Who might reassure a corona-panicked nation? Cambridge students, apparently…

Queens’ College students were told that they have a “responsibility”

In an email to Queens’ College students today, the Acting Senior Tutor said that they can make a “positive impact” in this “time of uncertainty” because “being a student at Cambridge causes people to hold you in high regard”.

As students, we are bombarded with a barrage of emails concerning Covid-19. Whether it’s instructing us to wash our hands to the tune of happy birthday twice over, or to self-isolate in the case of a dry cough or fever, our inboxes are full of advisory emails. Today, however, Queen’s College students received a slightly more bizarre recommendation: to kill coronavirus with kindness.

In the email, which was sent to “update [Queens’ students] on various matters relating to the current public health issue”, Professor Martin Dixon wrote: “Do not underestimate the positive impact that you can make. Perhaps you may not realise, but being a student at Cambridge causes people to hold you in high regard. Your words and actions will be listened to and watched”.

“You are among the very best students in the world, and you can lead by example. A kind word, a simple act of support, a calming of panic, can have a profound effect on those around you. You may not want this responsibility, but you have it”.

“You also have the opportunity to demonstrate what it means to be a Cambridge student in a time of uncertainty. Please live up to the faith we have in you”.

Students were also instructed to “Obviously, observe personal hygiene […] behave responsibly: observe social distancing and do not think “these rules apply to everyone else”. This is a serious public health emergency. You can help resolve it quicker by being thoughtful, considerate and careful. You have a personal responsibility in this – your low risk may be another’s high risk.”

One Queens’ student told The Tab Cambridge: “the College can’t expect us to hold this so-called responsibility while also not giving us any information about their plans!”, adding “no one cares if you go to Cambridge”.

Students were also assured that pertaining to examinations, “The University has developed a number of alternative plans designed to meet different situations.” These “very comprehensive” contingency plans, however, were not shared with the students specifically as it was noted: “Anything communicated now could be out of date tomorrow.”

From the email sent to Queen’s College students today

The Tab Cambridge has contacted Professor Martin Dixon for comment.

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