Editors fired over ‘racist’ issue

By politics.co.uk staff

Editors of the prestigious Oxford University paper Cherwell have been forced to resign over a row about a mock issue.

The Lecher was produced as an obvious spoof and distributed to editorial staff at a private meal last year and despite only being appointed last month, and in no way responsible for the publication, the current editors have resigned amid protests.

The satirical edition contained a piece mocking the Holocaust and another which poked fun at the sexual abuse and murder of babies. And following condemnation from students and tutors the editors Sian Cox-Brooker and Michael Bennett were forced to resign.

“The tone and content of Lecher was clearly intended to be satirical, and was received as such by its intended recipients,” the pair 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.”

Despite the paper being a satire, and thus produced depicting attitudes and opinions the authors found laughable and foolish, there has been strong condemnation from officials as though this were a serious issue of Cherwell.

President of the Oxford University student union, Lewis Iwu, said he was “shocked and appalled” by the issue.

“The abhorrent humour portrayed in the Lecher is in no way representative of student opinion in Oxford,” he said.

“Like many places Oxford is by no means perfect but as a black student I believe that Oxford is a tolerant, vibrant and welcoming place.”

Mr Iwu is the first black president of the union and thanks to his outrage he has returned an award he received from Cherwell in protest.

Chairman of the Oxford Student Publications Limited (OSPL) which publishes Cherwell, Christopher Stylianou, 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.”

A spokesman for Oxford University said: “The university strongly condemns any form of racism and discrimination and reaffirms its commitment to promoting good race relations.”