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Champagning video pulled
|News||Wed, 12 Dec 2012||Tweet|
We've all had a chuckle at the farcical and outrageous video that emerged and circulated YouTube, Facebook and Overheard in St Andrews today. But what was intended as a joke has raised serious issues that are yet to be resolved. The salmon-pink elephant in the room, some might say, has been brought to everyone's attention by the supposed 'one-upping' of other universities.
But this will certainly have had an impact on the university's image beyond the town. A number of national newspapers have contacted both the university and the film-makers. And within hours of it being posted on YouTube, The Spectator had published an article with the video attached.
One 1st year described the stunt as "reinforcing the St Andrews stereotype, which, in reality, only represents a very small part of the student body."
It would seem that the students in the video, comprised mostly of 1st years, didn't appreciate the implications behind their creation. One participant in the video told The Stand, "We just did it to play up to university rivalry and because we thought it would be funny to put our own spin on the 'milking' craze. I had no idea people were going to be offended so when I saw it was getting such negative feedback online, I removed it immediately."
But in the wake of escalated 600th celebrations and the sense of acheivement felt by all those involved in raising money to make St Andrews more accessible, as well as after the university's effort to defend itself against criticisms about its accessibility, it seems the joke's lost its fizz.
A representative from the university told The Stand:
“In a time of austerity, this was at best insensitive, and at worst, lacking respect for the great many students, staff and townspeople in St Andrews who have for a long time been committed to tackling out of date stereotypes and raising more funds for bursaries and scholarships.
“Thankfully, commonsense has prevailed and the video has now been removed. Perhaps if those involved had stopped for a moment to consider that the cost of the champagne they poured over their heads is half a day’s wage for a good number of people who work at the University and locally in St Andrews, it would never have been posted in the first place. It was thoughtless.
“Stunts like this not only cause offence, they can cause real damage to the considerable efforts our staff and students to widen access to St Andrews.”
As stated above, the timing of the video's creation has been, to put it lightly, terrible. Student President Freddie Fforde, just two weeks ago, wrote a piece to The Scotsman defending the way St Andrews had been represented by two articles the newspaper had published earlier in the year. This resulted in a meeting between The Scotsman and university representatives, leading to a large feature published on Monday about the ongoing battle between St Andrews students and the perception of them as 'elitist'.
When speaking to The Stand earlier, Freddie declined to comment on the video. Instead, he wanted to reinforce the hard work the university is putting into reaching out to less privileged areas:
"Have you heard of the Ambassadors programme? These are students who represent the university to the outside world, a lot of which means visiting local and low progression schools in Scotland and encouraging applications here. Bursaries are up to record levels and we should be both rewarding the University for this and encouraging them to do more. I assure you that, along with the Avalon Borg (SRC member for Widening Access) and the Ambassadors, we are working with the university to encourage more students from all backgrounds to apply here."
In the meantime, we have just one more video for you to watch. Some St Andreans sticking to the white stuff.
Headline image: http://palatepress.com