March of the Penguins

first_imgLaura Winwood, a Hertford student explained, “As it stands we have not yet been officially informed by college as to the events that took place nor the basis for their decision to take disciplinary action and what form this will take. Nonetheless there is a great deal of concern amongst some members of the JCR.”One second-year Hertford student, who wished to remain anonymous, added, “This seems to be a ridiculous overreaction from college; but no one will tell us what’s really going on.”The Penguins, set up last year, have already created a reputation for themselves to rival other Oxford drinking societies. Elaborate initiation ceremonies are said to involve swimming in the Cherwell, running around Oxford naked and smeared with goosefat, and eating raw squid. A crewdate with schoolgirls was planned for this term, but the event has now been cancelled.Some students have complained that their durnken antics not only reflect poorly on the college, but leave the JCR with the repair bills. Hertford JCR has a collective damage account, meaning that if facilities or equipment are broken by members, they have to be replaced with money from the JCR. Some JCR members have expressed frustration at having to pay to clean up after Penguins’ ‘Bullingdon-esque’ antics.Phoebe Arnold, Hertford’s Women’s Welfare Rep said, “The actions and values of the Penguins are certainly not representative of anyone else at Hertford. I’d be loath for anyone to think that.”The dislike of the society is far from universal. An anonymous second-year Hertford student commented, “It is probable, indeed obvious, that at least a small group of the college have deep ill-feelings towards the Penguin society, however these do not represent the mood of the JCR on the whole, who honestly seem to simply not care.”The anti-Penguin poster campaign remains shrouded in mystery as the campaigner has successfully hidden their identity from the college authorities.Hertford’s Dean sent out an email arguing that the poster campaign was “well beyond the bounds of acceptable behaviour, even in jest.”He pointed out, “One in particular featured the C-word… Luckily the posters were removed by the prompt action of the duty porter.” A number of members of Hertford College’s notorious Penguin drinking society were suspended on Wednesday, pending investigation.College officials told Cherwell, “I can confirm that we are investigating possible breaches of our disciplinary code and that a number of undergraduates have been suspended whilst that process takes its course.”However, they refused to reveal the disciplinary breaches they are investigating. The suspensions come in the same week as a poster campaign was launched against the society in the College.The posters, pinned up round the JCR in the middle of the night, included extracts from an email thread allegedly between their leader, the Emperor Penguin, and other members of the society. The email dates from Trinity term last year.The comments reportedly included offensive descriptions and predatory statements about female members of the college, including ‘assessments’ of whom to invite to invite on a crewdate.Next to the name of one female fresher was written, “Only if we’re desperate.” Another comment about a fresher read, “Saw her get battered on Sat… although not all that great.” The posters included pictures of the Penguins alleged to have written the emails.The Penguins themselves are refusing to comment, though two have confirmed that they have been suspended. Around 15 members are reported to have been asked to leave Hertford campus by yesterday morning.Hertford students have been informed that their bar will be closed for the foreseeable future. The bar manager and treasurer are both members of the Penguins.Students have been shocked by the college’s decision to suspend the undergraduates. Rumours abound as to the reasons behind it and the future of the society. Several of those who have been suspended are finalists, and it is not clear when or whether they will be allowed to return.last_img read more