Gower-Strand Occupation Cancelled

Occupied 2013 becomes unoccupied.


Varsity was cancelled and we wept. The Gower-Strand Occupation was resurrected and we rejoiced. Now let us recommence the weeping. Around 9pm yesterday evening, after all his efforts, Burlington Bertie was forced to cancel the much anticipated Rugby match, initially scheduled for 22nd March.

A statement from Burlington Bertie on the Facebook Event explained that ‘an institution’ affiliated to UCL’s women’s Rugby team advised them against participation as there would be “ramifications if they were to play”. Following this, the men’s team from the Strand were also told by ‘an institution’ to withdraw due to the similarities between this event and the previous ‘Varsity’ tournament.

This is all in spite of the fact that the event was to be held as a non-affiliated invitational match, with stringent security arrangements in place, organised segregated stands and full insurance.

Set to be a great occasion for students from both universities, it was also made apparent by Bertie that graduate recruiters, Mercer, would have been involved, as well as £1 from every ticket being donated to the charity ‘V-day’.

Despite the promotion of other imminent competitive events, such as The London Ice Varsity, The London Boxing Varsity, and the KCL vs. UCL Law Society Varsity, it is without a doubt that the Gower-Strand Occupation’s cancellation will cause mass disappointment. Pre-sold tickets, however, will be fully refunded (minus the £1 booking fee).

The Tab asked Burlington Bertie what he thought of ‘institutions’ provoking the cancellation of a technically unaffiliated event;

“I think this is a complex situation. Obviously, I’m biased and think the game should have been allowed to run, but I think we should look at this from the perspective of the positives: there was a lot to offer from this event in terms of graduate employment, charity and, as I’ve always emphasised, fun. It seems a tremendous shame to let this go to waste when it was better organised than any Varsity (for want of a better comparison) that I was a part of.”

With the UCL Harlem Shake two days ago causing a surge in UCL pride, the match would have been met with immense excitement and solidified our renewed university spirit. Its cancellation robs the participants of the opportunity to prove that friendly rivalry and good sportsmanship can exist between our two institutions and denies students the right to an enjoyable end-of-term event. Unfortunately, it looks like we benthamites will have to find something else to do in March to fill that Varsity void.