Trashing lives on despite attempts to curb tradition


Oxford University students last week celebrated the end of their exams in typical trashing fashion despite warnings from the university that those involved in the practice could face significant fines.

Cherwell revealed at the end of April that the university had been working with the Thames Valley Police in an attempt to end the “inconsiderate and entitled tradition of trashing.”

The practice is thought to cost the university up to £3,500 in cleaning fees given to the City Council as compensation for the mess caused alone. Additional security is also required for the event.

The university has previously labelled the tradition a “disgrace” after students left vomit, broken glass, and rotten food behind them. Trashing then came to a head in 2012 when two officials were left severely injured as the event got out of hand.

The university spoke out again on the matter this year, worried that its reputation in the community and wider public could be damaged by a tradition of “inconsiderate [and] entitled behaviour,” and reminding students of the environmental damage caused.

University Proctor, Cecile Fabre, acknowledged that students are perfectly entitled to celebrate after their exams, but she “urge[d] them to do so considerately and away from exam halls.”

The practice, which is thought to have first taken place in the 1970s, involves students cover each other in silly string, champagne, shaving foam, confetti and at time food products to celebrate finishing their exams.

However, in spite of threatening those involved with disciplinary action and a maximum of a £300 fine, the university’s attempt to deter students has seemingly failed as Merton Street was again last week lined with people waiting to celebrate and congratulate their friends on finishing their exams.

While measures to check the tradition may have failed, the group of college Environment and Ethics representatives aiming to make the tradition ‘Green’ will hope for more success.

Last month Harry Holmes, one of these reps, voiced his concerns about the “use of glitter, plastics and other environmentally impacting products” that grow year on year as “each trashing seeks to exceed the one before.”8

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