Oxford university students call for sacked librarian to be reinstated after Harlem Shake at St Hilda's College

Students fined after recording of viral dance track appeared on YouTube

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The Independent Culture

Outraged Oxford university students have called for a librarian to be reinstated after she was fired for letting students make a Harlem Shake video on her watch.

Calypso Nash, a classics student at St Hilda’s College, was not involved in producing the YouTube video, which was removed from the site yesterday, but has since been uploaded by a different user.

In their spirited take on the clip that has become an online sensation, a group of around 30 students danced in fancy dress on the college library’s tables, chairs and in the aisles. One wore an American football helmet, while another dressed as a member of Pussy Riot.

The president of the junior common room (JCR), Esther Gosling, said the video was filmed on 17 February and was filmed in just seven minutes from 11.30pm so as to minimise disruption to other students. The main organisers have been fined a “typical” amount for causing an unnecessary disturbance – thought to be around £50.

St Hilda's student Ellen Gibson told university newspaper Cherwell: “The situation seems ridiculous. The librarian had nothing to do with the protest; she just happened to be there at the time.”

The JCR passed the motion that the decision to fire Ms Nash was “hugely unjust”, claiming: “It is difficult to see what she could have done to prevent around 30 legitimate St. Hilda's students from entering the library.” Should the President’s appeals to both the library and the governing body fail, she will take the issue to the library committee next term.

The Dean has also been asked to overturn the “excessive” fines levied on the participating students. St Hilda’s College and Oxford University declined to give a statement. The Independent was still waiting on a statement from the college library last night.

Ms Gosling said the JCR’s pleas were reasonable, adding: “We are not deliberately trying to undermine the college.”

St Catherine’s College, who only recently allied with St Hilda’s in a phoney war against Magdalen, seemed keen to stick the boot in.

The “Catz Harlem Shake” – yet another take on the viral hit – has garnered more than 70,000 views on YouTube and no students have been disciplined as a result.

A spokeswoman said: “The Master, Professor Roger Ainsworth, says that he is very proud of the Catz students and their inspiration, motivation, organisation and creativity. He believes it to be the best example of the genre, at least in the UK.”