Tuesday 15 October 2019

Oxford University drinking group condemned for drawing up 'fit list' of attractive freshers

Richard Alleyne

AN Oxford University drinking club has sparked outrage among fellow students after its members allegedly drew up a "fit list" of female freshers and joked about luring them to a party "with no witnesses".

The emails were sent between members of the notorious "Honey Badgers" drinking club at Lady Margaret Hall.

The group is accused of drawing up the list of attractive female undergraduates to target them for a "crew date" at their next party at the college.

George Barnes, a member of the club as well as president of the college's Junior Common Room is said to have emailed the list to other members asking for a list of girls to invite.

In the email he suggested members "get to know the Freshers a little better in the coming week or so".

William Hoole, a fellow undergraduate, suggested one attractive female student should be invited "alone" with "no witnesses".

Barnes, a second year Classical Archaeology and Ancient History student, has also come under fire for dismissing a recommended girl for the list as "properly dull".

The emails, which were leaked to student paper Cherwell and photocopied throughout the university, are being investigated by the Dean of Lady Margaret Hall.

Barnes defended his comments, telling the paper: "What happened is that at the start of this year, our drinking society thought it might be good fun to crew date some of the freshers, especially as this seems to be a common thing throughout Oxford."

He is also said to have “laughed it off and dismissed it as banter”.

Hoole told Cherwell his comments were intended to be a "private joke amongst friends".

He said: "My comment was a private joke amongst friends and should not be read or interpreted at face value."

Another of those involved similarly defended the email as just an attempt to decide “which freshers were sociable and fun".

Yesterday students at the college – whose past graduates include feminist Tory politician Ann Widdecombe – condemned the "fit list", saying it "objectified women".

One undergraduate said: "The exchange was clearly sexist and offensive to all the people who were its subject.

"The list objectifies women and has no place in the college."

Another student called for Barnes' resignation as president.

“It is essentially common knowledge that the JCR President was involved in what I consider misogynist and unacceptable behaviour," she said.

"This is disgraceful and I have lost all confidence in the JCR as a student body as it currently stands.”

One JCR member was particularly scathing.

She said: “I find it abhorrent not only that these individuals found it appropriate to circulate such a list, but also that the issue was dismissed offhand with no explanation or apology from the involved parties."

The Dean Dr Michael Monoyios (corr) said he was "investigating the matter thoroughly and fairly."

Past members of the college also include TV cook Nigella Lawson, Education Secretary Michael Gove, and Tony Blair's son Nicky.


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