10 April 2009

Kate Kennedy Club on the Rocks

Yesterday, students and faculty at St Andrews received this email from our new principal, Dr. Louise Richardson:

Dear Members of the St Andrews community

I understand that the Kate Kennedy procession is a wonderful day in St Andrews and I hope it may continue to flourish as an important traditional event in our local calendar of activities.

The University will not, however, be participating officially in the procession this year nor continuing its recognition of the Kate Kennedy Club.

As Principal, I do not believe that a university can endorse a student club – even a club like the KK which is renowned for its charitable activities - from which so many of our students are excluded at birth.

The official endorsement of any club or society which excludes people because of their gender or race would be completely at odds with the values of this University and our commitment to foster an open and inclusive international community of scholars and students in St Andrews.

I look forward to the day when membership of the Kate Kennedy Club is open to every student of St Andrews at which point the university will be delighted to treat the Kate Kennedy Club in the same way as all other clubs and societies.

Louise Richardson
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

The Kate Kennedy Club is the premier club on campus for men. There is a female equivalent, though, called the Lumsden Club. Both groups do a considerable amount of work for various charities. The KKC also throws the biggest events of the year, including May Ball, the proceeds of which go to charity. Yes, there might be an unspoken rule that you have to be rich to get into the club, but this is St Andrews, after all. She mentions that people are excluding from birth; she must be referring to the women, but it doesn't matter, since they have their own club.

Some people speculate that she is retaliating against the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, a mens-only organization, for not inviting her to become a member, as they have done to other principals of the university. 


  1. Oh, the troubles that rich people have. Who wants to be in a men's club with a lady's name anyhow, charity or no?

  2. You'd be surprised. It's kind of a big deal haha

  3. Eh, I probably wouldn't be surprised. WASPiness is the same the world over.

  4. How we love to be lectured by someone who so completely understands the nature of St Andrews, Scotland and the UK during their ONE SEMESTER of study.
    The KK represents many of the things that are bad about British society. Class based, droit de seigneur that harks back to an era best left behind.
    If Louise Richardson is retaliating against the R and A then as a woman, who I assume would like to be treated as an equal at some point in time, you might consider supporting the principal in her desire to see a more equal and fair society rather than simply pandering to the floppy haired in-breds that populate the KK.

  5. It seems to me, anonymous person with an axe to grind, that the blogger was merely reporting on the facts of the incident, not taking a stance. How do you equate that with lecturing?

    And how exactly is she pandering to the KK by reporting that St Andrews revoked its endorsement? There isn't anything to suggest the blogger doesn't support Richardson or women's rights, unless you consider repeating what's in the news an act of sexism.

  6. Wow, at least have the balls to post your name. As Katie said, I was merely stating the facts of what had happened. I don't particularly have a stance either way, as I can see the merits of each position. And it also doesn't make a huge difference to me, as I will be gone by the end of the semester. So the next time you want to attack someone's blog, make sure you know what you're talking about, and be sure to let us know who you are.

  7. As someone who as lived in St Andrews for 20 years, worked in St Andrews for 20 years, is an alumnus and has seen at first hand the KK hecklings and the cosy relationship of the pastprincipal and the KK club I think I know the town and university better than you.
    And the blogger is not "merely reporting" - her additional paragraphs after the copy of Dr Richardson's email and their mention of the Lumsden club (as if that makes up for the KK's social elitism) shows a degree of tacit support.
    As I tried to explain - the KK represents an outdated example of elitism that holds this country back and allows those with marginal intelligence gain influence and power in our society that is detrimental to us all - and before you ask how I know this I refer to my first paragraph. I know these people and how they have been hired at banks and government institutions primarily because the interviewer was an ex member.
    While you may see it as a harmless group of well spoken young men who organise a jolly nice party every year it has wider ramifications that should not be encouraged or endorsed by the university.
    P.s. - If you don't want people to comment on your blog - don't make it public! I've posted my name - I'm sure it must make so much difference to my comments now that you know my name!

  8. I never said that I would know more about the town and university than you. That would be a ridiculous claim.

    I don't mind people posting; I would just like them to identify themselves rather than hiding behind the "Anonymous" tag.

    I wouldn't say I "tacitly support" the KKC. I would say that since I haven't been here long enough, I haven't had time to form a solid opinion of them either way.

    Even if I did support them, I have that right (the UK rights, does it not?). Last time I checked, I was free to voice support for whomever I want in this country. Since I am leaving in just under two months, it doesn't really matter what I think of them. I'm not the one who has to live with them.

  9. Goodness - some controversy with the old blog! Makes you wonder who else out there is reading it besides friends and family.