THE University of Oxford says it will fine students who take part in ‘trashing’ during this year’s exam celebrations.

The recent phenomenon, which includes widespread littering by throwing food and other materials, is to be stamped down on by the university.

In a statement, the university said: “Anti-social behaviour such as throwing, pouring or spraying food, drink or other substances (sometimes referred to as ‘trashing’) has adverse financial and environmental impacts, and negatively affects the local community.”

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A new campaign launched by the university – Exams: Celebrate Sustainably – is designed to encourage students to celebrate results without impacting the environment and wider community.

Students who litter during the post-exam celebrations will be liable to a £150 fine, the campaign warns.

Senior Proctor, Professor Jane Mellor, said: “Throwing food and other materials in exam celebrations is wasteful and disrespectful.

“We know that our students are committed to sustainability and urge them to extend this to their exam celebrations this year.”  

Oxford Mail: Oxford students trashing in 2014. Picture: David FlemingOxford students trashing in 2014. Picture: David Fleming

Junior Proctor, Professor Linda Flores, added: “We recognise that this has been a difficult time for us all, and students will be keen to celebrate their achievements.

“However, we also recognise that we are part of a community and that means exercising consideration and respect for everyone and for our environment.” 

The university said trashing contributes to the ‘needless waste of food and other resources’, and revealed it costs the university £45,000 annually.

Meanwhile, people have required hospital treatment in the past after slipping on the mess left behind by students.

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A university statement on trashing added: “Non-biodegradable goods, particularly plastic, can find their way into local water sources and are harmful to animal life, and broken glass can cause injuries.

“In recent years, some students have tried to mitigate harm to the environment by choosing natural materials for their post-exam celebrations.

“However, even biodegradable materials can harm the environment and require cleaning up.”

Oxford Mail: Oxford students trashing in 2014. Picture: David FlemingOxford students trashing in 2014. Picture: David Fleming

Taking part in trashing, and wasting food and other resources, ‘reinforces negative stereotypes about Oxford students’, warns the campaign.

The campaign will encourage students to celebrate exams in other ways, such as having a night out, enjoying the city’s outdoor spaces, celebrating with college communities at organised social events, or having celebratory days out.

The university warns that students who litter during their post-exam celebrations, by throwing food or other materials, will be liable to a £150 fine.

This, the university says, will be strictly enforced as a breach of the university’s Code of Discipline.

Money from fines will go to a student hardship fund, and if students don’t pay the fines, they will be liable for further disciplinary action.

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