subscribe: Posts | Comments

Coventry Uni students say NO to sexism


A new society has formed at Coventry Univeristy: the No To Sexism society.

The new society, which gained official approval this week, was formed by a group of students who have had enough of sexism on campus.

But before even gaining their official approval the group of students had already begun to cause a stir and make a difference.

The forming members banded together to protest a sickening stunt by a DJ at the Univeristy’s student union.

The DJ, known as ‘Phat Kev’, dressed as paedophile Jimmy Saville – complete with accompanying women dressed as school girls wearing signs around their necks saying ‘Jim fixed it for me’.

Lauren Bates, from the No To Sexism group told WVoN: “Many students were disgusted with this and some students from the society sent an email to the SU [Students Union].

“We all sent this statement – ‘Can you explain to me why last night in square one, our own SU thought it would be comical to have Jimmy Saville as a DJ with two school girls by his side?

!I find it absolutely disgraceful and I speak on behalf of all women whom may have experienced this kind of sexual assault in their life time. I am not the first to voice this opinion and I will not be the last. How can you justify this?’ ”

In response to their emails the Students Union issued an apology: “Coventry University Students Union understands that fancy dress can sometimes cause deep offence.

“We are committed to supporting and representing a diverse student population and that we will carefully monitor all fancy dress events in the future.

“The incident concerning the DJ dressed as Jimmy Savile on 31 October we realise has caused grave offence to many and CUSU apologises unreservedly to all concerned.

“We realise that some of our members have been victims of sexual abuse and we are campaigning on sexual abuse awareness in the near future.

“We did not request or know that the DJ concerned was planning to dress as Jimmy Savile. Had we known we would have prevented this offensive behaviour.”

In addition, the DJ in question issued this statement: “I am deeply sorry for the offence I have caused for my dressing up as Jimmy Savile. I now realise it was a serious error of judgement on my part alone and I did not appreciate the effect it would have.

“I did not inform any officer or staff member what I was going to do. I would like my fee to be donated to Children in Need”.

Members of the group however have evidence that the DJ was well aware of the controversy of his choice of fancy dress.

They took a screenshot of his facebook status updates from before before the event, in which he writes, “Tonight’s costume could be a bit risky!!!!!!!”

In response to the public statement issued by the university the story was picked up by regional press, including the Coventry Telegraph and Birmingham Mail.

The female students who have set up the new society hope that they will be able to challenge and highlight other examples of sexism across campus, as Lauren told us.

“We wanted to set up this society so we can help change things at a local level, things like this are happening far to often and are not being called out. We hope to try to change this.

“We wanted to set it up so we can network with other groups, such as the Coventry Feminists, so we can work together in making women’s voices heard.”

Warwick University has, for some time, had a thriving Anti-Sexism Society, but for a long time like-minded students at Coventry University had no such group.

The formation of this society adds to the growing movement in Coventry which includes the Coventry Feminists group which formed in January of this year, and the politically active Coventry Women’s Voices  – as well as several WVoN reporters.

Arguably, across Britain we’re seeing a revival of grassroots feminist activity, with groups like UK Feminista gaining national notoriety and feminist issues being increasingly discussed in mainstream media.

In many ways it’s sad that in 2012 there is still so much need for feminist activity, but it is bloody marvellous that feminists up and down the country, on and off university campuses are getting together to stand up to sexism and inequality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *