In two emails seen by The Oxford Blue today, Regent’s Park College has all but banned students from returning to college early for mental health reasons.

The first of the two emails is generic, outlining the college’s concern at the “many requests” it has received from students wishing to return to college and arguing their case for meeting the ” ‘exceptions’ ” that had been outlined by the University and its colleges. These exceptions were designed to protect the most vulnerable and disadvantaged students from being made further so by being stopped from returning to a more conducive working environment on campus.

Acting on their concern, Regent’s Park states in the email that “nobody should be planning a return” other than those on initial teacher training courses, and visiting and international students who had already planned their return journeys to Oxford. In the email, the college cites fears of a national lockdown as a key reason for taking this step.

The second email that The Oxford Blue has seen that has been sent by Regent’s Park seems to be addressed more specifically to those who had applied to return under the exceptions for mental health or workspace reasons. This stated that, due to the concerns raised in the first email, even those who had been pre-planning to return must now put their returns on hold while further internal discussions take place in the college.

The email goes on to say that the college is, “sorry to bring you this news, but we need to conform to University and Government rules and ensure the safety of staff and students”.

While the prospect of an imminent national lockdown makes second-guessing the Government rules difficult for any organisation, the University-wide rules do explicitly say that the exceptions that Regent’s Park now appear to be worrying about are legitimate ones for which to allow students to return.

Mitchell Marshall

Mitch (he/ him) is Editor-in-Chief for Trinity term 2021 as well as a long-suffering Sunderland fan, keen runner and general sports obsessive. His other interests include indie music, arthouse cinema, and coffee.