College students can’t all display model behaviour, so it’s natural to assume that some sort of control comes to play, when the student body misbehaves. In most colleges at Cambridge University this is a variety of fines, ranging from £15 for missed tutorials to the steep £125-£500 for daring to light a cigarette indoors among other frowned-upon activities.
Libraries in particular seem to benefit the most from fines for overdue books. It’s estimated that just within a one year period, university libraries secured around £50 million from fines. Given the fact that libraries rarely manage sufficient funding, this may seem usual, but over-fining might seem to be rather unfair.
This is why St John’s college has chosen an alternative to monetary fines and that is manual labour, such as cleaning toilets and digging trenches. Given that not all students have equal financial ability, this punishment will serve as an equalizer.