Hertford bar hangs in balance

News

Hertford students have organised a campaign against the privatisation of their college bar.

In an emergency meeting of the JCR on Tuesday, members unanimously voted to oppose efforts to privatise the bar and to issue a formal appeal to administrators that the bar continue to be student-run.

Administrators met yesterday to discuss the fate of the bar, but had not yet reached a conclusion by press time.

JCR President Mak Bavcic attended the meeting on behalf of students and presented the results of a recent JCR study on student opinion.

The study found that 96 percent of JCR members and 94 percent of MCR members disapprove of the bar losing its student management.

College Bursar Simon Lloyd confirmed that administrators were considering alternative options for the bar, but refused to comment on the College’s reasons for wanting to privatise it.

Bavcic said he believes the College wants to privatise the bar in order to curb bad behaviour there. Recent incidents involving the Hertford Penguins, a drinking society, may also play a role in the administration’s push for private management.

A Hertford finalist said she thinks trying to improve behaviour is a poor excuse for privatising the bar.

“The College is concerned about attracting the right kind of applicants and preventing the development of  a “booze culture”. I understand their concerns in light of the recent Penguin affair, but given last year’s performance on the Norrington table [we were 6th], it seems to me that we’re pretty much getting the right people already. Why attempt to change our demos now?”

More than 130 students had joined a Facebook group entitled “If they privatise Hertford College Bar, I will boycott it” by yesterday afternoon.

A second-year History student said she thinks the College hasn’t been forthcoming about its plans to do away with the bar’s student management.

“No one really knows what’s going on, and they’re being very secretive,” she said.

Hertford’s bar is one of the few student-run college bars in Oxford. It attracts students from many colleges besides Hertford.

The Hertford finalist said: “Hertford bar is renowned throughout the University and for it to be taken out of the hands of the JCR will inevitably mean that the atmosphere down there changes. The prices will go up and less people will go.”