Senate House, where Class Lists are postedLouis Ashworth

The fate of Class Lists will be decided once and for all with a vote by Regent House next month.

From 28th November to 8th December, members of Regent House, which is comprised of academic and senior administrative staff of the University and colleges, will vote on whether they accept the report of the University Council, which advocates that Class Lists should no longer be publically displayed.

Last week’s student referendum forced CUSU to change its stance and support the retention of Class Lists but with an easier opt-out policy. Yes exceeded the required threshold of 10 per cent of eligible voters, earning 55.23 per cent of the total of 4,758 votes cast. The result mandates a significant change from CUSU’s pre-referendum position: in November 2015 CUSU Council members voted 20 to zero in support of the abolition of publically displayed Class Lists.

The outcome of the referendum takes precedence over any previous CUSU policy, and can only be overturned by another student referendum.

CUSU have also drafted a fly-sheet after a Council vote to uphold a motion submitted by Save The Class List, which pushed CUSU to actively inform Regent House of student desire for an easier opt-out system. The document will be circulated to members of Regent House before their vote; however, it remains unclear as to whether CUSU’s revised position will have an effect on Regent House members.

Nick Downer, Bursar of Selwyn College, told Varsity: “We do need to make sure that any proposal doesn’t deny colleges access to the data that is needed to monitor, maintain and improve the standard of teaching.” However, he stated: “I would not oppose the ending of the public display of Class Lists.”

Dr Kylie Richardson, University Lecturer in the Department of Slavonic Studies, considers the opinion of the student body an influential factor: “In general as with all educational matters at Cambridge, I would want to see a setup that the student body as a whole generally felt was in their best interests.” She added: “I wouldn't want to play a role in enforcing anything due to historical/traditional reasons that our students didn't feel served their best interests.”

Last week Jack Drury, a spokesperson for Save the Class List and the Yes vote, told Varsity that the result was “a victory for students’ rights to choose what happens with their grades.”

“We applaud the No campaign for their commitment to welfare”, he said, “but ultimately it is clear students don’t want to be spoken for. CUSU must accept the result of this referendum and change the nature of their representations to the University accordingly.”

Nicholas Taylor of Save the Class List also commented that “the vote in Regent House is now the key battleground” for enacting a simplified opt-out system.

However, the concerns of the 44.26 per cent of students who voted to maintain CUSU’s original stance on Class Lists have not been silenced by last week’s Yes vote.

Leaders of the No campaign told Varsity they will “continue to campaign and represent the views of those who recognise that Class Lists, in any shape or form, are an actively hurtful and archaic tradition. We must now turn our attention to the vote at Regent House which begins at the end of November, and see how the University chooses to respond!”

CUSU’s Disabled Students’ Campaign (DSC) held an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the campaign’s response to the referendum, and to formulate an “action plan” in order to be as “vocal and effective as possible in pushing for the correct outcome.”

In a ballot held at the open meeting, the DSC voted in favour of campaigning for the abolition of Class Lists. The meeting drew special attention to the disproportionate effect of the issue on some campus groups, leading those present to question whether a referendum was the most suitable method of seeking change on the matter. The issues discussed were largely in line with the concerns of the wide majority of No voters in the student referendum, giving rise to some tension with three members of the Yes campaign who were present.

However, it was ultimately resolved for the Disabled Students’ Officer, Jessica Wing, to draft a fly-sheet, detailing their reasons for supporting abolition.

Wing told Varsity: “While it is now central CUSU’s position to campaign to keep class lists with an easier opt-out, it does not mean the entire student body feel this way.  It’s not unexpected that an issue disproportionately affecting minorities would not get the support of a majority,” she added.

As autonomous campaigns, the DSC, Women's Campaign (WomCam), BME Campaign, and LGBT+ Campaign are not bound by CUSU referenda and all four have voted to campaign for abolition. Wing and Audrey Sebatindira, as the respective heads of the DSC and WomCam, are also exempt from the mandate to sign CUSU’s fly-sheet, despite being sabbatical officers.

The DSC’s fly-sheet is currently open to signatures from student members of University Council, JCRs and MCRs from across the University, requiring 10 signatories to gain validity. At this moment in time, Varsity can confirm support from CUSU’s Women’s Officer and the JCR President of Girton College.

Sponsored links

Partner links