Outcome of University investigation into P & O Ferries incident - 19 May 2015

Cardiff University and Cardiff Medicals RFC have joined forces in a bid to ensure drunken anti-social behaviour is not repeated.

The joint pledge follows an investigation into drunken behaviour by a small number of touring University medics on board a cross channel ferry.

The investigation found no evidence to substantiate the claim that a student urinated on a table in front of members of the public.

However, the investigation did find that one student urinated on board; some Cardiff Medicals RFC members behaved in an unacceptable manner including drunken, loud and offensive behaviour; and used offensive and foul language likely to be found threatening by fellow passengers. 

As a result, key figures from Cardiff Medicals RFC, Cardiff University, the School of Medicine and Cardiff University Students' Union have joined forces to condemn the behaviour of a small number of team members and back measures to change the culture by tackling the behaviour's root cause.

Cardiff University's Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience, Professor Patricia Price said: "The vast majority of Cardiff students go out and enjoy themselves and know when to draw the line. Many of our students are committed and talented sports men and women with no interest in heavy drinking.

"It's unfortunate that this incident has only served to tarnish the good name of the majority of our students and a small number of our medical students in particular.

"The thorough investigations and tough sanctions are proportionate and send the very clear message to our medical students and Cardiff University students more generally that as a University, we will not tolerate this type of behaviour.

"If any student crosses the line we will investigate and action will be taken."

In a statement issued on behalf of Cardiff Medicals RFC, President Dr Ian Harris offered apologies to individuals and organisations affected by the behaviour of individual playing members and insisted that "they do not tolerate anti-social behaviour from their members, and the club is determined to ensure that such anti-social behaviour will not be repeated".

Cardiff Medics RFC also backed a series of tough sanctions against those involved as a result of the incident and have committed to support the measures designed to ensure there is a long term change in the culture so that such an incident is never repeated.

The sanctions include: a ban on all future Cardiff Medics RFC rugby tours until such time as confidence and trust is restored; cancellation of the old boys' game; current students did not attend the team's annual old boys' dinner; all students involved to undertake a series of professionalism workshops in their own time (evening and weekends); and a complete image change for the team which includes major charity fundraising and community focus events to re-establish the reputation as a force for good within the University and School of Medicine. 

Professor John Bligh, Dean of Cardiff University School of Medicine added: "Given that at the heart of this behaviour is a culture of heavy drinking, it is unfair to single out individual students for punishment beyond that recommended.

"Some members have breached acceptable rules of behaviour and engaged in anti-social behaviour.

"This incident caused evident stress to members of the public, P&O staff and reputational damage to the University and the School of Medicine. This is simply not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

"The key to solving this problem is joint and concerted action by all parties.

"That is why I am glad that Cardiff University, the School of Medicine, Cardiff Students' Union and Cardiff Medicals RFC have all signed-up to our tough set of sanctions and vowed to end the medics' rugby drinking culture. 

"Things have to change. If these incidents are ever repeated then it will leave us with no option but to consider more draconian measures.

"Cardiff Medicals RFC is a proud club. It has produced a number of full Welsh rugby internationals and arguably the most successful Medical School rugby side in the UK over the past 25 years.

"This incident has undermined this reputation and together, we must do all we can to ensure that the team acts as a force for cohesion, identity and pride within our Medical School and the Welsh public."

The Students' Union support of the action taken in response to this issue by both the University and Cardiff Medicals RFC and will be seeking to provide additional support to Cardiff Medicals RFC as well as all other affiliated sports clubs with regard to ensuring students understand their responsibilities and their expected standards of behaviour.

Notes

The Cardiff Medicals RFC statement, in full. 

Statement on behalf of Cardiff Medicals RFC

The Officers of Cardiff Medicals RFC wish to place on record our sincere apologies to individuals and organisations affected by the behaviour of individual playing members during a recent overseas tour.  We recognise that the behaviour of a proportion of the touring party was inappropriate and wholly unacceptable.  For this we apologise.

Cardiff Medicals RFC does not tolerate antisocial behaviour from its members, and the club is determined to ensure that such behaviour will not be repeated. 

The club has agreed a series of sanctions in conjunction with Cardiff University, including player education sessions, and professionalism workshops. The planned tour for the forthcoming season has been cancelled. The Executive Committee has also cancelled this year's annual Student Vs Alumni match, and students have been excluded from the annual Cardiff Medicals RFC student and alumni Dinner.  These are significant sanctions which will affect not only those responsible, but also the wider membership of the club.  Nevertheless, the Officers and Executive Committee are in full agreement with the sanctions undertaken. 

All club members of have been made fully aware of their responsibilities when representing Cardiff Medicals RFC and Cardiff University, and understand the severe sanctions they will face, from both club and University, in the event of future indiscretions. 

Cardiff Medicals RFC is a proud club. Our history dates back over 108 years; the club has produced a number of full Welsh rugby internationals and we are by some distance the most successful Medical School rugby side in the UK over the past 25 years. We are a force for cohesion, identity and pride within the Medical School.  Since the merger of UWCM and Cardiff University, Cardiff Medicals RFC competes in BUCS national competitions, following agreement and assurances with Cardiff University. We regularly campaign successfully in the BUCS competition despite a relatively small player pool.  We have been a full member club of the WRU since 1946.  

Cardiff Medicals RFC has a large and loyal network of Alumni, who not only support, but involve themselves in the running of the club.  This vibrant network of influential and high profile individuals in the healthcare world, within Wales and beyond, is committed to increasing their mentorship and enhancing their support for the current generation of players. The club and Alumni wish to ensure that success on and off the field is our only future source of recognition.  To this end, the club's current players and alumni will undertake joint charitable work together in the season 2015-16. 

Cardiff Medicals RFC is committed to learning from recent events, and is in agreement with the precedent set by the actions of Cardiff University in this matter. As a club we are determined to support our current generation of playing members to mature as individuals, and act as responsible ambassadors for Cardiff Medicals RFC, Cardiff University and Wales, whilst achieving sporting and academic excellence at the highest level.