In the Pembroke College JCR meeting held on Sunday 3 October, the former PCRFC captain made a speech in which he announced his intention to resign his post, following the controversy surrounding a crew date invitation earlier in the term.
He told assembled Pembroke students, “I want to apologise whole-heartedly and sincerely. This is an utter mess. I am personally sorry for not having better judgement; I reacted too slowly in condemning the email and did not act as a proper leader. I’m not proud of it. Yet apologies mean very little if not backed up by actions, so I take this opportunity to resign as Captain. I am too inextricably linked to be a positive influence, but am completely committed to solving the problems in the image and culture of PCRFC.”
He went on to add that he and his former team were attending Good Lad workshops, explaining, “This is not a miracle solution, but is a good basis from which to start reforming the problem parts of the club. In the long term we are going to try our utmost to remove lad culture from the club, with the help of senior players. There are also self-imposed measures, we won’t be having any crew dates or socials this term and offensive or sexist themes will be stopped.”
The former-Social Secretary, who wrote the email, also made an apology at the meeting, stating, “I didn’t see at the time – I do now – how horrendous the email was. I cannot be more sincere about my apology. I want to apologise face to face, and I recognise the extent of my actions. I want to clarify that the club had no intentions of sexual harassment, we were not planning on spiking drinks.” He has also rusticated for a term and been fined £500 by the college.
PCRFC were relegated to Division 3 of the university inter-collegiate league with immediate effect in the wake of the scandal. Oxford University Rugby Football Club banned the Pembroke team from competing in the first round of the season, although they will be eligible to compete once more in sixth week. OURFC also recommended in a statement that, “For the remainder of the academic year, the social side of PCRFC [should be] disbanded.”
They made clear that even once Pembroke College had completed its disciplinary procedures on its rugby club, they would “reserve the right to take further action.”
The Pembroke College JCR President, Becky Howe, told those present at the meeting, “The last few weeks have been pretty horrible, with college being dragged into the press. We can now make some really positive changes: we can be the college that stood up and said that there is a problem with lad culture. Hopefully other colleges and universities will follow suit. Let’s power through together.”