The St Hugh’s Dean has contacted members of the college’s drinking society, The Black Cygnets, condemning their activities.The society is known for its controversial “fox hunt” event, which invite selected female students to dress as “foxes” and be chased by members of the society.
Professor Peter Mitchell sent an email describing such events as “chauvinist” and “sexist,” stating that “the nature of some of the events [The Black Cygnets] sponsors are incompatible with the good name of St Hugh’s College.”
He pointed out that the organisation had been subject to a decanal ban since 2008.
Prof Mitchell continued to explain that any future events organised by the Black Cygnets will be met with disciplinary action, adding, “Should any event undertaken by the Black Cygnets Society (in whatever guise) beyond the property of the College result in a complaint from any member of the public or the police to the College then the individuals concerned will also likely find themselves in breach of [the college’s disciplinary code].”
The email was sent to all students believed to be involved in the Cygnets as well as all those who were invited to “an unauthorised event in the College Bar on the evening of November 11th 2011.”
One St Hugh’s source told Cherwell that this event was indeed a “fox hunt” which reportedly resulted in “the President being banned from the bar and incurring a £200 fine.”
One student disagreed with the Dean’s analysis of the supposed “sexist” events organised by the society, commenting, “The females and males invited on the recent “Fox Hunt” were simply the ones who we know enjoy a few drinks and a good night out – nothing more than that.”
Mitchell stated that the email was intended to remind students of the decanal ban already in place.
One society member noted, “The college seems to have a problem with the Cygnets because of decanal trouble that occurred in 2008 – before most of the current Cygnets had even matriculated.”
Another undergraduate added, “I think the ban no longer serves any purpose, as the current members of the society were not even at St Hugh’s when the previous bad behaviour took place, and therefore it seems strange to punish them for the conduct of their predecessors.”
One Hugh’s student who had attended a “fox hunt” in the past said, “I don’t think the email was fair at all, but I’m not altogether surprised as the St Hugh’s disciplinary system seems to be getting more and more ridiculous every term.”
Hugh’s JCR Vice-President, Andrew Wilson noted, “I’m glad to say I’ve never had any involvement with the Cygnets or the “fox-hunt”. The Black Cygnets are neither associated with nor supported by the Hugh’s JCR.”
Dean Professor Mitchell declined Cherwell’s invitation to comment.