Cambridge University students have been urged not to wear their signature academic gowns in town after a student was attacked in February.
According to the Cambridge student newspaper Varsity, the warning came after a student was “verbally and physically assaulted” as he cycled through the city centre wearing his gown.
The attack came shortly after a video of a first-year Cambridge Law student setting fire to a £20 note in front of a homeless man went viral earlier this year.
Although the student in the video, Ronald Coyne, has been expelled and according to the Independent has volunteered at a homeless shelter, the incident led to tension rising between students and the local people.
The university had become concerned for students safety and following the assault of the cyclist, a senior tutor sent out an email to students.
According to the Independent Dr Paul Hartle wrote to students asking them to refrain from wearing their gowns outside of the college in fear that they would be verbally or physically assaulted by angry residents.
“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),” Hartle wrote in his email according to Varsity.
Dr Hartle stressed that although he thought it was most likely a random attack it was probably best for students to be extra cautious and not wear their gowns in town for now.
As the Telegraph reported this is not the first time students have been told not to wear their gowns outside of the college.
In 2012, as part of an alcohol awareness video shown to new students, the university suggested students “ditch the gown and the tux” when they were going out in town after formal events.
The university feared that the distinctive gowns could cause new students to become a target and lead to them to be abused by residents.
Cambridge students have been wearing gowns for hundreds of years.
According to HeatStreet, until the 1970s students were required to wear their gowns both inside and outside of the college.
The gowns were used as a way to distinguish between the students and the local people.
If a student was caught not wearing their gown they could have been punished.
There are different types of gowns depending on what degree you are studying and they are usually worn only at formal dinners and special events.
It is not only students who get to wear the Harry Potter style academic gowns, some staff are lucky enough to get one too.
So if you’re a student at Cambridge it’s probably best that you take the university’s advice and ditch the gown next time you’re headed to the pub after a formal dinner, better to be safe than sorry in this case.