very morning I can be certain of one thing. I can be certain that within the first ten YikYaks I read, one will be aimed at making fun of Plymouth University. I mean yes, there are of course the inevitable other yaks complaining about lectures, fire alarms in Birks and the banter about one night stands, but the daily world of YikYak inevitably includes at least one person poking fun at Plymouth.
Before coming to Exeter this September, I had only heard of Plymouth Uni as being a reasonably nice place that had never upset anyone. Therefore nothing could have prepared me for the onslaught that I would witness towards Plymouth. Everyone likes a good rivalry and I have myself been guilty of making jokes about how I could get a degree in Catering from Plymouth for the way I can make a cup of tea, but are we being too harsh?
Plymouth Uni offers over 50 degree programmes and they are the 16th largest Uni in the country so they clearly aren’t some pathetic small Uni that it would be wrong not to make fun of. They also have some good selling points- they are the first post-1992 university to launch its own medical school and they were the first university in the world to be awarded the Social Enterprise Mark.
But it is not only the University and the students who get the abuse from us, the entirety of Plymouth has been labelled as rubbish due to our discrimination. A Yak that appeared at the top of my feed today of ‘Thanks to tinder’s new update, swiping left on those from Plymouth is a much less time consuming process.’ Shows how our rivalry has turned into Exeter students hating on the entire town. The people of Plymouth call themselves ‘Janners’ and are very proud to also call themselves the ‘Green Army’ due to their football colours. Exeter’ colours are also Green and we are also very proud to ‘Bleed Green’ in loyalty to Exeter so maybe some of the rivalry and abuse is due to us having similarities and being so geographically close but yet being so different?
I had always assumed that the rivalry and mockery was one-sided. However, during an information evening for Exeter University Officer Training Corps the Plymouth students seemed as inhospitable towards us as YikYak suggests we feel about them. The event was the first time I had met anyone from Plymouth Uni and therefore have very little basis for such a generalisation, but they seemed to discriminate against us purely because we attended Exeter University. They seemed to assume we thought we were better than them and proceeded to discriminate against talking to us. So clearly the divide and abuse towards Plymouth is not purely one sided?
When Exeter beat Plymouth this weekend at the football, YikYak went crazy with put downs and derogatory marks. Discriminating against an entire city would usually be seen as racist and uncalled for. However, some people on Exeter’s YikYak were more than happy to entitle a whole town as being rubbish due to their university having a poorer reputation then ours, and them losing at one football match.
Some of the Yak’s about Plymouth truly show the extent of the abuse:
‘When you have to take a colleague off his high horse because he’s proud of a degree from Plymouth.’ And ‘I don’t always speak to Plymouth University students, but when I do I ask for large fries.’
And then of course there was the famous picture posted on Exeter spotted Facebook page of the banner outside the Alumni Auditorium saying ‘Always remember, at least you’re not at Plymouth.’
I have to admit that much of the Plymouth banter (or abuse) does make me laugh and I am all up for some healthy competition. However, I do think that judging an entire Universities population- and then an entire town’s population- is crossing the line. I mean surely judging all Plymouth students as having little or no career prospects and being genuinely inferior to Exeter students is pretty unfair? We may have higher rankings and a better reputation (and be in the top 100 Universities in the world- I kind of had to put that in didn’t I?) but surely we should not judge those who aren’t lucky enough to attend such a good university so strongly?
So by all means, have a rivalry to Plymouth. I am sure that they judge us as much as we judge them, but let’s try and be the bigger people and choose to maybe not fill YikYak daily up with Plymouth abuse (or to be slightly kinder and more selective on the type of Plymouth jokes we use). Because if this year goes badly then you might always end up there yourself……