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Cambridge students punished for behaviour at Michaelmas sports day swap to Balliol

Athletes from St John’s College, Cambridge were punished with over 130 hours of community service for their bad behaviour at a sports day swap at Balliol College last term. The behaviour involved verbal abuse, as well as urinating and spilling beer indoors. 

The College Dean, Dr Nick Friedman, awarded the St John’s men’s football team and croquet team over 130 hours of community service, to complete jointly. 

The students were recorded on Oxford’s CCTV causing destruction to the Balliol College Recreation Ground, off of Jowett Walk. They also reportedly left broken glass, mud, and urine in the changing rooms and trashed the College bar. Friedman was told that St John’s students had been asked to pick up rubbish left on the pitches but failed to do so.  

One Oxford student said: “College sports swaps aren’t about the sport as much as socialising at the other place,” emphasising that students often sign up to play sports they don’t have experience in just to participate in the trip. 

Friedman emailed the captains of the men’s football and croquet captains to request that they “attend an urgent meeting with the Dean” in January and told them that he had received a list of allegations made by Balliol including the above. 

The email further stated that “The security staff reported [St John’s] students drinking beer through funnels, and then sliding on beer spilt to the floor.” 

After the community service was awarded, the Balliol master said the following: “The Balliol/St John’s Sports Day is [an] annual event which all the students involved enjoy. We are grateful to St John’s for resolving an issue from a recent event and relationships with St John’s, our sister College in Cambridge, remain cordial.” 

Oxford colleges have also received complaints about student behaviour after sports day swaps to Cambridge. One source told Cherwell that, in their experience, sports days have included excessive drinking and urinating on statues at Cambridge colleges. 

Another Oxford student said the behaviour from Cambridge did not surprise him. “It’s really classic Cambridge, isn’t it.”  

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