Spectre of “sexual harassment” haunts King’s after formation of college drinking society
King’s College Students’ Union describe drinking soc as “not something we need or want here”.
Although perhaps lacking the headline-grabbing pizazz of ‘Piggate’, the new society – which has been rather obscurely-named the ‘King’s Reagents’ by the revolutionaries – has provoked intense debate due to the traditional opposition of the College to the formation of such “alcohol-fuelled groups”.
As Eleni Courea, President of KCSU, stressed in a recent statement following the Reagents’ inauguration, “King’s has always been proud not to house any drinking societies.”
But, Courea’s address, seconded by (some) members of the KCSU, made clear tradition was not the only motivation for adopting a tough stance on the issue.
The diktat also stressed, for example, the dangers of “exclusive and insular” groups compromising the “unity and openness” of the King’s community, whilst also expressing concern over the “heavy political implications” of drinking societies, especially when they represent the College as a whole.
Courea emphasised that “no matter what your intentions were when founding a drinking society, these institutions will always be laden with heavy political implications and a culture of exclusion towards marginalised groups of people”.
The JCR’s declaration has incited dissent amongst certain members of the King’s undergraduate body.
Some have questioned KCSU’s ability to speak for all members of its college in claiming societies are “not something we need or want here”.
Although claiming that it was depressing for “everyone who has been at King’s for a little while to witness the formation of a drinking society”, it is not clear whether Courea’s email reflected a true democratic consensus.
Individuals involved with the new society also objected to the link drawn by KCSU between drinking societies and bullying or sexual harassment. Although Courea underlined the “pretty clear” link between societies and the “higher-than-usual number” of such incidents since the start of term, she gave no evidence of the correlation.
One source close to the Reagents – who has asked, in fear of retribution, to remain anonymous – expressed disappointment at KCSU’s ”unfair prejudice” against a society ”only meant for innocent fun”.
They were also frustrated at the college’s strict adherence to an ”old tradition”, especially when ”the vast majority of Cambridge colleges” have drinking clubs similar to the Reagents.
It seems that drinking like Kings has lost its meaning.