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
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.”