Student Council bans Blurred Lines

Songs with "lyrics that reinforce rape culture" to be replaced with instrumental or parody versions in Union buildings

Robin Thicke’s smash hit Blurred Lines, and other songs with “lyrics that reinforce rape culture”, are to be banned from playing at any of UBU’s buildings or events.

In a controversial bid to “End Rape Culture at the University of Bristol”, Student Council approved moves to boycott offending songs and replace them with instrumental or “appropriate” parody versions.


Thicke’s single, which has been widely accused of making light of the boundaries between between consensual sex and rape, has already faced bans at Edinburgh, Kingston, Leeds, and various other unis across the country.

Also to be banned on Union premises is ‘Blow’ by Tyler the Creator, which features lyrics like “And you call this shit rape but I think that rape’s fun”.

Although UBU will be free to add songs it considers offensive to a list of banned music, each decision will be subject to a vote at the next Student Council, which comprises of UBU officers, student reps and heads of societies. Students are not allowed to vote.

Songs may remain effectively banned until the Annual Members’ Meeting, where all students will be permitted to vote to approve individual decisions.

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Council voted through all points of the motion but one, which would have seen the banning “known rape apologists like George Galloway” from speaking at the Union.

Not all students were as thrilled with the motion’s success as others, with Jez Cave tweeting, “State of debate in Bristol is unbelievable, seem to have found the new-age moralists – and they occupy the student council”.

While student Harry Clax commented, “Not feeling represented by UBU – not allowed to personally vote on the issue of censorship.”

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However, others were rather nonplussed. One student, who declined to give her name, told The Tab, “Does anyone really give a shit either way?”


  • Concerned Student

    “Songs with “lyrics that reinforce rape culture” to be replaced with instrumental or parody versions in Union buildings”

    What exactly is a lyric that enforces rape culture?

    What is to stop the student council voting to ban music they dont like for other reasons under this legislation?

  • RapesACrimeNotACulture

    Rape is not a culture. It’s a crime, a horrible and horrific crime. ‘Ending rape culture’ is nothing more than enforcing ridiculous and unjustified censorship rules. People should not be made to feel uncomfortable because they can’t say what they truly think or feel in fear of being called a sexist or a rapist. People are scared of the label because it is horrific and they know that. But now they’re scared to say they don’t think a particular song, or whatever have you, is sexist/about rape in fear of being accused as an ignorant sexist who condones rape. The people who are the ones throwing the words around at everyone seem to think it’s ok to be so loose with their labeling. That is worse than any song.

    As for Tyler’s song; yes it’s terrible but it’s written as if from the mind of Ted Bundy – it’s supposed to be terrible. As sick as the song is (in a bad way), somehow it managed to slip rather silently under the radar. Yet, everyone had a big PMS flap over blurred lines which isn’t even about rape in the first place.

    Student council has become a student censorship enforcement unit.
    Well done.

    • Anon

      You just lost all credibility the moment you called it a ‘PMS flap’.

  • Big Brother

    Watching you.

  • Music Fan

    Do they intend to ban most rap music? Lots of pop music?

    Lady Gaga “Do what you want with my body”

    I’d say that promotes rape culture.

    Will there be a committee reviewing all popular music to decide what is allowed and what isnt?

    Can students submit songs to be banned, which will remain banned until the student council votes on them?

  • The voice of the silent majority

    How do you define a rape apologist? Will we simply see a ban on any speakers that the Feminists don’t like?

  • UBU1984

    Will it be possible for a society to make a coordinated appeal against this policy, or the songs the council wish to ban, without running the risk of being disaffiliated from the union? Who is making that decision and why should they have the power to silence other students or a student society.

    P.s Do I address my letter to the Ministry of Truth?

  • Anon

    “Students are not allowed to vote.” Conveniently forgotten Tab that every single song has to also be approved at the AMM every year?

    • tab

      updated to include amendment

  • UBpoo

    This is a measure than is definitely not wanted by the majority. It is also a completely pointless gesture because the song has already been number one and heard millions of times. The union should stop wasting their time and do something useful.

  • Rob Griffiths

    Here’s some clarification, particularly regarding who votes at Student Council:

    The eligible voting members of Student Council are all current students – over 700 – representing other groups of students. A list of voting members is available at Furthermore, additions to the list of banned music approved by Student Council must also be approved at the next Annual Members’ Meeting at which all students can vote.

    The full text of the motion (including the amendments that passed and the point that did not) is available at

    If you are interested in how this stance was arrived at, you should feel free to speak to your Student Council representative and ask them how they voted.

    • UBU1984

      I don’t think you understand the nature of freedom of thought and expression Rob. It is not something that any majority, either student council or annual members’ meeting can deny an individual. It is a right people hold over others. Hence why it is in the human rights bill.

      Moreover, don’t frame this just as a policy about songs. The motion also gives the student council, and equality officer who nominates them, the ability to disaffiliate societies for the opinions they hold. No student, or group thereof, should have that power over their fellow students for the opinions they hold. It is a nasty policy for that reason.

      • Anonymous

        Then start a referendum and get it repealed?

        • G

          A referendum where the entire student population votes on it? Yeah, a motion like this should have been a referendum in the first place.

          • Anonymous

            But it wasn’t. It was passed by the biggest student council in recent years. Whether you believe that student council is representative is up to you, but the previous powers that it has been granted were given by students. If you don’t like it, either bring a motion to the next council or start a referendum. Quit sitting on the Tab and whining.

    • Tumblr is leaking

      I bloody well hope that no-one from this union becomes a future national leader.

      All of you are insane or have no spine.

      • MutinyOnTheBounty

        They are a bunch of semi social rejects who all support eachothers vanilla ideas without question.

        President says they are the CEOs and MPs of the future, they are not.

  • Concerned

    I think they banned this song because they don’t like the sleazy sound of it, and they’re on their own power trip. The song sounds like Strictly Come Dancing material to me.

    Note the importance of the word my in this ‘pat yourself on the back’ tweet:
    “3 out of 4 motions passed for my Ending Rape Culture at the University of Bristol” – Alice Phillips.

    This tweet, and the fact that most people don’t even want the ban, has convinced me that she cares more about her own successes than real life victims.

    The 4th motion (banning George Galloway from Uni) didn’t get passed. Granted, he was wrong in saying that the sleep rape allegations against Julian Assange were untrue/misleading – but given that the crime surfaced just days after Assange made the biggest leak of government secrets in history, you can see forgive him for being pessimistic.

    But his words got taken out of context and he gets called a rape denier. Don’t forget all the good things Galloway has said and the minorities he’s represented.

    WHETHER SHE REALISES IT OR NOT THIS UBU REP IS DENYING YOUR FREE THOUGHT. Everyone knows rape is bad, dumbass, your preaching to the converted. The only thing your doing is depressing boys (look up suicide rates) and making girls more stressed and painting them as weak by basically saying the chances of being raped are increasing. Nobody wins.

  • Concerned

    What’s most irritating, is they probably chose a contentious song because it would provide the most news coverage – Not realising that it actually comes across as anti people, prude, guilt tripping, christian, classist, sexist, cultural snobbery… and the word everyone’s scared of… racist.

    Why do we only kick up a fuss when a white guy makes what’s predefined as “black” music eg. From Jagger to Eminem, now Thicke.

    Be people, people. Don’t get boxed in.

  • Biggie Smalls RIP

    What’s UBU’s stance on ‘straight shittin on hoes’ and ‘fucking bitches til their arseholes bleed’?

    • Anonymous

      I’d like to know how they feel about “bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks” too

  • A fucking idiot

    Praise the Lord this motion managed to pass, now finally we will see an end to the oppressive and tyrannical rape culture that is running rife at UBU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111111111111

  • Person who thinks

    Is it just me who doesn’t think that the concept of rape culture doesn’t compute? Because rape happens and people think things cause it, that is our culture? Well, shit, I guess we better start calling everything our culture. I’m writing this on a keyboard and my brain is making me do it, and people write bad things on the internet, END KEYBOARD CULTURE.

    • Keyboard Hater

      Hear hear! I will write a policy on this to bring to the next UBU student council! Finally we can bring an end to this disgrace, censorship is the way forward wooooooooooo!

      • Keyboard Apologist

        This argument is ridiculous, Julian Assange blah blah blah

  • Generic Cynic #34

    I’m ashamed to be affiliated with an institution where this ill-thought-out, auto-fellatio of a motion was passed. Reeks of someone craving attention wanting to leave their mark for self’s sake.

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