Pembroke JCR will have a confidence vote in their JCR committee at the first general meeting of Hilary term, after five committee members were disciplined for breaking COVID-19 rules.
In a letter sent to all JCR members and seen by The Oxford Student, the JCR President explained that several committee members had faced disciplinary action following breaches of COVID-19 rules. He also stated that several students had contacted him to express their disappointment.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I write with news that the Dean has taken disciplinary action against five committee members for breaking College regulations regarding household interactions on Wednesday evening. Some of you have reached out to me expressing your concern at their behaviour. I intend to now lay out a process about how to move forward, and I will present you with the full information as and when possible. However, I must ask you all the following question:
Do you feel confident in your JCR Committee, and their ability to best represent you?”
“The JCR Committee can only continue to function with your confidence, however, we will not be able to collectively answer this right now. In the first ordinary meeting of Hilary Term, I hope to formally set this question before the JCR. Leading up to that formal process in January, I would like to extend an invitation to all of you to share your concerns, either about specific committee members or more generally. As ever, my inbox is open, and any response — either positive or negative — to this email will not only be sincerely appreciated, but will also be treated with the utmost sensitivity and confidentiality. Please do respond to share your views.”
“May I reassure you that the Master and Fellows of the College are incredibly grateful for your cooperation and efforts. Furthermore, the Master has expressed his confidence that the relationship between the College and JCR of mutual respect and collaboration will, and must, continue.”
The Pembroke JCR President also highlighted that he hoped that the formal process of the confidence vote would help to rebuild trust in the JCR committee. Rumours of the breaches had been circulating around the college for several days. He thanked students for generally following COVID guidelines and emphasised that JCR members with concerns should get in touch with the committee.
This comes after Pembroke’s Home Bursar sent an email to students in late November, warning that COVID cases within the college were rising quickly as a direct result of rule breaking. A tightening of restrictions was not ruled out, including closing some catering facilities.
“The behaviour of last night is not compatible with a community living in a high risk environment and we will be discussing what action may be necessary to prevent a large scale outbreak. This may include changing arrangements around Hall/catering – and potentially closing some areas of accommodation earlier than anticipated. None of these actions are attractive but please be in no doubt that we can – and will – take decisive action to protect this community and the majority who are complying with the current rules.
Pembroke has been a community that has worked cooperatively to keep infection under control – but this behaviour is disappointing to many of us who are working so hard to support you in your studies. This period has been tough for all of us but we cannot ignore such flagrant breaches of arrangements that are in place to protect our community.
We will discuss during today what actions we may need to take – but for now we urge you to stop and think about the wider implications of your behaviour.”
Image Credit: Dave S