Photo: Ann Yip

UPDATE: Men’s Rugby Union prohibited from SU events

The Students’ Union (SU) has issued a statement on the concluded sanctions for the Warwick Men’s Rugby Union Club (UWRFC) today on Thursday 27 November.

The decision to sanction the club was made on November 13. An appeal was however made by the club and on Tuesday 25 November, a conclusion came out of the appeals panel.

It is understood that the decision was prompted by a video which showed an ‘odd’ initiations event featuring male freshers dressed in maid outfits and man-kinis.

The SU statement wrote: Following a disciplinary hearing and appeals process, the Students’ Union found the Rugby Club to be guilty of the following:

  • Drunk and disorderly conduct;
  • Abusive language to students and in earshot of members of the public;
  • Illegal behaviour (with regard to one participant exposing himself on the bus);
  • Failure to follow required health and safety provisions that have – or are likely to have – put someone in danger of serious injury, illness or death;
  • Negligence by the Exec towards the students taking part in the adoptions.
The club will not be able to attend POP!, Skool Dayz or the Sports Ball for the rest of the academic year

For the current year, the Rugby Club will not be able to attend SU events POP!, Skool Dayz or the Sports Ball.

This means that the club will not be able to hold any organised socials, queue together, ‘gather’ together, or have any collective themed costumes for or at the events. They will also be unable to sit together at tables for the Sports Ball.

While there were concerns that club individuals may also be barred from the events, the SU has stated that individual members, including executive members, will be allowed to attend the events if they go with another club/society or attend separately.

The Rugby Club is now also under a suspended sentence. This means that they face the risk of being closed for one year from the middle of Term 1 of the next academic year if the club is found guilty over another significant incident or serious complaint.

The SU disciplinary panel have however considered the club captain’s commitment to reforming the club a strong mitigating factor. If the club is able to demonstrate a willingness to do so, their sanctions regarding attending SU events may be lifted by Term 2 Week 9.

UWRFC Rugby club captain James Clark responded to the decided sanctions: “The club fully understands the reasons for the outcome of the disciplinary and we accept that the behaviour we displayed was inappropriate. We look forward to working with the Students’ Union and the University to move forward and put this incident behind us.

The club are already embarking upon an internal disciplinary system where members who “do things which bring the club in disrepute” will receive consequences such as bans from game-playing or from attending socials, with such sanctions varying in length depending on the severity of the incident.

The club fully understands the reasons for the outcome and accepts that the behaviour we displayed was inappropriate
UWRFC Rugby club captain James Clark

Club member and first-year Politics and International Studies student Ed Wilkinson, commented on not being able to attend the SU events with club anymore: “It’s frustrating, but it’s not as though we’ve been banned from socialising altogether, only on campus.

“It affects freshers disproportionately because POP! is the only cheap night out for us, otherwise we’d have to get a bus or taxi to go to Leamington or Coventry.”

The SU commented that the club had deviated significantly from the proposals submitted and approved, “in turn jeopardising the safety of their membership and bringing the reputation of the University and Students’ Union into disrepute”.

They stated: “We hope that these measures send out a strong message to other clubs and societies that we take complaints of this nature very seriously, and encourage students to be better members of the Warwick community.”

Club initiations and adoptions at Warwick are required to be fully planned and approved by the SU in advance to ensure inclusivity, student welfare and minimum disruption to others.

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