“Free Pussy” Event Sparks Outrage at Oxford University

Just last week at Oxford University, the Pembroke College rugby team (PCRFC) was banned from competing in the first round of the league season due to the organization of an event publicized as a “free pussy” event.

According to the Huffington Post, the social secretary of the PCRFC sent out an email to each member with details regarding the event, “telling them to each pick a female first year student who would be ‘quaking in their boots’. One member was told his ‘task’ — ongoing until he succeeded — was to supply a positive pregnancy test.”

Subsequently, the PCRFC released a statement apologizing “for any ‘confusion or misunderstanding’ that had arisen from the ‘joke.'”

PCRFC’s statement attempted to explain the email:

“Pembroke Rugby Club accepts that the emails circulated earlier this week about our proposed Crew Date were entirely misguided and represent a serious case of poor judgement.

“We would like to clarify that the ‘challenge’ proposed in advance of the intended Crew Date was intended to be a harmless drinking game joke, and was in no way intended to mean that the team member should lace their dates’ drinks with anything illegal and/or to engage in any sexual abuse. A leader of the club confirmed, in a follow up email, that what the joke was supposed to involve the player adding another drink or food to their date’s wine (eg tabasco), and if the date guessed correctly what had been added then that player would then have to drink the wine.

“The rugby club and its members want to take this opportunity to apologise for any confusion or misunderstanding that arose from this.”

To many within the Oxford student body however, the contents of the email were deeply offensive and described as “horrific.”

As quoted by Cherwell in the UK, Will Brown, a third-year student at Pembroke, stated:

“I, like the vast majority of students at Pembroke, was disgusted by these comments. They represent an ugly, corrosive form of misogyny that simply shouldn’t be tolerated in any level of society, and that can’t just be dismissed as yet another supposedly harmless juvenile ‘joke’. This incident highlights the dangers of a ‘lad culture’ that has been all too dominant at Pembroke in my time here, and shows that commendable initiatives like sexual consent workshops are vital to ensure that our colleges and common rooms remain inclusive, safe environments for everyone.”

Furthermore, Pembroke College’s Junior Common Room (JCR) has responded at length in reaction to the email:

“There is very little about the email that suggests any level of respect for the women of Pembroke.  From the imagined female freshers ‘quaking in their boots thinking that they might be picked,’ to the concerning ‘challenge’ to a team member to bring a ‘positive pregnancy test’, the email is a pretty repulsive read. The proposed spiking of the dates’ wine with ‘spirits or food or anything you like. But not your sperm’ prompted our main fear for the safety of those going on the crewdate.”

The JCR goes on to state they “fear that the rugby committee do not seem to have grasped the seriousness of their offences, and will shrug this off as an overreaction of a female-led JCR committee.”

Since the email has been made public, both the social secretary of the PCRFC as well as the team’s captain have resigned.

As quoted by the Huffington Post, Dr. Clive Siviour, dean of Pembroke College, said: “I am aware of the e-mail sent by a member of the Rugby Club. The content of this e-mail is completely unacceptable, and I am taking the appropriate action on behalf of the College authorities.”

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