Education & Family

Students vote to boycott University Challenge

university challenge
Image caption Previous winners Corpus Christi, Oxford. But Reading students are non-starters for 10.

Students are boycotting University Challenge over claims a complaint about "misogynistic and sexist comments" during a recording of the BBC Two quiz show was not taken seriously enough.

The University of Reading's students' union has voted not to take part, after hearing claims relating to a previous appearance on the show by the Reading team.

But the university says the programme is a "national institution" and will step in to ensure that Reading is represented in the contest.

"We want our brightest and best students competing against the top universities in the UK in front of millions of viewers - not waving the white flag and refusing to enter," said a University of Reading spokesman.

Reading teams have previously been organised by the university's students' union.

"The university now plans to step in and recruit a team, given the students' union has opted out," said the university spokesman.

He said the university did not know the details of the dispute between the team and the television programme.

The union's education officer, Niall Hamilton, said a confidentiality agreement meant it could not specify the comments that had caused concern - but the students' union believed that complaints had not been taken seriously enough.

"Misogyny and sexism are not about 'offending' contestants, but undermining and oppressing individuals due to their gender," he wrote on the students' union website.

"These forms of oppression should not be taken lightly," wrote Mr Hamilton.

The students' union voted 120 to 105 in favour of adopting a policy of boycotting the quiz show.

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