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Graphic content of Cambridge University law exam stuns students

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Graphic content of Cambridge University law exam stuns students

Post  Panda on Mon 3 Jun - 8:31

Graphic content of Cambridge University law exam stuns students

The uninitiated might consider a Cambridge University law exam to be a
rather dry, impenetrable affair, full of technical jargon and obscure legal

More than 200 students sat the
three-hour exam on Saturday morning Photo:

By Victoria Ward

7:02PM BST 02 Jun 2013

However, the students who sombrely filed into a lecture hall to sit a
criminal law paper this weekend, found that the reality was somewhat more

Asked to select two questions designed to test their knowledge on a range of
legal issues, they were presented with a graphic depiction of a fictional
college drinking society’s initiation ceremony involving oral sex, male rape and
naked torture.

The question provoked incredulity amongst many undergraduates, one of whom
described it as “horrific”. Others took umbrage at the “total misrepresentation”
of most student clubs and societies.

More than 200 students, most of them freshers, from the university's 23
colleges sat the three-hour exam at the prestigious Faculty of Law on Saturday

Question nine, which was in three parts, began with a short introduction:

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"Sandra is President of The Vizards, a College drinking society. She is
organising the initiation of new members. After a great deal of alcohol has been
drunk, the members of the society form a circle around Billy, Gilbert and
Richard who are to be initiated.”

The question then described three initiation rituals in which a male student
was blindfolded and given oral sex by another man, another was subjected to an
indecent assault with a bottle and a third died from an infection after his
pubic hair was removed.

The students were asked to say which offences, if any, had been committed.

Within hours of the end of the exam, many had used social media to express
their horror and surprise. Online student newspaper The Tab said the reaction
from the student body had “varied from incredulity to mild amusement".

Sebastian Salek, a third year law student at Clare College, said: "It was
surprising to see the university directly reference drinking societies and
particularly initiations, which they generally tend to turn a blind eye to."

An English undergraduate identified only as Miranda JP wrote on Twitter:
"That's a horrific question – so far beyond acceptable and a total
misrepresentation of most socs, actually".

However, Luke Martin-Fuller, who sat the exam, said no-one in the examination
hall had reacted when they first read the paper.

"Nobody batted an eyelid, nobody sniggered or looked up or glanced at anyone
– you just got on with it," he said.

"I can see why it might look a bit funny. I can understand why people might
think that's a bit risqué."

The faculty is said to be well-versed in using lewd scenarios to test their
students’ knowledge.

A law paper posted online last year posed a similar question about a drinking
society initiation ceremony that involved running naked through Cambridge whilst
being beaten with stinging nettles.

Another involved an unwanted homosexual advance that resulted in a third
party being stabbed in the face and thrown alive into a refuse truck.

Cambridge has many drinking societies with names such as the Harlots,
Caesarians, Ferretz, Wyverns, and Beefsteak. There is no suggestion that any
have initiation ceremonies like those described in the law exam.

But their antics often provoke criticism and warnings that they are bringing
the university into disrepute.

A University of Cambridge spokesman said: “In the Part One Criminal Law
examination paper set by the University of Cambridge Law Faculty hypothetical
situations are presented in order to test students' understanding of different
aspects of Criminal Law."

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