No more tittle-tattle for The Tassel

College News News

Ch crestThe Christ Church College Chaplain sent out a letter this week to undergraduates requesting that the gossip magazine The Tassel be stopped.

The publication is anonymously produced each term, documenting goings-on within the student body, but it was stated that it was causing hurt to college members.

Reverend Ralph J Williamson wrote to students indicating that the termly publication meant “People felt hurt and exploited” and that “members of the College who had only been here a few weeks felt that it was not the safe and friendly community it had seemed to be”.

He added: “Many members of the college felt that they were being mocked and laughed at, and that aspects of their lives which they would not like people to discuss were used as entertainment. Others felt that what was said in relation to them was untrue or unfair.”

These comments come after the paper copy of The Tassel was delivered to every student room last term, including, according to an anonymous student, a number of “contentious articles aimed at freshers”, such as one that made reference to a female student being a virgin.

Referencing the potential consequences if The Tassel were to continue, Williamson added: “My understanding of the views of the Censors lead me to believe that if anything like this is published again it will be treated as a very serious disciplinary matter, and I don’t think that many people would be unhappy about that.”

Christopher Lewis, Christ Church Dean, commented: “The intention of the letter is pastoral; it hopes to prevent harm.”

He added: “Were there to be a further publication, I expect that the Junior Censor’s decision would depend on its content and on other circumstances at the time.”

Responding to this threat, an anonymous Christ Church second-year said: “The College shouldn’t instigate collective punishment of everyone due to the actions of a few, regardless of whether the tassel should be published or not.”

They continued: “Given how easy it is to say things in the public media, the College can’t stop students from saying what they want. Nevertheless, I think the main issue is with The Tassel being anonymous, as this means you’re never sure who wrote an article that might be about you.”

The Tassel “typically makes fun of college hang-ups, and is peppered with rowing gossip”, according to one reader. He explained that the publication might be seen as divisive and harmful because:  “the anonymous writers typically select their own clique and they can be slightly vicious in their approach”.

A first year student at Christ Church said: “I’m pro this intervention, for once…bog-sheets can be humorous and satirical, enjoyed by all, but The Tassel was slanderous and a cheap joke.”

They concluded: “we don’t often appreciate the Chaplain’s intervention but I’m very pleased he’s made a stand, even if it was rather inelegant.”

Christ Church JCR President, Oluwatosin Oyetunji, was unavailable for comment.