What is Varsity?
Varsity is Cambridge University’s independent student newspaper,
published every Friday of term time and available to all students,
staff and friends of the University since 1947.
We deliver up to 10,000 free copies to all 31 colleges in the University,
from where they are distributed from mail rooms, common rooms and
social areas. Copies are also distributed to the University's faculties,
departments, social areas, and to our extensive subscription list.
We are also widely read by students at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.
As well as our award-winning news, features, opinion and editorial content,
Varsity is the essential guide to what's on in Cambridge, a crucial reference
guide to everything from job application deadlines to Saturday night's
entertainment. 84% of Cambridge finalists read Varsity (Source: UK Graduate
Careers Survey 2001) making our estimated readership almost 16,000 per week.
Independent, Established, Trusted
Unlike most student publications, Varsity is an independent newspaper
unaffiliated to the student union — a status that, along with our quality
and history, means that Varsity is Cambridge's most established and trusted
news source. But despite the newspaper’s independence, we are privileged to
hold strong ties to the University as an establishment.
Varsity is owned and operated by Varsity Publications Ltd, a not-for-profit
company devoted to the encouragement of student journalism. Every year Varsity
awards prizes from The Varsity Trust to enable Cambridge's most talented
journalists to develop their careers through postgraduate study. Varsity
Publications also publishes a series of supplements and sister publications,
including the renowned 'The Mays' anthologies and BlueSci Magazine in
association with Cambridge University Science Productions.
Week in and week out, our team of dedicated student journalists continues
to produce one of the world's most renowned and respected student newspapers
in a matter of days. As Varsity approaches its sixtieth year in print and
tenth year online, our team — and our reputation — continues to grow and
grow as we look forward to an equally successful future.
The Editor is the person in charge of what appears in the paper,
commissioning articles, controlling the vast team of contributors and
scheduling each of the 21 issues per year. Unlike many student newspapers,
Varsity editors don’t take a year off from their studies to do the job:
as well as editing the paper for a term, they’re also studying full time
for a degree!
The Team is made up of upto 40 students, from Section Editors to
Photographers to Production staff, everyone plays a vital role in putting
together the weekly newspaper in time for the deadline, and then doing it
all again the following week!
The Business Manager is a full-time, salaried position responsible for
the day-to-day running of the company, working closely with our advertising
and printing partners and ensuring that the newspaper is professionally
run and produced.
The Company Secretary works part-time, dealing with all the company’s
finance and administration.
The Board of Directors bring a wealth of knowledge and decades of
combined Varsity experience to the newspaper! Meeting twice a term, the
Board is comprised of a mixture of ex-Editors, University academics and
friends of the newspaper.
- Varsity has its origins in a newspaper first published for about a
year in 1931, re-establishing itself in 1947 despite the rationing of
newsprint after the War in the form we are now familiar with.
- In the mid-1970s it merged with the radical paper 'Stop Press' and
was known for some years as 'Stop Press with Varsity' before reverting to
the more well-known Varsity branding.
- Famous ex-editors include presenter Jeremy Paxman, film director
Michael Winner, the late television presenter & reporter Richard Whiteley,
Financial Times editor Andrew Gowers, and novelist Robert Harris, as well
as a slew of other journalists and media figures. BBC journalist Andrew
Gilligan was once a news editor.
- Other notable contributors include playwright Michael Frayn, Clive
James and even HRH Charles, Prince of Wales. Some of Sylvia Plath's earliest
poems and J G Ballard's first published story were written for the paper.
Meanwhile, legendary comic Peter Cook met his first wife while posing for
a Varsity May Ball photoshoot.
- Novelist Zadie Smith was first noticed by literary agents after her
short story appeared in the 1997 edition of 'The Mays'.
- Varsity was the first newspaper in the world to report the discovery
of DNA by Watson and Crick following the discovery of their double helix in
- We don’t like to show off, but The Guardian even used to run
conferences for student newspaper editors entitled ‘Why Your Paper isn’t
as good as Varsity’!
- Varsity is one of only two UK student newspapers to be completely
independent of the student union and University, the other being Oxford
- Varsity will celebrate its sixtieth birthday in 2007, and has one of
the world’s oldest student newspaper websites, has just celebrated its tenth
birthday (October 2006)!
Varsity Publications Ltd is a company registered in England, number 561235.
Registered Office: Old Examination Hall, Free School Lane, Cambridge, CB2 3RF, United Kingdom.
VAT No. 213 9420 86
Varsity Publications Limited welcomes feedback regarding the material printed in any of our
publications or any other aspect of our business.
Varsity - like most other papers in Britain - is regulated by the Press Complaints Commission and considers the PCC’s Code of Practice to
be a sound statement of ethical behaviour for journalists. All Varsity journalists are required to adhere to the Code of Practice.
If you wish formally to complain about anything printed in Varsity or one its associated publications,
you should follow the procedure below:
- You should initially address your complaint to the Editor (if it regards an editorial matter) or the Business
Manager (for commercial or legal issues) outlining your complaint and the issue number, page number
and article headline (or advertisement) it refers to. Please give as much detail as possible. If your
complaint is specifically for publication you should mark it as so. Similarly, if your complaint is not for
publication, you should indicate this. The following complaints procedure will only be undertaken if the
correspondence includes the name and contact details of the complainant; anonymous complaints
cannot be accepted or published.
- The Editor or Business Manager will then respond to resolve your complaint by explaining the matter in
question and, where appropriate, offer a resolution to the problem.
- If you are not satisfied by this response, you should re-send your complaint for attention of the Board of
Directors of the company, explaining your initial complaint and why you feel it has not been satisfactorily
resolved by your first contact
- The Board will meet to discuss the issue, either at the next scheduled Board Meeting (held monthly) or at
a specially arranged meeting if appropriate. You may or may not be invited to attend this meeting. A
member of the Board will then contact you to attempt to resolve your complaint in the same manner as
point 2 (above).
- If you are still dissatisfied with the action taken by the Board, you should reply to your contact from the
Board to explain why. If you feel appropriate, and depending on the nature of your complaint, you have
the right to take the matter to a higher authority, such as the Advertising Standards Commission, or Press
Complaints Commission (again, the body would depend on the exact nature of your grievance). If it is
inappropriate for our Board to contact you, the matter will be passed to our legal advisors to be dealt
with. The addresses of such bodies are available in the public domain or on request from the Business
- You should note that Varsity Publications Limited is a limited company independent of the University of
Cambridge, Cambridge University Students’ Union, and their associated organisations. It is therefore not
possible, in most instances, for these bodies to deal with your complaint
- For further explanation of these points or advice, please contact the current Business Manager
(firstname.lastname@example.org) or your own legal advisor.