‘They’re thick, they’re scum, they’re full of UWE cum, Bristol girls…Bristol girls!’ was one of several chants heard at yesterday’s Bristol vs UWE Varsity rugby match, sparking uproar among students and complaints from members of the University of Bristol’s Intersectional Feminist Society.
The event was also marred by violent encounters between students following Bristol’s 11-10 victory for the men’s rugby, with University of Bristol second year, Matt Newton, reportedly being punched in the face by a UWE student because he was wearing a UBU jacket.
The injury allegedly caused him to have five stitches.
A controversial ‘chant sheet’ was printed out and passed around at the game, with the alleged authors of the chants printing their names at the bottom of the page.
Others included: ‘Bristol girls make more noise when they’re shagging UWE boys, with a flip flap fanny whack, give the whore a bone, Bristol girls go running home’.
if only varsity rugby supporters were like proper rugby supporters and weren't so disrespectful to each other lol 🙃
— Zoe Mcdowall (@ZoeMcDowall98) March 30, 2017
One of the authors of the chant sheet, Jack Gillanders, spoke exclusively to Epigram about the controversy.
‘I would like to apologise to anyone who may be offended by the chants. I’d like to state I do not stand by those chants in any way. They were used to entertain and humour, however I can see I completely misjudged the situation and overstepped the mark.
‘Huge apologies to anyone who was offended, I severely regret what happened.’
Rowena Salmon, Vice-President of the University of Bristol’s Intersectional Feminist Society, branded the chants ‘absolutely disgusting’.
She continued, ‘The fact that students could feel comfortable enough with those words to sign their names shows how misogyny continues to be pervasive in student sporting communities and lad culture.
‘I’m satisfied that this has been brought to the attention of UWE and their SU, so I hope the students responsible will learn something from this.’
However, one UWE student, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Epigram that Bristol fans had also created similar chants.
They said, ‘I know for a fact they have the same chant but UWE and UOB are swapped around…”UWE girls make more noise when they’re shagging UOB boys”.’
Varsity rugby last night was savage 🙈 #animals
— Elspeth (@WilliamsElspeth) March 31, 2017
Eyewitness accounts have reported that the atmosphere grew increasingly heated following Bristol’s win for both the men’s rugby and women’s rugby matches, with the Bristol women’s team sweeping to victory with a 61-7 score. Police officers arrived on the scene to control the situation.
It is currently unknown as to whether this incident will impact future Varsity events.
The vice-chancellors of both universities have been contacted by Ashton Gate, the stadium in which the Varsity matches were held, and it has been suggested that ‘it is unlikely that a booking from the universities will be accepted next year’, according to the Bristol Post.
Bristol SU stated that: ‘We’re very disappointed to confirm that there was a disturbance involving a number of fans from both universities as they left the stadium after last night’s Varsity match.We understand sheets were distributed advocating offensive chanting.
‘Bristol SU has a zero tolerance policy towards sexist language of this nature which is deeply unacceptable. We are speaking to UWE SU and the University to establish exactly what happened and what, if any, action needs to be taken.’
Alice Boyd, a member of the University of Bristol’s Intersectional Feminist Society immediately sent an official complaint to UWE after screenshots of the controversial chant sheet were circulated on the society’s Facebook page.
She told Epigram, ‘Universities have a responsibility to ensure that sexism and misogyny are treated as intolerable.’
‘Language like this not only perpetrates division, but it perpetrates rape culture.’
‘The universities must take action to ensure it is dealt with appropriately, and not dismissed as simple ‘banter’,’ she said.
— UWE Rugby Union (@UWERUGBY) March 31, 2017
Members of the University of Bristol Rugby Club have reportedly been told not to comment on the incident to the press.
Epigram has reached out to Joe Goodman, the club’s Head Coach, for a statement.