Cambridge Goes On Offensive Over Access

Both students and academics have come out against MP’s allegations over university intake, winning the support of key education groups in the process.

admissions andy mcgowan cambridge students Cambridge University David Lammy intake mary beard

Students and professors alike have launched a defence of Cambridge’s admissions policy in light of recent attacks. The uni has gained crucial support in the continuing battle with government ministers.

Both PM Cameron and Deputy Clegg have slammed Oxbridge in the last fortnight for what they believed to be poor intake of certain social minorities. The resurrection of this argument allowed notorious admissions crusader David Lammy to weigh in with his voice once more.

However, Cambridge has hit back. In a Guardian debate on the matter, classics prof Mary Beard took Lammy to town on the issue: “in the end it’s a bit easy to blame Oxbridge,” and the problem may start earlier than university.

And with Lammy relentlessly chasing his same line and seemingly not getting the message, Beard retorted with classic ripostes, like: “Sweetie, come and visit me if you think I live in an ivory tower,” and: “you’re just wrong on some of this.”

Speaking to The Tab, Beard said: “I hope that David saw that some of the stats were more complicated than he thought…but I’m not so sure!”

Beard is no stranger to the public eye, with several TV appearances and a Times column

CUSU Access Officer Andy McGowan has also been publicly making the case in defending Cambridge, even going so far as to invite Lammy to respond to the points made on his online blog. Three weeks have passed without reply.

McGowan told The Tab: “Lammy says he was denied the chance to speak to people from the University; he has been invited on numerous occasions to respond to the points that we have made to him, but has so far declined to do so. CUSU would love to hear from him”

It appears that the uni has significant support as far as intake plans go. Despite Nick Clegg’s repeated threats, the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) has revealed that no unis that have announced £9,000 fees will have to reduce their fee or improve state school intake.

The Reporter today shows that state school intake has risen a further 0.8%, taking Cambridge to 59.3% for this academic year. But, the battle with the government over the issue is likely to continue.