University of Cambridge apologises after ‘no mess’ signs in toilets – but only in Mandarin | UK | News

February 2, 2024
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The University of Cambridge was plunged into humiliation after “no mess” signs were put up in toilets on campus – but only in Mandarin.

Notices were put up at the prestigious university’s Homerton College after cleaning staff noticed the toilets were left in a mess after a conference was attended by a Chinese group.

Homerton principal Lord Simon Woolley has offered an “unequivocal apology” to students of Chinese descent after the notice sparked backlash.

Some students believed the signs targeted a specific ethnic group as they were only in Mandarin and not any other language, student news site The Tab reports.

An email was sent to students on January 31 acknowledging that “the perceived or deliberate targeting of any community in this way is offensive and discriminatory”.

While the email does not specify where the signs were placed, a source revealed to The Cambridge Tab that they were placed in the toilets.

This was after the cleaners noticed a bathroom was left in a mess after the Chinese conference group had been attending the college. Homerton claimed in its apology “there was no intention to cause offence”.

Lord Woolley said: “I apologise unreservedly to all students, and in particular students of Chinese descent, for the offence caused.

“At Homerton, we want to celebrate our rich diversity, not least because it helps all our students to belong, thrive and excel academically.

“We look forward to working with Chinese and East Asian students to celebrate and support them.”

After meeting with Chinese students, senior staff and the mature student union, the Principal has began a process of improved communication with students.

The email from Homerton College added: “To be absolutely clear it is deeply wrong to make negative assumptions about any one group or community.

“As Principal of Homerton College, which rightly prides itself as being values-driven, I want to give an unequivocal apology to all students and in particular students of Chinese descent, for what occurred.”

Homerton College is one of 31 Cambridge colleges and has students ranging from undergraduate to PhD.



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