Students at the University of Cambridge have been told not to wear their academic gowns outside of university property in case they get attacked.
The warning was issued by a senior member of staff after an undergraduate was assaulted just minutes away from his college.
The unnamed student at St Catharine’s College was attacked and had his bicycle stolen while wearing his gown on Sunday February 12th.
In response his college’s Senior Tutor warned his peers not to wear formal academic dress while out and about.
According to the Varsity student newspaper, Dr Paul Hartle said: “The student was wearing his gown which may have occasioned the incident, given recent unhelpful local publicity about the stupidly arrogant behaviour of a particular student (from another college).”
“Whilst I suspect this was a random act, it might be prudent for a while at least not to wear your gown about town.”
Relations between students and townspeople have deteriorated in the past week after footage was published of a student in formal evening wear burning a £20 note in front of a homeless man.
Gowns are seen much more frequently at Cambridge (and Oxford) than other British universities.
While students at most institutions will only wear a gown to graduate, Cambridge students wear them for frequent formal dinners in Harry Potter-esque dining halls, sometimes several times a week.
Senior academic staff also often wear gowns, even when not strictly necessary, and some insist on
Gown-wearing students wandering the streets of Cambridge has been a familiar sight for hundreds of years.
Indeed, until around the 1970s students were required to wear gowns outside of college to distinguish them from the locals, and could be punished if caught without them.
Featured Image via Ed Brambley/Flickr