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NEWS COLUMN: Week 5 round-up

Read on for the trick to snagging a John’s ticket

lgbt flag mary beard news column oxfam st. john's may ball week 5

C/N- Discussion of racism and homophobia

Mary Beard doesn't identify as a 'colonialist'

Mary Beard has come under fire after tweeting 'Of course one can't condone the (alleged) behaviour of Oxfam staff in Haiti and elsewhere. But I do wonder how hard it must be to sustain "civilised" values in a disaster zone. And overall I still respect those who go in to help out, where most of us wd not tread'.

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Feel like pure shit just want [my outdated views not to be challenged] x

But don't worry, there's no way Beard could be racist. She tweeted that she's not a colonialist and what more evidence do you need? Dr Gopal clapped back in a blog post criticising Beard's failure to provide an 'adequate intellectual response' and calling Beard out for the 'genteel patrician racist manner' used in her tweets.

Speaking of Oxfam, there's been dissent in Murray Edwards college. Seems although the college's official line backs Dame Barbara Stocking, students don't necessarily agree with an Oxsham sign becoming a new addition to the college's famed art collection.

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The bar's been revamped with an anti-Oxfam vibe

'White Majority Officer'

In a tone deaf and blatantly unfunny attempt at satire, a BME student submitted a fake proposal for a 'White Majority Officer'. This came after the proposition of the BME officer election role to Pembroke's Graduate Parlour Committee. The president of the Grad Parlour highlights that 'There's widespread support in the Grad Parlour for the BME Officer role'. The student who submitted the proposal has since retracted it and 'apologised unreservedly'

The events of the past few weeks; Beard's comments on the Oxfam exploitation case and the shutting down of the BME open mic night in Robinson last week only serve to highlight the importance of representing BME voices in an environment where BME concerns are often brushed to the side.

Trinity Censorship

Not only did Trinity refuse to fly the LGBT+ flag on the college's main flagpole, but they've been censoring students usage of the flag. Students have been told to remove LGBT+ flags from their windows, porters using the excuse that the college's bans the display of political symbols. CUSU LGBT+ have responded calling the move 'unacceptable' saying 'If the college is condoning the implied homophobia of the 'different opinions', it should be thinking seriously about their staff's ability to care for all their students.' The move has left the affected student feeling 'unwanted' in her own college saying; 'it's lonely and it hurts'. The college have said they 'are looking into this matter, which we take seriously, and will respond fully when the process is complete.' Maybe the college should take the matter more seriously so they aren't making their own students feel 'unwanted'.

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The college stopped students from displaying the LGBT+ flag on windows

'Cut the Rent' campaigns

'Cut the Rent' campaigns have continued to gain traction over the past week. Robinson issued a banner drop sending a clear sign to the college that enough is enough. The college was not to pleased and one banner was immediately removed and porters attempted to confiscate another.

Downing have launched their own 'Cut the Rent' campaign and held an open meeting last week for students to raise concerns and help make a plan of action. They've launched their own petition, calling for a 20% cut to rent rates.

Class-list confusion

An amendment has been proposed to change the class list policy. If it's passed, it will mean candidates who have specifically opted-out could have their names shown on the Reporter, the online version of the class-list. The Tab contacted the university but they were unable to clarify whether the online list would simply be a list of all those who passed or would include degree classifications. Lets hope that the council will listen to student voices- opting out gives a clear message you don't want your name on the class list- whether it's online or not.

The amendment has a very questionable implementation of the opt-out policy

CUSU takes a stand

Following on from their condemnation of Prevent's infringement on freedom of speech in universities earlier in the year, CUSU have taken a stand against Prevent. At CUSU Council, a 'students not suspect' stance as adopted. The motion passed said: 'The government's counter terrorism/ security policy is fundamentally flawed in its approach', and is 'ill-defined and open to abuse for political ends.' pointing out that Prevent 'consistently targets Muslim people and BME people'. All but one person (who abstained) voted in favour of the motion.

This is CUSU's first legislative stand against 'Prevent'

Strikes, strikes, strikes

UCU staff strikes protesting pension changes from guaranteed to dependent on stock market investment returns have officially started. Staff want guarantees in pensions (fair enough really) and will be striking today and tomorrow in protest of the changes. There will also be strikes 26th-28th February, 5th-8th March and 12th-16th March. Any faculty-organised activities may be cancelled, which includes lectures, labs, faculty-supervisions and seminars. College based activities, such as college organised supervisions, should be unaffected, though UCU members have been encouraged to re-arrange them to non-strike days and to not give them on university premises. Not everyone is supportive of the strikes and throughout the country some students have launched petitions demanding money back for teaching missed due to strike action.

Students are encouraged not to go into university buildings and not cross picket lines

During strike action, staff have arranged public 'teach-outs', intended to encourage staff and students to discuss 'important and challenging themes that re-imagine the university in ways that challenge oppression and injustice.' Topics covered will include 'Brexit and its effects on Higher Education', decolonising the curriculum and a 'Disassembling the University' forum. The 'teach-outs' launched yesterday.

Lorry stuck between scaffolding and a hard place

In an unsurprising turn of events in Cambridge's ridiculously narrow streets, a massive lorry got stuck earlier this week causing mass traffic jams. When turning out, the lorry went into scaffolding near Sainsbury's. A pole went straight through it leaving the poor lorry driver waiting while the police and fire brigade came. Luckily, the scaffolding did not collapse when a specialist company swooped in to save the day, safely removing it. Nobody was hurt and an hour and a half after the crash, the lorry was finally removed.

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Driving in Cambridge should require extra parking tests

Win a John's ticket

Now finally here's the bit you've probably been sitting there reading for. What better way to combat week 5 blues than snag yourself a St John's May Ball ticket? You're only one google form away from the seventh best party in the world…

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Crushbridge is here to save your May Week

There's an anonymous 'Single girl looking for a +1' who's hit crushbridge looking for a '21+ man, cheesy-crisp loving man, with quality dance moves, a big heart and a 10/10 spoon' to be her date for the coveted ball. Only covet is you 'must like Disney movies.' Be prepared to prove yourself with the google form asking for description of your 'best dance moves' and 'best move in the bedroom'- 'points for creativity and flair' in both cases. Don't you just love love?

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A John's tickets is a few questions away

At least we're not as bad as Oxf*rd; an Oxfess post recently revealed that companies are buying tickets at a 30% premium from students and then selling the tickets on at a further mark-up meaning tickets sold out immediately after release.

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Turns out our ticket system could be a lot worse