the de-prioritisation of the scheduling and provisioning of referees for women’s football compared to men’s football.
The letter in opposition was co-signed by Oxford University Rugby Football Club’s Men’s Blues Captain, Oxford University Basketball Club’s Women’s Blues Captain, President of the Oxford University Athletic Club, Oxford University Women’s Boat Club’s Vice President and President of Oxford University Squash Raquets Club.
Another letter in opposition of the merger, which was published anonymously, stated that “it is only logical that the bodies that regulate the awarding of blues should be gender-specific” since “sport is fundamentally gender binary; it is predominantly played separately by men and women.”
The outcome of the vote will be released later tonight.