“The student union should shut this down”: Fresh anger as Derwent announces Chav D event

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An annual college fancy dress bash could be facing the chop after being branded “ignorant” and “derogatory”.

Students have blasted Derwent JCRC bosses after they announced the controversial ‘Chav D’ disco is scheduled to take place on 17th April.

The Club D event inviting students to wear ‘tracksuit bottoms’, ‘gold chains’ and ‘fake tan’ has come under fire for its ‘chav’ theme – a stereotype used by the British media to refer to an antisocial youth subculture.

The Chair of the York Student Socialist Society, Jack Chadwick, called for the event to be axed saying: “Events like this, year after year, use rubbish stereotypes to make fun of working class people.

“Asides from being just plain boring, they’re a dim reflection of the fact that prejudicial views towards working people flourish among certain posher sections of the student body.

“These stereotypes are used to justify cuts to benefits and feed the narrative of the ‘undeserving poor’ that underwrites the austerity agenda of the main parties. The student union should shut this down.”

A video released on the Derwent JCRC Facebook account revealed the event would be held in the traditional venue of D Bar.

The video was uploaded with the caption: “Already bored at home? Here’s something to look forward to? Get ready. It’s going to be messy…”

The video has been viewed over 500 times.
The video has been viewed over 500 times.

Derwent College fresher Katie Smith reacted furiously to the event describing it as “the epitome of middle class ignorance”.

She said: “Dressing up as a ‘chav’ trivialises problems faced by the working class and alienates a certain group of people.

“The fact that we’re privileged enough to be discussing this event, holding it at arm’s length as if we as the middle class students are the people and the working class are just a problematic dressing-up theme, encapsulates why this event shouldn’t be a thing in the first place.

“Plus, pretending that the chav theme is only a matter of dress just goes to show the ignorance of the event – the word was originally an acronym for ‘council housed and violent’.

“To try and cover up the cultural, social, and economic origins of the word is exactly what the event does by its mere existence: give a bunch of middle-class rich kids the chance to ridicule the working class and pretend that there’s nothing wrong with that whatsoever.”

Responding to student outcry, Rosalie Dowding, Derwent JCRC Chair, released a statement defending the event.

She said: “In my opinion ‘chav’ is an association with appearance and culture, and has nothing to do with class status.

“Equating the working class with the word chav is stereotypical and is potentially quite reductive, offensive and is an association the Derwent JCRC has never advocated or encouraged.

“The event, if anything, plays to the ridiculous caricature that surrounds the word and, in doing so, ridicules this stereotype – as opposed to praising it.

“This Club D is a Derwent tradition in its own right and has been proven to be one of the most successful and enduring college events.

“The event is in no way designed to alienate or isolate groups within the University”

Club D events are traditionally very popular with Derwent students and are one of the only events on campus which regularly sell-out.
Club D events are traditionally very popular with Derwent students and are one of the only events on campus which regularly sell-out.

Dave Atkinson, a third year PPE student, hit back, denouncing the JCRC’s statement as “ridiculous” and said: “’Chav D’ is ridiculing the people who fall under the stereotype, not the stereotype itself.

“It’s a derogatory term of abuse and they should stop trying to excuse it.”

YUSU President Sam Maguire said: “The decision to hold this event is purely a college one and YUSU has little control over that. As of last year, JCRC’s are written into the college’s constitution and not ours.

“The word chav can be used offensively and I think it is important that the college reflect on whether the event is appropriate and how it will affect all of their members.

“If any college members are concerned about the event they should contact the college and make a formal complaint.”

Last year, Vision reported on controversy surrounding Halifax and James College’s ‘Chavs Vs. Toffs’ joint bar crawl, which was accused of “perpetuating stereotypes”.


[poll id=”53″]

14 thoughts on ““The student union should shut this down”: Fresh anger as Derwent announces Chav D event

  1. A video released on the Derwent JCRC Facebook account revealed the event would be held in the traditional venue of D Bar.

    revealed the event would be held in the traditional venue of D Bar.

    Please sub better.

  2. Oh my god who cares. Also Vision that poll is so biased it’s laughable- next time just put Yes, No and Not Sure- not a description of why they should vote for each one…

  3. Why is it only the working class that are exempt from being made fun of? It’s OK to make fun of the upper class and it’s OK to make fun of the middle class. But say anything about the working class and that’s it – you’re screwed.

    Why do politicians claim to understand or relate to the working class like it’s a badge of honour? I have nothing against people of any class but it becomes awfully tiring when I’m expected to worship the working class. Get over yourselves.

  4. There is absolutely no mention of “tracksuit bottoms”, “fake tan” or “gold chains”. Please amend this blatant fibbing.

  5. @blahb the reason that it’s okay to take the mick out of the middle and upper classes is because of something called privilege, which in itself (if you look it up) is not very funny. You’re not expected to ‘worship’ the working class or any class but it is reasonable to expect refrainment from mocking people due to their lesser economic standing as a group surely?

  6. @tired This sounds like the comment of a very middle class person who has read Owen Jones’ book, which makes a dreadful mistake (being written by a well off middle class academic who tries to use his provincial accent to gain some kind of ‘normal guy’ credit).
    Working class people aren’t chavs. The term chav describes someone (who may well be from a perfectly respectable middle class family) who adopts a street gang/thug culture that usually comes with a prescribed music culture, a fake and put-on way of speaking, and will very often involve a deliberate participation in crime (from petty vandalism to serious assault) generally perpetrated with a complete indifference to those in the area affected by them. There people are not victims or ‘disempowered’, in fact, they rule the areas in which they roam(kind of an empire territory), often by force, and terrorise residents who challenge their behaviour. Chavs don’t tend to work; they often live with a family member/friend and get by on theft/drug dealing with perhaps some paid work; although most have so little skills that they are pretty much unemployable. They are the opposite of working class and are, if anything, antagonistic to working class people; tradesman’s vans, building sites and sheds are favourite targets for their break-ins since they are largely unattended at night and may contain expensive tools/paints/materials that can be sold for a fair amount of money.
    Working class people can often be higher economically that most stereotypically middle class; skilled trades can command a high income and quite a few of the guys in high-vis jackets you see on a building site can be making money comparable to that of professionals (with the added benefit of greater work-life balance since they only work whilst on-site).

  7. ““Plus, pretending that the chav theme is only a matter of dress just goes to show the ignorance of the event – the word was originally an acronym for ‘council housed and violent’.”

    No, it isn’t, that’s completely false. The origin isn’t completely certain but general linguistic thought is that it derives from Romani “chavi” for boy. It most certainly has nothing to do with acronyms or shortenings or anything else (no, it’s not “CHeltenham/CHatham/CHaring Cross AVerage” either).

    Anyway, “ban this sick filth”, “down with this sort of thing” yada yada yada let’s all have our moral panic and go home.

  8. Same indignant response from Langwith losers every year. Same response from us every year. Just fuck off to your Labour Party meeting and don’t come. Simples.

  9. If Katie Smith had any idea what she was talking about she would know that the supposed origin of ‘chav’ as an abbreviation of ‘council housed and violence’ is, in fact, a backronym.

    If you’re so easily offended as to object to its use in the name of this event, at the very least understand where the word ‘chav’ comes from.

  10. This is an outrage. How can the event be so sexist – it should be “Chav and Chavettes”! Appalling.

    I am shocked and appalled by those who consider that chavs are lower class citizens. There are plenty of very rich chavs around…

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