Some students were unable to finish their exams due to their sicknessFaris Qureshi for Varsity

An unknown outbreak of diarrhoea and vomiting at Clare College led to at least four students being unable to complete their exams.

The College’s Union of Clare Students (USC) has launched an investigation into the mysterious sickness, which included symptoms of nausea and incontinence.

The Union of Clare Students (USC) launched a suspected food poisoning report form for sick students to determine whether the Clare buttery was responsible for the outbreak.

The questionnaire asked students whether they ate in the Buttery on Thursday the 23rd of May and whether they experienced symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, or high temperature.

On the College’s Facebook confession page, a student wrote: “I want compensation for the time I just spent in bed/throwing up because of the Clare buttery poisoning me.”

Another said: “The absolute cheek of the buttery to charge extortionate prices for mediocre portions, only to give everyone food poisoning during exam season. Enough is enough. #boycottthebuttery.”

However, some have instead blamed norovirus for the outbreak: “I think it’s norovirus not food poisoning, people outside of Clare are getting ill too.”

A student representative from the USC commented on Facebook: “PSA: If you’ve got food poisoning and an exam coming up, please contact the College Office at”.


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A UCS representative told Varsity that “the UCS is aware of a number of students who became ill after Thursday 23rd”.

“We have investigated the matter and responses from the affected students have been communicated to the relevant staff. We are also aware of a number of students with the same symptoms whose illnesses do not appear to be connected to the buttery,” they said.

“Although we cannot say for certain at this time what the cause of the illness was, our deepest sympathies go out to all of those whose exams have been affected, and we hope they will receive appropriate and fair treatment,” they added.

Clare College was contacted for comment.