University under fire for ‘pathetic’ retweet

Journalist Sathnam Sanghera told Cherwell: "I think the RT...demonstrates a real entrenched resistance to change"

Photo: UK Parliament

Oxford has come under fire for its “pathetic” activity on Twitter this morning, after the University’s official account retweeted a tweet labelling David Lammy MP “bitter”.

Following the release of the University’s first-ever undergraduate admissions report last night, Lammy – who accused Oxford of “social apartheid” last year – tweeted “Oxford is a bastion of entrenched, wealthy, upper class, white, southern privilege. We need systemic change.”

An account belonging to a user named Liam Beadle then quoted Lammy’s tweet, and said: “As a member of the University from inner-city northern England, I think Mr Lammy’s constant bitter criticism of Oxford is bang out of order.”

The University’s official account then retweeted Beadle’s reply.

Lammy screenshotted the tweet, and said: “Interesting on @UniofOxford Twitter. Oxford falls over itself to say how committed it is to improving access but… All I did was FOI [Freedom of Information] you and publish the data for all to see. Your lack of progress is the problem. Your failure to deal with institutional failings is the problem.”

Journalist and author Sathnam Sanghera, a Cambridge graduate, tweeted: “Just amazing and depressing beyond belief that the official Oxford University Twitter would retweet something calling @DavidLammy “bitter”. Take a good look at yourself @UniofOxford. Pathetic.”

Sanghera told Cherwell: “I think the RT and the prickly response of the University’s spokespeople demonstrates a real entrenched resistance to change, or even basic acknowledgement that Oxbridge has a serious problem with access.”

Guardian writer Dawn Foster tweeted a screenshot of the retweet, and wrote: “Oxford University official twitter account having a meltdown is it?”

The University’s head of public affairs, Ceri Thomas, then tweeted from his personal account taking the blame for the retweet.

However, the account is yet to undo the retweet.

The University has been contacted for comment.