Magdalen creates BME and Disability Reps

Magdalen students have voted to introduce JCR officers for Disabled Students and Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Students.

Three-quarters voted in favour of the special motion at Sunday’s meeting. 

Particular attention was drawn to the fact that Magdalen College currently has LGBTQ and Women’s officers on the JCR Committee, yet no JCR representative for Disability or BME Students.

The motion was submitted by JCR Vice-President Harry Winter. 

Winter commented: “I’m delighted with the outcome of motion I proposed, as there was overwhelming support both in the General Meeting in which the motion was passed and the JCR as a whole for increasing Magdalen’s Equal Opportunities JCR provision. It is vital that JCRs continue to promote these initiatives, as they make a real difference.

“The motion helps make Magdalen an inclusive place where everyone can thrive, with any specific concerns they might have addressed through the best channels possible.”

Opposition to the motion was raised over concerns as to the precise definition of the roles to be played and the responsibilities that the new officers’ roles would entail.

After discussion, it was decided that the officers would be “points of liaison with college who can articulate the voice of students with disabilities and of BME backgrounds to the deans and the Development Office and support any individual’s communication with them”.

They will also “work with the LGBTQ Officer and Women’s Officer to form a comprehensive Equal Opportunities Team”.

Somerville and Balliol are among the colleges with specific JCR Student Officer roles for disabled and BME students. In October last year Christ Church JCR voted against the motion to create an Equal Opportunities Officer.

Chris Pike, OUSU Vice-President for Welfare and Equal Opportunities Officer, commented: “It is incredibly exciting that Magdalen JCR has passed this motion, and I extend my congratulations to Rosie [JCR president] and all those in Magdalen who fought for this change.

“Ensuring that all common rooms have these Liberation Reps is a big priority for me and for OUSU in the coming two terms, and I will shortly be announcing an open evening to bring together everyone who wishes to see these reps introduced in their own JCR or MCR. Some have called these reps an unnecessary addition which make common room committees too large; I say that without these reps, standing up for underrepresented and undervalued groups in our society, then common room committees are missing an essential part of the reasons why they exist in the first place.”