Huffpost UK Universities & Education

Ban Bikini Jelly Wrestling From Cambridge University Parties, Students Say

Posted: Updated:

UPDATE: Wyverns Society have agreed to cancel jelly wrestling in light of pressure from the petition.

A spokesman 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. But more than that we are committed to having the biggest and booziest party so far and will be looking for other ways to make sure this is the best one yet."

Students are calling on a Cambridge University drinking society to ban a garden party ritual where bikini-clad women are paid to wrestle in a paddling pool full of jelly, at one of the University's oldest colleges.

Summer garden parties at Cambridge colleges are highly-anticipated, boozy events to celebrate the end of exams.

Magdalene College's all-male drinking society The Wyverns traditionally recruits two female students to wrestle each other in the pit of dessert, with the winner receiving prize money.

jelly wrestle

Jelly wrestling, organised by a Cambridge University drinking society

A petition, started by Magdalene College student Nina de Paula Hanika, calling on the event to be cancelled has attracted more than 1,100 signatures since Monday night.

The petition calls the event "clearly sexist, misogynistic and completely inappropriate as entertainment for 2013."

Hanika told HuffPost UK: "As a first year, I was shocked to arrive at Magdalene and hear about this element of the garden party. I had envisioned Cambridge as an intelligent, progressive, institution which, in many parts of life, I have found it to be but this event stands as an outdated bastion of sexism that has no place in the 21st century.

"The more support we can show, the more likely it is The Wyverns will realise the removal of the jelly-wrestling is long overdue."

She continued: "The general response I have received from the student body has been overwhelmingly positive. I think most of those who did know about it previously felt very uncomfortable with the idea, and those who didn't have been made aware through my campaign and have been shocked and disgusted by the knowledge that the concept of a female jelly-wrestling competition could exist as entertainment."

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, however, this blatant objectification of female bodies by a men’s drinking society stands out as particularly extreme.

The CUSU Women’s Campaign has shown total support for Nina’s petition and hope that this will set a precedent for drinking societies to evaluate their traditions."

The event has a controversial history. In 2008, classics student Nadia Witkowski, furious at her defeat in the jelly wrestling, threw a wobbly after her defeat when she was booed by the crowd.

She stalked off, and then hit a female spectator in the face, whilst still covered in red jelly.

Carrying a bottle of Lambrini, she headed for the door, but was stopped by bouncers who tried to confiscate her drink. Witkowski hit one, then butted the other, and was promptly arrested, receiving a caution for common assault.

Around the Web

Pictured: The bikini-clad Cambridge student arrested for attacking ...

Cambridge University jelly fight: Caution for bikini-clad wrestler ...

Jelly Wrestling on Wobbly Ground | The Tab Cambridge

Cambridge students vomit and collapse after wild party | The Sun ...

Arrested, Cambridge jelly fight student who threw a wobbly | UK ...