Students injured in Turl Street brawl

first_imgA fight between Jesus and Exeter college has left people injured after students from both colleges were swept up in the brawl.The incident began at about 11.30pm last Friday, after the annual “Turl Street Dash” in which Jesus students complete a bicycle race around Oxford.Jesus students had “poured out onto the street” to cheer on the competitors.Jesus students, who outnumbered their opponents, broke into Exeter College as authorities struggled to halt the chaos.Jesus students broke into Exeter College; bicycles were thrown and students urinated on the walls of the rival college.The Jesus students began to chant “Exeter: wank, wank, wank.”They also sung, “Always piss on the Exeter side of the street” to the tune of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” drawing those in the Exeter bar outside.“We found this mass of people waiting in a semi-circle for us,” said an Exeter student.The Exeter group started chanting “fuck Jesus” in response.Participants in the race “had had about twelve to fifteen pints, depending on year,” according to Joshua Peckham, an undergraduate at Jesus.The fight began as the groups threw snowballs. Then bicycles left in the street following the race were then thrown around.“Jesubites started picking up bikes and running around holding them over their heads,” said an Exeter student.At least one Jesus and one Exeter undergraduate reported that their bicycles had been broken in the fight.Onlookers report that the violence started to escalate when the Jesus students attempted to break into the neighbouring college. Peckham admitted that Jesus students were largely responsible for the fight, claiming that “Exeter played a mainly passive role.”Exeter’s junior dean, who was involved in dispersing the crowd, corroborated this, saying, “the few Exeter students present were bystanders.” She added, “both… colleges will be working together to ensure no such incidents take place in the future.”Reports have circulated amongst Jesus undergraduates that the college’s disciplinary staff are examining CCTV of the incident, and are considering rusticating up to three students.The Dean of Jesus said, “there has been an investigation into the incident, and we will make sure that those involved are brought to justice.”A Jesus first-year, who asked not to be named, said that reports of the fight had been blown out of proportion. “The fight has been massively exaggerated,” he said, “it was nothing serious and no-one deserves to be rusticated for it.”But one Exeter historian did not take the incident so lightly. “It didn’t seem like it was in jest at all,” he said. “I actually I don’t find people getting smacked, or walking around with blood on their t-shirts, very funny.”Some students wondered whether the relationship between the colleges have been permanently damaged by the fight. Several questioned whether the Turl Streets Arts Festival, which requires the collaboration of both Exeter and Jesus, would still take place this year.However, Ed Moores, Exeter’s JCR president, downplayed the idea of a new rivalry between the colleges. “Relationships between the colleges are back to normal,” he said. “Of course the arts festival will still be taking place.”He even praised the tradition of the Turl Street Dash, and added that he hoped it would continue in future. “Unfortunately this year it got out of hand. But people were taking it in the right spirit,” he said.The president of Jesus’ JCR declined to comment on the issue. “They came close to our door and attempted to enter,” said an Exeter student. “These really large rugby guys were running at us, trying to get in.”“Then it was like an explosion. Punches were swung and two of my friends were smacked in the face,” he said.Adrian Rodrigues, a student at Exeter, described how he stepped outside with his friends to see what was going on. One friend was immediately punched. “My friend got hit in the face by some guy,” he said. “I hit him back, then he dragged me down to the floor and started kicking me. Then a group of about twelve formed around me.”The walls of Exeter colleges and the bicycles along them were urinated on by some of the Jesus students.Once the fight started, several members of Exeter’s staff came out onto the street, including a porter, the bar manager and the junior dean, in an attempt to break it up.Peckham said that a middle-aged man was involved in the violence, reportedly being kicked in the groin by a Jesus student. “This may have been their bar manager, who is known to have been assaulted,” he said.Some Jesus students also managed to enter the college, prompting a manhunt to find and eject them. One was found “cowering behind a bush” according to one Exeter student, while the others were leaning out of windows and encouraging the fight. “Two Jesubite girls gained access to the third floor of Exeter and were cheering us on,” said Peckham.Around half an hour after it began, the fight “cleared as spontaneously as it started,” according to an onlooker. Peckham reported that the Jesus crowd was encouraged to disperse by the college JCR president, Duncan Cook. “He began shouting…and soon after the situation was over,” he said.last_img read more