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Crap start to term: Hazmats remove waste from Univ as students face fine

University College’s messy discovery earlier this week sparked what has since been coined the ‘Oxshit’ scandal. 

College residents awoke to discover that a student had defecated in a ground floor bathroom in the Durham Building II, which houses first-years. Univ told Cherwell: “On 16 January it was reported that a shower in a student accommodation block had human faeces spread across the seating, walls and the flooring of the shower. On further investigation it became clear that the shower had been used as a lavatory.”

An email sent by college soon after the incident’s discovery threatened residents of the building with, “a £1000 fine to get an external cleaning company in” if the culprit themselves, or the residents collectively, did not clean up the mess before the end of the day. Univ further told Cherwell: “As a result of this incident the College has closed the shower block until a professional cleansing company equipped to deal with such biohazards is able to clean and disinfect the area concerned.”

Since the original email, the figure of £1000 may alter, depending on the actual costs. A statement the College made to Cherwell made it clear that: “The costs associated with this sort of cleaning, in the absence of any student owning up to the incident, will be shared among residents in the normal way.” 

University College’s original request was that the building’s occupants cleaned up the mess themselves. The College left gloves and cleaning products in the bathroom for this, and withdrew scouting from the building. 

However, this request was not fulfilled. Instead, Univ students have reported to Cherwell that they saw two people in Hazmat suits entering the affected block on January 17th

When asked to comment on the JCR reaction and plans, the JCR President, Shermar Pryce, told Cherwell: “It is our hope that the college administration will consider the potential impact on students who were not involved in the incident before rendering any decision. From my interactions with the relevant staff at Univ, it is clear they are also cognizant of the potential injustice of such a fine and are sympathetic to the students’ predicament. 

“While I am unable to comment on the specifics of a hypothetical response from the JCR in the event of the imposition of monetary fines, I can assure you that we stand in solidarity with the affected students, particularly in light of the ongoing cost of living crisis.” 

The reaction to this incident has sparked a feeling of disgust among both students and staff. 

The email the students received the following day described such behaviour as “repulsive” going “beyond any bounds of what could be considered reasonable.” 

Pryce told Cherwell: “the reaction of the student population at Univ to the recent incident in the accommodation bathroom has been one of disgust, dismay, and disbelief.”

When asked how they aim to address the incident from the wellbeing perspective of the student involved Univ told Cherwell:

“The College prides itself on being a community and a family. The behaviour of the student involved in this incident has fallen well below the standard we should be able to expect of a member of our community and we hope for better in the future.”

A further email from Univ shows that the Domestic Bursary still intends to process the fines, but acknowledged “I understand that this news may evoke feelings of consternation and disappointment among you.”

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