London Met links with stag-do firm

Master's course offers expert oversight from 'spa with strippers' tour operator. Jack Grove reports

April 19, 2012

Credit: Alamy
Theoretical perspective: module gives 'techniques for creating event experiences'

A stag-weekend operator offering "saucy strip shows" and "mudwrestling with naked chicks" has made a foray into higher education.

As part of a master's course in events experience management, London Metropolitan University will offer a module in partnership with Chillisauce, known for organising custom stag dos across Europe.

The firm's website lists options including mud-wrestling with scantily clad women in Budapest, a "spa with strippers" in Riga, or the option to be "punished" at a Tallinn "lap dancing dreamland".

The link has drawn criticism from unions, although students will be involved only in the company's more straightforward commercial activities - including corporate dinners and conferences.

Participants on the course will be asked to create a Guinness World Record attempt that doubles as a PR event for a consumer brand. They will devise a "creative concept" and pitch it to Chillisauce executives, who will attend seminars and lectures during the module.

But a University and College Union spokesman questioned "how employing a company that specialises in stag weekends offering wrestling with scantily clad women in jelly is likely to do much for a university's reputation".

And Max Watson, London Met Unison chairman, said the partnership with a stag-weekend operator contrasted with last month's decision to mothball the institution's Women's Library, which houses texts on modern feminist history, by opening it only one day a week.

A London Met spokeswoman said the module "combines theoretical perspectives with practical skills and techniques for creating and managing event experiences".

William Bicknell, commercial director at Chillisauce, said the collaboration showed the firm was "investing time, effort and experience in those who will become key [industry] figures of the future".

News of the link follows comments by Malcolm Gillies, London Met's vice-chancellor, that the university was "much more cautious" about the portrayal of sex on campus than universities had been 30 or 40 years ago.

His comments about a potential ban on the sale of alcohol in parts of the campus to address the "cultural sensitivity" of Muslim students - first reported in last week's Times Higher Education - were attacked by the UCU branch, which accused him of using "extremely divisive" language and "stoking tensions" between Muslim and non-Muslim students.

The UCU branch also said the comments were "a convenient cover for reducing student social facilities", such as the students' union bar.

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