We spoke to the chair of Derwent about the cancelling of Chav D

“With so many themes, why pick one that could offend?”


Derwent’s annual college event Chav D will no longer take place.

The event which many have claimed to be a Derwent ‘tradition’, last year encouraged students to wear “tracksuit bottoms”, “gold chains” and “fake tan.”

In a statement posted on Facebook this evening, Derwent chair Alex Urquhart has denounced the event claiming it is, “no longer an event that Derwent can support.”

We had a more in depth discussion with Alex about the JCRC’s decision.

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The statement goes on to say that:

“Although Chav D is seen as somewhat traditional, when we are asked: “With so many possible themes, why pick one that could offend?” “Its tradition”, is no longer a enough to justify the event to the student-body, media or your Committee.”

“It is also important to note that this decision was made independently as a committee. We have never received any pressure or censorship from the College team and our relationship continues to be close, strong and friendly.”

The Tab have spoken exclusively to Alex Urquhart, the chair of Derwent College, about the decision.

Did the recent stories in student media concerning previous events have anything to do with your decision to cancel?

“There was discussion around this event over a year ago. Of course, how an event is received influences our thinking about future events and themes.”

Did you have an issue with the event last year/do you think it should have gone ahead?

“The history of this successful event made it a popular theme that would have been difficult to change. With the evolving thinking of the student-body, however, I, along with the committee, felt that the time was right to make this change.”

The cancelling of an apparently ‘controversial’ event in Cambridge made the front page of The Times two weeks ago. Do you think this, as well as the cancelling of Chav D is representative of certain students’ desire to be offended by everything?

“The right of students to protest is a useful, influential and powerful force. When offence is expressed, what we as a committee chose to act upon is an important part of our role. The committee decided that the student response to Chav D last year warranted action on behalf of the college community.”

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Last year’s drunken revellers

Last year’s Derwent Chair Rosalie Dowding, speaking to York Vision, defended her decision to put on the event.

She said: “In my opinion ‘chav’ is an association with appearance and culture, and has nothing to do with class status.

“Equating the working class with the word chav is stereotypical and is potentially quite reductive, offensive and is an association the Derwent JCRC has never advocated or encouraged.

“The event, if anything, plays to the ridiculous caricature that surrounds the word and, in doing so, ridicules this stereotype – as opposed to praising it.

“This Club D is a Derwent tradition in its own right and has been proven to be one of the most successful and enduring college events.

“The event is in no way designed to alienate or isolate groups within the University”

Third Year politics student and President of Derwent AFC, Peter Bunce told The Tab:

“It’s about time Derwent got with the times and cancelled Chav D. It is an offensive and derogatory event which actively promotes sneering and mockery, by the generally privileged, at those far less fortunate.”

The ‘controversial’ event will instead be replaced by a “Cops and Robbers” themed night which will take place on April 23rd.

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