YOUNG VOICES

University of Reading Students Forced To Apologise Over 'Pikey' Themed Night Out

They set off fireworks and carried a sofa down the street.

09/03/2017 10:52 GMT | Updated 09/03/2017 10:55 GMT

Rampaging students who dressed in tracksuits and set off fireworks as part of a “pikey” themed night out have been forced to apologise to the Traveller community. 

Members of the Agricultural Society at the University of Reading were filmed carrying a sofa down the street and attempting to urinate in residents’ gardens during the social in October. 

“The students were carrying all sorts of stuff including fire extinguishers which they were letting off and then throwing around,” one local told the Reading Chronicle at the time. 

But following an investigation by the university, the group have now been forced to write a letter to the Traveller Movement apologising for their “unacceptable” behaviour”.  

Andrew Smith
Members of the Agricultural Society at the University of Reading have been forced to apologise over their 'pikey' themed night out 

Part of the letter from the group of agricultural students reads: “As a committee and society as a whole, we understand that we have undermined the university’s reputation as an open, inclusive community and, in particular, the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development.

“The society would like to state that we understand that the term “Pikey” is offensive to a protected minority under the Equality Act and that by using the term in a themed social, we have offended a vast majority of the University of Reading’s community, including the wider student community and the local community.”

Also apologising to residents, society members added that they would make it their “utmost priority” to prevent the incident from being repeated. 

Traveller Movement CEO Yvonne MacNamara told the BBC: “We know that many Gypsy and Traveller students still do not feel comfortable disclosing their ethnicity at university for fear of discrimination.

“So racism against Gypsies and Travellers must be tackled with the same vigour as with any other ethnicity.”

The incident is not the first time Reading’s Agricultural Society has hit the headlines for controversial behaviour.

In 2015, the group was banned from the university’s student union after holding a “Agrics on Holiday” night out where members “blacked up” and dressed as ethnic minorities. 

Twitter
The group was banned from the student union in 2015 after members 'blacked up' for a society event 

A spokesperson for the University of Reading said there had been a “full and thorough investigation” into the most recent incident. 

“Students were taken through our disciplinary process and one of the outcomes of this process was a letter of apology to the residents affected by the behaviour and the Romany and Irish Traveller Movement,” they said. 

 “The university stands for mutual respect, acceptance and understanding. This type of behaviour is unacceptable and does not represent the values of the University, nor the conduct expected of those studying here.” 

The Traveller Movement has been contacted for comment.