See it away: This time, Cambridge drinking society antics deserve the predictable backlash

I'm proud of my university but there's no defending this sort of behaviour

Share
Related Topics

You don’t get a lot of rain in Cambridge. Sat snugly in the Fens, weeks can pass without bad weather. But that doesn’t matter now, because there’s a shit storm coming our way.

Rather aptly, it has come in the form of a leak: a series of documents outlining the jaunts of a drinking society, fragments of which have been published by The Tab, Cambridge University’s student tabloid. Written by society members themselves, the debriefs are a unique account of their weekly ‘swaps’ (boozy dinners with a female drinking society followed by a night out) that show otherwise respectable young men spurred by mob rule to do the sort of things that would get your average working lad a night in a cell.

They tell of the total destruction of a recently done up restaurant toilet: hand dryers and sinks ripped off the wall, a pipe severed, and toilet-goers left to wade through a two-inch deep pool of piss which also found its way out into the corridor. Think Changing Rooms but in reverse, and the presenters are incontinent.

Meanwhile, at the table, wine glasses were tossed about like beach balls, with one shattering all over diners. Things also got physical with the waiters as they tried to escort the offenders off the premises.

The behaviour towards their female counterparts was equally astonishing: one girl’s room fell victim to the same piss-fiend, which was given a similar treatment as the restaurant toilet. Another was accidentally punched in the face when a brawl got out of hand. Most shockingly of all, others had their bras forcefully removed. All of this found in an exultant email, an electronic pat on the back sent to members of the drinking society the following day.

The Tab has decided not to publish more information in order to protect those involved. But these are exactly the people who need to be identified so that they can be dealt with accordingly, let alone for the safety of girls that they might swap with in the future. We’re told that our Cambridge education will open many doors for us in life, but this shouldn’t be one of them.

Any student here will tell you that this sort of behaviour is rare. That’s why, when something untoward emerges, the worry is the inevitable response from the Daily Mail - a complete car crash for access teams who work so hard to dispel Oxbridge myths and attract applicants from diverse backgrounds.

You might have noticed that the Mail love drinking societies, they’re bloody tragic for them. And so every time they catch wind of anything the slightest bit alcohol-fuelled and ritualistic, they decide that ‘the truth’ is going to be optional for a bit while they churn out a bombastic article just to ruffle a few feathers.

As a result, I’m usually quite quick to defend drinking societies. With excessive alcohol consumption as their lifeblood and the casual misogyny of a 1950s soap advert, they’re hardly the jewel in Cambridge’s crown, but for the most part they keep themselves to themselves and nobody gets hurt.

Not this time. I’m proud of my university, but I just can’t defend this sort of behaviour. It’s not typical of the vast majority of Cambridge students, let alone those in drinking societies. Of course, the accounts have almost certainly been embellished, but that’s worrying in its own right; criminal damage and sexual assault are nothing that deserve to be glorified. By all means drink and be merry - we’re only young once - but this is way too far.

I never thought I’d say this, but come on, Daily Mail - do your worst. And this time all you have to do is stick to the facts.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Day In a Page

 

i Editor's Letter: Still all to play for at our live iDebate

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering