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Sam Rakestrow has published 3 articles

Hilda's Harlem Shake Headache Continues

St Hilda's JCR declares support for dismissed librarian
Sam Rakestrow on Monday 18th March 2013
Photograph: Flickr

St Hilda’s Junior Common Room has passed a motion calling for the reinstatement of librarian Calypso Nash. Nash, who is also a graduate student, was recently fired by the college after thirty students took part in a ‘Harlem Shake’ video filmed in the college library. 

The motion, proposed by Alexander Fisken and Anna Kaznowska, and discussed during the JCR’s eighth week meeting, requested that JCR President Esther Gosling “ask for a written reason for the decision from the Head Librarian, and also to bring the matter to the attention of the governing body, calling in the strongest terms for Calypso to be rehired.”

Another motion, also proposed by Fisken and Kaznowska, called for Gosling to write to the Dean asking for the fines imposed upon the participants in the video to be overturned. Cherwell understands that the majority of the fines levied amounted to £50, though a minority were higher. The motion argued that “the Harlem shake did not cause a disturbance coming as it did at 11:30 pm on a Sunday evening” and that the event “only lasted roughly 7 minutes.”

Both motions were passed at the meeting, with an amendment to the first motion stating that, should the appeal to the governing body and Head Librarian fail, the issue should be presented to the Library Committee in Trinity term. 

Several other students have voiced their support for Nash’s reinstatement, although neither Fisken nor Kaznowska were available for comment.

Ellen Gibson, a student at St Hilda’s, commented, “The situation seems ridiculous. The Librarian had nothing to do with the protest; she just happened to be there at the time.”

Another Hilda's student, who wished to remain anonymous, criticised the college's treatment of Calypso, claiming, “She was not in a position to stop them at the time.” 

JCR Secretary Katie Meadon said, “We are not trying to deliberately undermine any decisions made by college authorities, but we (and the rest of the JCR) believe that the dismissal of the librarian in question was unfair.  We hope that the college will take the JCR's opinions into account regarding this matter.” 

As a result of the motions, JCR President Esther Gosling has sent emails to both the Head Librarian and the Dean, although no response has been received as of yet. 

The Head Librarian at St Hilda’s was unavailable for comment when contacted by Cherwell.

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