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20th February 2015

All-male Oxford drinking society condemned for “homophobic” behaviour

The Abbotts, a secret black tie drinking society, was accused of tearing down LGBT+ pride flags from the walls of Corpus Christi JCR, and their behaviour has been described as “unacceptable.”

Oxford Univeristy secret drinking society ‘The Abbotts’ has been accused of homophobic behaviour after tearing down LGBT+ flags from the walls of the Junior Common Room at Corpus Christie College.

Corpus Christie JCR was enraged at the “unacceptable” behaviour, condemning the society and allocating a further £75 for the purchase of new pride flags in the common room.

The private all-male, black tie drinking society, comprised primarily of privately-educated males with right-wing political views—according to the Oxford Student—had been initiating new members in a night of drinking and partying when the events occurred.

They have as yet refrained from publicly apologising to the JCR, and it is said that individual members have removed rainbow flags from the walls of the JCR before. At least one graduate leader of the society holds a high-status business position.

The motion to condemn the society was passed overwhelmingly by the JCR, who described the actions of the society as “an unacceptable way to tell us to get back in the closet.”

They also agreed to set aside £1000 of charity funds for LGBT+ charities out of their £3000 fund.

OUSU LGBT+ Officer Jenny Walker described the actions of The Abbotts as “incredibly childish, [and] also highly offensive, and demonstrates a clear insensitivity to the identities and values of other students.

“The reaction of the JCR members in support of LGBTQ-identifying students is, however, a heartening sign that the vast majority of students at Oxford will not tolerate such behaviour in their university.”

February is LGBT+ History Month in the UK, and the university and city of Manchester are hosting a variety of events across the month, celebrating the history and culture of the LGBT+ community.

Corpus Christi’s Equal Opportunities Officer, Jem Jones, told the Oxford Student, “Corpus JCR is a place where absolutely everybody should feel comfortable, welcome and safe. This ethos is not up for debate.

“The events of [the] night have been condemned by the rest of the JCR and the actions taken in in the JCR meeting on Sunday are indicative of the overwhelming majority of the JCR’s stance on the matter.

“I don’t care if it was meant as a joke, I don’t care if it wasn’t meant to cause offence; it is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our JCR.”

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