The organisers of this year’s Oxford-Cambridge boat race received wide-spread and much-deserved praise for their decision to allow the female team to compete on the same day as the men’s for the first time, a move toward equality you can read about on our back page. With Oxford’s victory over Cambridge on top, it proved an exciting day.
In all the drama, however, many of us seemed to forget how absurdly elitist this event still is. It’s not the idea of having the country’s top two universities competing in a sporting event that is particularly objectionable.
Oxford has accepted three times more students from Eton College than students on free school meals”
Even the fact that one of these institutions – sadly Oxford – has accepted three times more students from Eton College than students on free school meals over the last three years, doesn’t entirely negate the value of the race. It’s the fact that the (let’s face it, intensely boring) contest continues to dominate the attention of the nation’s media for a whole day that should make us all slightly queasy.
Fortunately, the ever-hip Vice magazine was here to save the day: a video interviewing some of Oxford’s worst offenders captured the student imagination this week, with quotes “Are you setting us up because we’re wearing blazers?” and “We don’t really have any problems to be fair” bringing particular amusement to bored social media users.
The Dark Blues saw victory for all of its teams last week. Victory for Oxford. Tragedy for social equality.