While most of us are still getting used to life in lockdown, staying indoors is nothing new for one group of students.
The members of Solidarity College have been trapped inside for months longer than the general public, and have found Old Schools an increasingly less welcoming home.
The university appears to have forgotten them, and the members of the radically inclusive ahead-of-the-curve ‘household group’ are wondering if their efforts are also going unnoticed among the public. Given the current circumstances, the sacrifice entailed by remaining in one place for an extended period is somewhat less impressive.
“We wanted to stop the university functioning, and you could say we’ve achieved that. But was it worth it?” lamented Emily Milton, one of the founders of Solidarity College. “Everybody’s forgotten about us. Toope’s not even here to notice us climbing out of the window anymore. Are we still relevant? Are we still radical?”
Thankfully, Milton was soon proved wrong, receiving emotional and practical support from one member of the public, a Mrs Milton, who said: “Darling, I think you’re doing a wonderful job. Are you eating enough? I can send over some treats!”
The students have been trialling a variety of methods to keep morale high. A chorus of Allez Allez Allez can be heard whenever a comrade washes their hands, and defensive poster production has hit an all time high in an attempt to ward off the virus. Other members have been working on a new form of entertainment for the so-called college, entitled ‘I’m An Ex-Marxist… Get Me Out Of Here!’.
Not all of the students are continuing to fall in line, however. Timothy Bainbridge reported that growing anarchy in the Old Schools has led to a more authoritarian approach. “It’s been a bit like Lord of the Flies in here ー I’m sorry, General Secretary of the Flies. We’ve had to resort to passing round a Pot Noodle whenever someone wants to talk. There’s even been talk of rebranding: we’re between ‘Democratic Republic of the Old Schools’ and ‘United Old Schools Emirates’ at the moment.”
With lockdown set to last longer yet, we should all spare a thought for the middle-class ideologues who keep such a vital institution running ー truly the forgotten victims of the pandemic.