It can’t be stupid. It’s traditional!

A report in The Daily Mail covers the antics of a number of Cambridge University Drinking Society members during the annual party, known as Caesarian Sunday that historically takes place on Jesus green in Cambridge.

The article alleges that proceedings start with ‘the president of Girton’s drinking society downs a bottle of Pimms and invites the Jesus drinking society to fight. Assuming that bottle is a 700Cl bottle of No.1 cup it will contain about 18 units of alcohol. The suggested weekly limit for an adult male is 21 units.

The ‘party’ includes vomiting, dressing up, urinating in public, stripping off, violent battles between drinking societies, the eating off some vile ‘menu’ items and multiple exchanges with the local Police. The A&E department at the local hospital treats the fractures and other injuries as well as having to deal with the other alcohol related casualties.

Regrettably this very public display of alcohol induced behavior appears to be the tip of a very substantial iceberg that is an established drinking culture within one of the UK’s most prestigious centres for academic excellence.

An article in The Independent Cambridge Student Newspaper Varsity   gives an inside view of the student drinking culture, a member of one Drinking Society is quoted as saying ‘on a rugby initiation we had 360 pints for 30 people and it wasn’t enough’

Enough for what exactly?

There are said to be at least 30 drinking societies at Cambridge University. The focus of the societies appears to be drinking alcohol with the intention of getting drunk and losing control in the name of relaxation and being seen to fit in with the traditions of university life. Those individuals that are not prepared to indulge are viewed as being boring, lightweights or killjoys and are accused of endangering one of the ‘great’ traditions of the University.

However, if it is necessary to engage in absolute stupidity in order to keep a tradition going, then just maybe the tradition isn’t worth keeping at all. It speaks volumes about our University education system if getting drunk on a regular basis is perceived as one of the only ways of ‘surviving’ it.

Consider this,

If you find yourself needing to drink alcohol to make something appear to be funny, interesting or worthwhile, then there is a good chance that it isn’t funny, interesting or worthwhile to start with.

Will Mr Gove be brave enough to speak out first? Probably not, and anyway, he went to Oxford. 

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