St Hilda’s College has submitted an application for permission to host civil marriage ceremonies.
However, some among the student body fear that this will have a negative impact on college life.
If their application is successful, the licence will enable St Hilda’s to host civil marriage and partnership ceremonies and receptions on its premises.
Voicing some concerns was first-year Hilda’s Law student David Parton, who commented: “You don’t necessarily want strangers being loud and drunk in term time as it could affect ability to work effectively.”
However, Canon Brian Mountford, Chaplain of St Hilda’s, has stated that the licence will affect students minimally, saying: “I can’t see how having a license for civil marriage could possibly affect student life and in any case nearly all weddings accepted by the college happen in the vacation.”
In addition, it is felt that this change could also have a positive impact on St Hildas’ students. Parton continued: “It’s beneficial to us to bring the money in from these events which could be reinvested into our education … it’s a great idea but probably best at specific times of the year – out of term time so it benefits everyone.”
According to the St Hilda’s website, the college provides an “elegant setting” for functions, including civil ceremonies and receptions, “either in Hall, the Brian Duke Foyer or on the lawns”.
The college’s application for a civil marriage licence to Oxfordshire County Council was made earlier this month and is currently in the public consultation phase, the results of which are to be published by 7th January 2015.
Many Oxford colleges offer religious weddings for members in their chapels, including Balliol, Brasenose, and Jesus.
However, only St Edmund Hall and Mansfield are currently licensed to host civil ceremonies.
The Principal and JCR President of St Hilda’s could not be reached for comment.