Boat race protester threatened with deportation

Trenton Oldfield, the man who in April 2012 protested against the Boat Race by swimming into the path of the boats, is being threatened with deportation. He would thereby be separated from his wife and young child. The Home Office holds that his actions showed him to be someone whose presence in the UK is “not conducive to the public good”.

The following is the text of a letter which will be sent to The Guardian and posted online. If you are affiliated with Oxford or Cambridge and wish to sign, please send your name, title and affiliation as soon as possible to

Please circulate to staff, students and alumni.

As staff, students, and alumni of Cambridge and Oxford Universities, we are calling on the Home Secretary to stop deportation proceedings against Trenton Oldfield for disrupting the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race in April 2013.

We neither believe that this action constituted an infraction serious enough to warrant such a heavy penalty, nor accept that it establishes that Mr Oldfield is ‘undesirable, has unacceptable associations and could be considered a threat to national security’.

The Boat Race is a game; its disruption should not result in any individual’s deportation. Certainly its disruption should not be cause to separate an individual from his family, which includes a recently-born child.

We note that the race was completed successfully and no one was harmed by Mr Oldfield’s actions. We do not wish this draconian penalty to be applied in the name of an event representing our institutions.


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