A University of Cambridge student was captured on film as he set hire to a £20 note in order to taunt a homeless man. Dressed in an outfit that included tails and a bow tie, the top Tory student tried to light the money on fire in front of the freezing man. A surprised bystander recorded the video and posted it online via social media site Snapchat.
The passerby filming the video alternated between recording the student and the man, as the student attempted to burn the banknote. In the clip, the student said, “Some homeless shelter” just before the filming ended. Reportedly, the incident occurred on February 2nd, sometime in the early morning.
Ronald Coyne was named as the student in the video by the Cambridge University Conservative Association (CUCA). Coyne had been their communications officer, but was asked to step down and leave the group after the release of the video.
A spokesman for CUCA called the actions of Coyne “disgusting and abhorrent”.
The spokesman also said, “The CUCA committee became aware of serious allegations against Ronald Coyne late last week concerning his private behavior.
“There is no room for people who behave like that in our Association, any other University Association, or frankly our University.
“This disgusting and abhorrent behavior occurred completely independently of CUCA, and did not take place before or after any CUCA event.”
“His resignation was immediately demanded and we determined the appropriate response to be to permanently revoke his membership and bar him from all future events, which we did on Saturday.”
Ken Clarke, the former cabinet minister, has previously been chairman of the CUCA. The group’s Honorary Vice Presidents include Andrew Mitchell, the former chief whip, and Lord Speaker Lord Fowler.
Historian Andrew Roberts, who wrote ‘Napoleon the Great’, is the current Honorary President of CUCA.
Burning a £50 banknote to taunt the homeless is an act that some suspect may be an intuition ritual of the infamous Bullingdon club in Oxford.
A Cambridge University spokesman said: ‘The University is committed to respecting the rights and dignity of all members of our community.
‘We expect our students to treat others with respect, courtesy and consideration at all times, and the University takes allegations of unacceptable behaviour very seriously.
‘We do not comment on individual cases.’