Second and third year students at Christchurch and Magdalen spiced up the formalities of Matriculation Day with light-hearted hijinks last week.
Christ Church freshers were dished up a veritable plate of sauciness as they assembled for their college photograph. One anonymous male student put all on display as he streaked across the college’s main quad and frolicked in the fountain – wearing nothing but a balaclava.
Meanwhile, two third-year students at Magdalen successfully re-matriculated at the Sheldonian Theatre and even appeared in the Magdalen 2009 photo.
It is an annual tradition for Christ Church’s older students to distract the freshers while they are photographed in subfusc. Last year, a large number of students staged a battle dressed up as pirates and zombies behind the cameraman. This year, besides the traditional dancing, freshers witnessed a naked man jumping into the Tom Quad fountain.
The student, whose identity is unknown, stormed onto the quad wearing swimming trunks to where some second year students had gathered around the fountain. He tantalised the assembled crowd with risque antics before removing his shorts and vaulting into the water before fleeing the scene.
A second-year student at Christ Church, described the scene. “One guy came out in swimming shorts and a balaclava from Fell Tower, ran toward the freshers, mooned them and ran across the quad for a bit. He then pulled his shorts off to gasping freshers, front flipped into the fountain, climbed out and legged it back through college – and didn’t get caught.”
Another student at the college described the incident as “a pretty graphic demonstration”. She added, “the deans described the students as ‘a very brave man'”.
Christ Church’s censors are reported to have given up the search for the perpetrator, owing to the difficulty in determining his identity, and disciplinary procedures are extremely unlikely.
However, the streaker was willing to give one comment to Cherwell anonymously, “The fountain was freezing.”
Meanwhile, Matthew Chan and Matthew Shribman, two third year undergraduates, successfully posed as first years in their college’s freshers’ photograph, then went unchecked as they accompanied freshers to the Sheldonian and infiltrated the matriculation ceremony.
The two students dressed up in sub-fusc, and Chan, who as Magdalen JCR Vice-President was helping with the administration of the freshers’ photo, wrote his and Shribman’s names on blank namecards and stood in the photo. They were already in position before they were noticed by the academic administrators.
Nobody queried either of the two students as they entered the Sheldonian Theatre, even though Chan was wearing a scholar’s gown and then underwent matriculation for the second time in their academic careers.
“We just walked in with everyone and nobody stopped us – they weren’t looking properly,” said Chan.
Reflecting on their rematriculation experience, Chan and Shribman said, “We created a space for the past to emerge amidst the smiling faces of the future… Rematriculation is not a prank. It is a repetition of a ritual, something profound, worshipful. Rematriculation is liturgy…Third years posing as first years, we have become something in between the two. Second years.”
College authorities were unavailable for comment on the issue.