Staff-only email accidentally sent to Cambridge history students

The email discusses staff pay, offer targets and building renovations

An email on behalf of the chair of the history faculty that appears to have been written for staff was sent to undergraduate historians yesterday (7/11).

A spokesperson from the University of Cambridge’s Communications team responded to a request for comment saying that the email was sent “in error.”

It appears to have been part of a regular update for staff, with the subject “Chair’s bulletin”, and was sent on behalf of Professor Mary Laven.

The email, which commenced “Dear colleagues”, contained references to delayed payment for academics, “contradictory” messages about lecture recordings, and construction updates among various other things.

Mentions of discussions at non-student committees like the “Council of the School” – supposedly referring the Council of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences – messages directed at lecturers and with the casual tone of the email suggest the bulletin was not meant for students.

The Council of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences has one staff representative from each of the faculties within the social sciences.  There are two student representatives on the committee, but access to the minutes published on the school’s website are restricted.

Image credit: Author’s own screenshot

There was also a message for lecturers from the University Communications office included in the email, discussing potential copyright breaches surrounding the publication of lecture notes on StuDocu website.The message links to recommendations from the Legal Services Division giving “lecturers advice” about how to take action.

The email made mention of the history faculty’s “failure to meet” their  “target number of undergraduates in the last round” and asked colleagues to consider making “an extra offer this year.”

Renovations to the Stirling Building, which have been discussed on the faculty website, seem likely to occur in “summer 2024” as per the email.  The Faculty Deputy Chair  is working on “rewriting the case for support” for the “old and leaky” building.

Students are also now aware of a series of three events in the academic year 2023-24, planned to celebrate important anniversaries in the faculty – the 100th year of the Historical Journal, the 150th year of the Historical Tripos, and the 300th year of the Regius Professorship of History. These events have not been publicised outside the email.

Professor Mary Laven and the Faculty of History were also contacted for comment. 

Feature image credits: Poppy Robinson