Cambridge University Students' Union votes to boycott The Sun newspaper

Maddy Bell 10 May 2013

On Monday evening at the CUSU Council meeting, CUSU voted to join the national ‘No More Page 3′ campaign by encouraging JCR and MCR officers to boycott The Sun newspaper in colleges.

The No More Page 3 campaign, which started during the Olympics last summer, is aimed directly at Dominic Mohan, the current Editor of the Sun, and has now over 100,000 signatures, including from MPs, MEPs and public figures Lauren Laverne and Jennifer Saunders. Its aim is to get to 1 million signatures.

Page 3 has existed in the UK’s most widely read paper since 1970 but recently, News International’s Rupert Murdoch, who owns The Sun, hinted that he might consider the change, tweeting to a campaigner who stated that topless girls in the newspaper are “last century” that “you may be right.”

On Monday, CUSU stated: “Page 3 may have direct effects on how women perceive themselves… and may have direct effects on how women are perceived by others.”

Susy Langsdale, the University Womens’ Campaign officer, stated that the paper’s page 3 feature “legitimises a culture of sexual violence towards women”, and described the accompanying ‘News In Briefs’ feature (where descriptions of the women are included) as “horrid.”

Cambridge’s backing of the movement will now be implemented through contact with MCRs and JCRs, with colleges who provide the paper being encouraged to bring an end to doing to. Langsdale also pointed to the tangible success the boycott campaign could have within the University, pointing to King’s College’s decision to remove Nuts magazine from its shelves.

Cambridge has now joined the LSE and Sheffield University Student’s Union in passing motions to boycott The Sun until Page 3 is replaced.

However, nationwide success of the campaign will be largely dependent on whether The Sun feels its popularity would suffer should the page be removed. Despite it being a well known feature of the daily publication there is some evidence that the Page 3 girls are falling in popularity. Moreover, while the paper’s website gets 30 million unique visitors a month, its standalone Page 3 site attracts only 1.4 million. Cambridge University, in this respect, forms part of a growing rumble of disapproval, demanding Mohan to “take the bare boobs out of The Sun.”

Maddy Bell