The Oxford University women’s lacrosse team has been heavily criticised this week for holding “extremely tasteless” initiations which involved students dressing as babies and teenage mothers.
Photographs sent to Cherwell yesterday show first year students being initiated into the lacrosse team wearing nappies, sucking on babies’ dummies, and with bibs taped around their necks.
One picture shows a student being fed baby food by an older team member, while another shows alcohol being poured into an initiee’s mouth from a baby bottle.
The ‘Babies and Teenage Moms’-themed event, which took place on Wednesday night, appears to have begun in a student house. The freshers can be seen outdoors wearing only white T-shirts and nappies, which have been secured to their bodies with parcel tape. Many are visibly filthy and soaking.
Lacrosse players who are already members of the team were dressed as ‘teenage mothers’, wearing gold jewellery and tracksuits.
One picture shows the initiees sitting lined up against a wall in a military manner. Another shows the ‘babies’ in a queue to be fed a white mixture from paper plates.
The current captain of the blues lacrosse team can be seen pushing a plate up into the face of one student for her to eat from, while holding her hand out of the way.
When contacted by Cherwell, she declined to comment on whether she felt the initiations had been offensive. She said that the theme had been chosen by a committee of OULC members.
The team later proceeded to Park End, where a number of the initiees were pictured lying on the floor of the club.
One former member of the lacrosse team said “I think that the theme is extremely tasteless, especially as lacrosse is a sport played almost exclusively at private schools.
“The ‘lash culture’ of the lacrosse team made me feel uncomfortable during my time on the team and I fear that freshers will have felt pressured into drinking too much and embarrassing themselves.”
President of the Oxford University Sports Federation, Enni-Kukka Tuomala, declined to comment on the lacrosse team’s behaviour on Wednesday.
However she added, “We do not condone any Club initiations and all the Sports Clubs know their responsibilities and University regulations that are included in every Club’s Constitution and Code of Conduct.
“The safety and well-being of our students is a priority.”
A second year student at St. Edmund Hall said, “I don’t have a problem with initiations in principle, but these look disgusting.
“I don’t understand why so many people at Oxford find it funny to dress up as disadvantaged people and then get ‘battered’. It’s very embarrassing and I hope that those involved realise how stupid they look.”
The photographs of the initiations were available on Facebook until around 6pm on Thursday, at which point they were removed. Cherwell has chosen to protect the identity of those involved.