Christ Church JCR has voted against the creation of an Equal Opportunities Committee.
The motion, brought forward by Marco Narajos, proposed the creation of a JCR subcommittee to “ensure that all students are treated equally within the College regardless of background and that none is discriminated against in any JCR activity.”
The motion stated that “there are still issues with equality and awareness in college” and noted that the Christ Church JCR lacked representatives for ethnic minorities and disabled students. It was proposed that an equal opportunities subcommittee be formed, composed of an Equal Opportunities Representative, an International Students Representative, an Ethnic Minorities Representative, an LGBTQ Welfare Officer, a Disabled Students Representative, Female and Male Welfare Representatives, a Women’s Representative, and an Access & Academic Affairs Officer. It was proposed that this committee would organise events, have access to the JCR mailing list and meet at least once a term.
In an email to the JCR the day after the motion was rejected, Christ Church JCR President Louise Revell informed students that “the motion as it stands did not pass”. She stressed that whilst “everybody is very behind improving our equal opportunities provision in Christ Church” and current provision is “not satisfactory”, it was the opinion of the JCR committee that “the sub-committee system in the motion was not necessarily the best way to address this issue”.
Revell also asked that any students with opinions or suggestions concerning the motion send them to her by 11:59 on Thursday, in order that they could be collated and discussed, and an amended motion voted on at the next GM.
Narajos’ motion also noted that “queer students who fall outside the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender categories are not openly welcomed by the position known as ‘LGBT welfare officer’.” Following the GM, it was resolved that the position should be renamed the LGBTQIA welfare officer.
Concerning the failure to pass the motion, one Christ Church student commented: “Although Christ Church doubtless needs a disabled students and BME representative, I think rejecting the initial motion was the right decision.
“Now we can get the whole college’s opinion and pass a motion that everyone can get on board with at the next GM. “
A 3rd year Christ Church student stated that “the decision by the JCR to not create an equal opportunities committee is very disappointing.
“Christ Church has long had a reputation as being aristocratic, conservative and unwelcome to students from diverse backgrounds, and the creation of this committee would have been a positive step forward to improving the college’s image.”
Another student disagreed, saying that “while Christ Church students are definitely committed to increasing diversity and equality, it was not felt that the creation of this committee was the correct way to deal with these issues; hence the margin of the vote in the GM. It is disappointing that this issue will be misinterpreted to attempt to portray Christ Church according to outdated stereotypes.”