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This blog is usually reserved for detailing international competitions but this weekend the UDS went to London for the UCL IV. The trip was a shambles from the start and the resulting chaos deserved a post.

The journey begins with the clown car style drive to Edinburgh on Thursday night as we cram much luggage (including Beckie and Maddie’s things to go home for 2 weeks) and 5 people into Steph’s not very large car. Having dragged the mud flaps on the car along the Edinburgh bypass and down the dirt track to Dans house, we were met by an adorable puppy and the declaration that Gillis was going to stay up all night and start his essay due for 5pm the next day.

The following morning we pile into another car where there are not enough seats so Steph and Beckie get intimate for the first, but not last, time this weekend. THEN, WE MET JEREMY PAXMAN IN THE SECURITY QUEUE. It was a great moment, Beckie had much internal trauma over whether to ask for a selfie or whether to restrain herself. She chose restraint and now feels a deep sense of regret and probably will forever. It was also around this time that Steph realised that she had forgotten her purse, meaning she had no money at all. Fortunately the bank of Beckie came to the rescue for the entire weekend.

After a nap on the flight we arrived in Stansted where Dan proceeded to get lost in a one way system with large signs telling you where to go, this was a recurring theme of the weekend. We met Beckie’s dad who had come to collect her case for her and took Chewy (Beckie’s dog) through the airport, he had a great time. Arriving at Liverpool Street station we met up with Maddie who had taken a different flight and went in search of food. This resulted in burritos on the steps of the station while we played some excellent people watching games including “spot the UKIP voter”. Gillis went off to find a library to finish his essay (which he didn’t) and the rest of us began our selfie tour of London.

We decided to begin at the Tower of London, this was prohibitively expensive so we just took selfies outside with some crafty manoeuvring to avoid the cranes and building work. We also decided that we missed out Swedish compatriot and therefore created an artistic replica so he too could join in the selfie fun.

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Our next stop was a river boat in order to get to Westminster. This was perhaps one of the most well intentioned ideas we had over the weekend but in true UDS fashion things didn’t quite go to plan. After taking some London Eye selfies from the boat, unfortunately we somewhat missed Westminster and by somewhat I mean we were idiots and forgot to get off the boat. The boat turned, we didn’t move, and so began our trip back up the Thames. Instead of getting off at the next stop we decided we would go back to Tower Bridge Pier and turn around and just do the journey 3 times. However, we then came to the realisation that the boat would not turn at Tower Bridge but would instead keep on going down the Thames. In short we paid a lot of money to end up back where we started.

At this point, Dan goes off to meet his brother and get a sleeping bag and Steph, Maddie and Beckie go off to do a selfie tour of the Westminster area. Dan calls to tell us he is at Victoria tube station, at some place called “Balls Brothers”. Steph advises him to come and find us. Five minutes later Beckie announces that we are going to a nice place in Victoria called “Balls Brothers” to meet her mum. Steph, Maddie and Beckie then proceed to sit on a bench and laugh at the irony and speculate over how mad Dan will be when he arrives. He arrives around 35 minutes later, without a sleeping bag.

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Having taken a selfie at Buckingham Palace we walk back to Victoria where Dan shows us the way to “Balls Brothers”. Classic Beckie’s Classic Mum buys us lots and lots of drinks on her work tab. Our old friend Andrew Malcolm Neale shows up and we all get classically drunk, but none of us can match Classic Jane. It’s also around this time that Classic Jane introduces us to Billy, who we end up crashing with in his very lovely flat. After some time and some sambuca Billy pays for our taxi and our drunk food. A pleasant evening is spent eating food, drinking more nice wine and watching House of Cards.

Saturday morning arrives all too soon. We manage to be so late for reg that they almost cut our team and Dan and Ruairidh have to come up with some crafty stories about where we are. Then we do some debating. It was good. (for anyone that cares Steph and Gillis end up on -1, Dan and Maddie on -2. Steph is very rusty, Gillis does some sassy sums if you want more information we can tell you but really that’s not the important bit). Ultimately “St Andrews RB” break first and win. Basically, Ben Adams couldn’t get a team for Cambridge so came back to represent his one true society for a final time.

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During the final we are given traditional South African yakka. This is very strong, it’s undiluted and uses the secret, original recipe. Steph and Gillis drink most of a bottle of it between them. We also have many beers and, of course, Gallo Family White Grenache. We play a horrendous drinking game which gets us all sufficiently not sober. Before leaving for the social Steph has lost her cardigan and Gillis has forgotten his bag – the decent into anarchy has begun.

Buckle up buttercups – this is where things get real.

We all go to the social, we’re not sure where we were. There’s a rumour that it was the UCL Maths building, sambuca was cheap. For a while there is some highly civilised conversation between the St Andreans and Andrew (who has again come along to be the life of the party and escape his 9-5 accounting job). At some point (again, no idea when) the sensible members of the group decide to leave for various reasons (being pro-ammed by Ru Mac, getting a flight the next day, being old). This leaves the three amigos (Steph, Beckie and the Swede) to rough it out. In true debater style they sign post their aims for the night. These included – getting biblically drunk, so drunk that getting to crash was a challenge (this was later made possible by Gillis), shutting down a tube line, and making Steph reveal the secrets of the UDS (Guys, she knows everything) (Don’t worry I didn’t spill).

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It is safe to say, we did indeed get biblically drunk. Eventually we decide it is time to go, this is signalled by Gillis passing out on the table. On the walk to the tube station Gillis decides he needs to be a “youth”. In order to achieve this he goes out of his way, like quite far out of his way, to climb smalls walls, walk through flower beds and kick over several traffic cones. With our hooligan in tow, Steph and Beckie realise that the tube does actually stop at some point and spend a solid 5 minutes standing blankly in Euston Station unsure what to do. The hooligan wanders off and must be retrieved several times in those 5 minutes.

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We guide our hooligan to a cab. Half way through the journey Beckie notes a sadness in Gillis’ face. Steph suggests he is being the infamous grumpy cat. Beckie decides it is more passive. Turns out it is actually Gillis’ “I’m about to throw up on you” face. Beckie and Steph sit in dead silence for a short while and spend the rest of the journey trying to pretend that all is well.

Much to Beckie’s disappointment the only drunk food option is some sketchy chicken wings, this was not satisfactory. Gillis is looking increasingly unwell and we decide it is time to get him home to Billy’s. Essentially what follows is Beckie and Steph drifting off to sleep when they hear the quiet sound of consequences from the bathroom. After a long time and a shower, Gillis returns in such a state that he can’t work out the sleeping bag and curls up on the chaise lounge under Steph’s coat.

The next morning is relatively fine, Gillis is very embarrassed, and we all leave. Gillis goes off to meet his Swedish friends and Steph and Beckie meet Andrew and go to the St Patricks Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square and go and get cake. Some hours later, back in Essex, Steph receives a text from Billy. Billy is angry. Billy has found Gillis’ vomit behind the sink. Dan decides to travel for about 2 hours after Royal Holloway (where he and Ru broke top, Dan was 6th best speaker and Ru topped the speaker tab) to come to Essex for one night. This is mostly to brag about how clever he is. Upon arrival Dan meets Classic Beckie’s classic Dad who had just polished off the second bottle of wine.

All in all, it was a successful weekend of debating and a weekend of much hilarity and ridiculousness and the UDS should go on tour much more often!

Sydney A have been crowned World Champions, all the awards have been handed out, all the beers have been drunk (we mean that quite literally – the bar ran out of beer yesterday) and all the farewells have been said. WUDC 2015 is officially over. From here on out, the St Andrews contingent will do different things: Ru is on his way back to Scotland, Penny is travelling to Turkey tonight, Raghav is off to stay with a friend in Kuala Lumpur and Gillis will be flying to the island of Langkawi for some recuperation, as some would put it (Google the place at your leisure). Before that, here is our last blog post:

All St Andrews debaters treated out rounds the same way that students treat the beginning of summer break; we celebrated the end of exams in rounds with a huge party, and then proceeded to do as little as possible, which meant that we didn’t blog. Ru, Penny and Gillis went to watch the majority of out rounds, while Raghav rarely was seen leaving the hotel room at all, opting instead to call room service so often they were almost at a first-name basis by the end of the week. Naturally, the St Andreans became huge Glasgow Groupies in support of Owen and Chris, who unfortunately got knocked out in the octo finals. Durham A got eliminated in the quarters, making them the most successful SSDC team. Another noteworthy thing is that Belgrade A made the semifinals as the first ESL team ever, which made them somewhat of a crowd favourite in the out rounds. In case anyone is interested in studying the tab or watching any particular rounds, they are readily available online and most easily accessed through the ‘Malaysia Worlds’ Facebook page.

Here are some other things that happened during the last few days:

  • Ru and Gillis came back to the hotel roughly an hour before the yakka night was scheduled to begin, and decided to take a quick nap. Almost three hours later they woke up realising that no alarms had gone off and that they had missed the obligatory security announcement (!) that everyone needed to listen to in order to be allowed to drink.
  • Probably because of the security announcements, it seems like no one got hospitalised from the yakka. The organisers see this as a great success.
  • One of the taxi drivers seemed to not have a car horn, which became problematic when two pedestrians were in the way. The driver tried to solve this by shouting “toot toot” from inside the car, which wasn’t very effective. Luckily, the pedestrians moved in the very last second.
  • Gillis decided to take advantage of the cheaper prices in Malaysia, and bought himself a pair of Beats by Dre headphones for roughly £6 when in Chinatown (online retail price £100). Fake? What do you mean they’re fake?
  • Gillis plans to go and buy Ray-bans for £15 tomorrow.
  • Gillis claims that he is smart enough to know that these things are fake.
  • It turns out Raghav, a 4th-year who became an academic father last year, decided to re-adopt this year. His justification is that his parents did this, and he wanted to “take revenge”. The rest of us are unclear about why becoming an absent father for other people helps this in any way.

*NOTE TO RAGHAV’S FUTURE EMPLOYERS*

Raghav is, to our knowledge, not an actual father. If he was, he shows just the right characteristics to be both a great father and a great employee/future boss. Give this man a job!

  • The topic for the public speaking final was “Everything good comes in moderation”. This final was hosted by an anti-terrorism organisation This combination meant that the equity team felt the need to have a separate meeting with the speakers, to make sure their speeches didn’t go completely haywire.
  • Duncan Miyagi reached the Masters final, where he was in OG proposing the motion “This house prefers a world without sexual desires”. Unfortunately, his prop case which went along the lines of “If we didn’t have sexual desires, more people would be comfortable sitting at home eating cake without societal pressures telling them to do otherwise” held no weight against an Opp extension that began his speech with “Let them eat cake – and f**k”. You’ll always be a winner in our minds, Duncan <3. Importantly, Masters rounds are more about entertainment than competition and Duncan definitely got the most laughs.

It is slightly bittersweet, but all good things must come to an end. Here is the last Raghav of the Day from Malaysia:

“The bed is no longer parabolic. It has more of a linear tilt.”

Raghav, explaining why his bed is uncomfortable even after he called room service who came to fix it.

Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us before and during Worlds. A special thank you to Alex and Ru Macintosh for working with us tirelessly to get us as ready as we could be. Moreover, I (Gillis) would like to especially thank Penny for all her patience and guidance in helping me become a much better debater than I was when I went to trials. I’d also like to thank Ru and Raghav for what has genuinely been a very enjoyable week.

Until next time,

Ru, Raghav, Gillis and Penny

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Good morning, world! The St Andreans in Malaysia have awarded themselves a long sleep-in before we’re going to try to explore Kuala Lumpur beyond the nearest convenience store.

Yesterday marked the end of preliminary rounds, and the break was announced last night. Unfortunately, both of our teams missed the break, but we’re incredibly happy that SSDC will be represented in the out rounds by Durham A (who broke tied 9th) and Glasgow A (broke 23rd). Congratulations are also due to our own Mr Miyagi of debating, Duncan Crowe, who has broken as a judge.

Another noteworthy thing from the Open Break is that Pennsylvania A and Princeton B came in exactly tied for 48th on team points, speaker points, and the number 1sts, 2nds, 3rds and 4ths without having faced each other. This tie was resolved, as dictated by the Worlds Constitution, through a coin toss where Pennsylvania emerged victorious. Understandably, many think that this is a particularly unfair policy and the Worlds Council that is currently under way at this time of writing will be likely to at least discuss it.

Motions (all of them with closed adj):

Round 7: THW Ban the Research and Production of Moral Enhancement Drugs

Round 8: THBT the United States and the European Union should seek to promote peace by heavily subsidising Israeli businesses who invest in the Palestinian territories

Round 9: This House as a medical professional employed by the United States military or security service would, and would, encourage others to refuse treatment to individuals undergoing ‘Enhanced Interrogation Techniques’

St Andrews A:

The mission for Penny and Gillis was clear: win at least two rooms, or you’re out of break contention. Go hard or go home. They went into Round 7, performed reasonably well, thought that they had won… and realised in Round 8 that they had instead taken a 3rd (Ru Macintosh: we initially really tried not to back tab, it’s just really hard to resist) and were officially six feet under. A deflating experience to say the least, and a call they are likely to rant about for months. Having talked to all judges, there seems to be a pattern that all calls for the A team on day 3 were split decisions and seemed to go against them. This is not so much an excuse for an end result that is far from flattering, than it is a testament to how great of a tournament Worlds can be, where rounds are competitive regardless of what score a team is on. Although an extra team point or two would have been nice, the A team has had three days of debating very good motions in consistently challenging rooms, which is all you can ask for. The motions have all been very balanced and engaging, so thanks to the CA team (in the unlikely event that you’ll ever read this, we wanted to let you know)! Penny and Gillis would also like to congratulate St Andrews “B”, who most likely are beating us on the tab. We have seen you work hard for months, and you deserve all (if any) happiness you get from beating a team that is if not symbolically, then at least alphabetically ranked ahead of you.

St Andrews B:

In a few hours that defied reason, probability, and all of Raghav’s charts and graphs, St Andrews B looked like they were on the verge of breaking, pulling off a truly remarkable come-back from -3 and potentially even saving Ruairidh’s and Raghav’s marriage. As the day progressed, their opponents became tougher, their chair judges more recognizable, and the stakes higher. They went into a round 9 with a former World Champion as a chair judge and a panel of two wings (instead of just one wing like other rooms had), competing against institutional giants like Yale and Stockholm (disclaimer: the author of this blog post has absolutely no bias towards any Scandinavian countries and their intellectual capacities) – tell-tale signs that the room probably was significant. Furthermore, Raghav and Ruairidh described the speeches they gave as their best ever, so spirits were obviously high. As it turns out, all hope was completely unfounded – the World Champion told Ruairidh and Raghav at the break social that they had taken the 4th despite top-class analysis. The two took the news differently: Raghav was seen taking long philosophical strolls contemplating the maths behind this development, while Ruairidh proceeded to get completely and utterly smashed. There is no comment yet regarding how this very weird day will affect their domestic partnership.

A few points of sincerity before moving on to various stories:

Firstly, while it’s obviously hard not to obsess over closed rounds, it can be very disillusioning to jump to conclusions about one’s performance in rounds if that prediction is wrong. Opinions are divided in the St Andrews camp about the usefulness of back tabbing, but I think it’s important to remember that the reason why we debate in the first place is because we like debating – not merely winning debates. That’s good to remember in closed rounds, too. Some ( *cough Penny cough*) disagree and I quote ‘debating is for winning’ . They can write their own blog post.

Secondly, all runners got a lengthy standing ovation yesterday that was thoroughly deserved. All our interactions with them have made us appreciate their genuine commitment in making our experience as enjoyable as possible, even when individual debaters have been rude or unappreciative. We need to remember that while we aren’t affected by the flooding, the runners and hotel staff living in Malaysia very much are. The fact that they’ve been polite, helpful and unselfish in spite of all this deserves huge respect.

In other news…

  • Glasgow A (Owen Mooney/Chris Edgar) hoped for an easy draw for round 9 so they could breeze into the out rounds. They ended up with Oxford A, Oxford B and Cambridge C in round 9. Owen spent five solid minutes hysterically laughing in a way that had us all worried about his mental sanity. They had a very good performance in that round though so all is fine. Owen is well.
  • The venue for the break party was genuinely impressive. A large open air courtyard, an even larger tent with air conditioning, drunk food served nearby, and a dance floor equipped with a smoke machine and strobe light. We celebrated the new year in style.
  • The staff at the social appeared as if they had never served a drink in their entire life, let alone drunk one. Gillis tried to order a double vodka coke, but ended up with one glass of vodka and coke mixed together, as well as two additional glasses of pure coke. Matteo from Glasgow B decided to take matters into his own hands – he paid, got behind the bar desk, and mixed the drink himself. We are not sure how much of this due to the language barrier and how much of it is due to Malaysia being a Muslim country.
  • All tournament announcements were made yesterday. Gillis and Ruairidh want to propose a Lads in China trip before Beijing Open, after a fantastically random promotional video (they spent a solid two minutes showing pictures of Chinese food that didn’t really look different to what fish and chips looks like).
  • At the bus to the social, Ruairidh ended up surrounded by a rowdy gang of predrinking Australians. After some initial niceties about the Empire, Ruairidh uttered the words “I reckon the Scots can outdrink you, mate” to an Aussie. Given the state both were in at the end of the night, the result seemed to be a tie. One of the Aussies was someone who winged team A’s round 8 and we tried getting some feedback off him about their ridiculous call but Penny gave up after the 5th time the judge asked ‘wait, which team are you again ?’ in his explanation of the call.

Last but not least, the Raghav of the Day: Ruairidh of the Tournament Edition!

Ruairidh: “Where’s he gone this time?”

(On average, Raghav goes completely missing 40 times a day. He has an ability to do so particularly minutes before important announcements, draws for a round, or when buses are about to depart, and an even more uncanny ability to reappear mere seconds before said events.)

We hope you are all well. Now to explore KL !

Good evening. An incredibly tired St Andrews contingent will try to combine to get a blog post together before passing out. Let’s begin with the motions:

Round 1: TH Regrets the Decline of Tightly Integrated Families.

Round 2: THBT environmental movements should support climate engineering that fundamentally alters the environment, in an attempt to combat global warming.

Round 3: THBT in Areas of Socio-Economic Deprivation, Schools Should Train Students in Vocational Skills to the Exclusion of the Liberal Arts

Round 4: THW Prohibit the Media from Reporting on the Mental Illness of those Accused of Crimes

Round 5: THBT The international community should cut off internet access in Syria

Round 6: THBT developing countries should adopt economic development policies that heavily disincentivise urbanisation

As for the teams:

St Andrews A: -2 (1st, 2nd, 3rd)

The debate gods had Penny and Gillis go through a debate version of Fear Factor on day 2, having to face their fears of being in OG twice and debating a dreaded economic round. OG went fine, economics less so. To hype up themselves for tomorrow, the embattled A team plans to listen to “Staying Alive” repeatedly, watch inspiring American sports movies about underdogs winning against all odds, and tattooing in “I can, I will” to motivate themselves for the work needed to break tomorrow.

St Andrews B: -3 (3rd, 3rd, 2nd)

We regret to inform you that Ruairidh and Raghav will be filing for divorce. A conclusion has been reached that Ruairidh’s physical, mental and debating needs can only be satisfied through a very narrow range of partners, and the two will be parting ways after tomorrow’s day of debating. We want to clarify that this is a consensual decision and that the parties will be moving on in good faith.

*NOTE TO RAGHAV’S FUTURE EMPLOYERS* The above skit is meant to be nothing more than a joke – Raghav was never in an actual marriage. Moreover, this does not reflect on Raghav’s teamwork skills or ability to co-operate. As Ruairidh put it, “It’s not you, it’s me. It’s always me.”

In other news…

  • One of the songs played as the draw was run happened to be a massive chuuuuune (Gillis’s spelling/pronunciation). On a given signal, Ruairidh and Gillis started dancing as if the strobe light had just been turned on in Crail’s Lane. Tyler would have been proud.
  • In a blatant attempt to overtake Penny’s brilliant analysis in a round, a government whip uttered the phrase “They [Penny] gave you the problem. We gave you the solution!” Which solution, you might ask? The exact solution Penny proposed. Neither Penny nor our judge was amused.
  • Someone in the Org Com had a stroke of genius yesterday, and decided to start showing Friends on the projector between rounds. The benefits of this policy (yes, I’ll use this lingo, sue me) is that waiting has never been more enjoyable. The harms are two-fold:
    • firstly, it turns out that a) Friends has a fair share of borderline sexist jokes (exhibit A occurs at 1:02 in this clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwINLMvkxrQ) and b) when watching Friends with debaters, those jokes are not met with laughter but a harrowing, ghastly, lethally awkward silence.
    • Secondly, people get genuinely upset when the screening gets paused for petty things such as announcements from the CA or when people decide to run a draw for a round.

Last but not least, the Raghav of the Day:

Ruairidh: “Raghav, do you want to practice before the next round?”

Raghav: “I think you underestimate the importance of recuperation”

Raghav, recuperating.

Happy New Year everyone!

Let’s start with what you came here for, anyway:

St Andrews A: -2 (2nd, 2nd, 4th )

Penny and Gillis continued their proud habit of fucking up inexplicable inconsistency, as their entire extention in Round 3 was snatched by a very competent Australian team. We are hopeful(ish) that tomorrow will be better and we’ll triumph. ( well, actually we are only saying that so that you don’t pity us or send us encouraging messages because such messages will be ignored).

St Andrew B: -1 (2nd, 4th, 1st )

Ruairidh and Raghav have been through all the highs and lows that a first day in an international competition can bring, going up against very good institutions and doing well. Penny and Gillis are totally and absolutely happy for them and not at all resentful.

Funny stories of today:

The Org Comm boasted about their fancy new system that has digitalized all feedback that you could connect to using your phone. Unfortunately, it turned out that any connection to the internet will break down if 1000 people (or more) try to connect at the same time so that plan wasn’t really successful. So much for the digital revolution.

Ruairidh and Raghav had a small fight during prep because Ruairidh told him that unless he does what he is told, he would knife him in sum (which was Penny’s suggestion for creating good team dynamics).

Ruairidh found a caterpillar in his food. Which is not symptomatic of the food in general which has usually been very good. The rest of us only grumble about the huge queues for food.

Penny is once again saying that she will never again set foot in a debate competition because ‘who would in their right mind choose to do this to themselves’. But then again she did say that after Manchester which, let’s face it, was two years ago. She is however incredibly good at making her partners retire. We don’t hold this against her though , we are sure this is a coincidence and not a result of them fleeing from her . Let’s hope the young Gillis is more resilient than the rest.

Moving on to our feature for this tournament , Raghav of the Day:

‘I’ll be back in two minutes’ ( one minute before the announcement of the motion). Ruairidh looked even more pale than normal. We sympathize.

Stay tuned for tomorrow followers.

A Swede, a Scot, an Iranian and Raghav walk into a bar in Malaysia… before promptly realising how jet-lagged they are and returning to their rooms. The first day in Kuala Lumpur consisted of waiting, sleeping and (for Gillis’s part, at least) watching Malaysian soap operas without subtitles rather than meeting new friends, or many people at all for that matter. In a valiant effort to shake off our debating rust, we arranged a practice debate with our friends from Glasgow. Gillis and Penny were in OG, and were both asleep by the time they had finished speaking and Raghav was about to extend on them.

So far, Malaysia Worlds seems to function similarly to other international competitions: the WiFi is patchy, and people treat the food served with a healthy amount of suspicion (while being more interested in cheap alcohol – Ruairidh was quickly persuaded by an Australian he’d never met before to buy five drinks coupons instead of one). The real fun will commence tomorrow; the shuttle buses to the debating venues start leaving at 7, and it’s a one hour drive.

The most stressful thing that happened over the weekend was the cash office informing us that they will cut one team unless we pay for it immediately. It has now been sorted. Thanks to Ruairidh Ferguson for dealing with all the hassle and confusion.

On a more serious note: we have not particularly noticed the flooding, and no debaters seem to be directly affected by the missing plane. Our only “issue” we’ve had is that Gillis has had to change his beach resort for his holiday after the tournament, which means his bungalow is slightly further from the sea. We’ll keep you updated as the tournament continues, but we’re all very safe and sheltered so far.

In other news…

  • you can still bet on when the big fight between Ruairidh and Raghav will happen given that they both still seem on spookily good terms.
  • In a sequence of events that should surprise exactly no-one, Gillis managed to get his wallet stolen, his headphones destroyed and one of the wheels on his bag fall off (!) within days before the journey. If he makes it home from Malaysia everyone would be happily surprised.
  • Breakfast here consists of rice and chicken, served with spoons and forks. We’re all culturally shell shocked by the lack of knives. ( only joking , there is also the option for ‘normal’ breakfast )

Lastly, we’d like to introduce a new feature to the blog: Raghav of the Day, where we share one thing per day that this glorious man has said or done. In today’s entry:

On the weather:

“It is predictably unpredictable”

Stay safe, friends!

Hi everyone! We’ll write a proper blog post later on with funny stories from today and yesterday, but I just wanted to write a quick post about something I (Alyssa) think is quite important and think it warrants a blog post of its own.

I’m not going to go into detail about the specific scenario in question (though feel free to ask me personally if you have any questions) but last nights social raised some serious equity concerns on my end, especially with regards to sexual harassment. I think that as debaters there is pretty terrible irony in the fact that people are willing to praise feminism and respecting women if they think it will help them take a first but completely neglect to put these ideas and thoughts into action or take care as to how what they do actually affects people. I’ve spoken to the equity team about the situation and they have been nothing but helpful and have offered their full support behind any action to be taken. This incident is not indicative of Zagreb Euros, and on a whole the tournament has felt incredibly inclusive barring this one event, at least in my experience.

I think at St Andrews we are particularly good at creating safe spaces for debate. Never have I felt that I was uncomfortable at a social or felt that there was ever a threat to my safety or anyone elses. I think this attitude that we have at St Andrews is wonderful and we should continue to set an example well into the future. Equity is more than lip service, and I think we embody this quite well. I just wanted to let you all know that as much as we can talk and debate about misogyny and harrasment, it is still very real. It is important that we continue to make the UDS feel so safe and so inclusive and work to prevent incidents like this from happening in the debating world and the wider world. St Andrews has had an equity policy for the last year but it’s not very well known. We think that in light of the situation it is incredibly important that we make this policy known. We think that Steph, as the IV officer at St Andrews should make an announcement in the Freshers Workshop…all though we are very inclusive already there is always more we can do.

That’s all for now, we’ll write later with more stories, but we all feel that this is something particularly important to discuss.

-Alyssa

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