Sunday 1st February 2015, 04:02 GMT | Cambridge,UK


Only half of students back reading week

Only half of Cambridge students are in favour of nine-week terms, with a reading week in week five, according to a Varsity survey.

35 per cent of students were against the measure, while a further 12 per cent indicated that they did not know or were undecided.

53 per cent of students voted in support of a change in term length, and 59 per cent “broadly agree” with Cambridge Defend Education’s (CDE) #endweek5blues campaign, started at the beginning of this term. The campaign to introduce a reading week has also been backed by a vote in CUSU Council. Speaking at[Read full story]


It’s OK to criticise Cambridge

Since coming to Cambridge, I’ve been overwhelmed with the sense that I should be grateful to be here. Whether it’s complaining about the drinking society, whose misogynistic and abusive comments reduced me to tears, or suggesting three essays a week is unreasonable, I feel obliged to couple it with an apologetic reference to my eternal gratitude. The problem with this sentiment is that it’s disproportionately directed towards me as a state school girl on a bursary and other students who face various oppressions or come from lower down on the sociopolitical spectrum. There’s a feeling that we should be thankful[Read full story]


The Oscars: What’s the opposite of diversity?

Did you hear that? The hushed whispers and clacking of keys? The nominations list has been read. Preparations for Hollywood’s showcase have begun. Of course it’s not just Hollywood, there’s a foreign language category too!

It has not escaped the attention of major newspapers that this year’s Oscar nominees are the least diverse bunch of creatives to have been printed onto its hallowed envelopes in years.

Moments before the nominees were revealed it had seemed completely impossible for the British actor David Oyelowo not to get a nod for his portrayal of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma. He[Read full story]


Of Mice and Foetuses

Parenthood really begins at conception, not at birth. Although such statements are typically used to discourage pregnant women from smoking cigarettes and consuming alcohol, there is evidence that other factors, such as how a mother feels, can influence her child’s health.

A Cambridge research team at the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, led by Professor Abby Fowden, recently presented strong evidence that high stress levels during pregnancy can affect the growth of a foetus and even its long-term health. To do this, the scientists performed experiments in which they tracked the effect of glucocorticoids in mice. Glucocorticoids are hormones released[Read full story]


Film: Foxcatcher

Ominous strains of a cello? Check. Piano melody bearing more than a passing resemblance to Schindler’s List? Check.

Brace yourself for the deeply chilling psychological drama that is Foxcatcher. Based on a true story, the film follows the brothers Mark and Dave Schultz (Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo), Olympic gold-winning wrestlers, as they are recruited by John du Pont (Steve Carell).

A wealthy recluse who is bent on creating the greatest US wrestling team the world has ever seen, du Pont believes wrestling for one’s country to be dulce et decorum est. While Dave is able to enjoy a family[Read full story]


It’s a Basic Struggle

Tesco Everyday Value. ASDA Smartprice. Even the infamous Waitrose ‘Essentials’ (including such key products as scented ironing water and limoncello mousse). Every supermarket has its own budget range uniquely branded with its own distinct font.

For the typical Cambridge student, the Sainsbury’s Basics range is by far the most recognisable of these, in no small part thanks to the offensive shade of orange it’s decked in. It is a colour scheme I’m going to need to learn to love, as for one whole week I have embarked on a quest to live on a diet of only Sainsbury’s Basics. Yes,[Read full story]


Cambridging the Gap: students head down to the Abbey

Things are on the up for Cambridge United. Having spent the last ten years in the doldrums, fighting off financial liquidation and battling it out in the non-league spectrum of football, they made it back to the professional league system last season. And then Manchester United came knocking.

For a club like Cambridge United, once treading the banks of a financial quagmire, to now receive a financial windfall of the kind seen not only through the game last week, with live television coverage and in front of a full-to-bursting R Costings Abbey stadium, and to be able to do it[Read full story]


The Show Must Come Out

The concept of theatre as a ‘gay’ space is nothing new. For a long time, there has been a sense of moral panic about the bohemianism of the theatre industry as a breeding ground for the odd and anti-social. Even now, in LGBT+ movements, theatre of all kinds is seen as one of the integral cultural mediums of the grand queer tradition.

Part of this is likely down to a self-reinforcing attitude: if theatre is seen as a queer-friendly space, then it is only natural that queer people should gravitate towards it. Theatre is also one of the most easily[Read full story]


Stephen Fry at the Union

Stephen Fry at the Union

Comedian Stephen Fry draws laughter at the Cambridge Union, but loses the debate on disestablishment of the Church of England

Germaine Greer: transgender women don't know what it's like to 'have a big hairy smelly vagina'

Germaine Greer: transgender women don’t know what it’s like to ‘have a big hairy smelly vagina’

Germaine Greer steered debate away from the ‘side issues’ of her past transphobia in a Q&A at the Union

Has CUCA lost its fangs?

Has CUCA lost its fangs?

Sarah Sheard explores whether CUCA has lost its political gravitas, unlike its polar opposite; the Marxist Discussion Group. With additional reporting by Daniel Hepworth

The Interview: Norman Finkelstein

Dr Finkelstein talks to Joe Robinson about Israel and anti-Semitism, and reveals why he accosts African-Americans on the subway

Election Profile: Daniel Zeichner

Ahead of the general election, Varsity interviews the main candidates


The Oscars: What's the opposite of diversity?

The Oscars: What’s the opposite of diversity?

Naomi Eva Obeng questions representation, the Academy and what we can do about it

Happily Ever After: our cultural marriage to monogamy

Happily Ever After: our cultural marriage to monogamy

Jonathan Shamir takes a look at our obsession with going one-on-one

Idols of a Lonely English Student

Idols of a Lonely English Student

Noa Lessof Gendler tells us about her literary icons from Satan to Aslan and plenty inbetween

Culture What’s On: Week 3

Giving you the low-down on everything cultural you need to know

The Interview: Mark Watson

Jack Benda talks to Mark Watson, ex-footlight and now professional comedian about his life


It's OK to criticise Cambridge

It’s OK to criticise Cambridge

Cambridge is far from an ‘academically rigorous’ paradise

The Ismist: why I took on the Establishment

Allan Hennessy argues that it’s time we tackled authority

The Holocaust: Remembering is for life

Memorials for crimes of this magnitude can’t be confined to a day, says Noa Gendler

Mental health: a new stigma

Courtney Landers argues that a new stigma around depression is replacing the old

Could meninism have a point?

Feminism shouldn’t ignore the lessons of meninism


Cambridging the Gap: students head down to the Abbey

Cambridging the Gap: students head down to the Abbey

Can the Manchester United FA Cup tie spur more students to head down to the Abbey?

The College Football Review: Week 10

The College Football Review: Week 10

Catch up with the latest results in Cambridge University Association Football League

An FA Cup Hangover?

An FA Cup Hangover?

Zack Case reports from the Abbey: Cambridge United 1-1 Dagenham & Redbridge

Alastair Cook finally gets the axe

Rory Sale reflects on England’s decision to finally sack Alastair Cook as ODI Captain

Coventry’s Calling? On Wasps leaving London

Wasps Rugby Club are discovering a new lease of life away from London


It's a Basic Struggle

It’s a Basic Struggle

Lucy Roxburgh says goodbye to M&S and hello to the Sainsbury’s Basics Range, for a whole week

Building Blocks: Cambridge architecture and us

Building Blocks: Cambridge architecture and us

Claire Huxley and Christina Farley examine how we engage with the architectural experience of Cambridge life

Let's get this par-tea started

Let’s get this par-tea started

David Godwin finds the perfect place for you to indulge your caffeine addiction depending on which stage you’re at in your Cambridge week

Je Suis Ahmed

Muslim student at Cambridge gives her verdict

How to: Pretend to be cool

Trade secrets from a professional


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