To our readers,
We know it’s been an unusual term. Not having a physical paper has been disappointing, to say the least for the OxStu editorial team, but we like to think we have continued to create worthwhile and interesting content for you.
Moving forward, we have exciting plans to transform and modernise the paper for the times we live in, and more on this will come out in detail soon. Ultimately, our position is as a voice for students, whether you want to write for us, or whether our articles begin conversations in themselves.
From all of us who have worked hard this term, we appreciate your audience, and we look forward to the future.
Lauren Shirreff and Josh Boddington
Editors-in-Chief, Michaelmas 2020
Highlights of a term away from Oxford:
In March, we learnt that a collaboration between the University’s Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group clinical teams, would conduct a trial aimed to determine “the feasibility of vaccination against COVID-19 and could lead to early deployment” according to Professor Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute.
On the same day, we gave you a look into the lockdown life of some students, who had created a virtual Oxford in Minecraft. This project has since expanded to cover most key buildings in the city.
At the beginning of April, with lockdown in full swing, our Comment team took to the issue of inequality in the UK’s education system, as differences in access to the fundamental resources necessary for online education is not universal.
Our profile team conducted an insightful interview with Samuel Francois, a professor at Wuhan University’s Faculty of Medicine, about his experience living in the coronavirus cradle, and how the local government’s approach to tackling the virus meant a crucial loss of time in slowing the spread.
Features this term gave many students the opportunity to speak about their experiences in these unprecedented times. The ‘Optimistic Oxford’ series brought you positive stories in a world that seemed so negative.
On the individual experience, Features highlighted the struggles of international students trying to get home. Jackie Brown gave their account of being stuck in quarantine and her journey from Oxford.
The university’s response to Coronavirus has been challenged continuously this term, and it only exposed deep flaws in the University’s accessibility as we reported on the failing of the University to provide adequate lecture capture for students with disabilities.
Credit is due here to Suzie Murray writing for the Cherwell, who exposed problems with the University’s Sexual Violence and Harassment Support Service, and we covered an open letter penned by Oxford Speak Out Oxford and Oxford SU It Happens Here (IHH) demanding the University address these issues.
The Identity section continued to highlight the BAME experience, and in the wake of the powerful Black Lives Matter movement following the murder of George Floyd by police in America, Toye Oladinni discussed in depth the problems with police training attitudes.
The deep-rooted issues of racism in Oxford were brought to the forefront of conversations beginning with controversy in the Oxford Union, and many students were united in their outrage over a hustings event held in Christ Church College at the beginning of June.
Our Broadcast Team also went to the Black Lives Matter protest in Oxford, which was followed a few days later by a protest organised by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign.
In a move that will no doubt please many campaigners who have fought for this moment for years, the Governing Body of Oriel College has expressed their wish to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes above the College’s High Street entrance. It has also said that the King Edward Street plaque should be removed.
Our new OxYou sought to satirise a term in need of some lightheartedness and our lovely Dean of Hearts was here to aid in all your romantic woes.
For some members of the LGBTQ+ community, Oxford is a place to express yourself away from the prejudices that may be felt back home. Forcing students into lockdown meant some people were stuck with family members unaware of either their child’s true identity or fully aware and unsupportive. Our Pink section brought to light and gave a platform for students to talk about the problems they may face at home, and serve as a place to assure them they are not alone.
Blending Pink with Culture, Crowds at a festival recalled ‘a beautiful queer moment’ from Leeds Festival in 2019, expressing how music really is the food of all love.
Speaking of Culture, our Art, Music, Stage and Screen, and Literature sections flourished under a wonderful team of editors and contributors. We detailed the student experience, culture in lockdown, and brought you stories to laugh about and think about, taking a break from the impact of News.
Right at the end of March, Martha Storey told us how our ‘imprisonment’ could be an inconvenient but effective way of blocking out the distractions of our ordinary lives and an opportunity to be creative in a way we never normally would.
Sasha Gill implored the cinematic world to stop with their live-action remakes.
Speaking of cinema, we were given a witty yet thought-provoking insight into the cinematic world of our University and how it has been (mis)represented in the industry, and what that means for how we think about it in popular terms.
New challenges were faced by all degrees this term, but the Fine Art Students perhaps were faced with the most unique: how would they exhibit physical work in a digital world.
We also brought you profiles on a student filmmaker and student artists, as well as reviews of student performances to bring you as close as possible that familiar cultural bubble of Oxford from the comfort of your home.
Food and Drink served up an array of wonderful recipes, from trends to comfort foods, never failing to sate our palettes.
Alice Hopkinson-Woolley also brought a little bit of the Oxford bar scene into our kitchens with her exclusive collection of College Drink recipes.
Sci-Tech of course took on an especially relevant position this term, with insights into Coronavirus testing, the technology of disease control, and the crisis of PPE shortages.
Not just a place for information, the team cautioned against the dangers of relying too greatly on government oversight to limit the spread of disease, and how far the powers we allow them might never go away.
The brand new Gaming section took over from sports this term to fill a void in our leisure times, recommending games to play with friends or focus on alone.
We also brought you four Broadsheets to summarise some of the best articles of the week, and showcase the issues that would have deserved front-page news in a regular term.
Last but not least, our fantastic team of illustrators and designers have worked hard to spice up the imagery of the articles you see across the board, and we really can’t thank them enough for these beautiful artworks.
We can’t possibly list all of the incredible work done by our team and our contributors this term, but hopefully, this gives you a little insight into the best work we do as a paper. If you’re interested in being involved with the team, applications are now open for the Main Editorial Team, Broadcast Teams and the Creative Team until Saturday 20th June at 6pm.
Image Credit: Verity Cridland