Ranked: The Cambridge colleges that fined the highest amounts to students in Michaelmas

Who said The Tab can’t do real investigative journalism? They were right lowkey

Remember the days when fining was standing up, banging on a wine glass (hopefully without smashing it), and screaming about some incoherent, “funny” indignity that your mate committed and that you promised you’d never tell anyone about?

Nowadays, the only fines we’re getting are hefty bills from college for breaking Covid regulations for socialising and isolation. Squeezing three people into your gyp was once a challenge, but it’s now a literal offence.

To be very clear, The Cambridge Tab endorses a strict observation of the rules in place at your college (we don’t want you getting fined after all!) It’s also worth saying that the intention of this list is not to name and shame our fellow students for breaking rules.

Rather, this is part of a series of investigations looking into disciplinary measures at Cambridge and how they vary across different colleges. So, we sent some FOI requests, asking each college to tell us how much they fined students for breaking Covid rules last term.

25 colleges replied to us, and we’ve put their responses together in this extremely juicy ranking. Read away:

 Fine if your college is number one on this list:

You know it’s serious when Comic Sans gets involved

As you can see, some colleges have been a bit more transparent than others, and it’s rather difficult to shove all the relevant information onto a low-effort side of A4. So, as a tribute to the classic Camfess tier list, we’ve broken the details down for you in the closest thing to investigative analysis that we have time for right now (it is week one after all, I have essay deadlines guys).

If you’re fed up with Boris’ tier system, don’t fret because we’ve got a brand new one coming your way:

Top tier: Bad, boujee and broke

Cambridge fines

(Credit: Sophie Carlin)

Congratulations Caius! You somehow managed to fine over four times the amount of the second college on this list. I’m sure you’re all dying to know what on earth happened at Caius to warrant such a sky-high amount, so we reached out to the college for an explanation.

The Master, Dr Pippa Rogerson, said: “Caius regrets it has needed to fine a small proportion of its large population of students. The intention of its well-advertised system of graduated fines for types and frequency of infringements was to encourage wise, Covid-safe behaviour. The low levels of infection in the college suggest we achieved that as a community.”

The number of infringements at the college pertaining to these fines were not disclosed due to data protection laws. So sadly, I guess we’ll never know.

Fitz and Robinson also made it over the £1,000 benchmark. At Robinson, students were fined an average of £100 each and the total amount of fines levied as a result of disciplinary sanctions was donated to charity.

Mid tier: We’re average and we like it

Cambridge fines

(Credit: Sophie Carlin)

Coming in at joint fifth on the list we have King’s and Tit Hall. Like Robinson, Tit Hall have specified that the total amount of fines levied was donated to NHS charities.

Magdalene and Pembroke both fined £600 in Michaelmas, with Pembroke students each being made to pay £100 for infringements of Covid rules.

Catz and Downing weren’t far behind at £580. 24 students at Catz were liable for fines, and at Downing, the total sum fined includes an amount of £350 in suspended fines across five infringements. At the time of receipt, the college is reported to be dealing with a further four infringements, of which the amount to be fined is yet to be determined.

Meanwhile, Jesus College told us that 11 students were made to pay between £35 and £65 for Covid-related infringements, putting the average at £550 (I think – I don’t do maths).

Peterhouse issued five fines at £50 each, and Darwin’s total of £50 was a suspended fine pertaining to a number of infringements between zero and five.

Low tier: Zero is the magic number

Nine colleges decided not to fine students at all last term. Medwards have specified that the college does not fine as a matter of policy. At Emma, no disciplinary measures were taken against students whatsoever, whilst Hughes Hall opted for issuing written warnings, community service and informal warnings from the Head Porter instead of issuing mandatory fines.

No tiers left to cry

Cambridge fines

(Credit: Jess Marais)

The remaining colleges on the list did not provide any information relating to the amount fined to students in Michaelmas.

At Clare, the college claimed that this information was exempt under data protection laws, whilst Queens’ said that the college “holds no such records.”

Selwyn claimed to have no information pertaining to fines but has said that there were between zero and five infringements of Covid rules at the college last term.

That’s a fine looking table:

If graphs are more you’re thing, we’ve made this neat little table to help you visualise our list:

Seeing some disparities? So are we

Of course, colleges need to take the pandemic seriously, and rules to keep socialising to a minimum are to be expected. The disparity in the disciplinary measures taken by colleges however is not only limited to how much has been fined at each college but whether the college has taken the decision to fine at all.

It is, of course, difficult to determine how much colleges have fined to individual students, and how extreme the differences are in terms of which colleges levied the heftiest fines per infringement.

But don’t worry, The Tab will be back very soon with a new list, ranking the Cambridge colleges by the number of infringements in comparison to the amount fined. Stay tuned…

Cover image credit: Gonville and Caius College crest via Wikimedia Commons and Newnham crest via Wikimedia Commons.

The University Press Office was contacted for comment. 

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