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UEA hockey teams face investigation

The UEA Men’s First and Second Hockey Teams have been suspended pending an investigation into an alledged violation of the Union of UEA Students’ (UUEAS) code of conduct. 28 players from both teams – around half of the UEA Men’s Hockey Club – have been temporarily suspended from participation in union sports clubs, including matches and training, following the alledged breach.

An email, seen by Concrete, that was sent to the players last Thursday, says: “It has been alleged that on Wednesday 14th October, the first X1 and second X1 hockey were involved in activity that may have been in breach of the union’s code of conduct”. Concrete understands that the accusations relate to the following subsections of the code: “threatening or harassing any other person, whether physically or verbally; assaulting any other person; acting in contravention of the union’s equal opportunities policies; acting without due regard for the safety of others; infringement of equal opportunities, safe space, no platform or staff protocol policies; organising initiation ceremonies”.

Any member of UUEAS is subject to it’s code of conduct “while… representing or acting on behalf of the union at any event of whatever kind and wherever held”.

Speaking off the record, a well-placed union source said that the allegations will not be made more specific to prevent the club from preparing a defense prior to the official investigation.

The events in question occurred on the return journey to UEA after the first XI played Oxford and second XI played Oxford Brookes on 14th October and quickly became the subject of intense and lurid speculation on social media. UUEAS released a statement about the allegations, stating that they are “supported by video evidence” and that the behaviour of the two teams “if proven, would constitute a serious breach of the code of conduct. The two teams have been suspended pending an investigation, which will begin as soon as possible. It would be inappropriate to comment further whilst the investigation is ongoing”.

The players involved have been informed by the union that due to “clause 16.1 of the code in cases involving gross misconduct” they are liable to “a period of suspension of membership rights… whilst an unhindered investigation is conducted”.

The union has decided that “any member of the UEA Hockey Club that travelled to or from Oxford on October 14th has now had this right [to participate in union activities] suspended and no activity under the auspices of the club may take place until the suspension has been lifted”. Concrete understands that the offical union investigation will take place at some point this week.
Richard Shapland, the President and Captain of the UEA Hockey Club, spoke exclusively to Concrete about the allegations. He claimed that he “can’t think of anything that went on that was that much too far for the union to see fit to suspend 28 players. It might be something to do with just one or two people, which, for them to suspend two full teams – forcing us to concede two matches – seems heavy-handed”.

Asked about the extent of his knowledge of what went on, Shapland said he had “received no official word”, adding: “I don’t know whether its something relatively minor – whether I should be looking at some major procedural changes within the club – or whether it’s a matter of reprimanding one or two people”.

Despite Shapland’s denial, he concedes that there may have been a problem in terms of general behaviour that went unnoticed by the committee: “There were a couple of incidents of gay chicken, which may have made a few people feel uncomfortable. But it’s certainly not something that we in any way make people do.

He continued: “It’s quite possible that this is something there is video evidence of – quite a few people have phones out on the bus, quite a few people are Snapchatting… It is possible. I have to say that, throughout, I was doing my absolute best to make sure that there was no one who looked anything other than entirely comfortable with the situation”.

“As club captain I very much wanted to make sure that everybody was comfortable. In the distant past there have been issues with people taking things too far and I’m okay for members of the committee to behave as they want to – I know that as pesident I can sit there and if people do look uncomfortable then I can remove them from that situation, which I always wanted to do”.

“I honestly don’t think that anyone was made to feel uncomfortable – and obviously if it comes to it and I’m wrong I will absolutely eat my words and say we got it wrong. But I think it’s one of those situations where you have to judge it one way or the other and I don’t think we got it wrong”.

He expressed understanding for the union’s position and agreed that “they are bound by policy in things like this”.

Shapland hopes that the issue can be resolved as fast as possible: “something like this dragging on – especially when it’s possibly a very minor thing – we don’t want it to drag on and essentially punish the 25 other people who weren’t even involved”.

The hockey club has been forced to forfeit two matches within the league due to the suspension.


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19 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “UEA hockey teams face investigation”

  1. I think that response exemplifies everything that’s wrong with the paper. No willingness to learn or improve.

    • Concrete is a student newspaper. It exists to provide a platform for students to write about what interests them, which is something that the paper manages to do very effectively. That includes national stories as well as local ones – which incidentally is a feature you will find in the EDP, to use your own example. This is a place for students to practice journalism, not a farm for online views. We do not resort to click-bait articles and sensationalism, because we do not need to. We aim to produce a high quality newspaper that we can be proud of and that people will read because of genuinely interesting articles, rather than because they get drawn in by tabloid-style non-stories with misleading headlines.
      Of course we would like to iron out all of the mistakes and spelling errors, but occasionally things will slip through. Remember that we are students, so sadly we cannot devote all our time to working on Concrete. There are only so many hours available for proof-reading and we have a relatively small team that works on the paper.
      That small team works incredibly hard on Concrete, in addition to everything else they have to do, and they deserve a lot more credit that you are giving them. Jessica has written a brilliant article here that deals with a difficult subject in as insightful a way as is possible given the nature of that subject and has managed to make it an engaging and entertaining article.
      Constructive criticism is always welcome, however, ridiculous criticism like saying the paper should act like a tabloid is not helpful at all.

      • I understand you’re defending your work, that’s fine.

        But you obviously haven’t a clue about how journalism works. I’ll let you live in ignorant bliss.

      • But as sports editor, do you not think you have an obligation to at least attempt to cover some UEA sport? You could ask your reporters to go down and cover UEA sport matches. That’s the way to help your reporters improve and go out into the workplace with the skills to write a match report.

        Trust me, employers aren’t going to want to see an analysis of Jose Mourinho – they’d prefer to see a student who’s attempted to improve their match-writing technique by writing for their newspaper’s audience.

        Like I say, I’m not wishing to dismiss everything Concrete does, because you do an AWFUL lot right. The design is smashing, and it goes without saying that you work wonders in putting together a newspaper while doing a degree.

        But a few tweaks in the content you commission and I’m sure you’d see your readership rocket.

        And for the record, I didn’t say Concrete should become a tabloid (even though tabloid refers to the papers size, so Concrete is in fact a tabloid). But it should try to cover some human interest stories. Of course papers are there to inform, but they have to entertain, too. It’s no good turning your nose up at tabloids, but there’s a reason they outsell broadsheets, and that’s because they have far greater appeal.

        Look at Concrete’s history, it was a tabloid when it was created. It’s hardly a ridiculous statement to suggest it could at least channel some of that into the current paper.

        Concrete had a circulation of 8,000 back then. It has 4,000 now. Ask yourself why.

        • I absolutely recognise the importance of covering UEA sport, and as I hope you have noticed, we have covered UEA sport in every issue.
          I would argue that the insights students can give on national sport should not be underestimated. If you actually read the articles of that type you will find well thought out and entertaining writing.
          You have definitely jumped the gun with your criticism. Keep an eye out for the next issue’s sport section, I think you will like what we are doing with it.
          In the meantime, we have the paper under control, don’t lose sleep over it, my friend.

        • Interesting debate to follow, but to add to the melee, I’d say the circulation is reflective of the whole newspaper industry, not just a student newspaper such as Concrete. Print circulation is plummeting nationwide.

          • A fair point. But when you’re a free paper, with a (near) monopoly on campus news and 20 odd thousand students to target, you shouldn’t have any problem shifting copies. And you certainly shouldn’t have lost 3-4,000 readers.

  2. I think that exemplifies everything that’s wrong with the paper. No willingness to learn

  3. I know I’m being a bit overkill here, but it’s because I really care about this newspaper.

    The Tab…3 years old. And it is way more popular on Facebook. Look how many more likes it has than Concrete – 500!

    And the reason why is on their front page. They’re running an interview with a UEA student who is going to be on TV in Next Top Model. That’s a GREAT story that students would lap up online.

    But you haven’t even mentioned it. Instead, your top story on the homepage is about a play called Jesus With Nipple Tassles. All well and good, but in reality, nobody cares. Stick it in the Arts section. Can you imagine a national running something like that as their top story.

    I really worry that concrete is dying a long and protracted death. You publish rubbish like this, the readers go, then the advertisers follow.

    Don’t be snobs about the Tab, because any journalist – and yes that includes Guardianistas – would tell you they are doing it properly. Exclusive stories, and not just regurgitating stuff people already know.

    I feel like I have to be cruel to be kind, but please try to take some of this on board. Concrete was originally a tabloid, and while it might not be any more, you could learn a thing or two by picking up the Mirror, Sun or Mail and seeing the type of human interest stories they do.

    Or failing that, just pick up the EDP. Every day it picks up great original content that people WANT to read

    Come on Concrete, buck your ideas up

    • Hi Ian,

      Thank you for your considered feedback. I must however say that we believe this article is of great interest to students here at UEA, and has seen our online traffic peak this week.

      We never profess to be perfect, as we do have to balance Concrete with our academic commitments.

      Our website’s front page page cycles through all of our content, because as this is a student newspaper we try to ensure that all of our contributors get equal exposure for their articles especially when they write for sections which are not present on our front page in print.

      If you have any more suggestions please do email us at concrete.editor@uea.ac.uk, but if you continue to post comments which are simply inconsiderate of the time and effort that all of our members put in to produce Concrete, your comments will no longer be approved.

  4. You are awful journalists….your job is text, grammar and spelling – that is it…….you also spelt ‘pesident’ wrong, either your slating the guy for not being able to pronounce his R’s or like I said, terrible at your job.

    For your reference as you seemed unable to see the red line shown up when using spell check: “As club captain I very much wanted to make sure that everybody was comfortable. In the distant past there have been issues with people taking things too far and I’m okay for members of the committee to behave as they want to – I know that as pesident I can sit there and if people do look uncomfortable then I can remove them from that situation, which I always wanted to do”.

    • I mean, that’s not their only job, they are students too…

  5. Another example of the Union flexing their muscles. Regardless of what has gone on, to suspend two teams (as UEAHC comment, at the immediate forfeit of FOUR fixtures) and to refuse to share with the Club details of the “incident” is something more reflective of rule in North Korea than at a University in England.

    It reeks of wanting to make an example rather than a desire to sensibly, and quickly, get to the bottom of what happened and punish those who need punishing.

    I find myself increasing embarrassed at the behaviour of the Union, and as a result my attendance of UEA! #sombreros

  6. “Speaking off the record,”

    but we’ll put it in the paper anyway, proving that we don’t know the first bloody thing about what ‘off the record’ means

    “a well-placed union source said that the allegations will not be made more specific to prevent the club from preparing a defense prior to the official investigation.”

    What kind of due process is that? Jeez, at least in a court of law you know what you’re being accused of. In an employment tribunal, you’re told what you’re being accused of, and allowed to have a rep (from your Union!) step in. Who defends you when the people meant to be repping your interests turn against you?

  7. “There were a couple of incidents of gay chicken, which may have made a few people feel uncomfortable. But it’s certainly not something that we in any way make people do.”

    That’s completely fine then. Carry on. Nothing to see here.

    • I know! and they all got off Scott-bloody-free… this university is a joke. It looked so promising when the union was refusing to share information on why they were banned in order to stop them from forming a defense, and then went and spoiled it by being sensible. Where is the drama?

  8. You spelt allegation wrong…
    …in a headline….
    …on the second page of the paper…

    Seriously, the paper needs to sort itself out. Design looks smashing, but it’s just so boring and dull. Nobody will be reading this. Why is no one going out there and trying to find stories, interesting stories, ones people will be talking about in campus. Where are the human interest stories?

    Are people really going to be talking about the minutiae of Union rules?

    And referring to the Union as (UUEAS) in brackets in the first paragraph! What a shambles, it’s just the Union, or Student Union, or UEA Union for goodness sake. Stop pandering to their nonsense.

    The problem with Concrete is that its editors and writers publish what they think is important without any consideration for what their readers might want to read.

    Believe it or not, but 90% of students really don’t give a shit about union policy unless it the price of their beer, LCR ticket or something funny – like banning KitKats, or The Sun.

    Find a scoop on a city nightclub, on the university. Anything but this turgid nonsense.

    AND (and I promise to end my rant after this) STOP WRITING ABOUT PREMIER LEAGUE FOOTBALL. If I want to read about the Premier League – or any national sport in fact, I’ll read The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph. Why would anyone in their write minds want to read the half-baked ramblings of a student in a poorly-constructed article over Henry Winter.

    Do what student newspapers should so – report on student sport. Get your guys refining their writing skills by going down to Colney and writing match reports. You have one job, and that is writing about UEA sport. Stick to it.

    Grrrr, I just want to shake you Concrete, you’re so god damn boring!!! And you have the potential to be so bloody good if you weren’t such bloody snobs about your news!