Oxford University’s Cherwell Editors Resign

The editors of the Oxford University newspaper Cherwell have resigned in the wake of a spoof edition titled the Lecher. The staff that resigned were not responsible for the spoof as they were not part of the editorial team at the time of publication.
Sian Cox-Brooker and Michael Bennett, who took over as joint editors of Cherwell last month, have stepped down from the school’s oldest student publication. Fifty copies of the edition were handed out during a meal held by the weekly paper during a sponsored by the editorial staff in November.

Cox-Brooker and Bennett are quoted by Time Guardian on their resignation statement.

The Guardian reports:

“The tone and content of Lecher was clearly intended to be satirical, and was received as such by its intended recipients,” they said in a statement.

“We were not responsible for the compilation of the edition of Lecher before it was printed last year. We understand that satire can be misconstrued, and as this term’s editors of Cherwell we apologise for any offence which might have been caused and have now resigned.”

The spoof paper was filled with racist comments, pornographics images and the like. There was a mock up of a former editor in Ku Klux Klan clothing. The paper’s lead story featured two students sexually abusing and killing infants.

The spoof was meant only for the eyes of the incoming editoral staff of the paper. It is the tradition of the Cherwell to make a spoof paper at the end of each term when the leaving editorial staff hands over the reins to the new staff.

The Cherwell publishes 15,000 copies each week.

Last week the spoof was leaked and to Oxford students condemning the paper. The Oxford University Student Union’s president Lewis Iwu was appalled by the spoof.

Iwu is the school union’s first black president. He has handed back an award he was given by the Cherwell and has demanded an investigation into the publication of the paper

The Oxford Student Publications Ltd. had demanded the resignations. The Guardian reports:

Christopher Stylianou, the chairman of the Oxford Student Publications Limited (OSPL) which publishes Cherwell, said: “The contents of the document are utterly deplorable, and OSPL condemns it in the strongest possible terms We have demanded and received the resignation of the individuals who claimed responsibility.”

Oxford is struggling with a series of offending ‘jokes’ as of late. In December members of the university’s under-21 rugby team had hosted a dinner that as billed as a “bring a fit Jew” party. Those students were ordered to attend a cultural diversity lesson.


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