Oxbridge club mum on women

February 24, 1995

The decision by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge to disassociate themselves from the United Oxford and Cambridge University Club, because of what they call its "offensive" and "discriminatory" policies to women, has been met with silence by the club.

It has not made any public statements since political scientist David Butler, resigned last month after 49 per cent of the club's membership, 76 per cent of those voting, voted to allow in women members. The motion was not carried because a new rule says that over 50 per cent of members had to have voted in favour.

The club is independent from the universities but uses their names and coats of arms. Virtually all its members are Oxbridge graduates.

The statement, signed by more than 70 heads of colleges, two vice chancellors and Oxford's chancellor, said that the club had shown no willingness to change by making its premises more available to women. Catherine Hughes, principal of Somerville College Oxford, who did not sign, could not be contacted this week.

The difficulty of getting a comment from the club is well known. The Cambridge University magazine Varsity quoted a club spokesperson as saying: "The chairman and committee come and go as they like. I have no idea when we'll see any of them next".

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