News

Uni rugby club forced to cancel offensive miner-themed bar crawl

Posted by
Tom Victor
Published
1980s

During your days at university, you probably found yourself invited to all sorts of themed parties, all of which provided you an excuse to don fancy dress and get drunk.

You know the sort of thing - basically a chance to roll out that costume that wasn’t quite right for a Halloween airing.

Disney-themed parties? Ten a penny.

A smurf theme? Better get that blue paint out.

Miners’ Strike? Hang on, what?

80s

A Durham University rugby club tried to plan a miners’ vs. Tories-themed bar crawl

A planned ‘Miners vs. Thatcher’s government’ night put together by rugby players at Durham University’s Trevelyan College has been criticised for making light of the violent and lengthy dispute which involved police violence against protesters.

You read that right. *Durham* University, located in a city where plenty of the locals have ties to mining communities. In contrast, it’s probably fair to say a number of those on the rugby side of things - most if not all of whom won’t have been born when the strikes took place in the mid-1980s - are lacking in the same kind of knowledge and context.

We’re not sure if it comes down to a lack of education about the bitter strike, which will forever be associated with the loss of livelihoods for many in the 1980s, or a knowledge of the strike coupled with a tone-deaf approach, but the event was planned to the point there was a Facebook page detailing how to put together a miner costume.

That description, according to the event page, was to involve ‘flat caps, filth and a general disregard for personal safety’, with attendees urged to ‘think 12% unemployment in 1984’.

It was a forwards vs backs event, with the former to go as miners and the latter as Thatcher’s government, including – especially insensitively – a call for ‘a few working-class-beating-bobbys’.

It’s tough to figure out how you end up with a mindset that makes light of police beating up working-class citizens, but here we are.

Naturally, the Durham Miners’ Association put out a statement explaining they were ‘appalled’ by the plans.

The event was ultimately cancelled, with the Miners’ Association applauding the ‘prompt and appropriate action’ of the university and college.

In a separate statement, Owen Adams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience) at Durham University called the event ‘wholly unacceptable’.

“The event has been cancelled by the students concerned,” Adams added.

“We are speaking to those students and we are considering what further action to take in due course.”

(Images: Rex Features)