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Banned Safer Sex ball replaced at Exeter University after CCTV footage scandal

By AWalmesley  |  Posted: December 11, 2013

The Safer Sex Ball was probably the biggest event on the university calendar

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A long-running “safer sex”-themed student ball that was cancelled after becoming embroiled in controversy has been replaced.

The University of Exeter inaugural Prohibition Ball will succeed the infamous Safer Sex Ball (SSB) that was banned earlier this year after CCTV footage was leaked showing students engaged in sexual activity during the event.

Two members of staff at the Students’ Guild were sacked in January after the video recorded at the event, held just before Christmas 2012 and designed to promote safer sex, was circulated on the internet.

The new ball will be held at the Exeter Phoenix in February will be based on prohibition in the 1920s and will have an “underground” atmosphere.

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In a promotional video the Prohibition Ball is shown rising “from the Ashes” of the SSB – to illustrate the 'severance' of ties with the predecessor and the beginning of a 'new story'.

Laura Yonish, of organising group RAG (Raising and Giving), said: “We’re really excited about this, it has all the components of a fantastic event and we cannot wait to reveal more in the coming weeks.

“We’re very focused on creating a legacy for the new era of RAG and we hope that this event will continue a wonderfully successful year for the society.”

The 21-year-old charity ball was one of the country's biggest Aids-awareness events – raising thousands of pounds for charity each year.

But it was prohibited in February after the university made headlines around the world when news of the CCTV footage broke.

The two Guild employees were held responsible for filming and sharing the footage of the couple performing a sex act in the student bar.

Guild senior management said it had taken the “strongest possible” disciplinary action over the leaked video following a “rigorous” investigation.

Prior to the event, dozens of academics and university staff petitioned against a “tribal” theme – dubbed racist by some students.

In 2011 organisers were forced to apologise over an “incredibly insensitive” rape joke which was printed to publicise the event.

The new ball will have a capacity of 500 compared to 2,000 at last year’s SSB, and tickets will cost £25.

All proceeds from the event will go to RAG’s nominated charities for 2013/14: Devon Freewheelers, Rainbow’s Trust, Concern Universal and Community Action.

Jak Curtis-Rendall, Guild vice president for participation and campuses, said: “I am immensely proud of the Students’ Guild’s Raise and Give committee who have already raised more than £40,000 for nominated charities this academic year. I am confident that our students will apply their proven skills to the brand new Prohibition Ball and turn it a huge fundraising success.”

Read more from Exeter Express and Echo

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