Oxford college rugby team instructed to spike freshers' drinks in leaked email

Pembroke College rugby football club sent an email with the subject line "FREE PUSSY" to 50 club players earlier this week

A rugby club at Oxford University has caused outrage after an email was circulated to members earlier this week, suggesting that they spike freshers' drinks.

Pembroke College Rugby Football Club’s then-social secretary Woo Kim sent the email – which was entitled “FREE PUSSY” – on Monday, instructing members of the club about to “pick” a female fresher of their choice, and proposing a “challenge” for their annual social later in the week.

Read more: Is Oxford University a training ground for misogyny?

Mr Kim warned members to be “as clandestine as possible in your deed”, while instructing them to “please bring TWO bottles of wine - one for yourself and one for your guest”.

“You must open the bottle in advance, and include a substance of your choice,” he wrote. “It may be spirits or food or anything you like.”

“But not your sperm,” Mr Kim warned one player, adding earlier in the piece, “I know that every fresher at Pembroke is quaking in their boots thinking that they might be picked as our date.”

One member of the team was told: “Please bring a positive pregnancy test. This task shall be ongoing until you succeed.”

The email, which was sent to nearly 50 male student members of the club, has provoked outrage from Pembroke College’s JCR and women’s groups in Oxford.

Speaking to Oxford student newspaper Cherwell, which broke the story, Pembroke JCR president Rebecca Howe said: “We fear that the rugby committee do not seem to have grasped the seriousness of their offences, and will shrug this off as an overreaction of a female-led JCR committee.”

“The captain and [former] social secretary will be issuing an apology to the JCR, and plans to speak about the issue at our next JCR meeting. A constitutional motion to introduce measures to formally sanction each club or society wishing to be affiliated with the JCR is being considered. We will also reconsider the JCR’s contribution to the funding of PCRFC if this behaviour continues.”

One Pembroke College student, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I'm gobsmacked that at any stage this seemed like a good idea to the people sending these emails. It's not a joke, it’s not something you can laugh off retrospectively.”

Mr Kim has since stepped down from his position on Pembroke’s Rugby Football Club committee.

A statement issued by the club said: “Pembroke Rugby Club accepts that the emails circulated earlier this week about our proposed Crew Date were entirely misguided and represent a serious case of poor judgement.”

In the statement, PCRFC explained that the “challenge” was intended as a “harmless drinking game joke, and was in no way intended to mean that the team member should lace their dates' drinks with anything illegal and/or to engage in any sexual abuse."

Oxford Union's Women's Officer Sarah Pine said: "This behaviour is obviously abhorrent, but not reflective of the Pembroke community as a whole. The comments are part of the policing of social interactions to reproduce misogyny, treating sexual violence as something amusing that should be a part of their team's celebrations. Yet I'm happy to report that many of the teams said they would not be attending the initiation after reading the email, showing that this perspective isn't the majority viewpoint in the team." 

Speaking to Cherwell, one of the players who received the email said: “In light of actually reading the incredibly long original email, the social sec is clearly a fool to have said what he said. It is also a shame that all the Pembroke lads are smeared with the same brush, when what he said is obviously not representative.”

The Master of Pembroke College, Dame Lynne Brindley, said: “Pembroke College condemns these irresponsible and disrespectful comments, as well as the apparent nature of the planned event, in the strongest possible terms.”

Pembroke College has said “appropriate disciplinary action” will be taken against those involved.

King Abdullah II of Jordan and Michael Heseltine, the former Conservative deputy prime minister, are both notable former students of the college.

Neither Woo Kim nor a spokesperson for Oxford University Rugby Football Club was available for comment.

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