Lincoln’s rugby team fell victim to homophobic chants by Jesus supporters during last week’s rugby plate final, it is claimed.
The chant in question was a line from a song traditionally sung about male students at Jesus. It goes: “Jesus boys, they play one, they all take it up the bum”, and it was believed to be directed at the Lincoln rugby players.
Students claimed that the chants were made on this occasion by a group of predominantly female students.
Lincoln’s rector, Henry Woudhuysen, said: “Lincoln College takes reports of offensive chants at the Rugby Cuppers match with Jesus College extremely seriously.”
“There has been an exchange of letters between the Junior and Middle Common Rooms of both colleges.”
“The Principal of Jesus and I have met to discuss the issue, and I have raised it with Lincoln’s Senior Dean.”
In an email sent to Jesus JCR, Leo Gebbie – JCR President – said: “I have been contacted by Lincoln College to inform us they have had reports of offensive chants at the rugby plate final last week.”
“Some of these chants are believed to have been homophobic, and have caused serious upset to several members of the Lincoln College Common Rooms.”
Gebbie stressed how out of place these chants were: “At Jesus, we have always prided ourselves on being an incredibly welcoming and open community which embraces and supports everyone regardless of nationality, ethnicity, faith, disability, gender, or sexual orientation.”
“I’m sure we all want to preserve this spirit, and therefore want to get to the bottom of this matter as soon as possible. Both Lincoln College and ourselves take discrimination of any kind very seriously, and intend to explore the matter fully.”
Marco Alessi, Lincoln LGBTQ rep, mirrored this sentiment: “Lincoln is a wonderfully supportive community. We pride ourselves on trying to be as inclusive as possible and it is therefore heartening that our JCR is responding to a situation that may have made members of its community uncomfortable.
“Although I was not at this particular game, homophobic chanting in sport is disappointingly common and shouldn’t go on.”
Jessy Parker Humphreys, Jesus LGBTQ rep, stated that “Whilst I don’t believe the line was meant maliciously, I think it’s important for us to acknowledge that this kind of casual homophobia should not and cannot be tolerated.
“It should be noted that Jesus girls have been discussing rewriting the line after realising the offensive implications of it. Myself and other LGBTQ members of the college appreciate that a positive response like this has been made.
“I am certain that no one who sang the song meant to offend and hopefully this whole incident has allowed everyone to realise the pervasive influences that homophobia can have on our everyday lives. Together we can work to change that,” she added.
Louis Prosser, first-year Classicist and LGBTQ activist at Jesus, said: “These chants have been around for quite a while, directed by the Jesus girls toward the Jesus boys, traditionally during girls’ formal.
“I think it is a great shame that ‘they all take it up the bum’ is considered a suitable choice of insult, and it illustrates that lad culture lends itself to homophobia and other sorts of intolerance among groups of girls just as much as among groups of boys.”
Both colleges confirmed that the issue will be discussed further in the upcoming JCR, MCR and Welfare Committee meetings.
In another development, Senior Dean Nigel Emptage told students in an email to the Lincoln JCR and MCR that “A student newspaper has become interested in a matter that is of considerable importance to the College and its student members.
“While there is certainly no cause for alarm may I politely ask that any Lincoln student approached by the press should not offer a statement.” It is unclear whether this email refers to this story or another story.