Trinity College freshers were asked on Tuesday to make a charitable donation of ten pounds, to account for their “disgraceful behaviour” at Saturday’s matriculation ceremony.
In an email addressed to all undergraduate freshers, Trinity Dean Professor Jonathan Mallinson firmly condemned the actions of the freshers, whom he claimed behaved in a “noisy and undignified manner”, which he also described as “neither appropriate, clever nor funny”.
Freshers sang ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘Wonderwall’ and chanted “what do we think of Merton?” at other colleges’ students inside the Sheldonian. One Trinity first-year told Cherwell that “this was interspersed with Mexican waves and lots of stamping”.
Another fresher reported that “most people had had a bottle of prosecco before entering the Sheldonian” for their ceremony, which began at 1pm.
Professor Mallinson’s email to the first-years after the event said, “I recognise you have not all contributed to equally to this display, but you must all take some measure of responsibility for the shameful impression which you gave to other members of the Uni- versity and to the general public”, it said.
“I am therefore asking you all, each individually, to make a donation of £10 to Great Ormond Street Hospital, a hospital dedicated to helping children who would doubtless be delighted to have the opportunities which you thought fit to treat so casually.
“I am prepared to think that you now understand that such behaviour brought into disrepute a college of which you have been a member for barely two weeks.
I shall judge by your response whether that conclusion is justified, or whether it will be necessary to take further action. I look forward to hearing from you.”
A Trinity fresher, who preferred not to be named, told Cherwell, “I think the behaviour was bad form given the opportunity invested in us and the traditional nature of the ceremony.
“However distasteful, I don’t think it was malicious, once a few chants had started people started thinking it was the norm, given that they had no experience of such an occasion.
“I think it was an error of judgement rather than deliberate rudeness. College responded appropriately and leniently in a way which should benefit a good cause.”
When contacted for comment, the Dean of Trinity said that his email was “self-explanatory”, but wished to stress that freshers were not required to pay a fine, but a donation to a medical charity.
A Trinity fresher told Cherwell, “the vast majority had drunk a lot (a bottle of prosecco at least) on Saturday.”
This is not the first incident of disruption at Matriculation celebrations. In 2012, Brasenose freshers and second-years received fines ranging from £25 to £100 for hosting and attending parties in college rooms. Three students were interviewed by the Dean and were assigned scout-work as a punishment.
Great Ormond Street Hosiptal was founded in 1852 and cares for approximately 268,000 children per year. Throughout its history it has been funded by charitable donations.
Trinity JCR committee declined to comment on the Matriculation incident.