Life lesson for ‘fit Jew’ students

By Marcus Dysch, December 18, 2008

Oxford students will attend a cultural diversity course as punishment for their “bring a fit Jew” party.

Members of the under-21 rugby team will take part in the special seminar in January, but university proctors have refused to reveal details.

It has been organised after an investigation into last month’s party at which players were invited to find “fit” female students as dates and “dress as Jews”.

The event was cancelled following complaints from Jewish students, but some team members went ahead as planned.

Rabbi Aaron Katchen, Oxford’s student chaplain, said this week that party-goers had not worn fake sidelocks and carried money bags, as previously believed, but had instead donned Borat-style “Jew-fro” wigs.

An earlier party had seen them “black-up” and wear loincloths as part of an African theme. University proctors investigated and said that reports of the event had been “exaggerated”. A University spokeswoman said: “The proctors are satisfied that there were no breaches of regulations. A special seminar on cultural diversity for all members of the team will take place early next term.”

The unnamed student who sent the invitations has been told to write a letter of apology to the Oxford University Jewish Society.

Rabbi Katchen said: “The university’s response was appropriate for what happened. Everybody’s conclusion was that this was not an antisemitic incident, but the players’ thinking was stupid, insensitive and very hurtful.

“Part of the university experience is to make mistakes and learn from them. The rugby team will now be under greater scrutiny and the concept of banter will be second-guessed. People will have to think twice before having a lark with friends.”

Last updated: 5:24pm, August 17 2009