Corpus finalists removed from college

Corpus finalists have been moved to off-site accommodation and second years to North Oxford as renovation work begins at the College.

Undergraduate students from across all years at Corpus Christi are returning to entirely new accommodation this week, as long-contested plans for renovation begin.

Corpus Christi will start major work demolishing the New Building on Merton Street this term, where Corpus first-years are usually housed. The subsequent displacement of freshers necessitates a full accommodation reshuffle.

This has particularly affected third-years, who usually live in college.

Third year Physics student Dan Shearer commented that the complex living arrangements are “a failure on the college’s side for not wanting to engage the JCR in a discussion about what they wanted”. 

Shearer also remarked: “The JCR committee at the time was partly to blame, as they had a very hostile attitude to members of the SCR which meant that there was a lack of political manoeuvring space when it came to the discussion table.”

The renovation works were originally intended to affect last year’s finalists. However, delays due to efforts by The Twentieth Century Society campaign to have the New Building listed meant that planning was only obtained last year.

The JCR’s attempts to keep finalists in college were unsuccessful.

Corpus’ JCR Accommodation Rep Sam Breen stated: “Given the logistical nightmare that is shutting down a major accommodation building and having to find space for everyone, I believe both the college and the JCR have coped extremely well. Due to the way our ballot system works, finalists get priority in choosing rooms and as such all are no more than a ten minute walk away from Corpus. It is a shame however that they will not be able to enjoy the more beautiful college rooms.”

However, Shearer maintains the finalists are housed further than claimed, “around 20 to 30 minutes away from college”.

Other finalists and second-years have been moved to North Oxford, with ten students as far away as Staverton Road – two streets up from Oxford’s most northerly undergraduate college, St Hugh’s.

Current OUSU President Louis Trup’s 2013 manifesto included a proposition that St Hugh’s be connected to central Oxford via monorail, due to its significant displacement from the city centre.

A second year History student commented: “The location is unbelievably annoying…when we applied to Corpus, no one told us that this would happen – many people chose the college for its location at the heart of Oxford”.

Not all students are unhappy about the accommodation shifts. First-year Jemimah Taylor said freshers recognized the inconvenience to finalists; however, they also “appreciate that the College are keeping the first-years closer and are all quite excited about getting to live in the loveliest accommodation”.

The College did not reply to our request for comment.

PHOTO/Monika Kostera