Recent developments from supermarket giant Sainsbury's may pose grave danger for the uni and future students if urgent measures are not undertaken.
The uni is facing an almighty fight to maintain its prestigious position, as supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has launched an operation for civic domination.
Uni chiefs have bossed Cambridge life for over 800 years. The rumour that top brass got the train station built away from colleges, so that students wouldn’t be tempted by the prospect of London, circulated until Homerton scuppered their plans.
Sites such as King’s, Fenner’s, and more recently the Corpus Clock have played roles in attracting visitors to Cambridge and entrenching the image of a university city. However, this could all be set to change.
Sainsbury’s is well loved by students, but is there something murkier behind the clean exterior?
Chain store Sainsbury’s maintains a large presence among students, with its shop in the centre of town. People pack like sardines into aisles at peak times, and the midnight closing time comes to the rescue of many students hunting for cheap booze and all-nighter energy supplies.
But, this year has seen the supermarket muscle further into the heart of the city. A new Sainsbury’s Local opened near Downing in April, and there are plans for a shop on Mill Road too, with a public exhibition planned this Thursday. The Sainsbury Laboratory was also opened by the Queen recently at the Botanical Gardens.
And now, Sainsbury’s could be fighting the uni head on. The senate last week nominated Lord Sainsbury – ex-chairman and shareholder in the supermarket – to replace Prince Philip as uni chancellor, in a move that has worried some students.
Lord Sainsbury: Favourite for the chancellorship
Steven Dittundaine, a fifth year medic, told The Tab: “You could see all the signs last year. They renovated their main shop and a Jamie’s restaurant came into town. Now this with the chancellor. Coincidence? I doubt it. They’ll soon be able to infiltrate from within.”
If Sainsbury’s continues to increase domination at this alarming rate, the uni could be forced to:
– refer to third class honours as a “basics” degree
– include Nectar points in a new entry criteria system
– forbid students from shopping at other supermarkets in order to get an offer
– project images of Jamie Oliver’s face across King’s Chapel every hour
Despite this, second year MML student Jake Starrows told The Tab he wasn’t worried, saying: “Even if Sainsbury’s does take over and strike down uni domination, it’ll just come back stronger than we could ever imagine.”
Thursday’s exhibition at Mill Road is likely to determine the latest chapter in this ongoing saga.