Hundreds of public school students suffer food poisoning after high-society ball


Hundreds of toff students at Oxford University have been struck down with suspected food poisoning after attending a high-society ball.

The undergraduates complained of experiencing sickness and diarrhoea just days after the boozy Mansfield College Ball on Saturday February 2.

University chiefs have ordered an investigation into the outbreak after dozens of students failed to turn up for seminars and lectures while they recovered.

The outbreak was deemed so serious that the Environment Health have ordered students to see their GPs and have bodily samples to find the cause of the outbreak.

Mansfield Ball President Anna Ploszajski said: “We have had reports from a minority of students of virus-like effects like vomiting and diarrhoea.

“There have been allegations of food poisoning.

“It appears to be the seafood bar that has come under questioning.

“Mansfield College are carrying out a full investigation into the possible cause of the illness and until the investigation is complete, I am unable to offer a suggestion as to what has brought on the symptoms.

“This unfortunate incident should not, and will not, belittle the achievement of what has been the culmination of almost two years of preparation.

“The event has consistently been trumpeted as unquestionably the most successful ball in Mansfield’s history.”

Junior Dean Claire Palmer emailed students last week, stating: “We have had a number of reports regarding students (Main Site and Off-site) feeling unwell with a suspected virus.”

“The College has been in contact with the Environmental Health and Public Health Authorities.

“Environmental Health has requested that all students who have experienced symptoms in the last few days contact their GPs so that samples can be taken (and the guilty organisms readily identified).”

Founded in 1838, Mansfield College is one of the oldest constituent colleges in Oxford with 375 undergraduates, graduates and visiting scholars.

Past students include MP Chris Bryant and BBC presenter and investigative journalist Justin Rowlatt.


  1. Mansfield is one of the newest colleges in Oxford, several hundred years newer than most. And it’s students are 85% state educated.

  2. So much wrong with this; considering that you’re a press agency I would be worried:
    1. ‘Hundreds’ of people did not become ill, maybe tens of people did.
    2. Mansfield became a college in 1995, it is the second newest college out of about 30.
    3. There are more state school students who study at Mansfield than students who were publicly educated. Mansfield has the highest proportion of state school students out of all Oxford colleges.
    4. It’s not certain that people had food poisoning.
    5. ‘University chiefs’ have not ordered an investigation. One of the managers at Mansfield is coordinating everything.
    6. Mansfield students aren’t ‘toffs’.
    7. It was not a ‘high-society’ ball.

  3. There have been 55 reported cases of the illness, so ‘hundreds’ of students is a massive overstatement.
    Plenty of people have already commented on the blatantly false statement regarding Mansfield’s age on the Telegraph page – Mansfield was founded as a PPH, not a college, in 1886, and we only became a college in 1995, making us the second youngest college overall and the youngest to accept undergraduates (Harris Manchester is the youngest, accepting only grad students).
    Finally, as the majority of those struck ill were Mansfielders, it’s highly unlikely that many were from public schools. So basically your headline is complete and utter rubbish, and the first sentence is possibly even worse. Deeming a group of people you know absolutely nothing about except that they go to Oxford and caught food poising ‘toffs’ is prejudiced, inaccurate, and unjustified.


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