Various Oxford colleges are contacting their students to set out whether students will be permitted to stay in residence after the end of Trinity term, taking account of the disrupted student experience since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic last March.
Colleges’ policies vary based on what The Oxford Blue has seen so far. But in principle, many colleges seem to agree that student demands to stay beyond the end of 8th week of Trinity term are justified.
Who will be allowed to stay, and for how long, seem to be the main points of contention. St John’s College, for example, are extending the leave to remain only to finalist students and only for the duration of 9th week. Even then, students’ final year “decanal record” will be taken into account when applications to stay, which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, meaning that students’ past behaviour could be used against them in their attempt to stay into 9th week. This is also a period when final examinations will be in progress, and noise restrictions will thus be retained for the duration.
By contrast, Somerville College are not at this point attempting to limit who can stay after the traditional end date of term on Saturday of 8th week, which this year falls on June 19th. Moreover, Somerville are currently saying that students will be permitted to remain in college accommodation until 10th and even 11th week, although the college’s “pre-existing commercial obligations” mean that the number of rooms available to students at this point may be limited. In the case that more students want to stay at this time than are logistically able to, then the college “will have to consider prioritising certain years”.
Similarly to St John’s, noise restrictions will be in place while exams are ongoing, and breaking the restrictions, it has been warned, could lead Somerville to “revoke permission to stay”. Somerville College’s JCR president, however, has said that activities have been planned for 11th week, when the noise restrictions will have been lifted. These activities, it is hoped, will help students to “properly enjoy College and Oxford”.
A comparable set of arrangements have been planned at Wadham too, although extended residency will come to an end at the end of 10th week (ending on Saturday, July 3rd) rather than continuing into 11th week. As at Somerville, though, undergraduate students from all years will have the chance to stay in their term-time accommodation. Wadham acknowledged that the reopening of mass events such as “nightclubs” would make students keen to stay in Oxford after the last set of coronavirus restrictions are set to be lifted by the Government on June 21st.
Despite the noise ban in 9th week, special events have been planned by Wadham to take place in both 9th and 10th week, including “a garden party for leavers”. Contingency plans are in place in case social distancing measures do remain in place after June 21st.
Meanwhile, Christ Church has explained to alumni that there will be disruption to their “Gaudy” schedule due to students staying in residence after the end of term. Gaudies are dinners held for alumni to celebrate the “life-long connection between the House [as Christ Church is sometimes known] and its Members”.
In an email to alumni, Simon Offen, the Vice President of the Christ Church Association, explained that students were being allowed to stay beyond the end of term as many would not have been able to return to Christ Church until May 17th and that events including rowing races as well as some examinations had been pushed back as a result.
It would appear, then, that numerous Oxford colleges are making plans to essentially extend term as far as residency is concerned so that students can finally enjoy Oxford fully after over a year of coronavirus-related restrictions.
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