There was excitement amongst LMH students this week after one of the College’s new visiting fellows, Emma Watson, was spotted being shown round on Friday.
The actress, famous for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, was first spotted by a student as she made her entrance into the College. There was initially some confusion amongst JCR members as to whether Watson was in fact present in the College. Her visit was later confirmed, however, by a student on the LMH JCR page.
The visit of Watson follows the appointment of 11 new visiting fellows by LMH Principal and ex-Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger earlier this month. The appointments included public figures from a variety of backgrounds, including actor Benedict Cumberbatch and Pet Shop Boys singer Neil Tennant.
One student managed to capture a photograph of Watson as she took a tour of the college library with Rusbridger. There was concern for the actress’s privacy following the publication of the photo on Twitter, however.
In an email sent to the whole of LMH JCR, the JCR President, Emma Andrews, passed on a message from the Principal which confirmed that Watson had visited the College for “a preliminary discussion”.
Rusbridger added, “I showed her the library. A student evidently took a sneak picture of her which is now on Twitter.
“I can’t think of anything more guaranteed to undermine the programme of visiting fellows than our students refusing to respect the privacy of our guests.
“Emma is keen to have contact with students and has imaginative plans for engaging with LMH. But it simply won’t work if our students behave in this way.”
The message went on to ask students to remove the photo of Watson from Twitter, with Rusbridger reminding students of “the basic courtesy we owe to our visiting fellows”.
Despite the Principal’s caution, LMH students expressed considerable excitement following the news of Watson’s visit, with one student commenting on the JCR page, “Going for a reconnaissance ‘laundry run’. Will report back unless her sheer beauty causes me to spontaneously combust.”
An LMH student who was in college on Friday told Cherwell, “A friend of mine at LMH was leaving a college building when our Principal, Alan Rusbridger, and what appeared to be Emma Watson walked straight past him and into one of our main college sites – Deneke, home to the Principal’s Office (among other rooms).
“He managed to snap a far-off picture of their distant backs as they neared Deneke. From there, he posted a declaration akin to “Emma Watson is in LMH!” at the end of a Facebook post or something, and I heard about it through a group chat. Another initially-sceptical friend then concurred that Watson was in college by stating that her car seemed to be in the LMH car park (how she knew it to be hers I don’t know).
“I asked our college JCR page if anyone could corroborate this news but no-one had seen anything else. As news spread, small groups started not-so-subtly hanging around Deneke and the idea that Watson was here to attend our weekly Friday formal became popular.
“However, when I went to Deneke to ask around, a woman who worked in college passed us asking if Watson was indeed around, when I explained what people had seen, she said that she would check when she went up to the Principal’s Office. She returned a few minutes later confirming that Watson was there but seemingly trying to keep a low profile and not attending for any event or appearance.
“Personally, I then returned to my work deciding that there was no justification for bothering Watson’s visit, which was seemingly of neither public interest nor involvement. People kept hanging around Deneke for a while after, but I haven’t heard of anyone meeting or seeing her later in the day.”
The College has been contacted for comment.