A glimpse into Corpus Christi’s ‘canvas’ themed may ball in 2017The Dots

Workers at Corpus Christi’s 2022 May Ball will have to pay a £160 “personal insurance” cheque if their behaviour is deemed unsatisfactory by supervisors on the night.

The committee stated that the cheques “will be destroyed at the end of your shift unless your supervisor or a member of the committee considers that you have broken the terms of your contract”, clarifying: “this includes drinking alcohol or any form of obnoxious behaviour.”

The requirement has been met with outcry from many students seeking a job this summer. One potential applicant stated that “the policy of deposits put me off working for them”, adding “I don’t even have a cheque book.”

Corpus’ May Ball committee defended the decision on their website, stating that the deposit policy is “standard for many May Balls” and that the cheques act as a “guarantee of good behaviour.”

When asked for comment, the college stated that they had followed the policy with the knowledge that it was a common policy across all May Balls. They also highlighted that the practise had been in place at previous May Balls held at Corpus.

They added that having “undertaken further investigation”, the policy will undergo review and the website will be updated if any changes are made.


Mountain View

Trinity May Ball to pay workers living wage

Student-run May Ball committees decide the pay of its hired workers, not the colleges themselves or the University. It remains unclear what the money would be spent on should supervisors find their employees to be in breach of their contract, with cheques asked to be made payable to Corpus May Ball committee.

What is more apparent, however, are the repeated complaints in recent years from student workers over poor pay and conditions at May Balls, and the lack of uniformity in each college’s worker policy.

In 2020, for example, St John’s committee did not pay its junior set-up and clean-up workers in direct money, offering them instead a £49.20 discount off their 2021 May Ball ticket price (£182.50) for a six-hour shift.

Some colleges like Gonville & Caius, are operating a half-on half-off system, where workers can attend one half of the Ball for free or at a discount provided they work the other half. Other committees are guaranteeing its workers the right to buy a ticket to their next May Ball the following year, including Trinity and St John’s.