Hockey’s Darkest Moment: Members banned from YUSU

Front Page of Issue 246, Hockey's Darkest MomentTwo members of the university hockey team have had their YUSU membership axed after posting shocking messages on social media.

Last month, York Vision exposed tweets posted on a private Twitter account which said a member loved “stabbing black people” and that “rape [was] still sex, it counts”.

Following a disciplinary hearing on Friday, the two members have been banned from participating in sports clubs, societies and volunteering activities; banned from attending all YUSU events such as the Summer Ball; banned from the YUSU welfare and advice services; and banned from voting in any YUSU election.

Sam Maguire, the YUSU President, said: “YUSU can and will pursue disciplinary sanctions against any member who is found to be guilty of sexism, racism, ableism, homophobia or any other form of offensive prejudice articulated against our members and wider society.

“YUSU and the University of York must always be a place where students feel safe and welcome and where we embrace and celebrate diversity.”

Meanwhile, the club are required to become part of the Key Contacts scheme, which aims to encourage inclusive participation in sport, as well as present a club action plan to the students’ union liberation network during Week 10 as a committee.

They have also been put on probation until June 2015 pending a review in March ahead of the annual Roses competition. It means any other reports of misconduct could result in team suspensions or bans.

In addition, they have been axed as a ‘Development Club’ and have been banned from applying for Focus Sport status for the 2015-16 season.

Sam Maguire added: “The Hockey club have engaged fully in the disciplinary process and I have faith that they will become the club befitting the majority of their members beliefs and behaviours.”

Further action by the university may also be taken.

A university spokesman said: “The Students’ Union is right to take action where members and clubs are seen to have breached the disciplinary code.

“The University is a community and all members of that community should treat each other with respect and consideration.”

8 thoughts on “Hockey’s Darkest Moment: Members banned from YUSU

  1. This is a perfect example of the quality sports club getting unfairly punished for the actions of a careless few, and of careerist wannabe journalists prioritizing cheap headlines over the welfare of their fellow York University students.

  2. This is a serious issue and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It might be the action of a few but the intention of many. This should set an example to other clubs who can’t curtail the actions of their members. It is the members that make up the club. The club does not make up the members so when members default the club should be punished for failing to institute strict codes of conduct.

  3. Whilst the action taken against the individuals concerned is spot on – you just can’t behave like that folks, sorry – the action taken against the hockey club is worryingly overcooked, and incredibly poorly thought out.

    As far as I’m aware, the tweets were taken from a private twitter feed that bore the hockey club’s name but, crucially, was in no way endorsed by it, something the hockey club have been wisely doing for many years. Quite how the club is supposed to regulate it is beyond me. I could set up an account bearing York Vision’s name, write a stream of offensive tweets, and York Vision, quite rightly, shouldn’t be punished just because they lack some bizarrely posited internet-omnipotence that the hockey club seem to be being attacked for not possessing

    The hockey club, as a very large, mixed-gender club, quite rightly has a strong reputation for being both inclusive and friendly: something personified by the club’s presidents. It is impossible, at a uni level, to enforce a code of conduct at all times – indeed it’s impossible at virtually any level where you’re dealing with free individuals. The culprits have rightly been punished, but the club as a whole shouldn’t have to suffer the considerable losses (Development Club status removed, unable to apply as a Focus Sport) detailed here.

    The case for this punishment on the club as a whole is devoid of reason. Bar physically removing someone’s phone from them, you can’t stop someone from tweeting. You can ban them from your club, etc – which hockey, to my knowledge, have done.

    It’s also worth noting here that whilst members of the hockey committee have responsibilities – those responsibilities aren’t their jobs; they aren’t paid, and they have degrees to do. Equally, the club’s members aren’t employed by the club. Despite this, the hockey club has done what any decent professional sports club would do, and effectively removed the people concerned.

    Some counter examples: should Liverpool FC be retrospectively docked points for having employed Luis Suarez? Should Sheffield United have been relegated when Ched Evans was convicted (his return is a separate, less defensible matter)?

    The answer to both is plainly no. Vision presumably haven’t named the people concerned because for some reason they can’t, so they need someone to go after (because they’re lovely like that) – in this case it’s UYHC. YUSU, faced with the usual tedious and unimaginative media outrage (not outraged enough to leave those tweets out of the paper, I might add – strong profiteering ethics there), make what they want to be seen as a bold, no-nonsense decision, and end up screwing over maybe 80, 90 people instead of the two or so people they ought to have been dealing with.

    It’s a stitch-up, but sadly it’s all too common – welcome to uni.

  4. The punishments brought against the individuals should be much more severe than those brought against the club, however I am hesitant to endorse measures that involve the withdrawal of Welfare and Advice services.

    University can be tough, it’s about to get a lot tougher, and to exclude them from any further private help seems to be ‘throwing away the key’ a bit too enthusiastically. Does the Advice and Support Center have an approved line for “go away we won’t help you anymore”?

    The action taken against the club smacks of a need to be seen to be doing something on YUSU’s part. The twitter feed is not under the club control in any meaningful sense, posters are not immediately identifiable unless they choose to be, and those responsible have been removed from the club. YUSU’s scattergun approach to punishments seem’s to be little more than a concerted effort to make the list of punishments look long enough in the follow-up Vision article.

    1) Probation for the club: This is the only measure that makes good sense. The club and it’s members are under scrutiny because of this, and this makes it clear that UYHC is not to become a breeding ground for ‘comedians’ like these.

    2) The Key Contacts Scheme: Is a good idea in itself, and nothing is going to encourage wider participation in the hockey club faster than telling them that the club was ordered to take part as a disciplinary measure.

    The “action plan presentation” will be a perfect opportunity for everyone to stand around and be convinced that the club members who weren’t involved have been reformed out of a character that they didn’t have in the first place. At least it should provide some good photos.

    3) Loss of ‘Development Club’ Status: UYHC has proved as a great link between college and university level sport, helping with summer tournaments/umpires etc. to nurture the overall game at York. Combined with the strong results that they consistently provide, you would be hard-pressed to find a club more committed to “individual and team aspiration”. By punishing the people who weren’t involved, sport at York is now poorer.

    4) Banned from applying for Focus Sport status: By deferring the punishment to next year, this particularly nasty decision will be felt most keenly by the two groups with the most distance from the events: This years’ freshers who are just building their place in the club (and would have been ineligible to be “UYHC Social Secs” when this happened), and next year’s freshers who are keenly working through their UCAS Applications as we speak. Goodness knows how this is their fault.

    As mentioned by a previous commenter, in the absence of some “bad LADs” to name and shame, Vision has whipped up a frenzy in the closest teacup and thrown the dirty water over the whole club.

    YUSU has responded to the predictable bawling with wanton a enthusiasm for righteous vengeance. Of course it looks good to have a string of punishments as long as your arm, but when you look at them closely they don’t really affect the perpetrators, and the collateral damage is staggering.

    I hope that there is still time for a re-think.

  5. Removing Development club status, and having the club banned from applying for focus sport status, is a ridiculous action that affects a whole club because of the actions of a few. It will effect the sporting lives of a large group of people that are completely blameless for what happened. Pat your selves on the back vision for ratty undercover work, which will affect innocent sports players.

  6. Like this comment if you think york vision articles are sensationalist and badly written, dislike if you disagree.

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