Key stories from this week

LOUIS ASHWORTH

CULC faces constitutional crisis after revoking Alastair Campbell’s honorary vice-presidency

BBC NEWSNIGHT/YOUTUBE

The Cambridge University Labour Club executive were criticised for removing the former spokesman to Tony Blair’s position, disregarding its constitution which usually offers members the opportunity to elect ‘Honorary Officers’ at a termly meeting. CULC argued Campbell’s involvement in the invasion of the Iraq justified his “stand[ing] trial at the Hague alongside his old boss”, and announced the appointment Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, Iraqi journalist Muntadhar Al-Zaidi, and murdered Brazilian socialist politician Marielle Franco as joint honorary presidents. As students and prominent alumni such as a former CULC Chair rushed to condemn the decision, further confusion followed as CULC were initially sure if Diane Abbott had already been appointed as honorary president in 2016. In response to the decision Campbell tweeted, “That is a shock!! I never knew I had been appointed in the first place ... but I hope the shoe chucker feels honoured” - in reference to Al-Zaidi, jailed in 2008 for throwing his shoes at President George W. Bush during a press conference.

Catz investigated and plans move of its ‘slave plantation’ bell from entrance

Louis ashworth

After an email to students on Monday informed students bell on display in the college may have been used on a slave plantation, St Catharine’s website yesterday announced the decision to move it from its position at the College’s entrance. The bell had been confirmed by the college as used to “control” the “work cycle of enslaved men, women and children” on the De Catharina slave plantation in Guyana - it was later gifted to the college in 1960. This comes as the University announced last month a two-year inquiry into its ties to the Atlantic slave trade, which was accompanied by a student-led open letter demanding colleges follow suit. Master of Catz, Professor Mark Welland praised the College community’s decision that the bell “must be moved from its present position but that its history and associations must not be hidden away”.

Womcam adds class representative to its committee

louis ashworth

On Thursday, the CUSU Women’s Campaign unanimously decided to create a new class representative role, with a candidate expected to be voted in next Michaelmas Term. Permitted to vote were only those self-identifying under CUSU’s Class Act, a CUSU liberation campaign seeking to represent students from working-class backgrounds, among others. Following an earlier meeting on the 25th April where the issue of class representation was left unresolved, last week’s meeting pledged to establish a working group to gauge the most appropropriate manner to create the role, which will be headed by CUSU Women’s officer Claire Sosienski-Smith. While concerns were raised that conceptions of working-class identity as primarily white may accompany the role, and despite the committee deciding disagreement would be met with compromise, the motion passed without objection.

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