Undergraduates at St Peter’s College are to be collectively warned about their behaviour after a group wore t-shirts bearing homophobic and racist comments while on a pub crawl.
When challenged by offended onlookers, they claimed to be from Teddy Hall.
The pub crawl, which took place on Thursday of Freshers’ Week, involved the first years being given t-shirts on which they could write, and then being split into three groups.
As the evening progressed, the writing on some of the t-shirts of one group became increasingly offensive, with accompanying second years advising them to turn their t-shirts inside out, or scribble over the writing.
When challenged, some of the students claimed to be from Teddy Hall, a college with whom St Peter’s College has a longstanding rivalry.
Charlie Southern, the St Edmund Hall JCR President, has called their behaviour, “totally unacceptable.”
He continued, “the fact that when challenged the students claimed to be from Teddy Hall is pretty pathetic to be honest, and it will only come back to harm them to an even greater extent in the end.”
St Peter’s JCR President, Sanjay Nanwani, called the incident “regrettable”, and said that it was “unfortunate that it happened”, conceding that some of the material was offensive.
He stressed that in organising the event, the Freshers’ Committee had abided by all decanal rules and regulations, that the incident was down to a minority of freshers, and put their claims to be from Teddy Hall down to “a moment of frivolity, not malice.”
“The JCR obviously does not condone racism, homophobia or anti-Semitism. We are very tolerant,” Nanwani said. “I want to stress that we have every respect for St Edmund Hall.”
He added that he was confident there would be no disciplinary action taken against students involved and that the Dean was to send an email to all St Peter’s freshers warning them about their conduct.
The Dean of the college, Dr. Roger Allen, who was unaware of the incident until it was brought to his attention by Cherwell, said that, “St Peter’s takes a very serious view of any offensive behaviour on the part of its students”, and that the President “has the College’s full confidence and support in the way he and the JCR committee are dealing with this incident.”
He said that he has since discussed the incident with the Junior Deans and the JCR President.