Bruised Trinity students fight bed tyranny
Inspired by Newton, Trinity students are leading a campaign for change
Proponents of the civil rights campaign have drawn upon studies about horses, REM sleep and sex to make the case for change.
After decades of being “marginalised”, Trinity students took a break from their self-imposed 16-hour workdays to complain to their College JCR about their beds.
In a poll commissioned by the Trinity College Student Union 84% of students agreed or strongly agreed that their three-foot wide beds are too narrow. The vote, however, was marred by accusations of tampering: some accused the narrow-bed mafia of rigging the vote.
Trinity students shared their tales of woe. Numerous students claimed that they “regularly” fall off their beds; one said he had a “pillow barrier” to avoid partaking in the epidemic of bed-induced injuries.
Another insisted that some enjoy the “starfish” position for sleeping, and that “there is barely space to have a champagne bucket and strawberries next to oneself whilst reading Tatler”.
Conscious of the College’s raison d’être, they argued that “scientific evidence” suggests that wider beds will lead to “better exam performance and more glory for Trinity”.
“If you suppress a person’s REM sleep for even one night, their sleep is altered in following nights to increase the period of REM sleep,” one student argued.
Another referred to an Anglia Ruskin study: “Many studies indicate that there is a positive correlation between level of sexual activity and wages.” If the college were to enlarge the beds, “it will also engender a healthy attitude to sex in its future alumni, thus increasing their earnings and the donations back to college – which may be invested in king-sized beds.”
One student – probably a zoologist – highlighted the benefits of sleep by citing a study about sleeping and horses: “Straw bedding facilitates the display of ingestive and sleep behaviours, whereas horses bedded on shavings spent a greater proportion of their nocturnal time budget engaged in ‘other’ behaviours.”
One student cited a 1692 quote from Isaac Newton: “I wish I’d had a larger bed whilst studying”.
Newton’s statue in Trinity’s chapel features the quote: “qui genus human ingenio superavit”.
Plenty of students claimed that they were either too tall or too fat for their bed. One pointed out that an increasingly obese population was faced with the prospect of their fat “drooping” over the side of their bed.
“With a bigger bed I can sleep next to my books,” another wrote. “This means the knowledge will soak into my brain while I sleep and I will get a first, thus keeping Trinity at the top of the Tompkins table.”
In spite of all the momentum, the Junior Bursar is insistent that things will not change, telling a member of TCSU that the college cannot acquire sufficiently large linen.
Other colleges – including Downing, Churchill and Hughes Hall – are known for more generous bed sizes.
It is not obvious that financial impediments are reason for concern; the College is spending £20 million on its New Court renovations.
Will Trinity students join forces with Whose University to campaign for change?
With rumours of a strike on the cards, this may be just the beginning of a drawn-out campaign.