Glasgow University Union hosted their controversial ‘Last All Male Board’ dinner at the end of November.
The dinner was a tradition set up by the GUU’s all-male board of management once the union was forced to admit women in the early 80s to commemorate the last board of management with no females. Many other male board members also attend the meal, with invitations extending to current male board members.
Whilst some have raised concerns about the GUU hosting dinners which exclude one sex, President David Lockhart stressed that the dinner is held as a private event and that current board members who attend do so in a personal capacity, not as representatives of Glasgow University Union.
The dinner’s attendees included many current and past male board members including incumbent president David Lockhart and last year’s president Chris Sibbald.
Lockhart, aware of concerns over the dinner, commented: “I would need to stress that my attendance is as an individual invited to the dinner – not as GUU President.”
He went on to explain that, once the Board of Management have agreed to hosting a function, invites are given at the discretion of the event organisers. Lockhart commented: “Once a function has been passed by the Board, the Board does not mandate who that private function is permitted to invite.”
The attendance of some members of the current GUU board of management has been seen by some as support for sexist attitudes of the past. Frances Bell, GUSRC Gender Equality Officer, commented: ”The LAMB dinner remembers and celebrates the sort of outdated sexism which should no longer be welcome in the GUU. The union’s decision to host the LAMB dinner is both upsetting on a personal level and insulting to all female members of the union. The GUU has moved on from its view of women in the 1970s, and I’m sure the current board want to ensure that the union is now equally safe and welcoming for all its members.”
Speaking about the attendance of current board members, Bell added: “Whether in a personal capacity or on behalf of the union, members of the board undermine the union when attending the LAMB dinner – they should be working to distance themselves from this tradition and ensuring that the union is as progressive as it can be.”