The SU think they’re punishing rugby lads, but they’re screwing us all over

Cancelling one of the biggest sporting events for the students of two universities is not a throwaway punishment, whatever the SU thinks.

Pooing in a sink is wrong, there are toilets for that.

But because one person decided it would be funny to destroy one basin with his unpleasantries, 30 young men won’t play in the biggest match of their lives.

Banning Varsity rugby because of one louts behaviour is astoundingly stupid. Stopping this match not only affects the players, it affects the wider student population. Varsity rugby is a must-see event for many students, from both Notts and Trent.

How did it come to this? The incident occurred in October 2012, but the club were only made aware of the disciplinary action in April 2013.

After the traditional ‘Fathers and Sons’ social, the boys ventured to Crisis, as per usual. The culprit returned hours later to do the deed. After investigating, the SU then decided that the club had been involved in an ‘initiation’ and that this was to blame for the poo in the sink.

photo: Martin Sylvester

photo: Martin Sylvester

The club has denied all allegations of nudity and coercion, and appealed against the ban that would have made them miss Varsity and the BUCS final against Swansea, which they won.

This is the fun part. The SU, happy to dish out the ban, did not have the correct procedural documentation to deal with any appeal, forcing the club to resend it. To top that off, the club were not made aware of the appeal date until their president was wished “good luck”.

This date was out of term time, something the SU does not allow. However, the existence of medic and post-grad students within the club made term times too hard to define… figure that one out.

Finally, the club argued against the decision on three counts: the fact their social was deemed an initiation, the huge time gap between said social and the incident and the aggressive behaviour of one panel member, Finance officer Holly Roberts, who they felt was clearly out to get them, considering the fact she was not even supposed to be there.

The club won on all three counts.

Banned... despite winning their appeal

Banned… despite winning their appeal

But it was a pyrrhic victory. The student panel dismissed the allegations that a ‘Fathers and Sons’ social was an initiation and failed to provide reasonable explanation for Roberts’ appearance on the panel.

Their ban was reduced by half to run in October 2013, meaning that all five sides would be relegated from their leagues, they’d receive no funding, have no coaches or training slots. Essentially, there would be no club. They would have to dissolve.

So the club accepted the original ban. For most of May and June, they’ll have no activity. No Varsity. And probably no BUCS final, should they make it this year.

Anyone who has been will tell you how much fun Varsity is, regardless of whether we get one over Trent or not. It is a time to embrace the stereotype that we’re all posh and end up in jobs so well paid we’re able to pay the benefits of the opposing uni.

A ticket last year cost £4. Varsity was attended by around 500 people. Cancelling Varsity would take £2000 away from a deserving charity, all because the SU feel they need to make an example.

Why take all of this away because one person decided it was funny to take a deuce under the taps? Let alone the fact this happened a year ago.

Ban the individual. Fine the club. And for anyone who thinks Rugby deserve it for their ‘initiation’, think again.

The SU have simply made an example out of the rugby lads for being just that. Too laddish, apparently. Not that they ever proved nudity and coercion was involved – as was alleged.

All they could prove was the stupidity of one reveller fresh from Crisis. What they have achieved is something far worse.

In an attempt to set an example to all clubs, they have punished all of us.

So, SU, will you see sense, and lift an undue punishment on the club and the students of this city? Shit can be dealt with, missing Varsity cannot.