Extra vetting for Exeter conferences

Exeter College is set to implement an “unprecedented” set of vetting measures for organisations hoping to hold events at the college.

The decision comes in the wake of the controversy sparked by the College’s decision to allow the Wilberforce Academy to hold a conference there during the coming vac.

Students were angered that the Academy, which is organised by the anti-gay Evangelical pressure group Christian Concern, might be able to use the college’s prestige to legitimise their own beliefs.

A meeting of the College’s governing body came to the decision to set up a Working Group which will include both students and fellows, and will deliberate on a new set of regulations concerned with private bookings of college facilities.

The College Bursar, William Jensen, explained that the aim of the group will be to bring around a set of regulations which would in future ensure that groups holding conferences at the college would be “appropriate” to the ethos of the college.

When asked if any decisions had been made regarding the Wilberforce Academy specifically he said that “the matter hasn’t arisen” and that no specific decisions have been made. However, he did comment that he thought the Academy was “unlikely to want to come back”. When asked to give his opinion on the original decision to allow the Academy to come to the college the Bursar declined to comment.

The Chaplain of the College, Stephen Hearn, who also attended the governance meeting, confirmed that the college would be “reviewing all future applications for bookings”.

The decision has been applauded by the college’s student community, with LGBTQ rep Ed Allnutt commenting: “When Exeter JCR first became aware of the Wilberforce Academy’s upcoming conference, there was a righteous level of indignation. We were worried that people with homophobic views would be sharing our living space, and, worst of all, would be able to use the college and the university as a whole in their publicity.

“Following the uproar and your article on the issue, College have now promised us a vetting process for the future, which I would say, in agreement with the governing body, will be a precedent-setting move. We as students were right to feel angry about the conference; the OxStu was right to raise publicity about it and the governing body has been right to take such swift action.” Allnutt then went on to say that although no decision concerning the Wilberforce Academy had yet been made, he was “confident that these new proposals will mean that the Academy will not be allowed to hold any events at our college in the future”.

Another Exeter second year praised the College administration’s initiative but added that: “I think it’s a shame that something like the Christian Concern debacle had to occur to make change happen. But I still feel proud of the way Exeter has responded, and I hope that other colleges will follow this example”.

Exeter Rector Frances Cairncross declined to comment on the new initiative.



  1. Percy Veer

    25th February 2012 at 12:22

    What, they didn’t close the entire college in the wake of this scandal? Outrageous.

  2. Dr Christopher Shell

    25th February 2012 at 15:44

    All comments seem to be done in the absence of any research or knowledge of what the science is on this topic. But how can one comment or have a ‘view’ on the basis of ignorance? Best to research the figures on homosexuality’s (in some cases: male homosexuality’s) correlation to: early death / low life expectancy, promiscuity, STIs, brief relationships, concurrent relationships, low rates of actual ‘monogamy’, depression, drug use, suicide, even pederasty. In addition, the massive increases in homosexuality among male city dwellers and female college-educated individuals (and the disparities between cultures in numbers of homosexuals) give the lie to the perspective that environment plays only a minor part. Then there are the absolutely massive differences between vaginal and anal intercourse, all making anal more dangerous. For in the latter case, the following 4 characteristics are found: presence of sphincter; one-cell thickness; no lubrication; cells that actively encourage the wrong sort of microbes. Plus the fact that there is no safe sexual alternative to fall back on. Even oral intercourse brings 250% increase in throat cancer if one has 5 partners or more, and this often comes to light in one’s body a generation after the fact. But the main point is that intelligent students reference what they say with evidence, chapter and verse, and unintelligent ones do not. Therefore my challenge is, if you deny any of the above, I will give you the data and you can see how astounding the percentages are. Only Orwellians tell people what to think (coincidentally(?), to promote their own preferred environment) and discourage knowledge of the science.

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  4. Dr Christopher Shell

    28th February 2012 at 16:54

    Mention evidence and research and you can’t see Oxford students for dust? Can I claim a walkover, or does Oxford have a new anti-research policy?

  5. I Burch

    29th February 2012 at 20:33

    I can’t believe Exter college were foolish enough to allow this to pass in the first place.

    Dr Christoper Shell, please don’t use bogus science to justify your own prejudiced beliefs. Can you cite what you write? Is it peer reviewed? Thought not

  6. Dr Christopher Shell

    2nd March 2012 at 17:29

    I have cited plenty on the parallel threads. Just tell me which sub-issue you want me to cite on, whether the fact that anal intercourse is medically a no-no; or whether promiscuity, length of relationships, lack of monogamy, STIs and cancers, early deaths, pederasty, drug use, depression, suicide – and I will do so.

    I am really pleased to make the acquaintance of a descendant of jesting Pilate who ‘would not stay for an answer’. Your post seems to be talking to itself, which is quite unnecessary since here I am to talk to you!

    It is quite a feat to say that *none* of what I cite is peer-reviewed before you have even seen any of it cited. Second sight is another of your gifts.

    As for saying it is bogus and prejudiced – same applies.

    Who do we listen to, the one who looks at the evidence first and then judges, or the one who judges before (or even rather than!) looking at the evidence. I know which of the two procedural options Oxford University would prefer.

  7. Ihama Clertroll

    2nd March 2012 at 22:10

    Is Dr Shell even a real Doctor?? Or does he just use that name to make people think he’s clever, when he’s really just a tired old bigoted man. Little more now than a heap of leathery liver-spots that, if you listen carefully, can be heard to quiver now and then as it wanks away the last years of its forgotten life into a stained carpet.

  8. Dr Christopher Shell

    3rd March 2012 at 09:16

    Let us now analyse the foregoing piece of speech.
    (1) Cambridge, graduated 2001.
    (2) ‘Tired’? – not yet: it’s only 9 o’clock in the morning.
    (3) ‘Old’ – well, maybe middle-aged (45).
    (4) As for the remainder (I am surprised it passed the moderators) – well, apart from the fact that this commenter knows nothing about me and has never met me, if you fall for lies like secularism then there seems on this evidence to be a danger that you will end up speaking unpleasantly because inside you there is some unpleasantness. As Jesus says: Out of the mouth the heart speaks; it is the things inside people that defile them.

  9. Alex Beaumont

    3rd March 2012 at 16:11

    I knew it! “lies like secularism”- I knew you were just here to push a subjective view using carefully selected statistics which happen to support your view, and you were doing so well until that point with your well-cited statistics too.

  10. Dr Christopher Shell

    5th March 2012 at 09:29

    Dear Alex
    It is only on the basis of statistics that secularism proves itself to be a lie; if the statistics are wrong, then so is my claim. But the statistics for the period of secularism’s ascendancy in this country (increasingly since 1955) are accepted on all sides, and generally issue from official bodies. Indeed, the things measured are widely understood to be among the innovations that the secularising process consists in, and also to be among the thing most rejected by the Christians whose ruling worldview secularism has progressively replaced.
    recorded crime up 900% 1955-2004; Abortions up 500% even *after* legalisation; divorce up 633% 1958-2003 followed by drop in marriages; cohabitation pre-marriage (single women) up 3400% even to 1993 – cohabitation means far higher rates of serial and concurrent relationships and a 550% rise in parents splitting up before a child is 5. Under 16s at birth-control clinics 1975 to 2003 (then morning-after pill) up 1050%. Under-16 intercourse – girls 660% rise (if you know the boys’ figure, let me know). Alternative families rose 95% in the 1980s alone even though the live-in boyfriend type of alternative family sees a 500% rise in child abuse. STD rose from essentially 2 in the 1950s (both still a problem) to over 30 today; STIs doubled in the 1990s alone, more among teens. Drugs rose from 2 (both still a problem) to see practically infinite % rises in cannabis, cocaine, heroin etc.. If these figures all showed 2% rises that would still show secularism to be worse than Christianity. The actual figures show it to be utterly worse to the tune of an unbelievable factor.

  11. Dr Christopher Shell

    5th March 2012 at 10:59

    When it comes to the question of the several improvements that have been made in our lives in the same period since 1955, the point is that these are not improvements which have any claim to be more associated with secularism than with Christianity. For example: longer lives, better healthcare, fewer war deaths, cleaner air. Other changes are more complex. More families have 2 parents working, which is good in itself (not entirely as it leads to more overwork as well) but also leads to fewer hours spent by children with their parents. Honest people acknowledge both/all sides of such questions rather than emphasising one side and brushing the other under the carpet.

  12. Anon

    5th March 2012 at 19:05

    Wait wait wait where are you getting these statistics from? I’m not jumping in with criticism straight away but throwing around figures like “900%” (over 9000 anyone?) without saying where you got them from make you look bad in comparison to your other post where you actually cite the studies you get your figures from. That said I think Phil Winston did a pretty good job of making that previous post of yours look bad in that post anyway. So, sources please, then I’ll consider your views more closely and stop regarding them as numbers floating inside your head.
    And answer this: why is it that you whitewash all improvements as having no claim to association with secularism? You talk about “brushing the other side under the carpet” but simply saying “other changes are more complex” seems to do just that…
    Also to point number 4 in the post 4 up from this one, there are no moderators dumbojet, how do you think these comments appear on the site as soon as you post them?

  13. Dr Christopher Shell

    7th March 2012 at 09:20

    Hi Anon-
    No, all I said was that my first list was of things disapproved of by Christians and to a significant extent approved of by secularists as part of a wider social revolution; whereas my second list (ie improvements since 1955) did not contain one item that was disapproved of by either party: so that neither party, Christian nor secularist, can lay claim to these particular improvements more than the other. That is a true claim and an easy one to understand and verify.

    I was not aware that there was more than one body producing official crime figures for the UK. Likewise, only one body issues official abortion, divorce figures, etc.. If you find alternative figures, give me a shout. Thanks.

    You generalise about P Winston’s remarks. Can you go into the specifics of his and my comments, please.

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