Raucous Corpus: Students Protest At College ‘Dishonesty’
150 Corpus students took on their college yesterday over rising costs and ‘dishonesty’ from the authorities.
Corpus students took on their college yesterday over room rents and rising costs.
150 out of the tiny college’s 250 undergraduates stood on the New Court lawn among accusations that the college is treating them “like children”.
The JCR backed protest was aimed at the alleged “dishonesty” and “incompetence” of college authorities.
One JCR source told The Tab: “they do not consult us, or they consult us and do it anyway, or they lie and say they have consulted us when they haven’t.”
The complaints stem from the college’s handling of drastic financial cuts. In the last 3 years Corpus has been hit by losses of £1,600,000 last year £1,850,000 in 2008 and a whopping £2,050,000 in 2007.
The minutes of a meeting between the Bursar and college bosses admit that “information about the deficit…could lead to press comment on alleged mismanagement of the College’s affairs”.
150 Corpus students gather in New Court despite the protestations of the lawn sign (front right).
News of the colleges financial troubles will surprise many as Cambridge folklore has long had it that Corpus is the richest college per student in the university.
Oliver Rackham’s 2002 book Treasures of Silver at Corpus Christi College documented the colleges unrivalled collection of rare wines and ports, silver and medieval manuscripts. Rackham also claimed the college possesses “a thirteenth-century drinking vessel made of the horn of an extinct animal”.
The massive deficits have forced the college to make deep cuts. Corpus has frozen salaries as well as allegedly sacking staff in the Porter’s Lodge, Bursary, Housekeeping, and Catering department. A recent college report admits that “Staff morale was very low in some areas”.
Students yesterday complained about a 10% hike in room rents and even having to eat breakfast in the bar area using disposable wooden cutlery.
Corpus JCR representatives hold a placard with CUSU President-elect Rahul Mansigani and current President Tom Chigbo.
A leading JCR source was keen to press that the gathering on New Court lawn was not a “protest” but rather an "event". One particularly dapper gentleman was even keener to insist that the event was not “left wing”.
“I’m not left wing – God no. But I’m here for the College.”
Outgoing JCR President Patrick Farmbrough told The Tab that the college authorities were guilty of “systemic miscommunication”.
He continued: “Today isn't about pushing a particular agenda or picking a fight with anyone. It's about showing that we care about our college, and that we want to be fully involved in the decision-making process. I think the fact that over a hundred and fifty students from such a small college showed up says it all.”
The college have not yet replied to our request for a comment.
Reporters: Simran Singh and Guy Kiddey.