New Exeter JCR president Ed Nickell is leaving no stone unturned in his quest to maximise student accommodation in the centre of Oxford, including a controversial proposal to “evict the Rector” to free up space.
He was recently elected on a manifesto to “Convert the Rector’s lodgings into student rooms” and “move the Rector (who can commute) to a nicer house in North Oxford,” in an attempt to enable more Exeter students to live in college.
Nickell commented that this proposal was merely one idea amongst many, and that: “If I were David Cameron (god forbid) they’d be calling it ‘blue-sky’ thinking.”
This “blue-sky thinking” received a good-natured response from the Rector via Twitter: “Hmm. Our new JCR President’s manifesto promise is to turn the Lodgings into student housing. An imaginative start….”
Sam Perkins, a second year student, who is currently living in Cowley due to housing shortages within college, commented: “A bold move, from a bold President, but I’d say not exactly the most easily attainable of goals.”
However, Perkins went on to support the plans for evicting the Rector, saying: “Though I believe she does spend quite a lot of her time at her home in London anyway, so perhaps it wouldn’t affect her too much.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, however, this plan has not come to fruition and an agreement between the JCR and College has been reached on a less radical proposal to extend student accommodation on a new site on Walton Street, near Worcester College.
This was also pledged in the election manifesto where Nickell wrote that under his leadership the JCR would: “Demand more student rooms in Walton Street. More than the paltry dozen that will cost us millions of pounds.”
This idea has received support from the Rector, who commented: “Ed and I are in complete agreement on the need for more rooms for Exeter students in central Oxford, but we have come up with a better idea.”
“The College plans to build new accommodation on the large new site we have acquired next to Worcester.
“We plan over 90 new rooms there, many more than could be squeezed into the lodgings.”
This increase in rooms will be a huge bonus to many students at Exeter who have to find their own accommodation for both second and third year.
Numerous colleges in recent years have begun providing accommodation for all three years and it seems that Exeter will be the next college to offer this to students.
Nickell said: “Many students privately renting become stressed and distracted by housing issues, whether it be a boiler breaking or a 30 minute limp from Cowley to College on crutches. Never mind a walk of shame, for some of us it’s a trek!”
He added: “It’s important for the JCR to press for every possible improvement, hence even the most seemingly outlandish solutions should be discussed.”