New College has told students planning to return to College not to do so for the time being because “there are far too many names for us to be able to accommodate you all”.

The email to students informing them of this news said that even those with “prior approval must not” return “unless you have prebooked travel or if you have no other choice”. This is not thought to be a permanent demand from the college, but a holding one while they review the numerous applications they have received from students wishing to return to Oxford.

This came with a reminder of the strictness of the exemptions under which students were supposedly allowed to return in the first place, and a warning that: “For every student that returns to College, I have to ask a member of staff to leave the safety of their homes to return to College to support you.”

The email also appeared to accuse some students of seeking to return for “social reasons”, adding that the same lockdown restrictions apply at home as in college, and that the “College will take a very hard line on rule breakers”.

The College will now “review the entire list of requests and reject a number of those who currently have approval.” This decision came alongside a plea for some students to withdraw their applications to return so as to “ensure that only those who really need to return can do so”.

When approached for comment by The Oxford Blue, New College’s Warden, Miles Young, said: “New College students who fall under the guidelines of the Government and University are very welcome to come back. Those who are here are very welcome to stay, of course. The former will be notified tomorrow. Those who do not must follow Government guidance which is very clear and for the moment remain at home.”

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.