Oxford Uni Harlem Shake: College defends 'sacking'

  • 22 March 2013
  • From the section Oxford
Media captionMP George Galloway filed an Early Day Motion calling for the librarian to get her job back

An Oxford University college has defended its treatment of a casual member of staff after students filmed a Harlem Shake video in the library.

About 30 students took part in a version of the internet dance in St Hilda's College library in February.

The college said postgraduate student Calypso Nash had been a library invigilator who had failed to "maintain quiet in the library".

It said it had decided not to offer her any more casual work as a result.

Five students were also fined between £30 and £60 after the video was posted on YouTube.

A statement released by St Hilda's College said: "Calypso Nash is a full-time postgraduate student at another college to whom we offered a small amount of casual work on an occasional basis as a library invigilator.

"The role of an invigilator is to maintain quiet in the library, or, if not able to maintain quiet, to refer incidents on. As this role was not performed, the Librarian decided not to offer Calypso further casual work. She has not appealed against this decision."

'Funny side'

St Hilda's Junior Common Room (JCR) passed a motion demanding Ms Nash was "rehired".

Speaking on Tuesday, JCR president Esther Gosling said the filming had taken place in the library shortly before midnight, insisting the Ms Nash was not involved in organising the stunt and "couldn't have stopped it".

"We don't want to undermine the college authorities or decisions they make, but in this case we think their reaction is excessive and the dismissal is unfair," she said.

An Early Day Motion calling for Ms Nash's reinstatement was put down in Parliament by Bradford West Respect MP George Galloway.

It called on St Hilda's College to "think again [and] see the funny side".

Early Day Motions allow MPs to draw attention to a particular issue but very few are actually debated.

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