CUCA accuses The Tab of "hatchet job" over burning cash "scandal"

Bridge Street, where the incident is alleged to have occurred.
Image credit: Stephen McKay via Geograph

Cambridge University Conservative Assocation (CUCA) has issued an open letter condemning The Tab for centring their article on a student who is alleged to have burned a £20 note in front of a homeless person on the Association. 

In the statement, the Chairman of the organisation complains that the article “falls short of all reasonable journalistic standards”, going as far as to call it a “poorly executed ‘hatchet job’ on CUCA”. 

“I believe I am right in saying that [the accused] is a member of the Union, the Law Society, Pembroke JCR and a reader of the Tab. Were these Associations approached for comment, and if so, why was his membership of them not made clear in the article?” 

CUCA's statement has sinced been changed, with 'Pembroke JCR' removed from their original statement.

The article, which was published by The Tab National, alleges that the student was “filmed deliberately attempting to light a £20 note on fire in front of a homeless man on Bridge Street” in an incident captured on Snapchat. 

It goes on to identify the student as a member of CUCA at the time, who was expelled from the group over the incident. It is also made clear that the student had not been in attendance at a CUCA event when the incident took place “early last Thursday morning”. 

The article does state, however, that the student was wearing white tie which “[s]ome members […] are known to regularly wear white tie to CUCA dinners”. 

When contacted, Pembroke College stated that they were unaware of the incident.

In the original Tab article an anonymous eyewitness is reported to have said: “I was blocked from getting into my college as some chap in white tie was being excluded by the porters." Which college this student was referring to is unknown. 

The Tab’s article concludes that CUCA had previously been “embroiled in scandal” after facing allegations of sexism in Varsity, when the Women’s Officer claimed to have faced “aggressive sexism”. CUCA has called on the The Tab to “confirm why [they] believe CUCA is embroiled in scandal?

“Are we embroiled in scandal because you have decided as much?” 

It is not the first time that The Tab has attracted critical attention in recent weeks over journalistic standards, after revelations of plagiarism undertaken by former Editor Sachin Parathalingam were reported.

The Cambridge Student has contacted the University, the Cambridge Union and Cambridge Law Society for comment.

This article will be updated as more information becomes available. 

An earlier verison of this article incorrectly implied that The Tab's eyewitness saw the individual responsible for the incident being excluded by Pembroke College porters. 

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