Homophobia, rowing, turds and carnivals in Oxford this week. JAMES ROTHWELL reports.
Fresh questions around Oxford’s equality policy arose this week after The Oxford Student revealed that Exeter college will be hosting an anti-gay pressure group.
Headlines screamed “Exeter Welcomes Homophobes” in reaction to college authorities hosting a conference organised by “Christian Concern.” According to its website, the group aims to reintroduce conservative Christian ideals into the legal system.
Alarmingly, the group recommends “corrective therapy” for homosexuals, who are sinful and evil in their view (see the full OxStu investigation for details).
But students are even more concerned about the College’s perceived ambivalence towards the implications of hosting such a group, and indeed their ambivalence towards the issue of homophobia in general.
The Exeter response provoked guffaws in Oxford’s gay community, as did the college’s assertion that by hosting Christian Concern’s conference they are standing up for freedom of speech.
But even more bizarre than the scandal itself was a crass cartoon in rival paper Cherwell the following day. Their likening of an exposé on homophobia to a slimy turd fished out a toilet bowl has already made ripples in JCR communities. Rather depressingly, the paper’s eagerness to make a few cheap shots at their sensationalist rival made them forget entirely about the issue at hand -namely, that an Oxford college giving an anti-gay group the “seal of approval” by hosting their conference is very much in the public interest of students.
In other news, the usual futile back and forth points scoring about history libraries has raged on. Many have also celebrated the recent victory in the struggle of gender equality, which is that male and female rowers will gain equal coverage in the boat race as of 2015.
Elsewhere, the endearingly shambolic troupe behind the city’s carnival has scrapped the event once again, while new research suggests that people with smaller brains have fewer friends. Oh the joy of being the cutting edge of scientific research at Oxford University.
Overall, been a veritable snowstorm of controversy for Oxford students this week – and on that note, over and out, chaps.