Current Affairs

Magdalen imposes new restrictions on freshers after two large gatherings reported

Magdalen College has emailed JCR members to introduce new restrictions on freshers’ social lives after reports of two large gatherings within College grounds.

In the email, sent on Wednesday, Magdalen’s Deans of Arts expressed “utmost exasperation” about the incidents.

According to the email, a “large gathering” of freshers took place in the College’s Waynflete Building on Tuesday. There was a second report of “a gathering of approximately 30 fresher students” in the Deer Park tent on Tuesday night.

The second gathering took place after the tent had closed, and without social distancing in place. The College says that it will “trawl” through CCTV footage to identify those who attended the Deer Park gathering.

As a result of the incidents, Magdalen will tighten its rules on social interactions, banning first years from hosting any guests in their rooms or any other part of the College.

Freshers were also warned that they would be met with fines or the removal of their accommodation entitlement should they break the new, tougher, rules. The email says that the College will be left with “no choice but to further restrict the already limited opportunities for socialising that currently exist on a larger scale”.

The emailed continued: “The actions of a portion of the fresher body threaten to undermine their sacrifices through continued and widespread disregard for the safety measures in place. This is patently unacceptable”.

The email ended with a warning against students “standing by while others create a risk to the community”.

Oxford colleges have introduced a number of restrictions on socialising in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 through the university, alongside a host of safety measures and intensified cleaning regimes.

Magdalen, along with Brasenose College, had previously adopted a more relaxed approach to other colleges, allowing students to host one guest from outside their household bubble in their room.

Two days prior to the email, the Senior Dean of Arts had warned students of harsh penalties should social distancing rules be breached, but also commended “a great deal of responsible behaviour” within the College.

Magdalen College has been contacted for comment.

Oliver Shaw

Oliver (he/him) is the Senior Current Affairs Editor at The Oxford Blue for the summer vacation and Michaelmas 2020. Oliver lives in Warwickshire and is entering his final year studying History at Merton College.