| The Varsity issue
London, Oct. 10: The Cambridge University paper, Varsity, has caused a stir by interviewing a woman undergraduate who has admitted working as a call girl, while another cash-strapped student has revealed that she has been forced to strip for clients to pay her fees.
Whether these stories are an indictment of declining morals among the young or of government policy which burdens young men and women with debts of up to £30,000 when they leave university is hard to tell.
Reports of girls at college making money by selling sex are as old as the hills. What is new — and apparently shocking judging by the reaction of the British national media today — is that Cambridge girls should be doing it.
Varsity, which has produced some of the best-known journalists in the country, claims in its current issue that its “investigation into Cambridge student jobs has uncovered undergraduates working as prostitutes and strippers during term time, as well as a plethora of students selling essays and dates for cash”.
“One Cambridge student has admitted to spending her first undergraduate year working as a call girl, charging £50 per hour. Unbeknown to her friends, the finalist slept with between 40 and 50 men for money over two months, and once with seven men in a single night,” the weekly says.
The girl admitted to the paper: “I did have a day job at the same time, but it just wasn’t paying enough. I met other students who did it too. Once you’ve done it, it is tempting. If you need quick, easy money, it’s there.”
Varsity also says: “Another cash-strapped undergraduate travelled to a northern city on weekends to strip for clients in return for up to £100 per dance.”
The latter admitted to Varsity: “It can be so degrading, but, when I’m home, I’m not going to stack shelves at Morrison’s (a supermarket chain) for £5.50 an hour when I could do this. There are the moments I really don’t want to do it, but it is certainly character building. My worst fear is dancing up there in front of someone I know, but everyone has to do it.”
Varsity also refers to an agency, Takemetodinner.com, which claims that “450 Cambridge students and alumni are members of their escorting site, which was formerly known as Oxbridge Escorts. Of these, 342 advertise escorting services, charging anywhere up to £300 for a single date. The company pride themselves on their selection of ‘elite dates’, a status reserved for Oxbridge and ‘Ivy League’ educated escorts. But they claim that despite the high prices and suggestive profiles the website ‘has always been and always will be strictly a dinner date service’, and that ‘inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated’.”
According to Varsity, Cambridge students are also making a little extra money — and sometimes a lot — by writing essays for others. “Even more widespread was the completion of work for the Oxbridge Essays service, a practice which the university has condemned as ‘cheating, or complicit with cheating’. John Foster, head of sales at Oxbridge Essays, estimates that the company has ‘at least 500’ Cambridge students and alumni on their books.”
Varsity said: “One student claimed to have made £2,000 by selling essays to the company, but said he could make up to £200 per week. ‘If someone’s stupid enough to buy essays on the Internet, then I don’t really care about their economic future,’ he said. Some Cambridge graduate students are even on ‘scholarships’ of up to £10,000 per year, which they pay back to the company by writing briefs.”
The escort services which employ Oxbridge girls have attracted plenty of publicity in the past, even though they claim to operate “a strict no-sex policy”.
Former Oxford student Nick Dekker, who set up one such website, said it was offering a great service for busy people.
He said. “I was thinking of a few friends, who are charming and bright people who took good firsts, who had taken a year out and weren’t doing very much, and I thought that this was a good opportunity for them to do something with themselves.”
He added: “We are providing a service for students and highlighting an important issue — student debt.”