Thought I’d write this in the afternoon whilst my thoughts are still vaguely coherent. It’s been a pretty hectic week so I thought that I’d give the low down right here.
On Monday we had the dreaded Rent Negotiations that actually turned out to be ok! We have accepted a rise in rent by 2.71% in line with VNI on the basis that we do not want to see a massive hike up next year, particularly when inflation is still set to rise. As compensation, we came to these decisions:
1) The battel charge for First Years of £15 for Monday night of 0th week has been scrapped from now on. This cost will just be absorbed into normal rent charges.
2) Magie Lane 7 & 8 buildings will have showers fixed as soon as is practically posssible. Complete renovation of the buildings (inc. kitchens) are planned to start next year summer 2018 for ML7, and summer 2019 for ML8. If showers are not fixed by this Tinrity Term, then Magpie buildings will be downgraded to band C.
3) All freshers with specific medical / religious dietary requirements should, from October be housed in First Year accommodation with kitchens. In addition, a termly food committee will meet to discuss issues with hall will be set up, so that issues are addressed swiftly and effectively quickly.
4) College provides food for students from Tuesday dinner of week 0 through to and including Friday lunch of week 9 – this will be advertised to the JCR. Beyond that provision needs should be raised at Food Committee although it has to understood that there are significant issues with extending the service.
5) The Beer Cellar is to be re-painted. After this re-decoration, photos will be permitted to be put up and they have also agreed we can make it colourful with a mural. Our design proposals require formal and advance approval by the Domestic Bursar. The Welfare/Meeting Room is also to be decorated and this will be discussed with the Domestic Bursar.
6) Lowering accommodation costs for 4th year scientists is to be taken to JCC on Friday 4th week. This has been recognised as a pressing concern that should be taken to university / department level. Exploration of the issues at JCC expose the Governing Body to the facts.
That’s all on that front. We hope everyone is in agreement that this will see some significant changes to rooms and student life at college. If anyone would like to read the original paper or look at how college came to the 2.71% rent rise let me know.
On top of this, I also presented the Senior Tutor with a paper on Suspension Policy this week. The following changes/adjustments have been made or points have been reiterated:
- The Suspension Guide is up on the JCR website that students can look to for an overview of Suspension Policy. Remember that is you are thinking of suspension, there are some great podcasts on the University Counselling website!
- Regarding access to the library, a decision has been made that any student returning from suspension in a term in which they are sitting University exams is given the option of coming back into residence two weeks before the start of term and so will have full access to College facilities from then. This is a compromise to our proposal to allow access to library facilities in the run-up to a student’s return to college. If you are thinking of suspending and know that certain texts are in the Corpus library needed for collections upon return, or a similar situation, then the college allows the possibility of library access to be discussed with your tutors, Senior Tutor and Academic Registrar. The official college line is this: “Students whose status is suspended are not normally allowed to use the College’s library or IT facilities. Students are encouraged to discuss the academic support they might need with their College Tutor(s) and/or the Senior Tutor, and each case will be judged on its own individual merits.” If you want someone to talk you through what you can ask for/discuss in the run-up to your decision to suspend, please talk to myself or the AccAff and Suspended Students Officer.
- It is being discussed with the Peer Support Group at the moment whether suspended students will be able to keep in touch with a Peer Supporter throughout the year of suspension as a point of reference to the University Counselling Services (which can still be used in this year out) or simply as a point of checking in.
- Use of JCR Guest Room by suspended students is allowed. Instead of another student having to book one in their name and it being added to their battels, a suspended student can book one in their own name and just pay cash (or cheque) on collection of the keys from the lodge.
- Regarding accommodation arrangements upon re-entering college the following has been added to the letter given to students who are suspending: “Accommodation cannot be guaranteed but will, if at all possible, be provided to you when you return to your studies. Once you have satisfied the above condition you will be informed of the rooms that are available and you will be able to select the room you would like to move into. If, on the extremely rare occasion, the College is unable to provide accommodation you will be notified as soon as this is known.” It is very very unlikely that no room will be available and where there is a choice of rooms, suspended students will now be able to choose where they would like to live.
Again, I hope that these changes satisfy some concerns students have had over suspension. Obviously I am aware that these are not all the changes to suspension policy that JCR members wanted to see, but I hope it is a step in the right direction. If anyone would like to see the paper I have written on the matter, please let me know.
Also this week I attended Welfare Lunch on Tuesday where we promoted UNITY WEEK starting as of today. An equal opps meeting was also held on this day to discuss the final arrangements for the week.
Other than that I have had several meetings with individuals finalising some of the details as laid out above. I also met with our Charity Officer, Teneeka, to discuss how to use the excess charity budget. An email will be going out soon about a competition opening up whereby JCR members can propose events/campaigns that will spend the money and also raise money for charity. This will run alongside a competition on decorating the beer cellar.
That’s all that went down this week (though it is quite a lot). There’ll be another busy update next week as JCC meeting will have occurred, but will let you know what happens with that at the time!