We asked the sports teams what they think of the new ‘anti-lad’ classes
The university’s decision to incorporate “anti-lad classes” into everyone’s timetable next year has sparked a debate on campus.
Belisa Prekulaj, Vice President and Social Sec of FEMSOC, welcomed the decision.
She said: “We’re going to start doing consent and awareness workshops anyway so the fact that anti-lad classes are compulsory will be good for educating everyone.
“It’s a positive idea.”
But what do sportspeople actually think of these classes? Are necessary, or patronising? What will they achieve, if anything? And will anyone even go?
Harry Tillyer, Rugby Union Club Captain
“I think they’re a really good idea and they’re needed. While the majority of rugby have never caused any issues it would be wrong to deny that there’s never been any bad incidents.
“Lad culture doesn’t start and end at university, but as Club Captain I’m more than happy for our team to do our best to educate people on these issues and we’ll be doing our best to make sure people attend them.
“So even if there’s only a handful of guys who cause issues they represent all lads – especially the whole rugby team. That’s why we would be more than happy to attend the classes.
“Although I can see some people’s reservations, I think everyone sees there’s a problem. We should at least try to deal with it, even if it only positively affects one person.”
Joe Pringle, Social Sec of American Football
“There isn’t a problem with lad culture and there never has been. Even on tour we’re very respectful towards women. I don’t believe there’s a need for specific lad culture lectures for the whole university. Anti-lad lectures are verging on sexism towards men because they generalise men so much.
“Even if the uni thinks there’s a problem, the way to solve it would be to have more student welfare people on nights out and more bouncers. They should do lectures about real problems such as the rise of nationalism and terrorism.
“Of course, there is a problem with women being treated badly in clubs, but I don’t think that lectures will solve it. There needs to be more volunteers to make sure women are safe – that’s all we can do.”
Clare Howe and Alex Howell, members of Women’s Football Team
“The idea is a good one but I don’t think it will be effective. I’ve previously studied sexism in football and a lot of guys argued they don’t actually mean sexist things they say – when they are in a group of ‘lads’ it becomes ‘banter’.
“Basically, the environment heightens the need to perform masculinity which results in irrational behaviour such as sexual harassment verbally and physically due to social desirability.
“I think some girls can behave as badly as guys: they too run around the o2 touching guys inappropriately. So it should be something that is communicated to all genders in an opening lecture and not just aimed at lads. I’m really not a 100 per cent sure the so-called “lads” would attend them – even if they’re compulsory.”
Max Hurst, Social Sec of Cricket
“If I saw anything untoward happening at a social I would act straight away – they wouldn’t be able to carry on with it. But it’s not right to generalise every lad in the uni saying we’re all like that.
“Does the uni think that women aren’t manipulative and abusive to men too? They can both just as bad as each other.
“There will always be a lad culture, no matter how many anti-lad classes you hold. It’s hard enough to educate ‘lads’ when they’re sober. But they aren’t in the same mindset as when they’re drunk and surrounded by other sports lads so it won’t have much effect in that sense.
“The concept is fine, but they just shouldn’t call it ‘anti-lad’. The execution is poor and it’s too one-sided.”
Linden Dixon, member of the Rugby Union team
“I don’t think the anti-lad classes will help. There’s always going to be ‘lad’ cultures at unis no matter how many classes there are. But the majority of the examples of this culture I have seen and heard don’t seem that extreme.
“There are always the few odd cases that push the limits, but they are generally dealt with adequately if they go too far.”