Tab Says: Save May Week

The Tab looks back on the obstacles students faced in May Week 2009.

Another year and another May Week has passed. A rare week of freedom for Cantabs has passed and was as enjoyable as ever.

Yet we cannot look back on May Week 2009 without pointing out the unprecedented number obstacles Cantabs suffered in our determination to have a good time.

Cambridge council and police force have both declined to make a comment to The Tab about their decision to intervene in May Week celebrations. But we know that they were present at several garden parties and May Balls and actively sought to control the level of noise and alcohol consumption.

While we recognize the need for students to respect Cambridge and the local population, The Tab sees little reason for such heavy handed action as DRINK CONFISCATION and volume-lowering.

Cambridge students respect and help their city, they work extremely hard for 8 weeks a term, and one week of revelry is a fair reward. May Balls may make some noise but given the fact that they are a one-off, and that most residents seem to have no problem with them, it is a grave shame that local authorities feel the need to clamp down.

Undoubtedly this attitude has been fuelled by the national press, whose need for stories has led them to rely on negative portrayals of Cambridge students doing what most of Britain does EVERY WEEK. Newspapers who criticize us for being ‘toffs’ simply because we attend Cambridge and also want to enjoy ourselves only serve to perpetuate out-dated myths about Oxbridge. These stories are tedious, devoid of actual news and reliant on the very behaviour they claim to be criticizing.

The third threat to student revelry is the age-old enemy that is The Colleges. Many colleges are extremely supportive of their students, and we should be extremely grateful for what they do for students. But it remains true that certain colleges have applied discipline not only in an extremely heavy-handed way, but where it has not been required at all.

The Tab continues to be disappointed at the ineffective and misplaced anti-drinking policies of several colleges and the hostility to student freedom. More pointedly, we are extremely disappointed that one of The Tab’s own writers has been HARASSED and forced to remove their contribution to the website by their college. This article was entirely legal and was in fact the most popular on, recieving over 5,000 hits. Free speech remains a human right, and the University and College authorities must respect this right.

Incompetence, over-indulgence and accidents will always be a part of May Week. While we may bemoan the 3-hour queues and the poorly booked Ents, we also recognize that these problems will occur. But The Tab refuses to accept the unneccessary intervention of ‘higher’ authorities in May Week. After weeks of hard work,  one week of revelry is the least Cantabrigians deserve.