A motion passed by the St Hugh’s JCR will “constitutionally mandate” president Tom Pope to wear a papal mitre to all future meetings and bops.
He will also be encouraged to “take it upon himself to extend this policy to all of his official engagements as JCR President”.
The motion, passed by a significant margin at Sunday night’s JCR meeting noted that “Pope is an excellent surname”, and additionally is “the title of the leader of the Catholic Church”.
Whilst Academic and Access rep William Golightly was keen to point out that the crown worn by Benedict XVI and his predecessors is technically called a ‘tiara’, this was accepted as an amendment to the motion.
A further amendment saw Environment and Ethics rep, Oli Bishop, also mandated to adopt Catholic-style headware as a result of his surname. The amended motion will require Bishop to wear a mitre under the same circumstances as Pope.
Whilst the motion will not require that Pope don the headgear for his presidential commitments outside of college, he will be encouraged to wear his crown at OUSU council and on similar occasions.
Pope commented: “Given the remarkable coincidence of two members of the Committee sharing the names of positions in the church hierarchy, I think we owed it to Oxford to bring this into the public domain and to raise the profile of our committee both within and outside of St Hugh’s.
“While I hold no papal authority, and the JCR remains a secular community, hopefully this symbol of prestige will make me more recognisable around St Hugh’s and encourage those students with concerns to approach me as their representative.”
Bishop said: “Although I was not in favour of the motion initially, after further reflection I feel that wearing the costume will be beneficial in raising the profile of E&E issues both in and out of college.
“Additionally, I will no longer have to spend every other Saturday afternoon in Primark and Poundland in search of a bop costume.”
Members of the Hugh’s JCR were equally enthusiastic. Walid Haddad, a third year historian, who was named as the ‘Funniest Member of the JCR 2012’, said at the meeting: “As the official funniest member of the JCR, I wholeheartedly support the JCR’s decision to mandate Pope and Bishop to wear the respective headgear. Given our JCR’s progressive, secular and inclusive reputation, I look forward to our JCR increasingly modelling itself on religious institutions. Religious banter is the best kind of banter.”
Ellie Wilson, a third year lawyer added: “The JCR took advantage of one of the rare instances in which a Pope is quite universally supported by a diverse group of young people.”
She went on to say: “Did you know, the Vatican has 2.27 Popes per square kilometre. St Hugh’s has 16.10 Popes per square kilometre. Our pope-ulation density is just one of the acclaimed strengths of St Hugh’s College.”
The motion also included the resolution “to amalgamate the positions of President and pontiff”. Aside from the wearing of the hat, it is unclear how this will alter Pope’s role.
It is not the first time in recent weeks that an Oxford JCR has sought to incorporate elements of other leadership positions into the role of President. In 2nd week a motion was narrowly defeated at Worcester College to retitle their president, William Valori as ‘Pharaoh’, after the Ancient Egyptian term was misspelt in the motion.