The Cambridge Column: A First Installment


‘Meat? At a vegan formal? Who would dare such a thing? The fellows? While the members of the JCR participated in a JCR-planned event? The JCR, which has no business dictating what senior members of the college eat? Ah, well, carry on then.’


This is precisely the sort of nonsense we’re now expected to be outraged about. The junior members of a college wished to have a formal where they were only served ‘green’ vegan food. High Table, not being subject to the whims of junior member politicking, were served their normal evening meal. Some junior members found out and have decided this was some sort of outrage.


In fact, it does not matter in the slightest. Senior members should not have their menu decided by a group of angry students. They may enjoy their roast sirloin of beef to their heart’s content.

And I’m sure that, contrary to Miss Becker’s comments, awareness amongst a group of academics regarding climate change is quite high.


The English Faculty has infuriated its students with a change to its exam format. It is good, of course, to try to return the university to normality in all its forms, but it seems this change has not been carried out in the most considerate manner. There are but a few weeks until the exams occur, and the vast majority of students will have been preparing for an open book exam, fairly long in duration.


Personally, I will be taking some fairly short exams, and would rather this was true of all students. Discrepancies in exam formats between triposes should generally be ironed out. It seems, however, more unfair that other triposes might spend most of their year preparing for one exam format, then have that format changed at the last minute. Why not leave a change in formats until next year?


The BP Institute was the site of another student demonstration last Tuesday, as a group of students decided to occupy the institution to complain that BP was ‘green-washing’ itself by giving away lots of money. It is better, of course, that the oil company should keep its money instead of trying to make itself look better by methods everyone can see right through.


Then again, such parsimony wouldn’t give students the opportunity to provide some helpfully instructional performance art to the Institute’s academics, such as a bit of poetry or improvised drama. If I worked at the BP Institute, I think I’d be compelled to find an even dirtier way to extract oil and gas.


The Union said hello to its exam quiet period after the debate on Thursday. Six paper speakers delivered thoughtful and well-argued speeches on whether Russia was a distraction—the result a resounding ‘No.’


As I was rather stung by the Air Marshal’s comments on red trousers, I feel particular credit is due to the student speakers. The Ayes saw a clear and unequivocal denunciation of the People’s Republic of China, which dealt skilfully with well-positioned points of information, and will hopefully gain the speaker that great badge of honour—a travel ban. The Noes saw two excellent student speeches, including a most enticing mention of a Polish train station, as well as an interesting and thoughtful floor speech mentioning the works of Gumilev and Dugin—two fascinating and understudied (if thoroughly disagreeable) Russian thinkers.