The UCL Men’s Rugby Club has issued a formal apology to the Women’s Hockey Club following a Summer disciplinary hearing over an instance of racist chanting and harassment.
The incident, which occurred on the 6th June, the final Sportsnight of last year, took place on the free shuttle bus from Phineas to Loop in Oxford Circus. The UCL Men’s and Women’s Hockey Clubs were the first to board and went to the back of the bus on the upper level.
According to witnesses, the rugby team weren’t happy that the back of a bus was being occupied by a different club. They responded by insisting that the hockey players move towards the front of the bus, intimidating other students verbally and physically. Some members sat on girls who refused to move.
Following this, some of the team started reciting a chant about why members of certain cultural and religious groups could not play rugby. A video of the events has been circulated on social media. The chanting included lines such as, “Jesus can’t play rugby because he’s nailed to the post”, “Mohammed can’t play rugby because his head gear is illegal”, and “Vishnu can’t play rugby because he’s got too many hands”. When one of the chanters realised that he was being filmed, he pointed to the camera and said, “Sorry, we’ve got someone breaking some UCL personal relations there… we didn’t really say anything”.
After the incident was reported to the Union an Activities Executive Disciplinary Hearing was held in July. As a result, the Men’s Rugby Club has been placed under suspended disaffiliation, meaning that if they are involved in a similar incident within the next year, they will lose practical support and funding from the Union. On top of this, two team members have been banned from club socials for the full academic year.
Last week, at the behest of Union, the Rugby Club issued a formal apology to Women’s hockey club for the ‘misdemeanours of a small group of members’ who represented the club ‘in a regretful light’. They revealed that the club will partake in seminars and workshops to correct their behaviour, and added that they will work to ‘improve their reputation and relationships’ going forward.
The incident occurred in the same week that a report was released showing that instances of university racism had increased by 60% in the past two years.