It can be hard to cope with the stresses and pressures of the Cambridge environment, especially if you come from a background that is traditionally underrepresented here. For years, the culture at King’s has been uniquely accessible and welcoming to all – and nobody wants that to change. Our student spaces, and particularly our JCR-bar, must remain warm and friendly to everyone. No student should feel unwelcome when they walk in. No one should be shouted at or made fun of. KCSU’s purpose is to ensure this, to support the education and welfare of King’s students, and to oppose and eliminate all prejudice, discrimination and inequality within the college.
Therefore, King’s has always been proud not to house any drinking societies. Many of us enjoy having a glass (or three) of wine, booking a formal table or going to Cindies on a Wednesday – but these things shouldn’t be institutionalised. We organise alcohol-related ents and go to club nights which everyone can tag along to, and at the same time we are fully inclusive of people who would much rather have fun in other ways. The Ents Officers make sure of that – and it’s anintegral part of what KCSU does. It’s depressing to everyone who has been at King’s for a little while to witness the formation of a drinking society. It’s not something we need or want here.
Because of this, I want to reaffirm KCSU’s position on this issue. We take a stand against prejudice in all its forms – and particularly in the form of exclusive and insular societies which damage the unity and openness of our student community. A note to those involved in drinking societies: While no one can stop you from drinking loads and hanging out in a small group with a silly name, when you put the word “King’s” in front of that name, you are representing all King’s students, and the college more broadly. If you have formed a secretive group whose policies and activities exclude most of the students, then you shouldn’t be calling yourselves the King’s anything. No matter what your intentions were when founding a drinking society, these institutions will always be laden with heavy political implications and a culture of exclusion towards marginalised groups of people. Whatever benefits you think you may get from this, it’s not worth the damage that it does to the King’s student community.
I know that we’ve had a higher-than-usual number of incidents of bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment, at the start of this term, and there’s a pretty clear link there. If you would like to report any incidents, concerns or tell me your thoughts about this issue more broadly, email me or fill in the online anonymous form. You can also contact the KCSU Women’s, LGBT+, Ethnic Minorities or Welfare Officers (new and old) if you prefer.