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  • A joint statement from the heads of all 31 colleges at the University of Cambridge, including the Master of Selwyn Roger Mosey, has appeared in The Times.
     

    Roger Mosey


    The statement says in full:

    “As heads of Cambridge colleges, we have been concerned in recent days to see headlines around the world making the claim that Cambridge will be moving entirely online next year. These claims are wildly exaggerated and have caused unnecessary alarm to students and our wider community. We are a collegiate university, and our strength is that so much student activity takes place in colleges, from small group teaching and pastoral care to music and sport.

    "We will always take the latest public health advice and clearly there will be challenges in delivering all this in the next academic year. Online lectures will make a key contribution. But we are determined to do our best to bring the colleges and the university back to life with intensive in-person learning in the traditional locations and the widest possible range of activities.”

    Signed:
    Jane Stapleton, Master, Christ’s College; Athene Donald, Master, Churchill College; Anthony Grabiner, Master, Clare College; David Ibbetson, President, Clare Hall; Christopher Kelly, Master, Corpus Christi College; Mary Fowler, Master, Darwin College; Alan Bookbinder, Master, Downing College; Fiona Reynolds, Master, Emmanuel College; Sally Morgan, Master, Fitzwilliam College; Susan Smith, Mistress, Girton College; Pippa Rogerson, Master, Gonville & Caius College; Geoff Ward, Principal, Homerton College; Anthony Freeling, President, Hughes Hall; Sonita Alleyne, Master, Jesus College; Michael Proctor, Provost, King’s College; Madeleine Atkins, President, Lucy Cavendish College; Rowan Williams, Master, Magdalene College; Barbara Stocking, President, Murray Edwards College; Alison Rose, Principal, Newnham College; Chris Smith, Master, Pembroke College; Bridget Kendall, Master, Peterhouse; John Eatwell, President, Queens’ College; David Yates, Warden, Robinson College; Mark Welland, Master, St Catharine’s College; Catherine Arnold, Master, St Edmund’s College; Tim Whitmarsh, vice-Master, St John’s College; Roger Mosey, Master, Selwyn College; Richard Penty, Master, Sidney Sussex College; Sally Davies, Master, Trinity College; Daniel Tyler, acting vice-Master, Trinity Hall; Jane Clarke, President, Wolfson College; Michael Volland, Principal, Ridley Hall.

    There is further information about the position across Cambridge on the university website:
    https://www.cam.ac.uk/coronavirus/news/update-from-the-senior-pro-vice-chancellor-education-regarding-the-academic-year-2020-21

     

  • The college’s prestigious annual event – the Ramsay Murray lecture – was given on May 15th by Trevor Phillips OBE. Mr Phillips is a former chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and an award-winning television producer and presenter as well as writing for a range of publications including The Times.

    Trevor Phillips
    Trevor Phillips

    His lecture was entitled “The New Normal: Diversity, Difference and Discord”. It is available to watch in full, with a concluding question and answer session, here:

    https://youtu.be/GwrYegopV8o

    The event was introduced by the master of Selwyn, Roger Mosey. In response to many requests from alumni and friends, we are looking at offering more events online in the coming months.

     

  • Sir David Harrison was 90 years old on May 3rd.

    David has had a remarkable career at Selwyn, going back 70 years (more than half the time of the college’s existence) to when he started as an undergraduate. He became a Fellow in 1957, and took on a range of college responsibilities – from admissions tutor to senior tutor – before becoming Master in the 1990s. He was also vice-chancellor of Keele and Exeter Universities; and he is a distinguished chemical engineer. He is pictured here with a cake and champagne, delivered to his home in lieu of the birthday lunch which had to be postponed because of the health emergency.

    Sir David at 90

    David is still at a multitude of college events, and over the years he has won the respect and affection of generations of Fellows, students and staff. The college council therefore decided to honour his birthday by renaming the New SCR as the Harrison Room, so that his contribution to the college will be marked enduringly.

    Photo of Harrison Room

     

  • Selwyn welcomed two new Fellows on Tuesday April 28th. They are Lynn Dicks and Anna Lippert, and their installation was a moment of college history: the first time the ceremony has been performed via video conference. Around 40 Fellows took part, and Dr Dicks and Ms Lippert made the traditional declarations before being presented by Professor Richard Bowring – with words of Latin - to the master Roger Mosey.

    Dr Dicks is based in the Cambridge department of zoology, and is a conservation scientist focused on insect conservation and biodiversity in agricultural landscapes.

    Lynn Dicks

    Ms Lippert is a Sir Henry Wellcome postdoctoral fellow, and she studied at Selwyn - investigating the molecular mechanisms of Superagonism - and is a former president of the MCR. 

    Anna Lippert

    We congratulate them both on joining the fellowship. A full list of fellows can be found here: https://www.sel.cam.ac.uk/list-of-fellows

  • The college is delighted to announce that its new auditorium will be called the Quarry Whitehouse Auditorium – named after alumna Jill Whitehouse (SE 1978) and alumnus Gareth Quarry (also SE 1978). This reflects their generosity towards the building project. They are seen in their gowns as Fellow Benefactors of Selwyn.

    Jill Whitehouse and Gareth Quarry

    This follows the announcement that the library will be named the Bartlam Library. It’s recognition of the very significant benefaction by Tom Bartlam (SE 1966). The library will form the first and second floors of the new building, and will offer new workspaces to Selwyn students along with a mix of conventional books and digital resources.

    Tom Bartlam

    The Bartlam Library and the Quarry Whitehouse Auditorium will see the completion of Ann’s Court.  The court is named after Ann Dobson, the late wife of Chris Dobson (SE 1957).  Their family trust - The Ann D Foundation - has provided the principal support for all three phases of the court’s development, including the current one.
     
    We are immensely grateful to all the alumni and friends who have contributed to the project. The total cost is expected to be £12.6m, and this has now been raised in full with the help of more than 1,000 individual contributions.

  • The college has published its Annual Report for 2019-20, which has been sent to alumni and friends – and is also available online here: https://www.selwynalumni.com/publications

    The report was being prepared while the health emergency was developing, so the master Roger Mosey has also written a letter with the latest news on how the college is responding to the crisis.

    **

    Dear alumni and friends

    I want to supplement the annual report you’re receiving from us with some updated information about the health emergency. The most important thing to say is that we stand with the NHS in the UK and with all those across the world doing their best to keep us safe; and we express our solidarity with the Selwyn community in these troubling times.

    The effects of the crisis on Cambridge have been profound. There will be a deeply unconventional Easter term here, and most of our students have left the college. We will still offer teaching and supervisions and pastoral care, but it will almost all be done remotely; and this will be an exam season like no other, with a completely altered assessment regime. Our academic staff are working hard to maintain the strongest links they can with students, and we will never shirk from our commitment to the highest possible standards of education.

    Some students and Fellows are still here – either because they couldn’t travel or because this is simply their home. We are enormously grateful to our staff who are looking after them, albeit through much-reduced and basic services; and the commitment of the teams of Selwyn to the wellbeing of the community has been tremendous. We have even had a pop-up fruit and vegetable shop in Hall to offer healthy food to those who are still in residence.

    The annual report is, of course, retrospective; but in preparing it, we were aware of the looming external crisis. In particular, the bursar spotted that the relative calm of his figures for 2019-20 would not withstand the storm. At this stage, we can only make a preliminary assessment – and the calculation is that the health emergency could add between £2m and £2.5m to the college deficit within this calendar year. We are urgently exploring how we can mitigate the impact through some of the government initiatives available, such as the Job Retention Scheme.

    The endowment has also been significantly reduced by the turmoil in the markets, though the early indications were that we had not suffered as much of a reverse as the main indices. But this will, to put it mildly, add to the challenges facing the college. We are still determined to do the right things, as in the swift decision by the Governing Body not to charge rents for Easter term to students who are not in Cambridge; and we will not abandon the civic responsibilities that are part of Selwyn. We do, however, face continuing choppy waters as do individuals, companies and governments.

    We are helped by the prudence of recent years. Other educational institutions paid for their new buildings by borrowing, whereas we are extremely fortunate to have had our library and auditorium fully funded by alumni and friends. I am delighted to report here that we have now hit the financial target of £12.6m. You will understand that the project has been delayed by the emergency, but we still have every hope of wonderful new facilities in 2021.

    This also means that we can focus our philanthropy on what will unquestionably be an acute area: student support in the light of the health and financial crisis. Demand can only increase, and we need to be prepared to maintain this college’s mission that anyone with the right talent can come here irrespective of their background. If you’re interested in finding out about the current opportunity to secure matching funds for any donations made for student support, please contact our development team via development@sel.cam.ac.uk.

    For now, though, I hope you enjoy reading the annual report; and that you’re inspired, as we are, by the vast range of people who enable the college to be world-class.

    Roger Mosey

    Master, Selwyn College

  • This has been sent to undergraduates by the JCR president, Oliver Schönle.

    Letter from the JCR President

    Dear students,

    We are about to start an Easter Term quite unlike any other in living memory. We will not all be living in Cambridge, rushing to our supervisions, studying in the library and then relaxing in Selwyn’s gardens in the sun. Instead, we will be attending an online university completely remotely, from wherever in the world we find ourselves.

    I do not want to sugar-coat the fact that this unprecedented scenario presents a unique set of difficulties. Our usual support networks have been radically altered in a challenging time for our mental health, finalists have had their graduation plans swept out from underneath them, and students find themselves in hugely varying material circumstances across the world.

    Nevertheless, I am confident that our college will respond to these difficulties. Selwyn is more than a group of buildings on Grange Road – it is a wonderful community of individuals across the whole world, a community which continues to exist despite the move online.

    I feel immensely proud to be a member of our community. This pride has only been reinforced by the numerous different ways in which our community has already come together to adapt to the current situation. These range from the Feminist Society’s ‘Positivity Portal’ showcasing what students have been up to in isolation, to the JCR Welfare Officers organising virtual yoga classes, to the sheer number of students reaching out and offering each other support.

    Thinking of the term ahead, please do get involved in these (and other) fantastic initiatives. Please continue to look after yourself and each other, and make sure to care both for your physical and mental wellbeing. The JCR Committee is here to help however we can, and will endeavour to support you however possible, so please do get in touch if you have any queries or concerns.

    JCR love,
    Olly

  • A video, released in early 2020, captures the wide range of life at Selwyn – from supervisions to sport, and from singing to socialising in the bar. It was filmed before the health emergency, and it shows the college as it was – and as it will be again. At its heart is a performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams’s “Linden Lea” by the choir, and that is supplemented by filming from around the site. Dr Janet O’Sullivan and Dr Daniel Beauregard are seen teaching students; there is a view of the new servery and lunch in Hall; and other activities include lifting weights in the gym and playing table tennis in the JCR. The closing sequences show an additional use of the bar: as a place to work with friends.


    The release of the video was planned to coincide with the college’s telephone campaign in which current students talk to alumni and friends about what’s going on at Selwyn and our ambitions for the future. This year’s campaign was postponed because of the coronavirus crisis, but the college is continuing to have conversations with alumni and friends to keep them in touch until we are able to meet in person again. If you’d like to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact development@sel.cam.ac.uk.

  • The college is fully involved in preparations within the university for any spread of the coronavirus, and regular meetings are taking place at Selwyn to ensure that the community stays as healthy as possible. College officers are liaising with colleagues across Cambridge, and they in turn are taking the latest advice from Public Health England and other key institutions.

    For the latest information, please check regularly on this government website:

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

    Below is a joint message from Dr Martin Vinnell, the University’s director for occupational health and safety, and Dr Dan Tucker, senior tutor at Pembroke and chair of the university’s advisory group on communicable diseases, which has been sent to staff across Cambridge. They write: 

    First of all, there is no reason to feel alarmed at current developments, or indeed at the prospect of cases being confirmed at the University or in the city of Cambridge.

    The collegiate University has tried and tested systems in place to deal with the outbreak of communicable diseases, and much work is going on behind the scenes to make sure that we are prepared for any escalation while ensuring that our actions are proportionate and in line with government advice.

    We are currently:

    • Speaking regularly with Public Health England (PHE)
    • Ensuring that we have appropriate expertise on our Incident Management Team, which would assist PHE if we had a positive case at Cambridge
    • Providing guidance to Colleges on how they should manage any self-isolation cases in the student population
    • Answering queries from institutions.

    Staff should visit the University’s coronavirus webpage regularly: https://www.cam.ac.uk/notices/news/coronavirus-latest-guidance. This provides access to the latest government advice on health and travel, as well as a number of HR-related FAQs. Please note that it is the government’s responsibility, not the University’s, to provide public health advice, and all members of staff should take responsibility for keeping up-to-date with the latest information. If the current situation escalates further, and it becomes necessary to provide operationally-focused advice, this will be posted on the ‘Information for staff, students and departments’ section of the coronavirus webpage.

    The best way to protect yourself and others from the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses is to wash your hands regularly and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues, which should be binned straight away.

    It is possible that colleagues who have visited one of the countries on the government’s watch-list may fall ill, or cannot attend work because they need to self-isolate. The fact that, as of 1 March, there have been 11,750 tests for COVID-19 and only 35 positive cases, is clear evidence that they are far more likely to have another illness or condition. It is important, therefore, to be non-judgmental and calm in these circumstances, and continue as normal.

    We are aware that many people are concerned about travelling or making travel plans. Staff are advised to check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel guidance regularly, make a judgement as to whether they feel comfortable travelling, and ensure that they have appropriate travel insurance in place.

    There is also no reason at the moment to consider cancelling, or not attending, public events or lectures, although it is important to be mindful that the current situation may change rapidly.

    Thank you for your cooperation. 

    Dr Martin Vinnell, Director of Occupational Health and Safety
    Dr Dan Tucker, Chair of the Advisory Group on Communicable Diseases and Senior Tutor, Pembroke College

  • The foundation stone has been laid for our new library and auditorium. The principal donor for Ann’s Court, Chris Dobson, was accompanied during a short ceremony on February 3rd by his daughter Abbie – and college fellows and staff attended too. Ann’s Court is named after Dr Dobson’s late wife; and the current building project marks the third phase of its development. It is scheduled for completion by the end of this year.


    The steel frame of the building is now complete. These photographs show the ground floor, where the auditorium will be situated; and the top floor, which is the second level of the library.


    You can keep an eye on progress on the site via our webcam.
    http://www.sel.cam.ac.uk/includes/phase3/current.jpg