Mary Beard: We don’t get free booze!
Beard has this week launched a staunch defence of Cambridge dons, insisting “We’re not port-swigging freeloaders.”
In January it was revealed that the university spent almost £3 million on wine last year – the equivalent of the tuition fees of 300 students.
But the TV Classicist feels Cambridge academics have been hard done by:
“That was the total wine bill of colleges which are buying wine in for bars, dinners and conferences to help balance their budgets and, ultimately, to help students.”
“To be honest, I don’t think I get more free booze than you would get over an average year of a couple of office parties.
“And, don’t worry, it certainly isn’t free. In my college I pay for the alcohol.
“I honestly don’t know if this is “average”. In other colleges they may do things differently and there is no university rule; but I think I’m pretty normal.”
Describing her job, Professor Beard also took the opportunity to rubbish other misnomers about the university:
“As for the other myths – the six-month “holidays”, the glistening afternoons punting on the river, and the upper-class bias of our interview procedure, just hang on!
“If you wanted me to estimate how long my working day or working week was, my rough calculation would be a conservative, and minimum, 13 hours a day, six-and-a-half days a week.
“There is simply no time for lazy afternoons on the river (I had one about 15 years ago).”
With exams on the horizon, sadly, Professor Beard may be right.