Sidney Frowns Upon Gowns In Town

Sidney Freshers are being shown a video warning them of the dangers of wearing gowns and tuxes to clubs.

Next year’s Sidney Sussex freshers are being shown a video advising them to “ditch the gown and the tux” before heading out to a club.

The video, devised with input from the police, university officials, doctors and bar owners, features Queens’ College JCR Freshers’ Rep Laura Jayne Ayres and fellow Queens’ student Liv Emden warning students not to dress in a way that draws unwanted attention to themselves on nights out.

Some students however have declared the video, which addresses numerous aspects of college drinking, to be unnecessary and overblown.

A shot of the video shown to Sidney Sussex students

Despite the fact that town/gown relations are generally good, the warning is not without substance. In February 2011, five Downing students were victim to an unprovoked attack by a stranger when out celebrating following Halfway Hall.

Although the video cost a whopping £3,000 to make, Sidney’s entrepreneurial domus bursar, Keith Willox, said he hoped that the cost to the college would be offset by other colleges paying fees of around £300 each to show the video to their students.

The video has come under attack from local politicians, with Catherine Smart, the council’s deputy leader playing down the risk of being attacked. Liberal Democrat councillor Colin Rosenstiel, who represents the Market ward on Cambridge City Council, questioned whether such “paternalistic” advice was necessary.

Incoming Sidney freshers have been sent a YouTube link to the video and will be shown it again as part of their induction in October.

  • traditionalist

    Isn't it a bit degrading to the sacred collegiate gown to wear it to a low bar or club anyway? Keep it for the colleges, Union(? — maybe if very drunk) and, eventually, Senate House. 🙂

  • Pascale

    Tux? Don't they mean a dinner jacket?

  • Brett

    The video is not working for me and cannot find the youtube link.

  • Reality check

    If I found out that my College spent £300 to show a stupid, overpriced video I will throw a marginal hissy fit. Seriously, print off a couple of posters, a dose of common sense and a word of warning and hey presto- my University fees may go on something worthwhile.

  • Ollie

    Bullshit to council members talking down the issue. I've had people hurling abuse and trying to start a fight when I'm on the street in jeans and a T-shirt, just for looking the right age to be a student.

    Personally I only wear my gown when I have to, partly to avoid hassle in town, partly to avoid paying to have the thing cleaned, partly because wearing the undergrad gown over a suit invariably looks worse than just the suit.

  • Double Standard

    What do they expect going out dressed like that?

    • Er…

      My clothing does not mean you can assault me.

      • Sarcasm Examiner

        Looks like you missed some easy points on this one…

  • What do you mean…

    … when you write that ‘town/gown relations are generally good’? Are you so out of touch that you can’t see the general contempt we are held in among the city population?

  • Fact check

    1. The video wasn't made for Sidney freshers – it was commissioned by the University for eventual use by all colleges. Sidney just handled the production.
    2. No Sidney fresher has been sent a youtube link – the video isn't finished yet, and a-level results aren't out yet, so there aren't even any freshers to send it to.

    Clearly, no one at the The Tab has bothered to check any of the facts in the highly inaccurate Telegraph article <a href="http://(” target=”_blank”>( that this story has been copied from.

    Luckily, TCS did.

  • Not Batman

    Wearing my gown in town on the weekend actually helped me make friends. Admitted, my new friends asked if I was Batman and whether my gown could make me fly…

  • seriously though

    Who actually wears a gown or black tie outside? You've got to be a bit of a twat to do that

    • a massive douche

      have you ever been outside in cambridge?

      • seriously though

        I've never seen a student in a gown or tux outside their college

        • Really?

          Have you ever been out at the end of term? Maybe not so many gowns, but plenty go straight out in dinner jackets after formal dinners

          • Maaate

            DJ in Cindies is bantz

        • a massive douche

          gosh, you lead such a sheltered, privileged life

  • Ruth Graham


    Oh wait, this is mostly targeted at men? Well then I don't care.

    • voice of reason

      for once, Ms Graham genuinely has a point here. I would genuinely be up for a gownwalk.

      • yeah

        yeah, time to show the proles what's what eh! tally ho!

  • Dennis

    It's worth noting that TCS wrote on this but far, far better. Bit of a late pick up by the tab…

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