Homelessness crisis “weaponised” in anti-trashing statement

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Image Credit: Matthew Woitunski (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

An email sent to students from the university of Oxford has caused outrage as it seemed to
blame the generosity of students for the high levels of homelessness in Oxford.

The email was sent by senior proctor Mark Edwards and junior proctor Cecile Fabre, and
claimed that: “Oxford’s students have a highly developed social conscience, as is evident
from the number of homeless people who come to seek assistance in this city.”
Before adding: “Needless waste of food is an aggravation of their distress.”

They went on to claim that trashing makes Oxford look like “one giant Bullingdon Club”.
This came following a recent clampdown on trashing by Oxford and Oxford colleges.

A previous email, from Balliol’s dean, said that he “wondered how many homeless people on
the Oxford streets have witnessed trashing this summer, and thought to themselves whether
the money spent on shaving foam, sprayed Lambrini, non-biodegradable glitter and confetti,
and the clean-up costs, could perhaps have been put to better use.”

Merton also sent an email to its students banning trashing earlier this year, which read:
“Trashing is not allowed anywhere on Merton College premises and will face disciplinary
action.”

It continued: “The University acknowledges that trashing represents the very worst of the
stereotypes with which Oxford can sometimes be associated, including elitism, ostentation,
and lavishness.”

Chair of On Your Doorstep, Oxford Student Union’s homelessness campaign, made a
statement, saying: “I think we would all appreciate it if the University management opted to
step up to take meaningful action to help those who go homeless in our city – perhaps by
allowing local charities to use unused properties in the city as shelter this winter – rather than
cynically weaponise Oxford’s homelessness crisis as an attack on students.”

The environmental cost of trashing has led to an increase in campaigning to prevent it,
however, some have instead opted to campaign to make trashing environmentally-friendly,
using biodegradable trashing resources.