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Oxford Mocked for Email

June 13, 2018

The University of Oxford is being mocked for an email in which administrators suggested that the "highly developed social conscience" of students draws homeless people to the city of Oxford, the BBC reported.

Two administrators wrote to students to dissuade them from participating in a tradition known as “trashing,” where they cover one another with champagne, confetti, eggs and foam.

The email from a senior and junior proctor said, “Oxford's students have a highly developed social conscience, as is evident from the number of homeless people who come to seek assistance in this city.”

"Needless waste of food is an aggravation of their distress."

The email also said that trashing is "unlikely to have a positive effect on applications from underprivileged minorities."

Those criticizing the message said its tone is problematic, and that it's disingenuous to suggest that the city’s rate of homelessness is connected to the generosity or social consciousness of students. In a statement the university said the intention of the proctors "was to appeal to the social and environmental consciences of Oxford students, urging them to consider the impact of the waste and inconvenience caused by trashing."

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Elizabeth Redden

Elizabeth Redden, Senior Reporter, covers general higher education topics, religion and higher education, and international higher education for Inside Higher Ed. She has more than a decade of experience as an education journalist. She holds an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from Columbia University.

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