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YUSU receive barrage of complaints about York Tory social

Ollie Martin is meeting with the society this afternoon

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Image Credit: Beau Considine

Activities Officer Ollie Martin is to meet with members of the York Tory committee after a flurry of internal complaints about their fox hunting social, which is scheduled to take place on Friday. The York Tories have denied that the fox hunting social celebrates the illegal practise.

Speaking to Nouse, Martin said that he was “currently not confident that the fox hunting social aligns with all YUSU regulations and values” and would be meeting with the York Tories this afternoon to discuss the event.

The meeting will take place just over 24 hours before the social is due to start. Martin’s statement reiterated that the social had no prior approval of YUSU, and had not been submitted appropriately for checks through the Students’ Union’s Events Management System. He also said that YUSU staff were launching an internal investigation to “understand facts about the society’s plans.”

YUSU will only take action against the social if they find it to have breached the code of conduct.

The meeting comes as several former committee members have attacked the social, both in public and in private. Former Press and Publicity Officer for the York Tories, Tom Seston, has issued a statement alleging his former society (which he exited in protest earlier this year,) is “hell-bent of reinforcing negative stereotypes and a bad reputation amongst students.”

“They knew the event would be controversial, it always has been, but they decided to run it anyway because a few Bullingdon club rejects pressured them into it.” For Seston, the association with the deceased former conservative academic Roger Scruton is particularly egregious.

He argued that using the academic’s death as a defence showed how “toxic” the society had become, and said that many committee members now viewed the institution as a “posh boy’s drinking club.” He is not the only former committee member to send complaints to YUSU.

Yesterday saw the social attract more attention both from Yorfess pages, and the other York political societies. York’s Liberal Democats have issued a statement saying that they oppose “the celebration and normalisation of fox hunting, and support a continued ban”.

York’s Labour Club agreed. Speaking exclusively to Nouse, a spokesperson said that whilst condemnation of the event was not official policy, many committee members had submitted complaints. “The York Tories have no business promoting such an archaic and cruel practice on campus. It is in extremely poor taste for the York Tories to continue doing this social year after year.” They concluded that the social went against YUSU’s vision for an “open and inclusive” student body.

The York Tories this morning responded to criticism with a statement. They rejected the notion that the EMF system was required for the event.

“We are not going to make any further comment regarding the statement before our meeting with Mr Martin tomorrow. Regarding the complaints from former committee members including Mr Ton Seston, we do not believe that this event is proof of a toxic atmosphere as for the social, we reiterate that it is simply a dressed-up chase-style bar crawl. You do not need to support fox hunting to attend as many who enjoy the social do not support the practise yet still have plenty of fun! Ms. Helen Cain, who I believe has a different political view than us put it perfectly under Mr Martin’s statement. “The social is poking fun at a classic Tory stereotype, which many of the current members do not follow. It would be akin to the Labour Society doing a social about Marx, which only a margin of their members would actively be represented by in the society, but all would enjoy having a laugh over.”

Therefore, we believe that while we all still have a bit of youth left in us, we try not to take everything so seriously all the time and just live and let live. For your point about Sir Roger Scruton, he was a highly regarded conservative thinker, whether you agree with his ideas or not, he is undeniably a titan of conservatism and we make no apologies for supporting him. Our members decisively voted him Honorary President at our AGM last November, so it is fair to say he is complete opposite [sic] of a controversial figure in the York Tories. For your last point about us being a ‘posh boy club’ the majority of our committee is state educated and with members of BAME background [sic]. Hence we find this accusation as rather surprising. At last, for everyone who sees the fun side of life, the social is at 7pm on Friday, God bless!

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15 Comments

Anonymous Posted on Sunday 5 Apr 2020

I would like to make a correction to this article which states that fox hunting is illegal, yes the hunting of live foxes is illegal, but fox hunts are still legal just as long as the dogs are chasing a scented decoy and not a live fox.

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Anonymous Posted on Sunday 5 Apr 2020

Still does make the event any less horrible! I cannot believe they could support something so cruel. Pest Control is one thing. Traditional Fox hunting is neither needed nor humane.

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Anonymous Posted on Sunday 5 Apr 2020

Isn’t Tom Seston the guy who got in trouble for retweeting pro death penalty stuff on the York Tories account? Also seems hypocritical that he was their social media officer when they did the fox hunting social last year

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Anonymous Posted on Sunday 5 Apr 2020

How much do I bet that this comment and upvotes come from the committee members in the sh!t?

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Tom Seston Posted on Sunday 5 Apr 2020

1. That was a joke.
2. The foxhunting social was one of the reasons I resigned. I completely disagreed with the direction of the society.

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Anonymous Posted on Sunday 5 Apr 2020

The fox hunting social is a 'joke' too. Seems to be one rule for you and one for them.

Anonymous Posted on Sunday 5 Apr 2020

But holding it in honour of a racist homophobe, is that a joke?

Anonymous Posted on Sunday 5 Apr 2020

Didn't the current society do a debate on the death penalty?

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Anonymous Posted on Sunday 5 Apr 2020

Yeah, and voted almost unanimously for it to be kept illegal

Anonymous Posted on Sunday 5 Apr 2020

I wish there was another Conservative Society on Campus, instead of the York Tories. The York Tories seem so toxic and childish. They cannot even write a proper press release. Makes me embarrassed to be a tory.

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Anonymous Posted on Sunday 5 Apr 2020

Totally agree with this. As a free market neoliberal type I feel completely ostracised by the bullingdon club reject culture of the York Tories. Also their Port & Policy says you have to bring your own drinks so I’m guessing they’re broke af!

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Anonymous Posted on Sunday 5 Apr 2020

YT’s need a few lessons in PR, Roger Scruton, that guy, is your defence. Might as well host an event prospering Enoch Powell. Probably their next social 😂

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Anonymous Posted on Sunday 5 Apr 2020

Glad my flatemate showed me this. Those guys are so dumb. Didn't they get in trouble last month for this as well? Committee must hella dumb

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Anonymous Posted on Sunday 5 Apr 2020

Man, I cannot decide what's funnier the fact they fought a fox hunting social would go down well. Or that you would use a well known racist, sexist and anti-Semitic(In Roger Scruton) to support it. God help them, they're so out of touch...

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