Glasgow university sexist heckling

(62 Posts)
Tallgiraffe Mon 04-Mar-13 21:00:09

I find it staggering, upsetting and depressing that supposedly well educated young men can think this is appropriate sad

kim147 Mon 04-Mar-13 21:08:35

Unbelievable - the whole article about the way female debaters are not supposed to sound "hysterical" is so depressing.

FastidiaBlueberry Mon 04-Mar-13 21:17:03

Men silencing women again.

Plus ca change.

StickEmUp Mon 04-Mar-13 21:24:32

And these students are the future of our communities.
Frigid. Wold they say this to their MOTHERS.
Im disgusted.

edam Mon 04-Mar-13 21:38:32

Idiots. I hope the president of the union lives up to his fine words about not tolerating sexism and boots these oafs out.

ecclesvet Mon 04-Mar-13 21:44:56

"While GUU encourages heckling at its debates events..."


pooka Mon 04-Mar-13 21:47:57

Glasgow had 2 unions when I was there - the oldest is the GUU which is the one in the article. Very trad. boorish drinking contests in the beer bar. Very rugby, very sexist and up-itself. Lovely building though.

The newer union is the Queen Margaret Union. Called the quim by GUU oafs. None of the elitist, sexist guff. Horrible building and bad food.

You could change membership from one year to the next. So while I was QM for the first 2 years, I changed to GUU for the final 2 years because they had a better study area (24 hrs) and better food, and by then I wasn't so tied to socialising in the union.

Sad to read the article. Not much changed then. Sadly I can recall a select few fellow students who, if I didn't know that they'd left more than 15years ago, could very well have been the twattish hecklers. They would have thought they were being funny. hmm Arseholes.

Trekkie Mon 04-Mar-13 21:58:33

For me the saddest bit was this:

"The pair claim they had tried to complain to the competition organisers but were told it was “to be expected" that women speakers would be booed and that they had “brought it on themselves” by choosing to stand in the final.”"

What can you do? It's 2013 FFS feminism / women's rights has been going for decades and still this can happen?

Schooldidi Mon 04-Mar-13 22:05:50

I found that bit sad too Trekkie. It really isn't on for women to have to "expect" to be insulted purely for daring to debate in public.

kim147 Mon 04-Mar-13 22:08:48

It sounds a bit like what happens in Westminster at Question Time. sad

It's not too difficult to listen to a debate and then add your comments when asked.

Trekkie Mon 04-Mar-13 22:09:32

If you look at tv / internet etc it happens all the time. Usually from randoms though for the organisers to say that is appalling.

edam Mon 04-Mar-13 23:17:26

I hope other universities boycott Glasgow (GUU, anyway) until they sort their ruddy act out, apologise profusely and kick out these boorish prats.

Trekkie Mon 04-Mar-13 23:19:33

It's a pretty ruddy big deal if Cambridge won't debate with them any more

I imagine anway

I hope Cambridge stick to what they have said

edam Mon 04-Mar-13 23:24:15

YY but I hope Cambridge aren't alone - I hope other university debating societies take the same stance.

Trekkie Mon 04-Mar-13 23:32:36

Yes me too smile

I just bet it all "blows over" and nothing happens and cambridge continue debating and somehow girls are less keen to get involved.

I can't imagine they are at all keen to get involved in glasgow sad

maybe I am a pessimist

rosabud Mon 04-Mar-13 23:57:59

All very depressing and we are all very cross about it, of course. What I want to know is.........where are the non-sexist men in all this? Where is their voice? Why aren't they howling in protest? When I was a student (rather a long time ago now!), I remember lots of ardent, political protest from both sexes on these kinds of issues. Where have these men gone??

eagerbeagle Tue 05-Mar-13 07:07:44

I read this this morning. It is saddening and a pretty damning indictement of where we are. I have no doubt that the young men involved thought themselves very amusing. It is not however amusing, not one bit, and such behaviour carries on into the workplace. These young people will go on to take up leading roles in our society in politics and the professions. I very much hope that they are taken to task for this.

BelaLugosisShed Tue 05-Mar-13 08:15:50

Words fail me. sad
Obviously anyone who complains has "no sense of humour" because of course, they were "only joking" I'm sure.

It's hate-fuelled sexual bullying.
Humiliation in any form is nasty enough, humiliation purely due to being a woman is utterly unacceptable.

BelaLugosisShed Tue 05-Mar-13 08:18:05

Oh, and why weren't the hecklers asked to leave and publicly decried/shamed? angry Its surely the only way to deal with those morons?

Tbh, I'd've expected that from the GUU when I was a student (back in the days when you had to choose your union affiliation). None of us would ever have dreamed of joining the GU. Afaik the QM doesn't have a debating society (it didn't when I was a student).

msrisotto Tue 05-Mar-13 08:22:13

Not surprising. You know, at least when it is outwardly, obviously happening you can object to it. Academia in general is probably just as sexist but it is less obvious and harder to object to without sounding paranoid, bitter and as if you are making excuses.

HelpOneAnother Tue 05-Mar-13 10:29:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pooka Tue 05-Mar-13 10:40:19

Helponeanother - Have to say that Glasgow is a great university - and the GUU can be easily avoided by joining the QM instead.

It's sad that these absolute twats are giving the university a bad name bringing it into disrepute. There were types like the old bullingdon crew of cameron/johnson et al. But I'd say their influence was very well diluted by the sheer number of normal and lovely students and the "rah" sexist crowd were no more vocal or influential generally than one might find at other "old" universities like Durham/Oxford/Cambridge/Edinburgh or St Andrews.

The QM had better music, better video games in the cafe and drink was cheaper too!

By year 3/4 I was rarely using unions though - social life had expanded. SO the GUU choice in yrs 3 and 4 was based on me being lazy and living nearer, and liking the library/study rooms more.

But what I'd like to see is proper discipline of the culprits and a University sanction (not sure whether that will be possible though, since the Unions aren't necessarily until the control of the University itself - they may be, but I'm not sure of the relationship).

pooka Tue 05-Mar-13 10:42:53

The debating society/event would probably only be attended by the members of the society (and obviously guests from other universities) so I'd imagine the vast majority of GUU members would have been completely unaware of the behaviour in the debating chamber.

Tallgiraffe Tue 05-Mar-13 10:56:30

They have brought the university as a whole into disrepute though so the university should have powers to discipline.

greenhill Tue 05-Mar-13 11:13:26

This depressed me so much when I read this article. I wondered if the boorish behaviour had been caused by alcohol (not that that should excuse the hecklers) or whether the men considered it to be standard comments, designed to upset and put the debaters off their stride.

I hope that now it is has been reported nationally, the hecklers will seriously consider how awful their immature behaviour was. I also hope that the university acts upon and punishes this type of ill mannered behaviour and intervenes earlier, to prevent this situation arising again.

sleepyhead Tue 05-Mar-13 11:22:08

There are still two Unions. The GUU does have a reputation for being "traditionally" boorish in some quarters. They should be very ashamed.

I agree, Glasgow University should not tolerate this and the students involved should be up infront of the University Court for bringing the institution into disrepute.

I was there in the early 90s and a member of the GUU for 2 years. It's appalling that this is still going on.

babanouche Tue 05-Mar-13 11:49:43

This episode disgusts me. These are potentially future leaders we're talking about. Quite terrifying. It seems to me levels of mysoginy are well on the rise. I'm hoping it only seems this way because more women are shouting about it.

WoTmania Tue 05-Mar-13 14:50:44

That's appalling. I odn't know what annoys/scares me most about those men's attitudes.
'I ‘shushed’ them - and one then called me a ‘frigid b----’.'
'The pair claim they had tried to complain to the competition organisers but were told it was “to be expected" that women speakers would be booed and that they had “brought it on themselves” by choosing to stand in the final.'

Really? We're 2013 and this sort of thing is still happening, women are still told that it's their own fault?

PopeBenedictsP45 Tue 05-Mar-13 16:56:21

This is so horrible. How disappointing that no one stepped in and did anything. Is it normal to heckle during debates, ever? I don't understand how shouting of any kind is tolerated during these events.

“While the judging panel did not notice any waiver, hesitancy or indeed weakness in Rebecca or Marlena's speeches as a result of the heckling, both speakers told me how upset they were while giving their speeches and Rebecca stated that she was on the verge of tears on a number of occasions,” he said.

What strong women.

WhentheRed Tue 05-Mar-13 17:31:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kim147 Wed 06-Mar-13 21:14:58

Follow up by the debater in the F-word

Depressing to hear that her picture was used as "hot tottie" by some students. Reminiscent of students who appear on University Challenge.
Also depressing to hear how the media misrepresented what happened.

doyouwantfrieswiththat Wed 06-Mar-13 21:30:00

You'd hope Darwinism would stop those idiots from reproducing. Thanks for the link Kim , I would like to hear more of this woman's voice. Maybe mumsnet could have her on.

Tallgiraffe Thu 07-Mar-13 08:05:38

That blog was brilliant reading, thank you for posting

AbigailAdams Thu 07-Mar-13 14:54:29

Cambridge University have come out in support of these women. Which is good.

duchesse Thu 07-Mar-13 16:03:08

Bloody hell, things haven't moved on since the 1980s!! I had been feeling quite hopeful for my daughters but this is a blow.

HelpOneAnother Thu 07-Mar-13 17:29:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I think the debates society at the GU probably harbours the last bastion of misogyny at Glasgow though. It certainly did while I was there.

FastidiaBlueberry Thu 07-Mar-13 23:58:59

I wonder if they wd tell black speakers that it's only to be expected that they wd be booed and that they'd brought it on themselves by being black and yet expecting to participate in the life of a university society?

But I keep forgetting, racism is morally and ethically unacceptable while sexism is not just OK, it's edgy and great and needs to be encouraged in universities

It honestly isn't the whole university though. The whole multiple union set up in Glasgow means that early different groups go through university barely noticing each other. There will be plenty of Glasgow students who are utterly mortified by the boorish arses in the debating society. I'd imagine the majority of them are embarrassed that these people seem to be representing the university, and annoyed too.

Incidentally, while I was a student, some of the active GU types phoned in a bomb threat to the QM. It had to be evacuated and it wasted considerable amounts of emergency service time. However the idiots who did it thought it was a great prank. hmm

pixi2 Fri 08-Mar-13 08:33:52

It will be interesting to see how Glasgow deal with this. The university has been brought into disrepute by this incident.

Incidentally, if the university deal with it appropriately and prevent the like from ever happening again perhaps they could advise Westminster. I find the MP's incredibly ill mannered in debates.

I find parliament a total embarrassment. It's just boorish jeering and heckling. And PMQs is largely just two posh arseholes insulting each other and thinking they're funny. It sets such a pathetically low standard for political debate in this country.

prettybird Fri 08-Mar-13 08:51:35

Spoke to dh about it as he's a graduate of Glasgow Uni (in 1981). He said it didn't surprise him as there is a particular small cohort of boorish, sexist guys (part of the institutional/cultural) sexism that exists in the West of Scotland. sad

He also admitted that he had also been against admitting women to the GUU, which only finally happened in 1980 hmm. He's more enlightened now. grin

I agree that the response from the Uni should be greater than just from GUU - they have brought the whole Uni into disrepute.

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 08-Mar-13 17:19:18

It's funny how these boorish men join the debating soc isn't it?

Like they're really fond of debate?

When what they really need to do, is set up a heckling/ shouting down/ mindless abuse throwing society for them.

They're not being catered for so they end up in the wrong soc.

poozlepants Fri 08-Mar-13 17:49:58

I think the University authorities should expel the offenders for bringing the University into disrepute.
The GUU had a terrible reputation when I was at University in the 80's and I can't believe it's still going on.

Kveta Fri 08-Mar-13 19:05:43

GUU was ever thus, sadly. Such a shame, because daft Friday was great fun, but the whole ethos of the union was male orientated. Sad that it hasn't moved on, and has in fact taken a backwards step, in the past 9 years though.

Glasgow university should make one attempt to get the GUU to clean up its act - completely and totally - and if they don't, it should be closed down. An organisation with these sort of attitudes has no place whatsoever in an educational establishment.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 10-Mar-13 09:45:39

If they had done this to any other protected group, they would have been arrested.

BonnieWeeJeannieMcCall Sun 10-Mar-13 15:51:54

GUU had a reputation for this sort of stuff when I was a student (not at Glasgow) in the 80s. The had the "Freds" - pornographic film nights advertised as "Tom and Jerry" cartoon nights.

I'm appalled that 30 years later, nothing has changed.

MechanicalTheatre Sun 10-Mar-13 15:55:45

They still had a subscription to porn channels in the GUU when I was there in the early 2000s. Oh, and published a freshers guide with the line "no means yes and yes means harder".

The GUU are a bunch of utter knobs and it is scandalous that they have got away with their behaviour for so long.

I wonder where the officers and alumni of the GUU end up. It could be interesting, for example, to look at the GUU officers who produced the Freshers' guide that MechanicalTheatre quoted, or who organised the porn nights, and see where they are now.

MechanicalTheatre Sun 10-Mar-13 16:39:34

SDTG, you'll be pleased to know that the president who sanctioned such antics is currently a maths teacher. I'm not saying he wrote the stuff - but the buck stops at the top.


NormaStanleyFletcher Sun 10-Mar-13 16:50:09

That is utterly depressing mechanicaltheatre

Very depressing indeed.

MechanicalTheatre Sun 10-Mar-13 16:53:56

It is, yeah.

kim147 Sun 10-Mar-13 16:56:31

Just hope his attitudes have changed now he's out of that University

<doubts it>

tintin1969 Mon 11-Mar-13 17:19:20

I heard about it on Womans Hour. Totally unbelievable. Had never come across the term 'rape song' till last week. What sort of retrograde crap is this? The university's reaction was pathetic

FastidiaBlueberry Mon 11-Mar-13 18:40:24

He's a maths teacher?

He's in contact with children?


MammaBean1988 Tue 12-Mar-13 12:56:51

Hi everyone, I'm really heartened by these responses to the GUU incident - I'm currently a student at Glasgow and am just so disgusted by this.

One of my friends is involved with the campaign against misogyny - i don't have a whole lot of time between studying and taking care of my daughter (3yrs) so can't be as involved as i'd like.

But she's just noticed me reading this thread and asked if anyone here is an alumnus from the time when the GUU had to admit women? Late 1970s-early 1980s - might be a long shot but if so and you'd be open to being in contact with their campaign against misogyny it'd be great if you could contact me and I'll pass on her details to you?

Gingersnap88 Wed 13-Mar-13 22:18:39

I pulled out of student politics for this reason. I was an officer for my union for 2 years as well as holding positions on NUS committees. At NUS conferences, there aren't many women compared to men, and you are treated like an object. I never enjoyed them, never felt comfortable or that people were interested in my opinions, just whether or not thy could buy me a drink / if I was single hmm really depressing that these could be our future leaders.

NUS have released a report on Lad Culture with ink UK universities, it's called "thats what she said" if any of you would like a read. It's interesting stuff but very sad.

I ran the feminist society at uni and came under all sorts of flack for being a feminist! Abuse written on toilet walls, kill joy for being against strip nights etc, mocked constantly. Like going back in time...

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 15-Mar-13 07:08:42

I didn't realise until the last line of the article that heckling is allowed in these debates. I can see now that the problem is not just one of civility, but people who are not able to separate rhetorical aggression from sexual abuse.

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