A Cambridge academic attended a faculty meeting completely in the nude this week, in protest at Brexit. But in true British style, her colleagues made no mention of her state of undress, and the meeting passed without incident.
Dr Victoria Bateman, a lecturer in economics at Gonville and Caius College, appeared at the meeting on Wednesday with the slogan “Brexit leaves Britain naked” emblazoned across her breasts and stomach.
But the two hour meeting, called to set teaching materials, and attended by around 30 economists from colleges across the university went ahead as planned, the Telegraph has reported.
According to a colleague who was present at the meeting, Nigel Knight, director of studies at Churchill College and the chair of the meeting, glanced at Dr Bateman, then turned to his secretary and said: “I think we need some cups for the coffee.” Everyone else just stared straight ahead.
A self-proclaimed feminist, Dr Bateman has been known to embrace nudity previously: last year commissioned a nude portrait of herself by the artist Anthony Connelly in a bid to show “that behind every naked woman is a real person.”
She later referenced the painting in an article urging more girls to study traditionally male subjects such as economics.
The colleague continued: “It is well known to the faculty that she has posed naked but obviously the behaviour here was different. One thing is to pose naked and another to show up naked.
“This was a standard meeting about the teaching of economics and we moved away from her state of dress. We remained silent on that issue and managed to get through the agenda in the meeting.”
Asked whether Dr Bateman was allowed to remain at throughout the meeting while naked, the source said: “Nobody was mistreated in any way.”
Dr Bateman has been openly critical of the bid to take Britain out of the EU. In an article for Bloomberg last month she argued that the impact of Brexit would be “sizeable”, predicting that it would leave low income families between £1,861 and £5,542 a year worse off – assuming that the current fiscal deficit was bridged entirely through welfare cuts.
“Even if the welfare budget were to bear only a quarter of the fiscal adjustment needed, it would still amount to a loss of some 1,146 pounds a year for a single working parent with one child,” she insisted.
Commenting on the recent meeting, a University of Cambridge spokesman said: “We can confirm the meeting took place.”