The Tab is voting YES to keeping class lists
You’re arrogant to think anyone cares what you got
To abolish class lists would be to buy into the farcical reputation of our generation as snowflakes. It seems to have got to the point where the anxieties of the few are thought, by some, to be justification for an overbearing and melodramatic protection of everyone.
Unless you’ve laboured under the delusion that everybody in Cambridge gets a gold star for trying, you shouldn’t need to be shielded from the simple fact that other students will do better (or worse) than you. Getting rid of class lists doesn’t make your mediocre 2:1 any less real. Own it. You’ll see from the class list that 70 other people in your year are equally average.
People who are anxious about class lists have underlying neuroses about their performance which aren’t going to be fixed by simply getting rid of class lists. Energy should be put into tackling stress in the earlier stages of Cambridge life, campaigning for more mental health support, and giving students the resilience to face their results – whatever they may be – rather than attempting to practice ineffective protectionist nonsense at such a late stage of the process.
Sure, there’s a lot of things about Cambridge that make life here incredibly high pressured. But getting rid of class lists entirely would mean getting rid of one of the traditions that make Cambridge one of the most competitive universities in the world. We cram 10+ weeks worth of work into eight week terms, endure gruelling supervisions and are expected to prove our intellectual worth in stretches of three hours at a time. And that’s putting it tamely. It’s the combination of little traditions and practices like class lists that makes Cambridge the best university in the UK.
If you’re a student concerned that opting-out will make you stand-out, then frankly, get over yourself. You’re arrogant to think other students will even give a shit. And let’s be honest, if someone else is scanning class lists for your results it says more about them than you. Oxford has had the opt-out system since 2009 and they’ve had no problems. Those campaigning to get rid of class lists are over-exaggerating the risks of an opt-out system. Even if someone did notice your name was missing, they wouldn’t be any closer to knowing if you topped Tripos or failed the year.
No-one is in a position to say that class lists are bad for everyone. The NO campaign has taken upon itself the arrogant mission of elevating the lived experiences of some over the right of others to choose. It’s nice to try and create a narrative which suits you isn’t it? The students who enjoy walking down to Senate House at the end of Exam Term to see their name stuck up on the board – whether for pride or just to confirm their 2.2 is pretty goddam normal – should be able to enjoy that tradition.
Student testimonials suggest that there are many reasons why students appreciate the class lists, not least because it might feel nice to go up to the Senate House, point with pride to the board with your parents, and say “BAM, there I am. I did a Cambridge.” We’re certainly waiting for that moment, and we don’t want it taken away.
If we are to respect those who say class lists have a damaging impact on mental health, then we should also respect those who look forward to them as a positive boost. The pride that can be felt because of class lists, as a specific mark of achievement rather than just anonymous stats of how many firsts there are per year, can’t, and shouldn’t be, ignored. Class lists can help people feel better about themselves as much as they can damage. So what’s the half-way house? Giving people a choice.
Voting YES to the referendum is a vote to defend the discretion of the individual: we should all be able to choose whether information about us is published or not.
So, “Should CUSU campaign to keep the Class Lists with an easier opt- out process?”. Yes.
Voting in the referendum is open until midnight on November 3. Click here to vote.
Editor’s Note: The Tab did not take an editorial stance against CUSU’s NUS Referendum last term out of respect to the requests of CUSU’s President. Such requests have not been extended to student reporting of the Class List Referendum.