Don’t let the Cavendish chant ruin Week One’s rep

It is unfair for the Cavendish chant to taint all the hard work Week One reps do, says Victoria Ibitoye

Week One reps provide a ‘friendly face for new students when they arrive and help them to have a great introduction to university life’, according to the SU website. 

While Week One reps seek to welcome freshers in ways that only they can, recent events have brought their methods into question.

After Cavendish’s necrophilia chant that was filmed and captured online, the question of whether reps are really the best people to welcome freshers remains.

Or, do a small minority spoil it for those who really and truly care?

week one

When the Cavendish video surfaced I was shocked. I immediately cast my mind back to my experiences as a fresher in order to recall whether something similar had happened to me but to no avail.

My freshers week consisted of me trying (and failing) not to slip in the rain on my way to lectures, signing up to as many societies as I possibly could without completely bursting my £20 budget and being extra friendly to everyone I met in the hope of making new lifelong friends.

Not once was I encouraged to sing a vile chant –heck most of the chants we were taught were funny and, quite frankly, harmless.

As far as Week One reps were concerned I rarely came into contact with them, and the one time I did it was pretty positive.

After failing to get tickets to the Baywatch themed freshers night my Week One Rep encouraged my friends and I to check out the comedy night instead. It ended up being one of the most enjoyable events I went to that week.

Still, that was two years ago and evidently a lot can change in two years.

UoN Feminists criticised the SU reaction to the chant

UoN Feminists criticised the SU reaction to the chant

In recent years the subject of lad culture at university has become more prominent causing groups such as UoNFeminists to be formed to deal with the issue head on.

But did the actions of the Cavendish reps really represent what it means to be a Week One rep? And how far did the incident paint an accurate picture of what freshers 2014 was like?

I decided the only people who could really answer these questions were the Cavendish freshers themselves.

The home of the Cavendish Rangers

First year Industrial Economics student Shemsi said: “I think the whole thing has been blown completely out of proportion.”

“Most of our reps were helpful, on the second night when I was completely out of it, one of our reps, Dexter, carried me all the way home and made sure I got back to my halls safely.”

“After complaints were made about the chant, the reps told students that they should no longer sing the song and it was only a select few students who carried on.”

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His sentiments echoed that of the majority of freshers I spoke to.

Almost all only had good things to say about their reps and thought the issue had been made much bigger than it needed to be.

Whilst a few admitted that the video was unacceptable, most felt it failed to acknowledge all the positive things their reps had done in order to make sure they enjoyed their introduction to university life.


Ultimately if there’s one thing to be gained from this incident it’s that with great power comes great responsibility.

Week One reps are the first university representatives freshers meet and as a result they have a duty not to alienate those they should be trying to welcome.

However to let the incident taint all work they put in would be unfair. A lot of hard work goes into welcoming freshers, not just in terms of ensuring freshers enjoy their first week but also in terms of maintaining students’ safety after nights of heavy drinking.

For most it’s a sleepless week and a tremendous amount of effort is made to ensure the week runs smoothly without any major disasters.

That, at the very least, is worth applauding.