The students behind the infamous Champagning video have offered a public apology, claiming that the stunt was “intended as a harmless joke”. The video, which has now been removed from YouTube, depicts several first years at various locations around town seemingly dousing themselves in champagne.
In a public statement, the students expressed their regret, saying: “We would like to sincerely apologise for the video that was posted on YouTube entitled ‘Champagning in St Andrews’.
“This was intended as a harmless joke and an attempt to join in on the latest craze that began with ‘milking’ in Newcastle and ‘porting’ in Durham, as well as being ironic towards ourselves.
“Those involved in the video were all first years who also wanted to celebrate the end of a successful first semester at University. We would like to apologise to any who were upset or offended by our video, we assure you this was not our intention and we regret any offence that may have been taken.
“In addition we are shocked, saddened and deeply regretful of the reaction towards this video, as well as being deeply remorseful towards any negative effects this may have had for our fellow students, especially those involved in trying to present a more balanced picture of the University of St Andrews and our student community.
“Once again we would like to offer our heartfelt apologies for any offence caused, we truly hope this will be the end of the matter and are allowed to continue to study and complete our exams in peace.”
In a blog published yesterday entitled “Bad jokes with bitter consequences”, Freddie Fforde, President of the Students’ Association, lamented the video, saying: “What a shame. What a shame. All of the work that we do, here at the association, over with the Ambassadors programme and just in the general day-to-day context of student society life.
“Given the efforts we’re putting in to turn around negative stereotypes about our poor record of diverse students, I’m quite upset at all of this so I won’t go on, not least at the media exacerbation.”
A University spokesman said: “It was an unfortunate incident which, although intended as a joke, cast our student community in a very harsh and unfair light in the way it was reported by national media.
“The students involved realised the offence their video could cause, removed it swiftly and offered an explanation and apology through the student President Freddie Fforde.
“It is fair to note that they have had to endure a difficult week, vilified in the press, their Facebook pages pored over by the media, their friends and families affected and, for a period, their residences staked out by the press.
“There is however something very positive that St Andrews can take from this – the confident way in which so many students have been quick to challenge media stereotyping and argue for a fairer portrayal based on the reality of a diverse, energetic and engaged community, most of which is committed to playing a central part in widening access, volunteering, and community relations.”