Women’s Campaign condemns Christ’s praise of alumnus palaeontologist

Beatrice McCartney 26 January 2018

CUSU Women’s Campaign has criticised praise by Christ’s College for Matthew Baron, who has been placed on Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30” in Europe list, and has called for him to be removed from this list.

Baron, a PhD student in earth science at Christ’s, was found not guilty in September 2017 of assaulting Sophia Cooke during an argument in which she admitted that she had cheated on him. He was not convicted of any charges after his trial, which concluded in him paying £300 as a discharge for damaging a car stereo, according to the magistrates, "under provocation". All accusations of abuse against him were dismissed or have been fully acquitted. 

Baron has recently been placed on Forbes’ list for his research into palaeontology, overturning a 130-year-old theory and landing him a place on the Science and Healthcare section of the list.

Christ’s College has congratulated Baron for making the Forbes list in a tweet, an action which has drawn condemnation from the Women’s Campaign.

CUSU Women’s Campaign tweeted in response, "Shame on Christ’s for praising the work of a student convicted of criminal damage and accused of domestic violence." They also reiterated that they stand with all those who experience abuse and ‘condemn the lack of repercussions for intimate partner violence’. Baron has contacted TCS correcting the tweet; he was not convicted of criminal damage. 

The Women's Campaign released a statement about the incident arguing that the placement of Baron on the Forbes list ‘threatens the cultivation of an environment that signals to survivors and victims of domestic abuse that their experiences are recognised and taken seriously by the university’.

The Women’s Campaign has created a petition to have Baron removed from the list.