Several students and York locals have criticised James and Halifax Colleges’ ‘Chavs vs Toffs’ themed bar crawl, set to take place this evening.
The Facebook page for the event states “Halifax get your trackies, Burberry and caps ready and James crack out your top hats, canes and monacles for a night of HALIFAX V JAMES rivalry”.
Megan Ollerhead, Chair of the York Student Socialist Society, condemned the event, saying “The Chavs and Toffs event is a particularly unpleasant example of poking fun at the working class and unemployed, which flourishes unchecked in certain sectors of the student body.
“It propagates unfair and distorted stereotypes and the student union should shut this event down and discontinue the theme in the future.”
Graham Martin, a Fishergate resident, told Nouse of his worries with the bar crawl, saying that “an event like this reflects badly on the University at a time when it needs to be doing everything to appeal to a wider cross-section of society”
However, other students have expressed a distinct lack of concern with the event’s theme. One second year student told Nouse “nobody is dressing up in Burberry because they think poor people are rubbish. I don’t see why toffs and chavs is a particularly good theme for an event myself, but I couldn’t care less if other people do.”
Kallum Taylor, YUSU President, stated “I’ve got big problems with both terms; ‘chav’ and ‘toff’. Both of them have ugly and unfair connotations which have been forced onto them by those looking to ridicule and mock people and aspects of their lives who are from either ‘side’ of the socio-economic spectrum.
“We’ve received no complaints about it though, so it would be unfair to claim a universal offence of behalf of YUSU’s membership. However, students can lobby the respective college committees though – who can easily address this in the future.”
Taylor also praised Owen Jones’s book ‘Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class’ and encouraged students to read it.
This comes after last term’s rebranding of Derwent’s infamous ‘Slag and Drag’ night and after similar criticism was levelled at Chav D, another controversial Derwent event.