Pink Week Ball in full swingCharlie Griggs

Attendees of the Pink Week Ball have pushed back against criticisms of the event after allegations emerged of destructive behaviour by some present.

The Ball, which was the opening event of Pink Week, was hosted at Parklands Quendon Hall, a 17th-century mansion house and country estate in Essex. It was attended by approximately 600 students. The event raised at least £24,000 for breast cancer charities, with £15,000 raised in the first 30 minutes of ticket sales, according to organisers.

The Cambridge Tab published an article this morning, which claimed that the event had had to be shut down after students got out of control. In the article, it is claimed that a £400 chandelier was destroyed, two windows smashed and that students were vomiting. The article also states that there were large bags of flour on the floor to cover up vomit, and that in response to students' behaviour, drinks were removed from their hands by staff, leading the Ball to be shut down early.

Varsity has spoken to several Ball-goers, however, who contest the scale of the alleged incidents, disputing The Tab’s account of events. They pinned the disturbance on a “small number of people” misbehaving, and denied that bags of flour had been used to cover up vomit.

Some students who attended the ball have offered a more favourable account of their experience. Jessica Matheret, a third-year law student at Newnham College, told Varsity that several elements of the Tab report were exaggerated or incorrect.

Regarding the bags of flour, she said: “The bags of flour were certainly not to mop up sick, they had been used as weights for balloons.”

Matheret suggested that the only reason people may have got slightly too drunk was simply the event starting early: “It was maybe just a bit too long, shorten it by a couple of hours ... and it would have been perfect – no running out or anything.”

Another student who attended the ball confirmed “there definitely was lots of flour on the floor in the main dance tent”, but added that they had not seen anyone throw up.

They confirmed that alcohol stopped being served at around 10:30, and said that the student bar staff were “very drunk very early on.”

The student also reaffirmed that the Ball ended early, saying that – despite publicity saying coaches would arrive between 1 and 2am – “just after midnight they shut everything down and basically kicked everyone out.”

Despite the commotion, however, the student said that they enjoyed themselves: “I still had a really fun night with my friends, and parts of the ball were great – the silent disco, some of the bands, the decoration – but the end of the evening was soured by it ending so prematurely with us all still pretty sober. Bar some organisation issues the ball should have been a really good night, unfortunately it sounds like a small number of people ruined it for us all.”

Another student who attended the ball commented that the ball had a “great aesthetic attention to detail, strong selection of cuisine and beverages, great spaces for a boogie” but they said that it was a “shame the liquor ran dry”.

One student commented that they had not been aware of the incidents cited. “I didn’t actually see any of this drama that the Tab made it out to be,” they said, adding: “They made it sound like we were all a bunch of hooligans. That, or just living up to the classic Cantab stereotype that you hear and read everywhere – elitist kids that believe they’re entitled to do whatever they like.”

In a statement, the Ball committee said that they had closed the event after becoming “concerned by alleged reports that certain guests’ behaviour disrespected the staff, the venue, the principles and reputation of Pink Week.”

“The small number of individuals who allegedly acted this way do not represent Pink Week and its values,” the statement said, “and the committee took every reasonable measure to prevent this turn of events. The majority of our guests enjoyed the night by behaving respectfully, raising at least £24,000 for breast cancer charities. We hope Cambridge students respect and enjoy the remaining 59 events of Pink Week and appreciate our positive influence.”

When contacted for comment, Parklands Quendon Hall told Varsity that they were still in the process of assessing the damage and would not be giving comment until they had done so.

Pink Week will run until 11th February, with the organisers hoping to raise £30,000 for breast cancer charities. The student-led charity initiative was founded in 2011 by Cambridge student Nina Rauch, daughter of former Guardian columnist Dina Rabinovitch, who passed away from breast cancer in 2007.

The funds raised during Cambridge Pink Week 2017 will support a number of breast cancer charity groups, such as Breast Cancer Care, Cancer Research UK, Breast Cancer Haven and CoppaFeel

Sponsored Links

Partner Links