The Queen’s College JCR and Governing Body have demanded that the college’s predominately male sports committee become more inclusive and democratic.
The Amalgamated Sports Committee, known as Amalgers, has been criticised for lacking gender balance. JCR President Alfred Burton described Amalgers as “having a history of excluding women”. Lacrosse Captain Rebecca Shutt concurred, saying that women “are underrepresented”.
The committee includes all major sports captains and one minority sports representative. As many Queen’s female sports teams play minor sports, few female captains sit on the committee.
Mr Burton stated that even female major sports captains were not treated equally to their male counterparts. Burton claimed “male captains attended the Michaelmas and Trinity meetings, at which the budget was approved and elections held respectively, and female captains attended the Hilary meeting. Female captains were therefore unable to vote in elections or have their say in how the budget was allocated”.
In response to these criticisms, the Governing Body has requested that Amalgers reform. They demanded that it either must invite all major and minor sports captains to its meetings, or it must invite all major sports captains and double the number of minority sports representatives.
The Governing Body has also suggested that any member of Queen’s who has participated in college sport in the last year should be able to vote for Amalgers’ President, Secretary and Website Administrator.
The changes have been met with a broadly receptive response, which President Burton described as “extremely positive”. He added that the changes “will allow for equal representation of male and female teams at meetings, and increase the accountability and mandate of those who run sport in College”.
James Colenutt, Queen’s Football Captain, commented “QCAFC is wholeheartedly behind these proposed changes; they will have a positive impact on the way sport is run at Queen’s”.
Lacrosse Captain Rebecca Shutt stated “men and women should feel equally encouraged to be involved in sport” and felt that “the overall mood in college is for the changes”. Miss Shutt however did caution “many are unaware of what the changes fully entail.”
Former JCR President Jane Cahill also weighed in to support the changes, describing the Governing Body’s decision as “commendable” and President Burton’s work on the issue as “fantastic”.
However, similar alterations have not been welcomed in the past. In a Trinity 2013 JCR meeting, the then head of Amalgers, Euan Campbell, criticised potential changes to the committee’s structure. Euan worried that “rugby, squash and cricket, which only have men’s captains, will have one representative each” and thus “be outweighed in discussion”.
Mr Burton claimed it was the failure of the organisation to voluntarily change that led to the Governing Body stepping in.