Christ Church students have been offered £1,500 to forego College accommodation for the next academic year.
As part of the College’s “rolling programme of accommodation improvement”, refurbishments to the historical Peckwater Quad have been scheduled to take place in the academic year of 2015/2016, decreasing the number of rooms available to JCR members.
In an email sent to Christ Church JCR members on Monday 3rd November, Senior Censor Professor David Nowell and JCR President Louise Revell insinuated that next year the College will be unable to accommodate all JCR members, and invited junior members to volunteer to find alternative accommodation.
Subject to final Governing Body approval, the College has offered each of those who live out a subsidy of £1,500, the promise of priority in the room ballot for the following year (behind scholars, exhibitioners and JCR executive officers), and an extra guest dinner priority pass for the year during which the student lives outside of College accommodation.
The scheme of incentives will extend to approximately 40 students. Should more students volunteer to find alternative accommodation, a ballot will decide who may take advantage of the offer. Conversely, if fewer than 40 students apply, those who come at the bottom of the general room ballot for 2015-16 will be forced to live out.
Concerning the reception of the College’s proposed accommodation plans, JCR President Louise Revell commented: “The email explaining the refurbishment plans was only sent [on Monday] so it is too early to gauge what the general opinion is and how many people will go for the scheme. The JCR Officers were consulted about the plans and proposed benefits before the email was sent.”
Until now, Christ Church’s accommodation policy for JCR members has been that “students are eligible for college accommodation throughout their undergraduate degree”, either on the main College site or in nearby locations.
In recent years students at New College have also been affected by sudden changes to accommodation policies. In the 2012/2013 academic year, a surge in the number of successful applicants applying to New College, coupled with an unprecedented number of fourth-year students, dramatically reduced the number of rooms available to third-years.
With regard to the approach proposed at Christ Church, a third-year English student at the College commented: “There are always people who want to live out, so it’s not a disastrous solution. But it’s still a big ask for students to be split three ways in second year (between College, the Liddell building and now those forced out).
“The incentive is pretty tempting – maybe especially for fourth years, but it amounts to a huge sum for College to give away. There better be plenty of tourists flooding through the gates next year…”