The controversy of David Starkey’s appearence in the ‘Dear World, Yours Cambridge’ campaign video has reached a new climax.
In previous weeks, this newspaper has reported on complaints from sections of the student body, who have taken issue with the video and the fact that it claims to be supporting access and an expansion of the University’s work, whilst featuring a frontman whose views can only realistically be described as digustingly small-minded.
The University was then placed into even more of a tight spot when a high-profile alumna asked to be edited out of the video due to Starkey’s presence.
Thankfully, the University made the intelligent decision to delete the video in question – the decision that this newspaper was set to advocate before the video was removed just hours before we went to print.
However, if Cambridge University seriously thinks that it is out of deep water on this issue, then it may find itself quickly surprised.
The decision to cast Starkey in any original video was so poorly thought through that the University will have to actively attempt to repair its damaged image – certainly at least amongst the student body.
The new video is a good step in the right direction. It presents a positive vision of the University, deeply rooted in the personal experiences of those who have attended it, that does not resort to resting on the laurels of such a dubious and intensely problematic mouthpiece.
To show its commitment to avoiding further mistakes, the University to reach out to and work alongside the CUSU BME Campaign, who were so instrumental in launching and promoting a petition against the video.
By involving the student voice more, and more consistently, in such drives – whether fundraising or otherwise – the University can both improve the quality of its outreach work, and also create a generation of student ambassadors who feel genuinely included in their University’s attempt to make top-class education more accessible to all.