Ben HaywardNovember 11th
2019

Lancaster University has banned students on ‘white T-shirt socials’ from its   students’ union nightclub due to the number of offensive slogans written on people’s clothing. 

The Sugarhouse, in Lancaster, has taken the step after slogans mocking murder and sexual assault victims were scrawled on clothing at one of the events, with messages including ‘Sandyhook woz bantz’, ‘Mandela touched kids’ and ‘Jimmy Saville was misunderstood’.

As a result, Lancaster University students’ union is now urging student groups not to organise the activities at all.

Nightclub Bans White T-shirt Socials

A spokesperson for the union told The Independent: “We strongly advise our student groups not to organise social activities of this kind.

“This is to avoid the actions of a small and thoughtless minority resulting in disciplinary action against their group.”

However, the problem isn’t confined to Lancaster. In February, a sports club at Coventry University was suspended over claims students wore T-shirts emblazoned with swastikas and the words ‘The Jews Deserved it’ to a social.

And in 2018 the Conservative society at Plymouth University was suspended after a photograph of students posing in T-shirts with slogans, such as ‘F*** the NHS’ was posted online.

White T-Shirt Socials Banned By University Club

Just last month, Leicester University students’ union also announced a ban on white T-shirt socials after a student was pictured wearing a top with the slogan ‘Hitler wanted my kind alive’.

A statement on its website says: “These events have a long-standing track record of promoting hate speech in a variety of different, equally unacceptable forms.

“Leicester alone has seen two instances of this since the start of term, where students have written explicitly antisemitic statements on clothing.”

“In order to safeguard all members of the university community ‘white t-shirt socials’ as defined above are prohibited from taking place with immediate effect.

“Any student group that is identified as organising a ‘white t-shirt social’ will face a students’ union investigation and appropriate action will be taken.”

University Nightclub Bans White T-shirt Socials

A motion passed at the National Union of Students’ (NUS) conference in April called on unions to ‘effectively discipline students’ responsible for offensive messages on white T-shirts.

It was also voted that the incidents should be ‘publicly condemned’ and that universities should work with minority groups ‘to ensure their safety and security on campuses’.

A spokesperson for the NUS told The Independent: “We publicly condemn such instances when they arise in order to encourage safe and secure environments.

“This very much aligns with our Alcohol Impact campaign where we publish guidance on commercial bar crawls and have expressed strong concern about these events historically.

“This is another example of how, when students lead we really can make a difference. We’d like to see more operations taking a responsible approach to these issues so that future events are inclusive and meet the spirit they were intended to provide.”

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