This week saw a clash over Remembrance Day and controversy over the sexual nature of a sculptureDaniel Gayne/Nicholas Foong/Rosie Bradbury/Royal British Legion/Composite: Stephanie Stacey

This week saw a CUCA controversy, cancelled bops, a lot of trash and an ambiguous sculpture...

Key stories from this week

CUCA & CUSU clash over Remembrance Day policy

At this week’s CUSU council, two CUCA members proposed a motion to “encourage the commemoration of British war veterans on Remembrance Day across the University of Cambridge.” The motion, and its amendments, were overwhelmingly defeated at Council. A controversial debate ensued, with students who opposed the motion becoming victims of online abuse following national press coverage in the Daily Mail, The Telegraph, and The Times, amongst others. The University has condemned the online abuse and yesterday student activists from groups such as CDE and Demilitarise Cambridge released a statement criticising the press coverage, calling for the “democratisation of Britain’s oligarchic media.”

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Uni waste more than doubled in 2016/17

A report released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency earlier this year showed that the University produced 19,849 tonnes of waste in the 2016/17 academic year, a 131% increase from 2015/16. The University has attributed the increase to the large amounts of construction work that have taken place this year, however, they also fell short of their target for recycling at least 95% of waste – only 83% was recycled. Still, the proportion going to landfill did decrease from 29% in 2015/16 to 11% in 2016/17.

Building work, like that underway at King's was played a major role in Cambridge's waste outputUMA RAMACHANRAN/ANYA DAVIDSON

Cambridge post-Kavanaugh

Varsity spoke to several students this week about their reactions to the Kavanaugh confirmation. Jacqueline Gallo, an American PhD student feels that “so long as abusers do not suffer consequences for behaviour that makes for a toxic environment, it will remain difficult for victims to come forward.” Speaking on what the confirmation could mean for Cambridge, Clair Sosienski-Smith, the CUSU Women’s Officer, said that “we must use our outrage over the treatment of Dr Ford to strengthen our justice work here.” This includes working on the current campaign to change the disciplinary procedure for reporting cases of sexual assault.

Racial abuse at Vinyl

A black second-year student at Clare, Oliver Moodie, spoke out this week about being verbally attacked at the nightclub Vinyl last month. He was repeatedly called derogatory terms relating to his race, but Moodie explained that he felt he “couldn’t react in public” to the abuse, finding it frustrating that he had to “censor” himself. The nightclub said that they “don’t tolerate” racist behaviour and that they have tried to find the perpetrator.

Oliver Moodie, who has spoken out about the racist attack on him at the club VinylNoella Chye

To bop or not to bop?

St Catharine’s College have cancelled their next bop, following behaviour at their Freshers’ bop last Saturday. Students were reported to have treated staff in a “very rude and aggressive manner”, and college property was broken. Muhammed Khan, the Catz JCR President, said that the behaviour had “no justification”, and the college’s freshers’ reps called it “unacceptable.”

On the lighter side...

“Not a vulva”

A new sculpture at Newnham prompted debate this week as an article in The Observer described it as a ‘two-storey vulva.’ Students, however, were left confused when Newnham themselves described the same sculpture as ‘a tower of books.’ The artist, Cathy de Monchaux, explained to Varsity that she would “certainly not” call the statue a vulva, confirming that it was of an open book. The journalist who wrote the original Observer piece, meanwhile, said that the artist did not correct her for thinking it was a vulva, however, de Monchaux explained that she “wanted to make a positive statement about women that wasn’t about sex”.

Cathy de Monchaux's 'tower of books' sculpture, at Newnham CollegeNICHOLAS FOONG

Hawking’s final paper


Mountain View

Cambridge condemns online abuse following targeted media storm over Remembrance Day

The final paper written by Professor Stephen Hawking was published this week, seven months after his death. The paper focuses on black holes and Hawking radiation, showing that some of the information engulfed by black holes can be preserved (no, I’m not sure what that means either). Professor Malcolm J. Perry, who co-authored the work, said that while it is “definitely not the entire answer”, there are “slightly fewer puzzles than we had before.”

  • This article was updated on October 16th to correct an error in the motion proposed by William Phelps and Tohin Munshi at CUSU Council

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