Students fight university "safer sex" ball ban over CCTV scandal
Organisers of an infamous "safer sex"-themed student ball have promised to fight its cancellation.
The University of Exeter confirmed on Tuesday its infamous Safer Sex Ball (SSB) "will not be held in the future" after CCTV footage emerged on the internet of students apparently engaged in sexual activity.
Members of staff at the Students' Guild were sacked last month for filming and circulating the footage of the couple in the student bar at the event intended to promote safe sex.
Student organisers Raising and Giving (RAG) pledged to challenge the permanent cancellation of the ball, which has been running for more than two decades and is one of the country's biggest Aids-awareness events.
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RAG said it would gauge student opinion before launching a campaign to hold the ball again next year.
The group criticised guild proposals for a replacement event as "naïve" and "not in the best interests of the students".
It said any change of format "would undoubtedly" damage its success and the benefits to charity.
"The unique selling point has been vital to the event's popularity," it said.
In previous years students camped overnight in freezing conditions to obtain tickets from a box office before an online "lottery" system was introduced two years ago.
RAG claimed charities such as the Eddystone Trust for HIV and sexual health services were in danger of losing out on annual donations of up to £20,000 from the event.
It also warned scrapping the SSB left the door open to rival promoters without a charitable aim.
RAG said in a statement: "We will look to run an SSB next academic year; we hope that the Students' Guild will recognise the popularity of the SSB with the students and its inherent charitable mission.
"However, if this will not be the case then we will seek alternate means of funding and running the event."
The Guild said the event could "no longer exist" due to "negative reputational damage" and effects on student welfare.
Exeter student Emma-Louise Vetriano wrote on Twitter: "This can't be true? It was in FHMs Top 100 things to do before you die!"
Former student Rosanna Brook said: "No more Exeter SSB? Where will I get my yearly dose of Exeter scandal from now?"
Prior to the event in December, dozens of academics and university staff petitioned against a "tribal" theme – dubbed racist by some students.
In 2011 organisers were forced to apologise over an "incredibly insensitive" rape joke which was printed to publicise the event.