The Kate Kennedy Interviews

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Kate Kennedy Club

The Saint exclusively interviewed spokespeople from the Kate Kennedy Club.

When did you first find out about this?
The time when I and the rest of the club found out about even the existence of this Fellowship idea was in the middle of an open forum meeting on Monday night [20 February], to which the Rector had been invited explicitly by the committee to come and listen to the views of some of the club members, about their feelings concerning their relationship between the University and the Club and how the disaffiliation has affected us since 2009. That is what I understood to be the reason for the Rector’s presence at that meeting, and that’s when we first heard about the KKF, from a message that was sent to me personally about something going on at the SRC. That was the first time that we’d heard of it. We meet every Monday, it was by no means an emergency meeting at all, and the period in which we were talking when the message came through was an open forum before the meeting had started, for Mr Moffat to come and hear from the club’s members.

What is your vision for the future, given the uncertainty surrounding the Trust’s support?
As mentioned in our press statement, we intend to hold the Procession on April 14th, and we intend hopefully to go ahead with the May Ball on May 6th. To clarify on the position of the Trust, the chair of the Trust, who I’ve spoken with, has released a press statement to the Rector and this press statement should be going public shortly. This press statement says, as I believe it should, that the Trust has yet to meet, and we have yet to officially achieve a consensus about where the position of the Trust lies. I myself, along with other members of the club, am a registered trustee of the Trust, and any comment that suggests that there are key members of the Trust who’ve given their support is not to my knowledge. Any suggestion within the press or by representatives of the Fellowship that they have the entire support of the trust is factually inaccurate, which is made very clear in the chair of the Trust’s public statement. Any suggestion of having ‘key’ members of the Trust also is irrelevant; any member that sits on that Trust has an equal vote. The Trust meets on Tuesday 13 March and we shall reach a decision on the matter then.

Anything you’d like to add?
I just hope we’ll continue to be able to have dialogue on this issue.

Patrick O’Hare

The Saint exclusively interviewed Association President, Patrick O’Hare.

When did you first hear about this?
The first I’d heard of it was from Sam, on Sunday, and I didn’t find out the details of it until the Monday afternoon, when Sam explained what might be proposed, and the motion. Because of the issue of timing, and the fact that I had a really busy day that day, I put my name to second the motion that went forward, so that this could be debated on. At that stage in the day me and David Graves were brought in, and we were the ones most informed about what was going on. On that basis, I seconded the motion. If we’d have had more time, we’d probably have added in more amendments, or changed slight things with the motion. As it happened, those changes went through on the night. So the SRC got the motion on the Monday, there was a debate and a discussion of it, suggested changes were put to it. But the overall gist of the motion and the overall support of the SRC for the KKF was voted in.

As you were saying, a lot of people think that the KK have done an awful lot of good at this University. They’re not affiliated to the University, they’re not affiliated to the Union – why is their admission criteria anyone else’s business but their own?
I think, although legally they’re an independent body and they’re not affiliated, their name is inextricably linked with the University of St Andrews, and therefore their practices – whether they’re good on an organisational scale of it, or whether they’re bad in terms of their admissions policy – that is directly linked in many people’s eyes, and in the media’s eyes, to the University of St Andrews. That’s why their claim to our heritage and to the traditions of our University can be disputed.

Are you going to be fully behind them, Patrick?
Erm, in a personal capacity, as Patrick O’Hare? I’m quite a busy guy, I’m not sure how much time I’m going to be able to dedicate to this, is the honest answer. I’m in the middle of a lot of stuff, so I don’t want to say I’ll be committing hours of time to this, which I may not have, because of my duties. I’d send out a slight note of caution, as I think a lot has happened over the last couple of days in a very sudden way, and in a rushed way, and there’s still a lot of details to emerge and to be worked out, and I look forward to playing a constructive role in that process, in working out the final details of what the Fellowship will stand for. In a personal capacity, I would express my absolute respect for Sunny and Pat as individuals, and for the step that they’ve taken.

Sam Fowles

The Saint exclusively interviewed Director of Representation Sam Fowles.

Can you take me through the run-up to Tuesday morning’s press conference?
We got told in advance there was going to be this debate in the Kate Kennedy club (KKC). The boys had spoken to the Rector, and he’s been very keen and obviously we’ve worked very closely with him. We were told that if the KKC did not offer to allow women to take part in the St Andrews traditions on that evening, then it would split, and the Kate Kennedy Fellowship (KKF) would be formed. So we called a meeting of the SRC, an emergency meeting, we thought – this is happening, we should respond to it. And we put forward a motion that we thought was fair. We said, we think this is a very good thing, we want to support students who stand up for their beliefs, but obviously we also want to make sure that their recruiting policy is in line with SRC ideas on equalities, so we’d be looking at their constitution in terms of that.

As you were saying, a lot of people think that the KK have done an awful lot of good at this University. They’re not affiliated to the University, they’re not affiliated to the Union – why is their admission criteria anyone else’s business but their own?
This is the key thing – because they lay claim to the University’s traditions. They’re not saying that the Kate Kennedy Procession is the history of the KKC; they’re saying it’s the history of the University, and of the town. They’re laying claim to something that involves all of us. If they were a bunch of guys who like to do their thing on their own, then that’s fine. But when they involve all of us, when they say they’re guardians of tradition that involve all of us, but they exclude the rest of us from the guardianship of those traditions, then that’s why people should take action. That’s why I absolutely support them.

Anything else you’d like to say on the matter?
I’d like to speak in a personal capacity, not as Director of Representation or as a member of the SRC, but as Sam Fowles. In that capacity I want to make it very clear that I’m placing my whole-hearted support, and I’m going to work as hard as possible, to make these boys feel supported, and to make the fellowship a success, because I truly believe that everyone in St Andrews has a right to the traditions of the University, and when students stand up and say , something with our community is wrong, and I’m going to make a change myself, that is the most valuable thing they can do, and I think they should be completely supported. So, in a personal capacity, I’m going to be 110% behind these guys.

Kate Kennedy Fellowship

The Saint exclusively interviewed spokespeople from the Kate Kennedy Fellowship.

Had the issue of women being permitted to join the KK been proposed before?
The club constitution states, very clearly, that if you propose women membership, you sacrifice your membership of the club. You cannot publicly declare that you are going to propose women membership of the club to an entity beforehand, otherwise you will sacrifice membership of that club.

Does that mean you couldn’t talk about it beforehand?
We talked about it in private beforehand, we canvassed support with the club beforehand, we did everything we could beforehand.
Then we brought the Rector in to the meeting, who also proposed that question and tried to read how the club felt about it. And there was a response, there was a discussion at that time, about how the club felt about the issue, and then when we left, my words as I walked out the door were “I propose female membership to the KKC”.

What’s your vision for the future?
It’s an incredible opportunity to enfranchise everybody, so we are now trying to do that as quickly as possible.
The benefits of having this new body embraced by the University certainly increase its potential to do good – cooperation from the University, not having to be at loggerheads with it…
With specifics, our vision for the future – we want to do a May Ball.

If the Kate Kennedy club are doing a May Ball also, will yours be competing with it?
There will not be two May Balls, there will be the Kate Kennedy Fellowship May Ball, that’s it.

What effect has the Trust’s decision had on your organisation?
As of yet, the Trust haven’t met and have not made a decision.
We’ve been very enthused by private members’ contributions to us personally about what they believe the Fellowship should be, and encouraged by their vision for the Fellowship, that’s exactly as it should be. We’re hopeful for a constructive meeting of the trust.
Another thing was just – especially regarding our Vision for the future – the Fellowship is as much about inclusion, openness, transparency, everything that Patrick O’Hare talked about last night [at the Debating Society Debate]. That’s what we want more than anything else. That’s what we’ll work as hard as possible – 22 hour days – to make sure happens.

Anything you want to add?
I’d like to add that, while this is grounded in a debate about an old broken institution, it’s important to remember…that the members of that old broken institution are also members of this University at the end of the day. And right now, some of what’s being levied at them at a very personal level is very difficult to deal with. So, while many people may very much believe in these causes, support them in a forward-looking way, but do not hurt men that have served this University in a great deal of ways, and do your best to be forward looking and constructive rather than backward looking and destructive.

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