University of Cambridge

Exclusive: Cambridge student in white tie burns cash in front of homeless person

He was a member of the Conservative Association at the time

No, this isn’t a scene from a dystopian film about Oxbridge life.

A Cambridge University student has been filmed deliberately attempting to light a £20 note on fire in front of a homeless man on Bridge street.

A shocked passer-by watched early last Thursday morning while a drunk student in white bow tie and tails attempted to burn the £20 banknote in front of a homeless man.

The student attempts to light £20 on fire

The Tab understands that the attempt was by a member of CUCA who has since been expelled from the association.

The incident took place outside the Cotswold shop on Bridge Street, in the early hours of Thursday 2nd February.

A video of the event was seen by numerous Cantabs on Snapchat, and has been provided to The Tab. The images included in this article are screenshots of the video.

In the video the student struggles to light the note, whilst the video pans to the homeless person. The student says “some homeless shelter”, and the video cuts out. It has been rumoured that burning a £50 note in front of a homeless person is one of the initiation ceremonies of Oxford’s notorious Bullingdon club.

The video pans to a homeless man across the street

The motivations of the student, other than odiousness, are unclear.

A Cantab who encountered the student soon after the incident said, “I was blocked from getting into my college as some chap in white tie was being excluded by the porters. I saw the videos of what he did the next morning, and am utterly shocked and appalled that someone would do such a thing. I’m sure I speak on behalf of the student body when I say that we condemn such actions, and arseholes.”

White tie is the most formal dress code in Western fashion, even more so than Black tie. It is usually reserved for the highest of high profile events – like State Dinners with the Queen, Nobel Prize ceremonies, and Magdalene May Ball.

The student walks down the street in White tie attire

Some members of the Cambridge University Conservative Association are known to regularly wear white tie to CUCA dinners.

Cambridge University Conservative Association assured the student has been expelled from the Association and issued the following statement to The Tab:

“The CUCA committee became aware of serious allegations against a member late last week concerning his private behaviour. There is no room for people who behave like that in our Association, any other University Association, or frankly our University. We determined the appropriate response to be to revoke his membership and bar him from all future events, which we did on Saturday.”

CUCA confirmed that the burning of money was neither before or after a CUCA event.

The student walks around Cambridge in White tie

CUCA has a number of illustrious political alumni. Prominent Tory Remainer and ex-Cabinet Minister Ken Clarke is a former Chairman, while ex-Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell and Lord Speaker Lord Fowler are both still Honorary Vice-Presidents. The Honorary President is prominent historian Andrew Roberts, author of ‘Napoleon the Great’.

This is not the first time in recent months CUCA have been embroiled in scandal. In June CUCA had to defend themselves against multiple allegations of sexism after Varsity revealed that the Women’s Officer felt she had “faced open ridicule” and “aggressive sexism”.

George Clarke, founder of Embrace Cambridge, a charity that works with homeless people in Cambridge told The Tab: “There is a disturbing precedent for intoxicated Cambridge students abusing rough sleepers in the city, but as well as calling out this disgraceful behaviour wherever we find it we can and should remember that there is a real heart for charity at this University too.” He stresses, however, that these instances are very rare.

The Senior Tutor of the individual’s college has been informed.