By Jacob Furedi: The drunken travails of Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim — a shambolic junior academic — have long become a byword for the excesses of university life.
Flirting, seduction and seeing how many pints you could fit in between lectures were once relatively harmless pastimes on campuses across Britain.
Yet today, too many universities seem determined to nanny students who are deemed too fragile to be exposed to the rough and tumble of the real world.
Consider the fact that, this week, it emerged that all new students arriving at Oxford and Cambridge are being asked to attend ‘consent classes’ aimed at preventing rape and sexual harassment at the universities.
At Oxford, the courses are compulsory as part of freshers’ week, while the student union is urging rugby players to attend anti-sexism workshops to fight ‘lad culture’.
At Cambridge, consent classes are also being held for freshers, with students of some colleges having to opt out if they don’t wish to attend.
Not everyone is happy to accept instruction in how to avoid raping somebody or becoming a rape victim, however.
At York University, a number of students on campus recently protested against their own ‘sexual consent class’ by walking out.
According to union officials, the lessons were necessary to protect students’ ‘well-being’, suggesting they had rather forgotten that the students they were attempting to instruct were actually adults.