All the Cambridge news that you missed over the holidays

From butterflies to boat races: it has been a juicy holiday

Barely made it through Week 1 of Easter Term and struggling to get back into the swing of things? Fear not! The Tab is here with a round-up of the holiday news so that you can either get back into the Cambridge mindset or relive your care-free (or revision-stress-filled) holidays. Enjoy!

Holiday headlines

Cambridge victorious in Boat Race 2021. Cambridge defeated Oxford in both the men’s and women’s Boat Race. While traditionally held on the Thames, this year’s races were held on the Great Ouse near Ely because of the pandemic and safety concerns over Hammersmith Bridge. This was the fourth win in a row for the women’s team and the third win in a row for the men’s.

Sadly Cambridge can’t win all the time. Cambridge came second to Oxford in a ranking of the most Instagrammable university in the UK based on data analysed by Students Beans. 50 UK universities were ranked in total, using over six million Instagram hashtags.

It was the fourth win in a row for the Cambridge women’s team (Credit: The Boat Race (Twitter))

General return of students to university pushed back to 17 May. The government announced that students on all university courses in England will return “no earlier than 17 May”. Universities UK, an organisation that represents 140 universities across the country described the decision as “hugely disappointing for students”. Universities UK had previously said that it was “illogical” that students were not allowed to return to their accommodation given that other coronavirus restrictions were being loosened. In an email to students, Stephen Toope, the Vice Chancellor, said that students who had previously not been given permission to return were “encouraged to apply to their College for permission to return if they need to do so for reasons of health (including mental health) or to access study space and facilities.”

Controversy at Jesus. Students at Jesus were threatened with eviction for displaying “any poster, flag or banner” in an email from the College. The ban included posters for political parties, pride flags, and divestment posters from the Jesus College Climate Justice Campaign. The College said that such displays were in breach of the licence agreement. Aurelio Petrucci, the former president of the Jesus College Student Union called the College’s threat “truly awful” and said he hopes that the College “reconsiders the policy”.

The Jesus College Climate Justice Campaign published a report claiming that the College has £5.15 million invested in the “absolute worst-offending global exploiters and polluters” including Shell and BP. The College said that they “recognise the urgency of climate change” and that they “always welcome engagement and ideas from members of the College”.

Jesus College threatened to evict students for displaying ‘any poster, flag or banner’ (Credit: Jesusgreen (Creative Commons Licence))

Divestment continuesCorpus Christi and Newnham joined the University, Christ’s, Clare Hall, Pembroke, and Trinity in committing to fully divest from fossil fuels. Corpus Christi announced that they would have “no meaningful direct or indirect exposure to fossil fuels in its portfolio” by 2025 and that it would “achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions from its investment portfolio by 2038”. Newnham said that by 2030 it will have divested from “all meaningful exposure to fossil fuels”.

The death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Philip, who was Chancellor of the University of Cambridge between 1977 and 2011, died on 9 April. The University released a statement that recalled the Duke of Edinburgh’s “insight, energy, and practical good sense”. A commemoration service was held on 16 April at Great St Mary’s Church.

Simon Woolley becomes the first Black man to be head of an Oxbridge college. Simon Woolley, the founder and director of Operation Black Vote, was elected as Homerton’s next Principal. He is the first Black man to be elected as the head of an Oxbridge college and the third Black head of an Oxbridge college. Homerton said: “Simon’s own inspiring story and his commitment to promoting social justice and nurturing talent across the social spectrum resonates with Homerton’s core values.”

Light news

Homerton librarian wins The Chase. Liz Osman, Homerton’s librarian, won £7,500 on the quiz programme The Chase. In the show broadcast on Tuesday (27/04), Liz defeated renowned quizzer Mark Labbett alongside her fellow contestant Steve. Asked what she was going to do with the money, she said: “It gets us a lot closer to buying a house.” On Twitter, Homerton said: “Congratulations to @homlib librarian, our very own Liz Osman, who’s only gone and won ITV’s The Chase!!”

Liz Osman, Homerton’s librarian, won The Chase (Credit: Hommerton College (Twitter))

Colleges allow members to host guests. Some colleges have begun to allow their members to host guests outdoors on the college site. King’s students, for example, have been able to host guests since 19 April. In an email to students, the College said that in recognition of the loosening of national coronavirus restrictions on 12 April members would be allowed to invite guests into the Fellow’s Garden and the College grounds. The email added that guests would have to remain with their host at all times and that all students should be mindful of those studying for and sitting exams.

Cambridge ranked the fourth best university in the world. The Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR) ranked Cambridge as the fourth best university in the world, following Harvard, MIT, and Stanford. Oxford ranked fifth. The United Arab Emirates-based CWUR ranks universities based on quality of education, alumni employment, quality of faculty, and research performance. While the ranking’s top ten was made up of Oxbridge and eight American universities, Dr Mahassen said: “The broader story for the US is more concerning, with nearly three-quarters of American universities falling down the standings.” Forbes commented on the “remarkable rise of China”, with 93% of Chinese universities climbing up the rankings.

Trinity Hall librarian finds preserved butterfly pressed in book. A Trinity Hall librarian found a preserved butterfly pressed in the pages of a copy of the earliest insect book published in England. The butterfly, said in Trinity Hall’s press release to be “as colourful as the day it was pressed between the book’s pages”, could feasibly be almost as old as the book itself, Insectorum Sive Minimorum Animalium Theatrum, which was published in 1634. If this is the case, Jenni Lecky-Thompson, Head of Library Services at Trinity Hall, said: “It is amazing that it has survived there for so long”. She also adds: “It is relatively common to find botanical specimens inside old books, but unusual to find an insect specimen.”

The book was part of a collection of books owned by former Trinity Hall undergraduate Lawrence Strangman, and this collection was donated to the College in 1996 by his family in his memory, after his death in 1980. It is now housed as the Langman Collection in the College’s Jerwood Library.

Feature image credit: Erin Visaya-Neville