THE UNIVERSITY has been branded “shameful” after an all-male team appeared on BBC Two’s University Challenge.
Undergraduates Jack Alexander, Josef Crowther, Alasadair Middleton and Adam Koper shocked earlier this month when they beat Corpus Christi College at the University of Cambridge by 170 points to 135.
But their incredible win was overshadowed by a backlash on social media over the fact the four team members were male.
Angry users on Twitter branded the university “shameful”. One wrote: “Shame on you York (my former Uni), no women on #universitychallenge team.”
Another said: “There were definitely women at Uni of York back in the 90s. What’s happened?”
A third tweet added: “#York #universitychallenge Only men. Shameful.”
Students who wish to represent the university on the television show have to take part in a two-stage selection process.
The top applicants in stage one are invited to the finals where they battle it out for one of the places on the show and one reserve place.
YUSU Women’s Officers Emily Inglis and Peggy Lockwood-Lord said the process was disappointing.
“We are sorely disappointed to see yet another line-up of white men supposedly representing our student body,” they told York Vision.
Megan Ollerhead, a fourth year English Literature student, said: “For me that is a reflection on the fact that women and ethnic minorities probably don’t feel nearly as confident in their own intellectual capacity as white men, and even though there are more women on campus than men it is men that grow up with belief in themselves academically, and therefore are a lot more comfortable putting themselves forward for events like that.”
The all-male team will now progress to the second round of the contest which will air by Christmas.
They did lose to senior management in a pre-run contest which was held at the Roger Kirk Centre in January.
Questions on the Tour de France, William Shakespeare, physics and maths denied the team a win over campus’ most senior staff.
George Offer, the YUSU Academic Officer, told York Vision: “Last year’s selection process involved blind marking in the first round to ensure fairness for all applicants.
“The team was picked on their performance in selection rounds, however we will make sure to minimise any barriers for any applicants, at all stages of the process this year.
“I really encourage everyone to get involved over the next few weeks, and wish the team the best of luck in bringing the trophy back to York.”
A university spokesman added: “We would encourage YUSU to select the strongest possible panel, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or other irrelevant characteristics.
“At the same time, we would encourage all students to take part in the trials – that is the best way to ensure that the team is properly representative.”