I live a few miles out of Durham City, in a former pit village. For those who don’t know Durham it is a World Heritage site
and home to Durham University, one of the prestigious 5 Universities in Britain (Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Imperial College London being the others).
Durham University is (temporary) home to some seventeen and a half thousand students (last available figures 2014). There exists an uneasy truce twixt Town and Gown but our MP, Ms Roberta Blackman-Woods, and Durham County Council, seems to hold them in higher regard than their more permanent constituents. I communicated with Ms R B-W regarding her stance on Brexit and she eventually stated that she voted to remain because “the student vote was to remain”. When it was pointed out that this 17,000+ voter base was transient, and that they could not ALL be remainers and that her total constituency had, in fact, voted to leave she closed communication with me and deleted the correspondence on her blog.
So, let us take a closer look at her preferred constituency, shall we?
A lot/most of the following is taken from mainstream sources and links are provided where possible.
First – Durham has a drinking culture amongst students that would make a struggling Premier League team look like a Mary Poppins training school.
Second – sexual assault seems to be the subject most of the male students are studying.
CAMPUS SEX SHAME We expose vile culture of sexual violence at Durham University, where ‘lads play Fat Girl Rodeo’ and half of women claim to have been attacked
27th January 2017, 11:07 pm
Updated: 30th January 2017, 10:39 am
SPYING a pretty girl across the packed nightclub, the young man in the expensive jeans smiles and begins to dance ever closer.
Winking first at his gaggle of grinning chums over her shoulder, he leans in and whispers, “You are hideous” before clamping his arms tightly around her, cuddling for as long as possible before her struggles force him off.
Welcome to a typical night out for Durham University students — and their game “Fat Girl Rodeo”.
And to the worried and frightened girls at the university for the academically gifted, this is just another example of the growing “lad culture” which has caused reports of sexual assault to rocket.
Student Sunniva Carlsen, 21, said last night: “It’s impossible to go on a night out here without being groped.
“Consent is a very blurred concept at Durham.”
The university is, together with Oxford, the worst in Britain for reported sex attacks on female students, with 36 incidents recorded over two years.
In the past 12 months, four students have been to court for sexual assault, with one jailed earlier this month.
Students we spoke to agreed the campus is gripped by an extreme drinking culture fuelled by cheap booze at Northern prices.
A third of undergraduates are from private schools and many are from the South, far enough away from their parents that home visits are rare and weekends are devoted to partying.
Two drunken students help each other stagger home
Durham is also strong on sport, which further empowers a macho culture. Among its alumni are Will Carling, Jonny Wilkinson and Nasser Hussain and it has excellent facilities for rugby, cricket, rowing and hockey.
Drinking games, often with an element of sexual aggression, are an essential element of most sports clubs and social societies.
Members of The Castle Vs, for example, meet to try drinking five pints each per hour for five hours. Girls can join — but only if they wear a bikini.
First-year initiates to the rugby fan society known as Carrots, must spend their first meeting in a room with the floor covered in bin liners, a large plastic dustbin in the centre.
They then must drink solidly until their combined vomit fills the bin.
Durham is one of the UK’s most prestigious institutions
And there is a society called Carry On Consuming where binge-drinking isn’t so much the initiation but the entire purpose.
Members set a fresh weekly drinking challenge for their friends which must be completed — even after throwing up.
A student rugby club was recently forced to apologise after playing a drinking game at a club social in which players had to finish a sentence which began: “It’s not rape if . . .”
We were also told about “Pull A Pig” evenings among the hockey players, where teammates compete to kiss the most unattractive woman on a night out and, chortling, compare notes.
One sporting group society makes new members travel to a field before stripping both sexes naked and forcing them to down drinks while singing the society song until they are sick.
Last year’s Champagne Society summer ball saw guests pay £99 for a ticket which entitled them to two bottles of champagne each — but they still spent a further £45,000 at the bar.
Two revellers were hospitalised for drunkenness, while others openly had sex or plunged naked into a nearby lake.
Durham alumni Charlie Capel, 23, from Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, said: “At sports socials, girls are encouraged up on to tables to dance by groups of up to 30 boys and mocked if they refuse.”
To some, it is banter. To others, it is shocking organised abuse.
Forty-eight per cent of female Durham students say they have been sexually assaulted, with the majority of those saying the assaults took place on campus.
Last month Durham became Britain’s first university to have a permanent staff member tasked with tackling sexual violence.
Second-year physics student Samuel Bunyan, 21, from Diseworth, Derbys, was this month jailed for sexually assaulting a fellow student in her home after an evening of drinking.
Bunyan told cops he was “eight out of ten” on a scale of drunkenness.
Jailing him for two years and eight months, a judge slammed the way he “specifically targeted a vulnerable victim”.
Also this month, the case against Alistair Cooke, 23, was dropped after the jury failed to reach a verdict on claims the third-year geology and geophysics student had raped a student, also 23, in her home while she was drunk.
After the case, Cooke’s barrister warned against the culture of booze and sex prevalent at the university.
She said: “Young men need to learn that if a woman presents as drunk but gives all the signs of consenting, she can still say later that she was not fit to consent. You cannot have a f*** buddy.”
Some nightclubs in the city, where students make up 17,000 of the 50,000 population, have started breathalysing guests in a bid to stop revellers falling into the River Wear after three young men died in 14 months.
Police on a call out in the city centre, where the cheap drinks on offer fuel the students
When we went out there this week we found that cheap drink deals and wealthy students made for a toxic cocktail.
The Bishops’ Mill sells entire pitchers of cocktails for just £4.99, while Klute nightclub offers Jagerbombs for £2 and Apple Sourz for £1.
Elsewhere a pint can cost as little as £1.70.
Slumped… Paramedics after attending to a student found on the pavement
By 11pm two youngsters had already been ejected from the Bishops’ Mill for vomiting, while a paralytic girl slumped on the freezing pavement outside before leaving in an ambulance.
Jo Slipper, 18, from King’s Lynn, Norfolk, in her first year studying Spanish and Italian, told us: “I’m part of a group who go out on nights out and help drunk people get home.
“Sometimes you’re stepping between the puddles of sick to help people who are so smashed they can’t walk.”
Holly Bancroft, 21, of Greenwich, South East London, is in her third year studying theology.
She said: “Men make too much physical contact in the clubs, grabbing at the women. It’s not surprising any more.”
At 2am it is kicking-out time at the Bishops’ Mill.
Student Holly Bancroft admits that she is not surprised at the prolific sexual assaults at her university
Sweaty teens blink blearily at the bright lights and drape themselves over each other.
Many girls are too drunk to stand and we watch as young men throw their arms around their shoulders to help them up to the taxi rank.
In all the chaos, it is impossible to know whether they are going home with a friend or a stranger, or what their intentions might be.
It is a risk thousands of parents will desperately wish their children were not taking.”
Being drunk, sexual assault commonplace, this is not the end of this tale – students are so drunk that three of them fell into the River Wear (pronounced Weir) and drowned in the space of 14 months.
I shall expand on this in a future post but suffice it to say, students in Durham certainly are not endearing themselves to the local population, and R B-W’s pandering to this fine upstanding body is reminiscent of the way the indigenous population is ignored and favour is shown to incomers.
© Grimy Miner 2018