Post exam celebrations are being scrutinised by the University after allegations of assault on two members of staff following morning exams on Tuesday.
Students have been warned to ensure that they behave in an appropriate fashion upon leaving Examination Schools, after increased concern from the University over public order.
A letter from the Proctors forwarded to all members of Balliol JCR read, “We write to inform you of an incident which occurred in Merton Street yesterday (5 June 2012) after the examinations in the Examination Schools finished at lunchtime. Two members of our staff were injured by an out-of-control man thought to be a student who was ‘celebrating’ with one of the Finalists.
“Those injured were a Proctors’ Officer (who sustained bruises and abrasions to his hand, which is today so swollen that he cannot use it) and an Assistant Proctors’ Officer (who sustained a black eye and bruised ribs and who has today been sent home from work).
“Many of you will know the latter, who is a long-standing and loyal member of staff. The man in question ignored instructions to stop what he was doing and ran away from the scene. The Proctors are currently investigating this case, which may become a matter for the Police.”
In forwarding the email, Douglas Dupree, the Balliol College Dean, added, “As anyone who has found themselves on the wrong side of University discipline knows, the Proctors take very seriously inappropriate behaviour (and behaviour against the University rules) by fellow students greeting those finishing exams. This incident will no doubt underline the sobriety by which any infractions are evaluated. The Master joins me in wanting to bring this to your attention.”
The police have downplayed their involvement, stressing that this was a matter that would be dealt with by the University independently. A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police commented, “Police were called by university staff at 1.35pm on Tuesday, who asked if police had CCTV of a man who allegedly had pushed past two proctors at the university. The CCTV cameras had not recorded any footage of the incident.
“The Proctors were not injured and the member of staff reporting the matter said he did not want it formally reported to the police, but that the university would be dealing with the student themselves. There is no further police involvement.”
News of the incident has been met with mixed response among students. Whilst many feel that the celebrations are a harmless Oxford tradition, some have condemned the “rowdy” nature of them. First year lawyer John Huxley said, “Trashing is a nice tradition, but if it boils over into violence, then it’s gone too far.”
However, others have criticised the University for being “too harsh” on students celebrating the end of finals. One student commented, “Finalists deserve to have a few minutes of fun straight after they’ve finished.
“Of course I don’t condone violence, but exuberance is understandable, and sometimes it’s harmless fun that’s punished. But I don’t agree with the use of eggs. That’s just not cool.”