News Column: Week One

From C-Sunday to a pigeon in the MMLL Library, here is all the important news from Week One of Easter Term

You did it! Week One of Easter Term 2021 is over and we are now into Week Two. As always, The Tab has summarised the main news stories of the week that you may have missed due to jubilation, stress, and everything in between.

Caesarian Sunday. As per tradition, C-Sunday took place this year on Jesus Green on the Sunday of the first May bank holiday (02/05).  Due to the pandemic this year’s festivities were subject to a greater extent of criticism compared to previous years and drew the ire of the vice-chancellor. In an email to students, Stephen Toope said that the gathering was “disappointing”, “a slap in the face”, and “in clear breach of all public health measures designed to prevent the transmission of disease”. The Daily Mail estimated that 3,000 students were present at the event. The vice-chancellor added that “even at the best of times” C-Sunday causes “unnecessary difficulties for the local Cambridge community”.

Students gather on Jesus Green for C-Sunday (Image: Rosie Smart-Knight)

Local elections. Cambridge headed to the polls on Thursday (06/05) for the 2021 local elections. Labour retained control of the city council with an increased majority – the party now holds 27 of the council’s 42 seats. The Liberal Democrats won 12 seats (three fewer than they had in 2017) and the Greens won two. The Conservatives lost control of the city council after losing seven seats. With the Liberal Democrats gaining four seats and Labour gaining three, there is now no overall control on the county council. In a surprise result, Labour’s Nik Johnson defeated the incumbent Conservative James Palmer and was elected the mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. The Conservatives retained the office of police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough with the election of Darryl Preston.

Problems at Pembroke. The Pembroke Bar was closed this week and new restrictions placed on students at the College following a series of mass gatherings in the College grounds. According to an email from Pembroke, no guests of students are allowed to remain on the College site between 6pm and 6am and students are not allowed to gather on the College lawns after 8pm (including students in the same household).

Sources present at the gathering last Wednesday evening (28/04) that led to the closure of the bar have said that between 150 and 200 students from multiple colleges were present and that there was no social distancing. The porters, who were aware of and observing the gathering, are said to have turned on the sprinklers around 11:45 pm to get people to leave.

The gathering and the College’s response have been the subject of debate on the Facebook page Pempreciation. One post read: “We’ve had rules like this for a year and if you still can’t follow them that’s your own fault.”

Pembroke has been contacted for comment.

There was a mass gathering last week at Pembroke (Image: Jacob Gaskell)

Oxbridge students raise money for COVID relief in India. In response the the ongoing COVID crisis in India, students at Oxford and Cambridge have united to raise money for COVID relief. Oxbridge Student Action for Covid Relief in India aims to raise £50,000 to fund NGOs tackling the crisis, such as the Raah Foundation, the Social Education Economical Development Society (SEEDS), and Mercy Mission. A spokesperson from the Cambridge India Society, a club involved in the fundraiser, told The Tab: “What we need right now is to support everyone in unity, even donating a small amount can make a huge difference to someone’s life.” Over £30,000 has already been raised. You can donate here.

Animal rights. Activists from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) protested the opening of the Urban Outfitters shop on Sidney Street on Thursday (06/05). PETA told Cambridgeshire Live that Urban Outfitters used alpaca fleece, wool, leather, cashmere, mohair, down, and silk in their clothing, all of which are the “product of extreme violence, cruelty, and fear”. Protesters held up graphic placards emblazoned with the words, “Urban Outfitters: Animals Are Not Clothing”. Elisa Allen, the director of PETA said: “Urban Outfitters brands want to reach progressive young people with their designs – but selling the skin, hair, and feathers of tormented animals will get them nowhere.”

PETA activists protests against the violation of animal rights (Image: Ella Fisher)

Opening the curtains. The ADC Theatre and the Corpus Playroom are set to reopen on 25 May. While the ADC Theatre was open last autumn prior to the second national lockdown, the Corpus Playroom has been shut for a year. According to the ADC’s social distancing guidelines, face coverings must be worn, theatre-goers will be able to sit with up to three other people in their household, there will be a one-way system in the theatre, and contact details must be given manually or through the NHS Test and Trace app. Jamie Rycroft, the manager of the ADC Theatre, told the Saffron Walden Reporter: “We’re so excited to be bringing back live performance after such a long absence.” The ADC will be livestreaming the majority of its shows on their YouTube channel for those who wish to watch from home.

Green and glamorous? Last Tuesday (27/04), the luxury French fashion house Chanel announced a three-year sustainability partnership with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). Chanel said that they will work alongside CISL to “advance practical sustainability solutions to specific business and societal challenges including how to reduce and avoid carbon emissions and address biodiversity loss”.

The University also announced plans to build a solar park on farmland five miles southwest of Cambridge in line with its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The solar park will be able to provide for 19 per cent of the University’s electricity needs.

COVID in Cambridge. Despite reports of a rising number of cases in Cambridge, COVID cases among students at the University remain low. According to an email from the University on Friday (07/05), no cases have been identified by the Asymptomatic COVID-19 Screening Programme in the last week.

Library news. A pigeon managed to get into the MMLL Library in the Raised Faculty Building on Friday (07/05). The bird had managed to get in because the windows were opened in order to provide the library with ventilation. Students at the library had to study as the staff tried to guide the winged creature out of the building. A student present at the scene told The Tab that the librarian warned them of the pigeon’s presence as they entered the library and that it did not prove as distracting as they feared.

While a pigeon accidentally made its way into the MMLL Library, it appears that more and more Cambridge students are deliberately making their way to the library at Girton. A Girtonian said on Camfess that the trend is “perhaps the single strangest turn of events of the whole year”. Seemingly bemused and irritated of this change in behaviour, the Girtonian continued, “[I] literally do not understand why you [students at colleges in the city] would do it[,] please leave them to us, it’s all we’ve got”.