Original cover story as it appeared in The Oxford Student (link):
By Carl Lewis
The Oxford Student
Story picked-up and co-authored as an exclusive in The Daily Mail (link):
By Beth Hale and Carl Lewis
The Daily Mail
If it was a celebration marking a return to the fold, it didn’t quite work out as planned.
A year ago Oxford University Conservative Association was banned from using the college title in its name because of a row over racism.
But with that in the past, it was time to resume its affiliation and move on. Or at least it would have been had the association not been plunged into a fresh controversy – this time over sexism.
As a female speaker gave forth in a debate about education, she was taunted by a student shouting ‘kitchen, kitchen shush up woman, go back to the kitchen’.
According to one witness, when Oxford student Isabella Burton continued, Vitus van Rij, 18, suggested she stick to ‘pan and brooms’ instead of giving speeches about politics.
Given that the OUCA president is a woman and there were many women in the 120-strong audience, it is perhaps not surprising that van Rij was given a swift dressing down.
Two male students stood up and condemned his comments as ‘despicable and unacceptable’.
Oxford Union president Laura Winwood, who was also present, said three female association members were ‘quite distressed’ by the outburst.
Van Rij is said to have left the room after coming under fire, but returned a few minutes later, only to be escorted from the premises.
The student sported a tiny moustache and slicked back hair in a severe parting for the evening, which had been billed as a ‘port and policy’ event.
Quite how he came to be there is something of a mystery. OUCA president Natalie Shina insisted she did not invite the student.
She said he must have tagged along with members of the Conservative Association of University College London, who she had invited to the event.
But UCL said it had not invited van Rij.
As for van Rij himself, he has kept a low profile since student journalists at Oxford University started trying to contact him.
Van Rij is understood to be a member of the War Studies Society at King’s in London as well as a member of a university polo club.
OUCA was at the centre of a racism storm last June. During a drunken hustings for the next president for the body, candidates made racist remarks.
The group, whose former presidents include Margaret Thatcher and William Hague, was subsequently barred from using the university name.
Van Rij has since returned to his native Belgium but told about his behaviour, his ex-girlfriend, Suzanne Kimman, 19, rolled her eyes and said: ‘It sounds like something he would do.’