Education Officer's Blog

Latest news and updates from RUSU Education Officer, Niall Hamilton

RUSU statement on Boycotting University Challenge

In the most recent round of Change it! students voted to boycott BBC programme University Challenge.


This is due to misogynistic and sexist comments made to previous team members of the University of Reading team by Jeremy Paxman. This incident resulted in a complaint being filed by contestants. The response from ITV, the company that produces (although doesn't air) the famous quiz show, was that they would inform Paxman that he had offended a contestant. They did not issue a formal apology and they did not produce any consolation to the contestants. Misogyny and sexism are not about 'offending' contestants, but undermining and oppressing individuals due to their gender. In such a historical and respected institution as University Challenge, these forms of oppression should not be taken lightly. Serious investigations and repercussions must be made to ensure women feel comfortable participating in University Challenge.

Students have voted for the RUSU to boycott the television programme. This means the Students' Union is now finding a department in the University to take over the submission of the University of Readings team. The Students' Union should not be in a position to promote and encourage students to participate in an institution with a serious lack of regard for the equality and accessibility of women on their show.

Reading University Students' Union welcomes communication with University Challenge on how they will ensure complaints of this nature are dealt with properly, so we can ensure our students are not faced with misogynistic and sexist abuse again.


Aad V
5:45pm on 7 Dec 16 Such big words for a joking comment about a knitted doll? Really? Do you also get similarly outraged when when someone open a door for a girl? I'm presuming that will send your blood pressure sky rocketing, right? A friendly bit of advice: Develop a hard skin. You will need it. Regards, A PhD student from a different university
Neil Hopland
8:46pm on 10 Nov 16 This is essentially what happened: Paxman: asks about mascot; Reading team: it's a toy Paxman; Paxman to whole team: do you take it to bed with you at night? Yes, that's it. Paxman, ITV etc are "oppressing" women because he made a cheesy joke about a teddy bear. In 10 years time these students will be ruling over us *shudder*
Vila Restal
7:43pm on 9 Nov 16 You people are trashing free speech. Why you think your right not to be offended, trumps everyone else's right to free speech, I don't know. Which is the most important? Clue: if you chose the former, Gays would still be getting hanged.
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