Ultimately, what’s the point?

*Note* – I normally wait to publish my TCS column on my blog until after the print issue comes out, but I reckon this one is important to be shared now. Sorry editor.

Ultimately, what is the point?

Depressing old title, eh, especially for my last column. But then again as I write this I feel depressed, in every sense of the world. I’m depressed because I have depression (shocker) but also because I’m currently asking myself what is the point of campaigning for welfare at Cambridge?

I ask this not just because of the nasty responses that have appeared in the student press, and have been personally targeted against me, regarding the #endweek5blues campaign. I said this before, but I’ll say it again – there’s been a vein of intolerance towards welfare campaigns in some parts of the student body which eclipses any legitimate criticism of the campaign. Comments on my TCS articles and on my blog have suggested that I am a weakling, that I am selfish for campaigning about welfare, or have told me to jump in front of a train. God bless the internet. But trolls and intolerant idiot keyboard warriors aside, the main thing that depresses me is just how little progress we’ve made.

As mentioned a few weeks ago, I was involved in the campaign to reform the intermission (then “degrading”) process. The main issue was the requirement for intermitted students to live outside Cambridge. We campaigned hard, and it appeared we won. The process was changed, and as I wrote previously, more needs to be done. Imagine my horror when, browsing the Senior Tutors section of the University website (which, let’s face it, is the kind of thing I do for kicks), I came across guidance notes which stated that intermitted students “should not reside in Cambridge.” You can read it here (behind a Raven login). This is, presumably, the latest regulation, offered as guidance to the top decision makers in colleges. Now, it’s possible that the University never updated its guidance. Which, given that “Degrading is Degrading” was three years ago, is a fucking poor show. Or, what’s more likely, according to pessimist in me, is that the rules have been changed back because Cambridge thought no one would notice.

If that’s true, well frankly fuck it. What’s the point of campaigning for better welfare if we’re taken right back to square one? I conjecture here, cos I can, but maybe the University relies on the fact that most students are only here for a few years in order to repeal reforms it doesn’t like. Only old sods like me are still around to remember what caused all the fuss in the first place.

But maybe that’s why it is important to keep campaigning. But ultimately, things in Cambridge change slowly, and not always on first go. What you do now may have an impact on future generations, and for that it’s worth it. I hope students do continue to campaign for welfare reform. Depressed as I am, I’ll be joining them.

So that it, end of column. It’s been swell. Keep fighting for better welfare. Good night and good luck.


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