Oxford librarian fired for Harlem Shake

Emily Handley 25 March 2013

Oxford University undergraduates have asked for a college librarian to return to her post, following her dismissal after students filmed a version of Harlem Shake under her watch.

Members of St. Hilda’s College believe that the decision to fire Calypso Nash, a graduate student and former college scholar, was “hugely unjust”. Her sacking has inspired a petition for her reinstatement, attracting attention from public figures such as the Respect MP George Galloway, who blame the college authorities for “a severe sense of humour loss”.

The Harlem Shake, which was originally released in 2012 by Baauer, has since been performed by the Simpsons, the cast of Saturday Night Live and even members of the English National Ballet. St. Catherine’s, another Oxford college, has also produced its own take on the dance, suggesting that it is in direct competition with St. Hilda’s, as the two colleges are known for their rivalry.

The college’s version of the viral dance routine follows the craze started by songs such as Psy’s Gangnam Style, which led to parody versions being uploaded to Youtube from all over the world. The clip on the site shows around thirty students dancing to ”The Harlem Shake’ in fancy dress, with some members opting to dress in animal costumes and others even dressed as the Russian punk band Pussy Riot.

Esther Gosling, the college’s JCR president, defended the decision to upload the video by an anonymous college member. She claims that it was filmed on 17 February and was filmed in just seven minutes from 11.30pmin order avoid disruption in the library.

Ms Gosling said the JCR’s pleas were reasonable, adding that she was not “deliberately trying to undermine the college.”

Emily Handley