Students at the University of Oxford have been speaking out against the serious decline in standards of homophobic abuse during tutorials.
‘In my first Physics tutorial of last term my tutor just made a few underhand comments about lifestyle choices and some bad jokes which involved homophobic slurs. I was told before arriving at uni that the standards of abuse would be way more challenging and complex, a real step up, but to be honest I covered all this stuff before sixth form’, claimed a second year at Merton.
Her tutorial partner concurred: ‘Yeah totally, at school they often really daringly juxtaposed homophobic stuff with misogyny, classism, transphobia and racism – my Oxford homophobia tutorial just didn’t have that same … panache.’
Others were less concerned, however. A finalist in Computer Science at Balliol commented: ‘Having been thoroughly home schooled in homophobia, so I’m not feeling too worried about finals … in fact I’m quite looking forward to answering the “How many bad words do you know for gay?” question if it comes up.’
Voices in the English faculty have been quick to speak up about the problem, with one finalist stating her disappointment that standards have not risen in line with tuition fees: ‘I mean, I’m not paying £9,000 a year for the kind of casual cruelty and systematic erasure that I could just as easily experience at home. Oxford is one of the best universities in the world and really should feel the pressure to up its game in this regard.’
Many of those voicing their dissatisfaction found comfort, however, in Vice Chancellor Louise Richardson’s comments on the subject. James, a first year studying medicine at Keble said: ‘I’m really excited to be attacked for my sexuality by a smart person in a reasoned way; at school the bullies were really stupid, sad and messed up people looking to demonstrate power over others, often violently.
‘I’m so glad to see that the Vice Chancellor is offering the homophobes her continuing support too – I often worried at school that the bullies would feel less powerful without the unspoken or explicit complicity of the establishment. Well I suppose that’s the kind of quality leadership we’re helping pay her £350,000 a year for.’
Others were more reserved in their response – ‘Will they be using Bible references though? I always enjoy it when they use references to the Bible’, asked a student doing her masters in Psychology at Christ Church.
Image: Laemq at https://commons.wikimedia.org