A petition to block the banning of Varsity chants has reached over 1000 signatures

“It’s just lighthearted rivalry”

Plans to ban chants at varsity events have been knocked after a petition against the move has hit over a thousand signatures.

Set up by the University Sports Committee,  1058 students have signed the petition against the proposed ban on inter-university chanting during the annual sporting event.

The petition comes after SU president Christy McMorrow set out his policy to ban sexist and classist chanting at the sporting fixtures between The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam.

Speaking of the age-old banter between the two rivals,  McMorrow believes it has no place at the event and has said: “We wouldn’t treat classism or sexism as acceptable in our nightclub, our societies or our elections. The same should be true for sport.”

However, the petition to protect this long-standing part of varsity has seen a surge of support over the last few days.

Despite the proposal already being taken to council,  Chair of the Sports Committee Annabel Faulkner has been overwhelmed by the momentum of the petition and is keen to carry on her fight against McMorrow’s bid.

“I think the fact that the proposal has been passed as a policy has made people even more passionate about the campaign to keep varsity chants a part of our annual sporting events.”

“The chants in question are part of light-hearted rivalry, something which is part of the competitive nature of sport.”

The petition also mentions the work the Sports Committee have done throughout the year to break down barriers at the University of Sheffield and strive to make sport accessible and welcoming to everyone. The Committee points to the Black and Gold community wearing rainbow laces in support LGBT rights at the 2015 Varsity, the launch of blue and purple lace to represent mental health in sport and their support of the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign aimed at empowering females in sport.

Although support has been growing for the Committee’s petition,  many are not fans of the atmosphere the chanting does bring to varsity and feel that some take it too far.

Jodie, second-year Geography, has said: “It shouldn’t be banned, but the swearing after the ice hockey match was unnecessary and not even sport related. Shouting in our faces and throwing bottles at us when we were leaving was awful”.

Jim Chaplain, second-year History, added that he felt half and half about the proposed ban: “ On the one hand, I’m a fan of freedom of speech. But I’m not a fan of events that the university tries to make out that we should all be attending being surrounded by sexism and classism”.

Megan Taylor, second-year English, was however much more in favour with the petition and commented: “I don’t think there’s a single person I know who would take or has taken offence from any of the varsity chants.
“They’re part of sport culture and part of the fun of attending varsity matches; if anything they improve the atmosphere and allow for more fun.”

What do you think? Have your say now