FOLLOWING complaints about obscene photos posted on the University of York Rugby Union website, the Rugby club faces a tense week as it waits to find out what action, if any, is to be taken by the AU which meets on Thursday to discuss the incident.
“Some people, myself included, took offense to photos that were put up on the Rugby club’s webpage, and consequently I’ve taken measures to shut down that part of the site,” revealed AU President Stuart Leslie who was unsurprisingly reluctant to give away too much information until the AU had talked about the issue.
“The matter will be discussed by the AU Executive Committee, and we will deal with the matter internally. Until then there is very little else that I can say.”
The content of the material, which included some explicit photos taken up the skirts of girls, was raised in SU Exec last week by the women’s officers.
The women’s officers told how they had been made aware of the pictures through a friend taking part in the Vagina Monologues. This person had also taken offense to the material and the three officers went about making the objection known to various people.
Gracie Fletcher-Hall said that she was “pleased with the response so far” having taken the complaints to Leslie and other members of the Students’ Union which has seen the website shut down for the time being. “When I found out about it, I just thought it was absolutely dreadful, and surely illegal. It seems ridiculous and stupid that they have done something like this.”
She added that “one of our main concerns was for the reputation of the University as a whole, especially because anyone coming to play sport at York from other institutions might look at the website.”
The nature of the offense means that there could be serious implications for individuals within the Rugby club, or the club as a whole. Given the sensitivity of the situation, Rugby club President Chris Bates, like Leslie, was equally unable to comment on the matter as he awaits the findings of the AU’s investigation.
He claimed that he wished to remain silent until the facts behind the incident had been established, stressing the importance of stopping individuals or the club itself being implicated until the AU had discovered the truth behind what happened.
This comes on the back of a disappointing few months for the Rugby club who have seen their Roses fixtures cancelled because of disciplinary action taken against the Lancaster Mens Rugby Club following an incident involving damage caused to hotel rooms which took place while the team were on tour in Poland. This was deemed to have brought disrepute to the university as a whole and consequently the Lancaster Athletic Union took action against the club having reportedly given out warnings in the past.
Whatever the AU’s decision, the controversy surrounding this matter will have damaged the reputation of the Rugby club considerably, which will come as a huge disappointed for Bates who was quoted in January as having worked very hard to improve the image of the York Mens Rugby Club and create a more respectable campus profile.