The Men’s Rugby Union Club will be banned from all activities for a period of almost two months next year. The suspension, including a ban from the Varsity fixture, comes after the club was found to have breached Students’ Union policy during their welcome socials.
The Students’ Union was made aware of the existence of the event after a student was punished by the University after defecating in a sink in a hall on campus in October 2012. During the University’s disciplinary process, it subsequently emerged that the student had been acting as part of a ‘Fathers and Sons’ welcome social run by the Men’s Rugby Union Club.
Naked lap-dances were performed by new members
An investigation was conducted by the Student’s Union which found the Club to have breached the Union’s Events Policy, particularly with reference to volumes of alcohol, nudity, humiliation and coercion. A source close to the club told Impact that naked lap-dances were performed by new members to the club.
The Union’s disciplinary council, including last year’s AU Officer Jonny Bell and IMS Chair Jo Stanyard, initially imposed a temporary suspension from Athletic Union activity from 25th April 2013 to 20th June 2013 – a period of 57 days. This included the 2013 Varsity game against Nottingham Trent and the BUCS Vase Final against Swansea. However, an appeal from the Club against the sentence allowed the games to take place while the procedure was ongoing.
An Appeals Panel accepted the appeal of the Men’s Rugby Union Club and reduced the sentence to 26 days, to run in October this year. The Club decided this was unsatisfactory and asked for the initial sentence to be re-introduced, and it was agreed that this would run from 24th April 2014 to 20th June 2014, including this year’s Varsity fixture.
The Students’ Union Events Policy states that, “This Union further believes that initiation events based around new or existing members performing tasks to gain credibility within the group are degrading and a barrier to participation; particularly when it includes the consumption of alcohol or parading of nudity”.
Current SU Sports Officer Tom Hicks told Impact: “In the Students’ Union we have a very clear policy around what we expect of any events which are run by our clubs and societies. Initiations or events which include harassment, embarrassment, excessive force consumption and so forth have no place in our culture. We would encourage any student who feels that they have been subjected to anything of this nature to report to the Students’ Union. As we have demonstrated we will take appropriate action.”
Rory Leadbetter, Men’s Rugby Union Club President, told Impact: “This has been one of the most frustrating and draining processes I myself and the club has ever been involved in, but we have too many other great things happening at this rugby club, both on and off the pitch, to let what’s been thrown at us get us down”.
Impact understands that NUsnow, the University’s snow sports society, were also the subject of disciplinary proceedings recently. They were fined around £3000, roughly 10% of their yearly income, for breaching Students’ Union policy, however there is no evidence to suggest that this is in connection with welcome socials.
Images from The University of Nottingham Rugby Union Club