OUSU to throw the book at exam regulations

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Freshers may no longer be lumbered with a hefty copy of the University of Oxford Exam Regulations.

An OUSU motion, subject to yesterday’s Council vote, called for the distribution of the rules online only. Currently thousands of copies of the book are handed to students upon their arrival at the University.

But the 1125-page document which is “rarely, if ever” used by students is also available online on the University’s website.

The motion, proposed by St Peter’s student Joel Beevers, also stated that “most of the content of the book is not applicable to each student” and that “the environmental and financial costs of the printing and distribution… are unacceptable given the book’s limited use.”

It also resolved to “condemn the waste of mass printing” by the University.

Students were supportive of the proposal to axe the publication of Exam Regulations. Sownak Bose, a physics finalist at St Catz, said: “It’s a cost-effective and space spacing measure, since it is quite a bulky book, and having it online would enable people to access it any time if required.


“You can jump to the section relevant to your degree, rather than trawling through the entire contents.”

He added: “Since you only really need to read the section once (if at all), there’s no point in having a permanent physical copy. I doubt most people read it religiously before the exams anyway.”

Mark Backhouse, a first year mathematician at Lincoln who has just received a copy of the 2012/13 regulations said: “I only wanted to carry one suitcase up three flights of stairs to my room on that first day, not two. It’s actually a pretty good doorstop.”

Another Fresher who did not wish to be named said: “I’d say it’s nice to have a doorstop but it does seem to be a vast waste of money for something that you will only glance at once or twice. On the other hand if it were a PDF I would probably not glance at it at all.”

Although the “grey book” currently retails at £45.13 on Amazon, it is handed out to all new students and members of staff upon their arrival in Oxford.

OUSU President David J Townsend told The Oxford Student: “It is a decision for OUSU Council, but I certainly hope that this motion will pass. It’s ridiculous to print and distribute thousands of these books when 95 per cent of the book is irrelevant to any given student, and all the information is available online anyway.

He added: “How many students really need to know the regulations governing the degree of Doctor of Divinity?  It’s sad to think of how much better the University could have spent its time and money than printing thousands of door stops.”

If the motion is passed, Townsend and the Vice President will lobby the University to abolish the printing of the book.

The University was unavailable to comment when contacted by The Oxford Student on Tuesday.

photo/James Restall

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