Exclusive: Woscars Wipe Out Wolfson President
James Mitchell, Wolfson College Students’ Association President, resigned yesterday after a number of complaints were made about his language and conduct at a college event, The Tab can reveal.
The Tab can exclusively reveal that Wolfson College Students’ Association (WCSA) President James Mitchell has resigned, after a light-hearted college awards ceremony turned sour.
The decision was made after Mitchell received complaints from within college both before the event for misrepresentation, and following the night after the President was deemed to have used foul and offensive language.
Mitchell took influence from the recent Oscars to make college event ‘THE WOSCARS’, celebrating various people within the college with categories ranging from ‘Best Newcomer’ and ‘Best Outgoing Wolfsonian’ to ‘Best Screen Kiss’ and ‘Best Choreography’.
But the show hit controversy in the build up after the President himself was nominated in the ‘Leading Female’ category. A complaint was made on the basis of misrepresentation, as it was thought that with females only making up one quarter of Wolfson students, they were already a heavy minority.
The nomination was withdrawn, but Mitchell sparked further outrage on the night itself for trying to joke about the issues. Senior Tutor Jane McLarty spoke in an email to all students of a “lapse of judgement in publicly referring to the Woscar categories that were removed following further objections,” while also adding that the language used was: “inappropriate and offensive.”
With a total of nine complaints – including a letter signed by eight student and alumni – Mitchell met with McLarty and his tutor, and yesterday resigned from his position as President.
When approached by The Tab, Mitchell said he was sorry for everything that happened. He said: “The evening was intended to be lighthearted and fun. I categorically did not intend to upset anyone and I was horrified that a significant number of people were so offended.
“I have not been told who made the complaints. I am disappointed that I cannot meet with the individuals and apologise to them personally. I must say how proud I have been to serve as Wolfson President, albeit only for a term and a half.”
The category list at the WOSCARS
Despite the controversy, WCSA were keen to play down the situation. In an email sent to The Tab, the committee reinforced that the prize categories were intended as “tongue-in-cheek – not to be taken seriously.” They did admit though that Mitchell probably “should have sought advice before proceeding with his chosen comedic style.”
Concerns that the complaints could have been taken out of hand may be justified, as a current Wolfson student commented on the resignation: “I couldn’t be more pleased if Gaddaffi himself had gone.”
Mitchell, a first year studying Middle Eastern Studies, confirmed however that “so as not to leave them in a mess,” he will continue to offer help to the committee when needed. His resignation is the second high profile departure in Cambridge in recent months after TCS Editor Phil Brook left his position knee deep in controversy.