Dim view taken of campus stripper caper

24th May 1996 at 01:00
One would not normally associate the ivory towers of academia with striptease but, it seems, today's Oxford undergraduates are shunning such traditional pastimes as punting in favour of less salubrious activities.

A row has broken out at two Oxford colleges over several incidents involving female strippers. The most recent took place in the college bar at Keble about three weeks ago when a striptease act was booked for a male student's birthday.

According to those present, one of the women went "the whole way" and took all her clothes off, much to the disgust of many of the women - and some of the men.

Beth Thomas, junior common room (JCR) women's officer, received five written complaints and decided to forward a motion to ban such entertainment in the college or JCR bars.

The motion was defeated by one vote but JCR president Jo Goodall believes this was probably because it was badly worded. Also many students failed to attend the meeting, which was held in the middle of exams.

"The motion said stripping was offensive and degrading to all women, whereas some women felt this wasn't the case," she said. "However, there was a general consensus that the act went too far. There were jokes going on which people found offensive. We're going to get another motion put through in three weeks' time which, we hope, will be more successful. I was very encouraged that around half the people who voted for the motion were men."

Ms Goodall said students were particularly annoyed that the act took place in a public place. "Some people felt they had to leave the college bar which isn't on when there are very few places to meet in," she said. "If people want to watch a stripper, they should hire their own room.

"I've been a student here for two years and there have been three strippers. Some JCRs have banned them, but other colleges have them even more often. I'm quite concerned that people will view Keble as having a macho image and will think it's a horrendous place to come."

A similar stir occurred at St Hugh's several weeks ago when another stripper was hired for a student's birthday. JCR president Ian Willetts said there were "very mixed feelings" about the incident but no motion had been put forward. "Unfortunately, I'm not sure it caused enough rage for something like this not to happen again."

However, Dr David Robertson, Dean of St Hugh's, took a different view. "I didn't know anything about this and I shall certainly be investigating. There are no rules banning strippers but, if I find out who was responsible, I'll scream blue murder at him," he said.

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