Anger over LMH “fit list”

24th November 2011 By Jonathan Tomlin

Angered LMH students have attacked a “depraved and offensive” fit list that was allegedly circulated around the college by “shit lads” on the JCR committee.

The fit list is purported to rate the attractiveness of female freshers at the College.

According to an email forwarded by JCR President George Barnes, which he claimed was from the Dean, the list was also shared on Facebook.

However the President has now dismissed the email as “misinformed.”

Some students alleged that Barnes was also involved in writing the list. One LMH member, who wished not to be named, in fear of “reprisals from the lad Gestapo,” said: “It is essentially common knowledge that the JCR President was involved in what I consider misogynist and unacceptable behaviour. This is disgraceful and I have lost all confidence in the JCR as a student body as it currently stands.”

However Barnes denies all involvement in the so-called fit list. He said: “I must say I laughed quite a lot when I read this [allegation] it is a prime example of a college’s rumour mill exaggerating something. What happened (as far as I am aware), is that at the start of this year, our drinking society thought it might be good fun to crew date some of the freshers, especially as this seems to be a common thing throughout Oxford. The problem was that we didn’t know too many of the freshers at the time. I therefore sent out an email (I assume this is ‘my involvement’ in all this) asking the guys if they knew any who might quite like to come. A friend of mine then replied with names of some girls he had talked to and thought might quite like to come, and a few others then chipped in with names of fresher girls who they had met and thought would quite like to come too.”

“At no point was their physical appearance referred to or discussed in any way whatsoever. After a few days we then heard of this rumour that we had been compiling a ‘fit list’. We wanted to be associated with no such thing so decided to cancel the crewdate,” he added.

But when some students challenged JCR President George Barnes about the list he “laughed it off and dismissed it as banter.” One LMH JCR member, who wished not to be named, denounced the fit list as “degrading” and branded those responsible as “shit lads.”

“I understand that the people involved in writing the list were compiling names of the female freshers that they thought were the fittest, and they would then presumably target them at one of their wonderfully laddish nights out at Wahoo,” he said.

“What I find rather disreputable,” the student added “is that this issue of a degrading list about female students was raised at a JCR meeting, but both Sawhney and Barnes brushed the issue aside. Everyone had a good laugh and then moved onto the much more pressing business of some shit about husts.”

Another student called for Barnes to resign: “This is a really serious issue. Clearly female students were so offended by this that they went to the Dean about it, but the issue was just brushed off in a JCR meeting and treated as “banter”. This has completely undermined my confidence in the JCR and I think it’s only fair that both committee members involved stand down,” the student said.

One JCR member was particularly scathing about the alleged fit list: “I find it abhorrent not only that these individuals found it appropriate to circulate such a list, but also that the issue was dismissed offhand with no explanation or apology from the involved parties. The way it was laughed off at the meeting reflects a worrying acceptance of misogyny as being part and parcel of the ‘laddish’ culture, which has sadly permeated the JCR. It has left me with no confidence in the JCR, and I have good reason to be believed I am not alone. I think they should either step down or face serious consequences.”

LMH’s Dean Professor Christopher Shields declined to comment on whether he was investigating the fit list: “I have no knowledge of what you are alluding to,” he said.