Warning: contains explicit language.

A video depicting first year students at the University of Nottingham engaging in an explicit chant has recently surfaced.

The chant features descriptions of necrophilia and violence, and can be heard being shouted by students from Cavendish Hall.

“We were taught this chant by the Week One Reps on Monday, the first night of Freshers’ Week”, one first year from Cavendish Hall told Impact.

“I refused to join in with the chant, and said to a Week One Rep that I wasn’t going to sing. He responded to this by saying ‘it is a bit naughty’”, they added.

Week One Reps are a team of former hall residents who assist new students during their Freshers’ Week through various means, including chaperoning students to and from each night’s events.

“I went out every other night for the rest of the week. Each night I heard the same chant, still being led by Week One Reps”, the student shared.

“As the week progressed, freshers started to lead the chants themselves. On the Sunday night, whilst on the bus and queueing for the Freshers’ Finale [hosted at Capital FM Arena], I heard the chant seven times in the space of an hour”, they added.

The video below depicts a large number of students shouting the second half of the chant outside the Capital FM Arena.

Impact spoke to students who confirmed the full chant:

“I wanna be a Cavendish ranger, living a life of sex and danger.
High flying, 69-ing.
These are the girls that I love best, many times I’ve sucked their breasts.
Fuck her standing, fuck her lying,
If she had wings I’d fuck her flying.
Now she’s dead, but not forgotten, dig her up and fuck her rotten.
You wish, you wish, you wish you were in Cavendish…”

After the video had surfaced, second year students commented that they had also been taught variations of the chants last year. These chants had been adapted for their specific halls, Ancaster and Sherwood.

Angharad Smith, Co-ordinator of Week One, responded to the incident: “In training and in discussion with reps, we are clear about what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour. All Reps sign a contract stating that chants are specifically not to be promoted so it is hugely upsetting that this has been ignored.

“All of our reps and committee members worked really hard to make sure Week One was a success and provided an invaluable support system which helped many first year students when they were feeling unhappy about being away from home. This [incident] should not detract from what was otherwise an extremely well run programme that many students enjoyed”, she added.

‘The Reps Contract – Week One 2014’ includes a clause that states: “I will not promote the singing of abusive, offensive, crude or intimidating chants and songs in Week One”.

The contract also specifies: “I am the first representative of The University of Nottingham that new students will meet and therefore recognise that I am a role model and must display appropriate behaviour at all times”.

Sarah Dear, Louisa Chenciner and Jacob Bentley

Image courtesy of Beki Hooper

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Harry Copson, President of the University of Nottingham Students’ Union, has also responded:

“As a Students’ Union we do everything we can to ensure the enjoyment, safety and comfort of all our members. This is particularly relevant during the Welcome period in September as we recognise that many students during this time feel both excited and fragile.
 
“In order to ensure that all our members can enjoy themselves in a safe environment during [the Welcome period] we train our Week One committees, both exec and reps, in how to deal with an excitable and often anxious cohort of incoming students.
 
“This training involves, but is not restricted to, guidance around chanting and noise. There are numerous reasons for this; from making sure that people feel comfortable and able to get involved to the issues of excessive noise disturbance. It is unfortunate that in this instance the guidance we provided has not been implemented in the way that we would hope for as a Students’ Union, to ensure enjoyment and comfort for all our members. I must however stress that the issue in question has come about as a result of negligence by a minority, and stress that the Students’ Union wishes not to undermine the brilliant hard work put in by all members of the Week One team, including both students and staff.
 
“We are confident that our system of Week One reps are an invaluable addition to the Welcome package, and in future we will continue to work with and provide training for them in order to ensure they can fulfil their roles as effectively as the large majority of the Week One team have this year.”
 
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44 Comments

  1. October 3, 2014 at 17:43 — Reply

    No mention from anybody quoted about what’s actually going to be done to redress this with the relevant Week One Rep(s).

    A ‘contract’ usually involves agreements around what happens in particular situations, including a ‘breach of contract’ (although contract is an odd word to use for this I feel).

    And people say ‘lad culture’ isn’t a thing..

  2. Ana
    October 3, 2014 at 18:03 — Reply

    Pfffft I like how they treat such gross indecency and creepiness of a song as if it were some minor hiccup. It’s not just “naughty” it is severely alienating to women and necrophiliac, like seriously wtf? No measures outlined for punishment and a pretense that “the system works well”, how can it possibly work well when we have behaviours like this? It’s one thing to have a silly song rivalry with another hall and another thing to have songs like this which pretends essentially that Cavendish doesn’t have girls and the lads do all the scoring or if it does acknowledge Cavendish girls then only in the grossest way possible. This is not banter this is digusting.

  3. bob
    October 3, 2014 at 18:07 — Reply

    The whole setup of freshers week is such that it’s not at all inclusive of anyone who’s interests lie outside of drinking until they are sick, terrible music and casual misogyny/homophobia.

    As it stands the whole thing creates a mobbish culture of herd stupidity that can be dangerous for those participating and make those who don’t enjoy such things feel lie they are being ignored or not catered for.

    Big props to the guys over at HighSoc ect who run the Alternative Freshers week, but it is so badly publicised by the official channels that I worry very few Freshers actualy know about it (I had absolutely no idea it was available to be during my freshers week 2 years ago and so ended up going with everyone else to terrible nightclubs I didn’t enjoy that played music I didn’t like at physically painful levels and sold beers I don’t like at exorbitant prices.

    I don’t know how things are now since I don’t go out to such places any more, but the wnole of first year it felt as though the halls had some kind of deal on with certain clubs to let them advertise their nights and sell tickets through students, the result being that everyone basically went to the same 5 club nights every week at the same club and finished the year with no idea that places like the Boilermaker or pit and Pendulum, Brew Dog, The Canalhouse etc or on the cultural front that The Broadway cinema, the Contemporary, the Playhouse etc even exist.

    I was in halls in Sherwood and I had to force my blockmates to come with me just to prove that Wollaton Hall and the huge, beautiful Deer Park were literally directly over the road.

    Point is, I think it’s really sad that thanks to the weird artificial student bubble so many of us live in a lot of people are going to leave after graduating never having properly got to know the city which, if you explore it properly, is a fantastic little place to live and these silly chants are just one symptom of this much larger problem.

    • Anon
      October 3, 2014 at 18:56 — Reply

      >it felt as though the halls had some kind of deal on with certain clubs to let them advertise their nights and sell tickets through students

      It feels that way because it is exactly that way. Alternative events or club nights would be a direct competitor to the clubs that have sponsorship/arrangements with the SU.

  4. Seona Deuchar
    October 3, 2014 at 18:19 — Reply

    Really love how the SU team was notified of this chant on Wednesday of freshers week and there has been no visible action and we’ve heard of this chant being sung up until Sunday. Nice action there SU, why were the people who broke their agreement allowed to continue having the perks of being week one reps?
    I’m having to to posting comments on articles because my emails about this have gone under the radar it would appear.

  5. James
    October 3, 2014 at 18:21 — Reply

    Oh let them have their fun. It’s crude, offensive and, importantly, not to be taken seriously by the people singing or hearing it. These sort of things aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and they aren’t mine, but if it helps forge some sort of sense of community amongst halls residents ahead of/during one of the most difficult times in their lives then I think we can all just let it slide, can’t we?

    • Alex
      October 4, 2014 at 10:31 — Reply

      The fact that it is “not serious” almost makes it worse. How can this kind of thing be a joke or even remotely funny? It’s not, it’s perpetuating a very serious problem and giving people an idea that this kind of thing is just ‘banter’ or even acceptable. It’s not.
      A community united by blatant encouragement of sexual harassment and violence is not a community that I want to be a part of. To call it a community is mind boggling in itself as this chant excludes at least half the population.
      Rather than ‘forging a sense of community’ it was alienating and therefore not something that we can ‘just let slide’.

      • Anon
        October 4, 2014 at 18:42 — Reply

        I think you’ll find that plenty of girls are involved in and enjoy the chanting too. The only people who find this sort of stuff insulting are those who are too uptight and easily offended. It’s a bunch of 18-year-old kids having a laugh – the only people who end up getting hurt are those that allow themselves to.

      • Anonymous
        October 5, 2014 at 20:49 — Reply

        Well look at all the girls singing it then. It’s harmless, nobody takes it seriously but the ones who can’t see exactly how un serious the whole thing is.

    • October 4, 2014 at 12:34 — Reply

      Being sexist, misogynistic, necrophiliac is not the only way of ‘forging some sort of sense of community’.

    • October 6, 2014 at 13:13 — Reply

      “some sort of sense of community”

      WHAT sort of sense of community tho?

      for whom?

      & who feels included & who feels excluded?

      & what sort of community is it building?

      If you don’t ask yourself any of those questions… well then yes I can see how you might want to dismiss it as trivial.

    • Paul John Miró
      October 8, 2014 at 11:57 — Reply

      You need to look beyond the end of your nose, James. Cause and affect does not need to take place immediately. How many of those guys then abused their partners that night, the following night, the week after, or will abuse them in the coming years after being subjected to such attitudes?

      Think about it a little more in depth.

      • Mano Ork
        October 9, 2014 at 10:41 — Reply

        Probably none, the ones who actually abuse are not going to sing about it.

    • Mark
      October 25, 2014 at 17:17 — Reply

      ‘Forge a sense of community?’ Is that how people abuse the term community nowadays? I suppose the Nazis were a community as well, and their chants were ‘forging’ too.

      And yes, before you say anything, it is an entirely legitimate comparison. Racism, xenophobia, is the disassociation from and of the ‘other’, a process of objectification that then enables whole groups to subject whoever has been classified as the ‘other’ to whatever is deemed appropriate by the group. In this case, the subjection of females to male interpretations of sexual activity.

      • Danny
        October 25, 2014 at 18:32 — Reply

        Bit strong mate, surely? Some of the fellas at the back were girls. James had it right about not taking it so seriously. The song in itself was not inherently derogatory to women; there is nothing actually wrong with depicting women in a sexual manner, especially if the girls singing the song felt the same way.
        The chant did not advocate sexual violence, and although the suggestion of noecrophilia was perhaps lacking in taste, I doubt any of them are going to be influenced in that regard.
        Anybody with sense will accept that the human brain has evolved over the years to be clannish and form ‘cliquey’ social-groups, as well to make instant snapshot judgements of somebody based upon their most obvious traits (colour, facial features, religion, race, ethnicity, body-shape, glasses etc.).
        Almost all of humanity will decide in a fraction of a second whether a face is trustworthy, honest, friendly, aggressive, low-intelligence, cruel etc.; nobody knows why as these judgements have zero correlation.
        To summarise a long-winded point, people will always be ‘clannish’ and mildly prejudiced. The first question is: at what point does it move from ‘ribbing / banter / taking the piss’ and become ‘abuse / harsh / being a dick / uncalled for’; how many people must be offended before something becomes unacceptable (bearing in mind that some are very easily offended)? The secon question is: is there a point to actually getting involved? He who says that this becomes an entrenched ideology forgets the existence of prejudice regardless. And even if there is a point, who is to say when it is actually worth causing such a fuss over such a thing?
        In the past, anything was acceptable which didn’t hurt, or which wasn’t meant to offend; at the moment, no-one can seemingly agree upon what is acceptable.

    • Paul
      October 26, 2014 at 17:53 — Reply

      Fun, James? Hmm. You guys have a strange notion of what is fun, if crude and offensive chanting in public = fun. Chanting can be fun, but chanting that offensive rubbish is not fun. I was disappointed to hear male and female voices in the crowd. Apparently nobody has the guts to stand up to a lowly ‘authority’ figure trying to influence them to behave in this way? Pretty pathetic.

      Community? Who on earth would want to be a part of *that* community? I suppose it helps us all identify the mindless and the drunk who are easily led and don’t have far to fall to the bottom of the pile. So I guess a community of bottom-dwellers is what we want our freshers to aspire to? And I suppose there won’t be so many ‘proud’ members of Cavendish from now on? Plenty of denials to parents and friends? (“No mum, I was there, but I wasn’t one of the ones chanting. Yes it is disgusting. No, I’d never do anything like that.” – will we be hearing a lot of that from guilty parties?)

      One of the most difficult times of their lives? Are you for real? If moving to university is the most difficult thing that an adult has done (bar learning the lines of a dirty, offensive chant) then save them from the rest of their unbearably harsh lives. Please. These fragile dolls are too brittle for the world, don’t make them go out to work and pay bills, they might lose their own sense of entitlement.

      We can all just let it slide, can’t we? Well, slide is the right word, implying a downward motion towards a lower level. Like the chanters, you need to grow some standards, James. If you are able to identify what is crude and offensive, but not quite strong enough to take a stand against it, then the bit missing is the bit where we all, you included, hold ourselves accountable to a higher standard.

      When you one day have children, please make sure that you bring them up, daughters and sons, to stand up against this sort of awful stuff, be it from individuals or from crowds. Do not let them be complacent or complicit.

      Students and staff, current and alumni, are shaking their heads at you all.

  6. Duncan Davis
    October 3, 2014 at 18:56 — Reply

    The response from the Week One Co-ordinator and SU president seem pretty dismissive. Paraphrasing: “It’s bad that this happened but the way we run things is perfectly fine and we’re not going to do anything about it.”

  7. Comm Enter
    October 3, 2014 at 20:58 — Reply

    An incident such as this really expresses the power and impact of words, and your words in response have done a great job to cover the story. This is a superb news article covering a concerning issue of conformist culture that seems to consume such a large number of particularly young and suggestible students in modern university life in the UK, though I can only speak from experience at Nottingham.

    Though I’m sure some of the abhorrent chanters involved in the incident and others like it mentioned in the article, not only just repeat the chant but see no problem referencing disturbing necrophilia and sexist language, I am presuming the majority involved are instead ignorant conformists deafened by their necessity to be liked by new people at university by any means necessary.

    While this is an issue the Students’ Union needs to address and take very seriously, they cannot be held completely accountable for the actions of their Week One reps if the SU did its job in briefing them. At the end of the day, these reps made a choice to inflict this nonsensical sewage of lyrical drab upon first years, not the SU, and the students then made a choice to chant it, albeit under the self-prescribed spell of cultural conformity. Just as these kids are not accurate representations of most students (I hope), these reps are a minority and non-representative of the overarching positive image UoN’s SU seeks to implement in my view.

    Those involved in the actual chanting are the ones to blame.

    Every participant of this chant ought to be ashamed of repeating such filth. It’s unfortunate that this assumable (and hopefully) minority of students are breathing the same air as us each day across the campuses.

    With this chant, these students are spewing shit they don’t understand, to impress people they barely know, in order to fit in to a social system that celebrates stupidity and ignorance.

    We all naturally conform as human beings to better adapt to our environment (accent, language, certain practices et cetera), but this video and these kids feel so compelled to ensure their cosmetic social survival, that they will leap down to levels of this pathetic, insulting and misogynistic squalor in the instant quest for social acceptance, suspending what little morality they possess in the process.

    The Week One reps are shepherds to the sheeple, the latter given and taking guidance from unprofessional (to say the least) workers who are supposed to provide assistance to ensure a welcoming sense of comfort to new students, but have instead offended and embarrassed the university. Those being herded meanwhile

    People should be free to do as they please if they’re not hurting anyone, particularly from age 18 onwards, but most of the contributors to this Cavendish chant must lack an individual sense of freedom entirely to have even contemplated conforming out loud to it.

    The cultural climate of conformity is a saddening one, one that helps supply the associated stereotype of drinking culture with UK universities.

    If this is what it takes to make friends at university, I’d rather leave a loner.

  8. dan
    October 3, 2014 at 21:00 — Reply

    Nottingham is a public school university. Let’s not blame the lads. It’s the blazers.

    i was at Notts. Sad to see but hardly surprising.

  9. Anon
    October 4, 2014 at 18:45 — Reply

    So one person was offended out of a hall of a few hundred who felt a sense of community and probably had an amazing WeekOne, in part due to these chants. People need to lighten up and find something better to do with their time than nitpick at a few kids having a laugh.

    • Anon
      October 26, 2014 at 11:22 — Reply

      These are kids who just got away from the control of authority – ie their parental home – the whole point of these chants is to be wrong and offensive – it’s just naughtiness intended to be offensive but it’s harmless – sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you – obviously they don’t want to hunt down dead partners in reality!!! Some of the comments here sound like the Thought Police have arrived – more scary than anything else surely?

  10. Anonymous
    October 6, 2014 at 12:23 — Reply

    surprised it’s taken this long for the chants to be reported, and a shame that one hall has been singled out when all of them chant similar lyrics

  11. A
    October 8, 2014 at 12:52 — Reply

    What a pathetic response from the Nottingham student Union. It is “unfortunate”?? Are they kidding?!

  12. Ex Notts
    October 8, 2014 at 14:42 — Reply

    My freshers’ week was now four years ago. God I’m old. Songs about the alleged homosexual activity of Rutland residents and songs about necrophilia were par for the course even then. Plus ça change?

    Back then to run for Week One (in my hall at least) you had to take part in some hustings where alcohol featured very prominently. I don’t wish to sound like a “banter blanket” but the result was that you ended up with a bunch of Karni-cocktail swigging “Lash Captains” rather than the more sensible type of student politico who joined the welfare/diversity networks.

  13. Chris
    October 8, 2014 at 16:16 — Reply

    What a bunch of cocks – great advert for Nottingham and it’s dirty students

  14. Anton
    October 8, 2014 at 16:51 — Reply

    If it were a bunch of working class louts standing around chanting obscene songs they’d get arrested. Student louts on the other hand ..

  15. Ex Nottingham Student
    October 8, 2014 at 18:55 — Reply

    Lets be honest here. This has been going on for the better part of a decade (circa 2007ish).

    And not to point fingers… the problem is basically the entire students union which is steeped in lad culture and popularity contests the whole way through – to a degree that is utterly alienating. I joined societies in my first year and basically stopped attending any and all events by them by second year. I suppose I should thank them, I outgrew them and was shaped into a responsible and mature person by seeing exactly what I didn’t want to be.

    I do hope someone takes a GOOD LONG AND IN DEPTH look at the Karni Society to be honest. They happily keep these err… charming chants up every weekend on rag raids and actively encourage them. Along with getting you so drunk you want to die. The whole Karni society I have a bit of a question mark over really. True they raise money… but otherwise? AVOID THEM

  16. Anon
    October 8, 2014 at 23:52 — Reply

    Is no one going to address the fact that people were secretly filmed, whilst intoxicated, without their knowledge or consent and then have had it posted on youtube and various news sites? Surely consent must have been needed. Also why has the cavendish resident who filmed this stayed anonymous, surely if they were so outraged by this chant they would own up to the filming and going to impact with this ‘story’?

    • October 10, 2014 at 17:42 — Reply

      It is perfectly legal to film in public, and no prior permission is needed. It would be pretty difficult to expose this scandal if the student with the camera had to obtain permission from the Week One Reps and students involved in advance.

  17. Frances Pearson
    October 9, 2014 at 11:51 — Reply

    This was going on when I was a fresher at UoN 7 years ago. Absolutely disgraceful. Such a shame to see nothing has changed.

  18. anon
    October 9, 2014 at 20:20 — Reply

    I’m an ex-student of the University and was sent this via facebook. The University and the student union should take note that a wider audience is taking an interest and are appalled at what is going on. As for some of the comments (thankfully a minority) that regard this as an over reaction to lads having fun … try saying that to the women who get abused, raped, harassed, beaten up because they are regarded as sexual objects. Words are powerful, even more so expressed in solidarity or ‘community’ …. that’s how violence becomes legitimized.

  19. 1990s Student
    October 14, 2014 at 07:54 — Reply

    I was a student at Nottingham in the mid-1990s. I came to this article via the BBC News website.

    Aggressive homophobic chanting directed at other all male halls (as there were then) during hall formal dinners was the norm and loudly encouraged by hall reps.

    Social attitudes have changed a lot since then and I suspect there are many more out students on campus than there were 20 years ago, but it’s disappointing to read that there is still homophobia at Nottingham University.

    Back to campus life in the 1990s, the great irony was that many years later it emerged that some of the loudest homophobes on campus were actually in the closet themselves.

  20. JMC1963
    October 18, 2014 at 16:52 — Reply

    I work at the university. Can you image how the university would respond if this was done by staff? Instant dismissal for bringing the university into disrepute. I see no difference here. The NSU leadership should hang their heads in shame , and the student body should be clammering for them to stand down. Students, NSU, staff and stakeholders are all bound by UoN policies and this is a serious breach of University policy, which should be treated as an act of gross misconduct. It is deeply damaging in every respect, and it looks very much like the NSU are trying to bury bad news. Where’s the statement on the NSU website denouncing these acts of misogyny? Not a word.

    • Mark
      October 25, 2014 at 17:22 — Reply

      Exactly

  21. Dave
    October 25, 2014 at 11:45 — Reply

    The most worrying thing about all of this, is that these will be the leaders of tomorrow!!
    If people thought our country was in trouble now, just wait until the current leaders are in the old people’s homes and these thugs are in charge!!
    And no wonder women have such low opinions of men these days!

  22. Dave
    October 25, 2014 at 11:47 — Reply

    Just watched the video – women too…….it’s the end of humanity as we know it!!

    • Mark
      October 25, 2014 at 17:23 — Reply

      Didn’t sound like women were singing, though they appeared to be in the shot. The poor girls who attend a university that has the scum of male species in attendance

  23. TWC
    October 25, 2014 at 11:51 — Reply

    Alas, this type of activity has been going on for years. The childish attitude should stop and those in “authority” should be dealt with. Glad to see that fines may be imposed, and maybe some sent down … let’s hope the message gets through and such behaviour ends. This is a disgrace and does nothing to promote Nottingham.

  24. Ian
    October 25, 2014 at 17:39 — Reply

    Self-righteous sheltered trendy boy scouts come to university and find out people enjoy things apart from reading books and doing what the BBC and The Grauniad tell them they must do.

    People only behave like that because there are so many liberal fascists who are always telling them what sad priggish little lives they must lead.

    The women taking part are probably sick to death of family, media telling them how they must aspire to be prime minister or captains of industry to feel valued.

    And rather than all turn into wife beaters or sex maniacs it’s my bet that the vast majority of these students will grow out of such behaviour having got such neuroses out of their system, and turn into perfectly acceptable, productive and natural human beings, unlike the smug, repressed cretins who sit in judgement from their politically correct ivory towers.

  25. Bob
    October 25, 2014 at 21:36 — Reply

    Kids will be kids. This happens in universities, frat dorms and sports clubs around the western nations – it’s part of the culture.

  26. Christopher Payne
    October 26, 2014 at 09:06 — Reply

    Well said Ian. Some sense at last. Please, please people get a life. If you really think these songs are such a danger to society why don’t you approach it scientifically. Note down all the students who made this chant and then measure how many dug up bodies and had sex with them over a five year period after leaving uni. Let us know your results. By the time the politically correct clones have finished our young people will be singing Ring a Ring a Roses and Mary Had a Little Lamb on Freshers week. Give them a break, let them have some fun free from the threat of the mean and quite frankly disturbing killjoys who join their ranks then act like spys, recording, complaining and condemning under the dark shadow of anonimity.

    • Paul
      October 31, 2014 at 00:47 — Reply

      No need for such a longitudinal study.

      We can just look at the stats and data for campus rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment etc. Talk to the lads (off the record, of course – they’d never reveal their true attitudes in a study, only in private conversations before finally in their behaviour and actions) and find out how they are forming their concepts of sexuality and gender.

      Then we can go out into society and see the same stuff there.

      Because if it’s OK to do this stuff then we shouldn’t care about it, right? It doesn’t matter that we reduced your girlfriend, your wife, your mum, your sister, your daughter, and your grandma to always available sexual objects for whom not even death will prevent us from using?

      It’s a shame if you think that sexism, misogyny etc. are harmless fun. And that people who speak out against it are mean and disturbing killjoys. And that the ‘threat’ is coming from them. Hello values, meet upside down.

  27. October 26, 2014 at 09:54 — Reply

    Seems like Cav have upped their game a fair bit since I left Notts (Rutland) 10 odd years back. *Applauds*

  28. Campuslife
    October 26, 2014 at 10:50 — Reply

    I attended another East Midlands university in the early 00s. We were welcomed with a sing-off against other halls in the students union. T-shirts and songsheets were printed off for us. There’s nothing more enlightening than watching utter strangers off their heads on ‘Turbo Diesel’ screaming at each other about Necrophilia. Once you’ve seen that you know who to avoid for the rest of the year.

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