Teddy Hall Ban Blurred Lines

College ditch Blurred Lines at JCR events

Teddy Hall found itself at the centre of attention today after a motion to ban the playing of controversial chart-hit ‘Blurred Lines’ at JCR events was passed.

The college made headlines last year when it lead the way with a boycott of the Sun as part of the “No More Page 3” campaign; last night’s move comes in the wake of a nation-wide campaign that’s seen a string of NUS-backed bans across the country, starting in Edinburgh in early September.

The motion was proposed and seconded by campaigners Chris Pike and Ally Pullen, both members of the Hall’s feminist discussion forum Teddy Etc.

As Harold Wilson will tell you, it’s all about getting out the vote.

It comes in the wake of the offending song being played twice last week at a college bop; reportedly half-a-dozen people complained at the time. Attendance at the bop was in the area of 350.

The motion notes this and, arguing that “students at Teddy Hall should be able to socialise, listen and dance to music which does not make them feel so uncomfortable when at their own bops and college social”, and asked for a mandate “to inform any DJ or person in charge of music for bops and college socials that Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines is not to be played.”

Blurred Lines

A number of people spoke out in support, with newly-elected OUSU Officer James Elliott making a strong declaration.

JCR President Margery Infield initially said it was “unnecessary”, citing that the DJ immediately stopped playing it when complaints were made.

Infield did later vote in favour, voicing her fear that rejection would see “the JCR being labelled misogynistic by student journalists”.

I bet if they just showed this still and dropped the mic, it’d have passed unanimously.

Other JCR members had similar apprehensions, with claims being made of the press “holding the meeting to ransom”.

A dissenting voice came from SEHRFC captain Seb Siersted, who while supporting the intention of the motion, implored the meeting to “trust the student journalists”.

Addressing the concerns of Infield and others, Siersted proposed a separate motion from the JCR to serve as a blanket condemnation of misogyny regardless of whether or not the ban went through, though it was eventually scrapped on a constitutional technicality.

Third-year Lucy Stuchfield proposed a secret ballot for controversial motions such as this one, but the proposal was defeated as too difficult to set up.

One student raised concerns of setting a precedent for censorship; another dismissed this claim as “fatuous”. Pike for his part said that “the whole JCR decides what the whole JCR wants”.

Oxford’s oldest college isn’t stuck in the past.

The motion was eventually passed, but not without a few questions over the vote; 11 abstained and a number in the high 30s voted in favour.

This was then taken as a clear majority since initial attendance at the meeting was 57, though numbers had swelled since then as many came in late.

Speaking to the Tab, Chris Pike said: “I’m absolutely delighted that the motion has gone through.

“In the time I’ve been at Teddy Hall I’ve seen my college go from strength to strength in terms of its stances of issues like these, and I’m really proud to be a Teddy Hall student today.”

Pike: “absolutely delighted “

In a public Facebook post, James Elliott said: “Very pleased that tonight St Edmund Hall JCR voted in favour of not playing Blurred Lines at any future college events.

“It is totally unacceptable for women who have suffered from sexual violence to have to see their college friends singing and dancing along to a song that perpetuates rape culture.”

Hall become the second Oxford college to ban the song with a similar motion at Balliol passed last week. It comes in the wake of several declarations of support for a ban from OUSU, including a statement from OUSU Women’s Officer Sara Pine to the Tab several weeks ago.

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