The York Tories caused a stir last week with the return of their controversial fox hunting social, a bar crawl event hosted by the society where the attendees dress as either foxes or tweed-dressed hunters. The society started drinking in D-Bar before the “foxes” (the committee members) went into town to be pursued shortly afterwards by the “hunters” (the non-committee members.)
On this occasion, the event went down fairly uneventfully; the social’s track record has never been straightforward, however. In November 2013, a mini-uproar was generated on the University campus with members of York
Vegetarian and Vegan society (VegSoc) and Feminist society protesting against the event for promoting animal cruelty and misogyny (an accusation based mainly on the society’s dress-requirements for the event.)
Representatives for the York Tories at the time denied these allegations, stating the dress-code to be a “voluntary” element that was not an exclusively Tory feature and something that many other on-campus societies had used in their own socials. Despite this, the 2013 social was ditched in the face of the complaints levelled at it and the potential for violent protest it would generate; VegSoc even issued a hazy threat to throw red paint at any people participating in the social.
The return of the social marks an apparent increase in confidence for the York Tories, resurrecting the idea for the social nearly six years since its cancellation. A step in the right direction in regard to the social would seem to have been side-stepping the 2013 accusation of sexism by, on this occasion, not having the female members dressed as “foxes” and the male members as “hunters”. The fox hunting social marks another chapter in a series of controversial socials that have been common on campus over the past few years, with the University of York hockey team making national news in 2017 for their ‘white t-shirt’ social; an event that garnered attention for reported use of swastikas, racial slurs, and poorly drawn-on Hitler moustaches.
A spokesperson for the York Tories said: “The society itself does not adopt any formal position on matters of policy ... This was just a themed ‘chase’ bar crawl. A type of social that is a staple of student night life, that several other societies regularly partake in. The event itself went well with no controversy or issues.”