It was confirmed late Monday night that the Kate Kennedy Club (KK), which has been an all male club since its foundation in 1926, has voted to admit women. In February 2009, the Principal, Professor Louise Richardson withdrew the University’s recognition of the club. She stated at the time that, “the official endorsement of any club or society which excludes people because of their gender or race would be completely at odds with the values of this University.”
At an extraordinary General Meeting of the Kate Kennedy Club on Monday, a formal motion was proposed to allow all first year students, regardless of gender, to apply for membership to the Kate Kennedy Club. The motion was duly passed.
It has been reported to The Stand that the President of the KK, Thomas Pye, has now met with Louise Richardson to discuss the future of the Club. Importantly, the Club insist that the Kate Kennedy Procession (Saturday 14th April commencing at 2pm) remains at the heart of the Kate Kennedy Club and is its founding mandate.
Professor Richardson released a statement saying, “I am delighted to welcome the decision by the Kate Kennedy Club to open its membership to female students.” She went on to say, “I very much hope that our students can now come together in celebrating the wonderful and unique traditions of this great university.” For the full statement, see below.
Patrick O’Hare, Students’ Association President commented, “It is a sign of maturity that the Club has risen above any unease that they felt about the past few weeks and have moved swiftly to amend their membership policy. It must have been a very difficult decision to make and I hope that we can now move to heal any rifts that had opened up in the university community over the affair.”
After a vigorous testing process, applicants, both male and female, to the Kate Kennedy Fellowship (a separate organisation) were informed earlier this week whether or not they had secured a spot in the now famous split off group. However, will these new members’ hard work be to no avail? This raises many questions for students. Will this endanger the future of the KKF? Will the KK be invited back to the University? Does anyone still care about this KK/KKF thing? Does the KKF get to keep their cool Lord of the Rings titles, the Fellows?
The Committee of the Kate Kennedy Life Members released this statement:
“The Kate Kennedy Club Life Members’ Association has always recognised the right of the Club to fully determine its membership policies and to review them in a manner they deem appropriate and at a time of their choosing. It also pledged to give its full support to the Kate Kennedy Club and its current membership in their furtherance of the Club’s objectives and aims. The Committee of the Life Members’ Association therefore welcomes and fully endorses the decision of the Club to change its membership policy. It looks forward to welcoming new members to the Life Members’ Association in due course and to working with the Club, the University, the Kate Kennedy Trust, and the Kate Kennedy Procession Committee to ensure the Procession and other activities of the Club continue into the future”
University of St Andrews Principal and Vice Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson said,
“I am delighted to welcome the decision by the Kate Kennedy Club to open its membership to female students.
The annual Kate Kennedy Procession is an important event for the local community and we look forward to seeing the involvement of our entire community in this year’s event.
This has been a tough few weeks for many in our study body. I appreciate how difficult it must have been for the current membership of the club to arrive at this decision in light of the weight of history they have felt. I very much hope that our students can now come together in celebrating the wonderful and unique traditions of this great university.
As we look forward to our seventh century of academic exploration, it is entirely appropriate that we are united as an open and inclusive community of students and scholars.”