St Catherine’s College has declared war on Magdalen College, it was announced at a St Catz JCR meeting last Sunday. Consequently, Catz JCR President Marcus Stevenson has been handed authority to organise a war committee.

This state of war follows an altercation involving a St Catz student, known only as “Brother Shankar”. The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, informed Cherwell that he “was involved in an ‘incident’ on Jowett Walk last Wednesday involving a broken bottle” and that his “sources indicate that this was a trap purposely set down by our enemies [Magdalen College], the aggressors.”

The news, which has shocked many of the residents of Oxford’s Eastern colleges, came after a JCR motion, proposed by Oxford Union Librarian Christopher Starkey and seconded by Oliver Troen. Starkey’s motion noted, “We hate Magdalen” and that the “sons and daughters of Catz are born warriors, as is displayed in our weekly pilgrimage to Bridge”. It resolved to “declare war on Magdalen” and “grant emergency powers to Comrade Stevenson to set up a war committee.”

Starkey informed Cherwell that the war has been “a long time coming” and that Catz would “definitely prepare ourselves to fight Magdalen to the bitter end.”

Troen, who, for reasons of secrecy, had to be “incredibly careful” when talking to the press, would not confirm what injuries had been sustained by Comrade Shankar in an incident which he compared to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Nevertheless, he commented, somewhat mysteriously, “Catz has not gone searching for war; war has found us.”

Starkey agreed with Troen and confirmed the incident involved “a vicious booby-trap which was set to attack a Catz boy on his way home from a night at Bridge.”

Although he could not disclose many of their plans, Starkey told Cherwell, “The war committee will be giving weekly reports – to be read out at JCR meetings and published online – as well as reaching out to our friends at St Hilda’s and New College, in an attempt to triangulate our enemy.”

Magdalen’s response to this declaration of war has been slow. JCR President Millie Ross stated that when she had first been informed about the declaration of war, she “had to Google St Catz to see what they were talking about.”

Despite the in-depth research of the JCR President, some Magdalen students still seemed confused about the realities of their enemy. Tim Slatcher, on Magdalen’s top secret Facebook group, returned typographical fire by suggesting the motion “‘St Catz’ have declared war on Magdalen. We have no idea who ‘St Catz’ is. The JCR believes that ‘St Catz’ is probably fictitious and can’t pose much of a threat.”

Whilst Magdalen has been conducting rigorous research into their neighbour, Ross conceded that she was unsure of how the college would respond to the war. She commented, “What the JCR will ultimately resolve to do is as yet unclear, but our next GM won’t be until Sunday of 7th week and, needless to say, I feel that an extraordinary GM to discuss this would be entirely unnecessary.”

Despite Starkey’s belief that “Magdalen dislike us and we dislike them”, Ross has suggested that the real motives for the declaration of war might be more personal. She told Cherwell, “I feel that this might be a way in which Chris Starkey is attempting to get back at me for being entirely superior to him throughout our school days.”

Journalism up and down the country is facing a tsunami of hurdles: from evermore repressive regimes shutting down free speech to the income sources being cut off as a result of the pandemic.

For Cherwell, maintaining editorial independence is vital. There is no shady corporation funding us and demanding we paint company X, Y or Z in a positive light; we are completely student run, and thus rely on your generosity.

So, if you can, please consider donating. We know that the pandemic has hit many of us hard - including financially - so even if you can't support us monetarily, please consider sharing articles with friends, families, colleagues - it all helps!

Thank you!