Some traditions die hard — especially ones embraced by a venerated, 804-year-old British university that boasts such esteemed alumni as the biologist Charles Darwin and the Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov.
But let’s face it. Holding a bikini wrestling competition in a plastic pool filled with jelly is just embarrassing, even if it is a tradition. Hosted by an all-male drinking society at the University of Cambridge’s Magdalene College, the annual event was cancelled May 7 after 1,176 people signed an online petition denouncing it as “misogynistic” and “inappropriate in the modern age,” according to the Telegraph.
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Confirming the decision, the Wyverns club said in a statement:
“In the light of the recent petition The Wyverns have decided to cancel the ‘jelly wrestling’ at this year’s garden party. We, as a society, are committed to ensuring all party-goers have the best time possible and understand the concerns of some of them.”
The wrestling competition had already rankled the second oldest university in the English-speaking world about five years ago when a student was arrested and warned for assaulting a spectator, the Telegraph noted. The bacchanalian celebrations were moved to a secret location the following year after officials banned students from holding them on Cambridge’s campus.
Nina de Paula Hanika, a student at Magdalene College, started the petition against the “sexist” contest, which takes place on “Suicide Sunday,” the students’ end of exams garden party in June, the Telegraph reported.
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The jelly wrestling competition is hardly the only questionable activity hosted by Cambridge’s rowdy drinking clubs. As reported by the Huffington Post, Cambridge Union’s Womens’ Officer Susy Langsdale said in a statement: “It’s well known that a few drinking societies within the university have sexist elements within their initiation ceremonies.”
And despite the Wyverns canceling their annual wrestling competition, it looks like the club’s drunken revelry will continue. The society’s president said in a statement to the student newspaper, “We are keen to maintain our reputation as the biggest, loosest, naughtiest, silliest party that Cambridge has to offer.”
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