Was 2013 the year of the ban?

Whether it was pole dancing, Tim Westwood or the Sun, Britain’s SUs have been quick to jump on the bannedwagon.


best ban infographic

2013 saw the deaths of Michael Winner, Margaret Thatcher and Nelson Mandela – but they’re not all that’s missing from the lives of Britain’s students as the New Year approaches.

Alas, 2013 was also the “Year of the Ban” as Britain’s SUs awoke to the possibility of banishing society’s most poisonous offerings from their respective campuses.

So sit back, relax and ruefully enjoy the Tab’s countdown of Britain’s 10 Biggest Bans 2013:

Blurred Lines

Blurred Lines narrowly pips The Sun as the feminist cause celebre for UK SUs. First banned by the ever-progressive and oddly named EUSA at Edinburgh University, the sound of the summer/the sound of sexual assault has since been banned by Plymouth, UCL, Bristol, Leeds and Kingston to name but a few.


The Birmingham Guild of Students got a little heavy-handed with their zero tolerance anti-racism policy declaring sombreros, Sacha Baron Cohen characters and the Native American from the Village People (of YMCA fame) to be symbols of oppression. The ban lost some of its power when the Tab Birmingham exclusively found photos of senior Guild officials wearing – you guessed it – sombreros.

Tim Westwood

Quinquagenarian tosspot Tim Westwood, the UK’s answer to Eminem, found himself in the Dawghouse after sparking outrage during a gig at the Leicester SU by asking girls young enough to be his grandchildren to “keep their pussies tight and clean”. Exeter Respect promptly “postponed” his performance  to the delight of the city’s genuine hip-hop enthusiasts.


ULU, the catch-all umbrella union for most of London’s uni students, has had a bit of a torrid time this year. If their president wasn’t getting arrested for taking part in an illegal protest then their ground troops were being forcefully evicted from Senate House. Just yesterday the beleaguered devotees decided to try and get police banned from entering campus buildings without a warrant. The march was promptly disbanded, again forcefully, with over 45 arrests made. Not technically a ban yet, but watch this space (if you’re lucky there’ll even be more videos of the feds giving the 21st century hippies what for).

The Sun

Rupert “Dirty Digger” Murdoch and his underlings at The Sun have attracted feminist ire for their continued use of Page Three models. The titillating tabloid has been banned by SUs representing UEAPlymouthCardiffSheffieldStirlingManchesterKingston and a whopping five Oxford colleges.

High production values

Not formally banned, the voluntary boycot of high production values has been led by the exec teams at Loughborough and Birmingham who each produced videos that looked like the by-product of a Year 8 IT lesson. LSU’s version of La La La was so bad that original artist Naughty Boy filed a copyright complaint and Birmingham’s cringe vid starred a girl so poorly cast that she can’t even pronounce “Birmingham”.

Memorial services

Staking a claim to be known as Britain’s most contrarian SU, ULU (yep, those twats again) banned its executive officers from attending a Remembrance Sunday parade in an official capacity. Their decision not to officially respect those who have fought for their country was roundly condemned by the London-based students they are supposed to represent.

Pole dancing

Swansea University caused consternation across the country back in October when they banned the pole dancing society. Female fitness fanatics and potential perves alike were left poleaxed by the news that the SU was outlawing the society because of its links to the sex industry.

Sports clubs

Sussex Uni saw their rugby club disbanded for two years after causing £15,000 worth of damage when tour hijinks got out of hand. Cardiff University’s football team were kicked into touch after an ill-advised powerpoint presentation on date rape and domestic violenceAberystwyth’s cricket team found themselves on a sticky wicket after wearing t-shirts featuring rape jokes. The Nottingham University rugby team were denied their Varsity match by the Notts SU after a fresher pooed in a sink during their initiation ceremony. Word of advice: If you want your sports team to continue then don’t make rape jokes, destroy things or poo in sinks. Simples.


It’s always nice to end on some good news. In Manchester the SU displayed a willful ignorance of the zeitgeist and chose to revoke a longstanding ban. Coca-Cola made a campus comeback to rival Lazarus’ revolutionising Mancunians’ vodka consumption forever.