Multiple students have claimed they have been put off by the hefty deposit required to work at RobinsonLouis Ashworth for Varsity

Student workers offered half on, half off shifts at Robinson May Ball have been asked to pay a £120 deposit to work at the event, in a move criticised by multiple employees of the event.

The ball, taking place on the 14th of June, allows students to work half of the night in order to enjoy the other half for free.

The system, used by many Cambridge balls, is supposed to ease the financial strain on attendees. However, multiple students have claimed they have been put off by the deposit required to work at Robinson.

While it is typical of Cambridge May Balls to charge student workers a deposit, £120 is notably higher than the average amount, with colleges like St Catherine’s and Trinity Hall asking for £25 and £40 respectively.

Emmanuel May Ball was recently criticised for rescinding dozens of offers previously made to students to work half on, half off shifts, with students claiming this move made elite events less “accessible”.

One student criticised the deposit, telling Varsity: “The £120 deposit feels discouraging, especially since I was excited to attend half the event without the financial burden.”

“According to the contract, the deposit will be cashed if I fail to perform obligations in a satisfactory manner but, without a clear understanding of what this entails, it feels risky and ambiguous,” they continued.

Another student echoed these concerns stating: “It’s crazy! The commitment of that deposit defeats the purpose of a half on, half off shift. Whilst I get that the cheque might not be cashed, the chance that it will has meant I’m not willing to go to other events, because I can’t afford that extra £120.”


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Presidents of Robinson May Ball Committee, William Miles and Arjun Mahal, told Varsity that “the purpose of the deposit is to deter workers from any deliberate action which might hinder the smooth running of the evening,” revealing that they encountered problems in previous years with “workers who have taken advantage of small deposits”.

“It is not the purpose of the Committee to profit from our workers, ideally all workers will have their deposit returned in full. We understand the deposit may be a financial burden and as such all workers were given the opportunity to pay their deposit by cheque, which would only be cashed in the event of a breach of contract, thereby removing any temporary charge,” they added.