Varsity’s claims about CUCA cash-burner rubbished by Sturgeon’s spokesperson

The student paper’s coverage led with the claim

cambridge student Cash-burner cuca nicola sturgeon Varsity

Following on from The Tab Cambridge’s exclusive of an ex-CUCA member burning cash in front of a homeless person, student newspaper Varsity alleged that the student involved was the nephew of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

However, this claim has since been disputed by a spokesperson for Sturgeon herself. Varsity’s coverage of the story put this claim at the top of an article which has since been updated.

Journalism 101: quote “sources”

However, a spokesperson for Nicola Sturgeon has since disputed the relationship, emphasising the tenuous connection between the two. Speaking to SWNS, they said, “They are not really related, the connection is so distant it doesn’t even count as a relation. There are six or seven degrees between them. He might go around saying he is her nephew but he’s not.”

“She has no recollection of ever meeting him. Somewhere along the line his dad is the brother of the ex-husband of the sister of the First Minster’s husband.”

Varsity’s story was published less than two hours after The Tab’s exclusive was released. In the original article, they said “The First Minister’s Office did not immediately respond to Varsity’s request for comment,” implying the claim had not been confirmed before publication.

Spurious claims, stolen images

This claim has been amended by the student newspaper several times but is still – at time of publication – the main promotion of Varsity’s coverage on its Facebook page. The article published online says the student was “allegedly related to Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon”.

Varsity also reported the individual’s name, despite emphasising that they were “as yet unable to confirm the identity of the person in the video”.

Alongside the claim, Varsity’s coverage republished photos of the cash burning owned by The Tab in breach of copyright. These photos were subsequently removed from the article.

Despite repeated requests for comment, Varsity Editor Millie Brierley has not responded. The Tab has delayed publication of this article to allow adequate time for Varsity to comment on the story.

This year, Varsity celebrates its 70th year in print.