Shortfalls on college conferencing are indefensible

Jack May 5 November 2015

The life of Cambridge campaigns seems perilously short.

Last year, Whose University? was set up by third-year students from across the University to tackle crucial and wide-ranging issues.

Central to this campaign were college conferences, and one of the positive things it raised was colleges visciously prioritising conference guests over their own students, with students given raw deals on accommodation and storage so as to make way for conference guests in the glitzier college buildings.

Our investigation has finally revealed the truth on the state of conferencing in several, but not all, colleges. It has revealed, perhaps surprisingly, that some colleges are in fact making losses from these events.

Girton College has, in particular, stood out as a college that is haemorrhaging money in the interests of a continuing college presence.

From a student perspective, this is complete nonsense. It cannot be logical for students to suffer in the interests of corporate guests who are neither wanted by the student body nor profitable for the college’s coffers.

Once again, it is transparency and accountability that reign supreme. Colleges must be open with their students as to the profitability of their conferencing business, and must submit such activities to a democratic process by the student body.

Students are more than able to work out for themselves that in some situations such activities are neither sensible nor desirable.