The recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor are devastating instances of the shameful brutality and cruelty inflicted upon black members of our society on a daily basis. The Corpus JCR and MCR are categorically opposed to all forms of discrimination against the BAME community and other minority groups, but the extent and extreme nature of the violence suffered by the black community warrants a specific statement against anti-black racism.
It is 2020 and systemic anti-black racism still remains deeply embedded in society and continues to grow as a consequence of inaction. Our own institution still needs to make greater strides in critically reflecting upon and remedying the violence black students face every day, from the commemoration of colonial figures to the micro aggressions plaguing any sense of welcome or belonging. To stay quiet is to be complicit, and that should not be tolerated.
At Corpus, we stand in deep solidarity with our black community members. We strive to make the JCR and MCR not just an inclusive space but a second home for them. Our university and our college needs to be a force for change. As members, we have a responsibility to learn, reflect and consequently take action in a way that works to dismantle systems of oppression. Donate, sign petitions, protest, read and listen. Recognise the pain inflicted upon our black peers as they navigate the same systems that endow the rest of us with privilege. Educate others, and encourage them to do the same, so that they may raise awareness of the pervasiveness of anti-blackness in our society. We cannot stop until we rid our societies of racism.
Corpus plans to fight racism and racial inequality through training, education and expansion of its outreach and access programme. We hope every member of our JCR and MCR will be part of this project and actively contribute to foster a better environment for black students at Oxford in the future.
Below are some links to petitions and donations pages, as well as information about the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Yesterday evening, Corpus JCR met to table a motion about the appalling treatment of Melanie Onovo by Christchurch JCR, Christchurch College, and all the people have sent her abusive messages.
We resolved unanimously to affirm our support for Melanie. She stood up for what’s right and her JCR and college have failed her.
Corpus JCR therefore condemns the Christchurch JCR president and other committee members who were negligent in their duties.
We condemn and express our disgust at anyone who has sent Melane abusive or undermining messages.
We condemn the Christchurch deans for their handling of the situation.
We demand a public and wholehearted apology from the Christchurch JCR (their last one was not good enough) and especially from the Christchurch deans for their actions.
We refuse to take part in any collaboration project with Christchurch until these measures are carried out, with the exception of any individual at Christchurch who has signed the petition in support of Melanie.
Apologies that the blog is late this week, yesterday’s JCR meeting was especially long as we appointed our new RO and went over several motions that provoked a lot of debate. We welcome Adam Steinberg to the committee and thank Fran for all her hard work over the last year running elections and keeping an eye on the constitution. Congratulations as well to the Corpus-Somerville rugby team on their victory in the plate final on Saturday, it’s great to see Corpus’ sporting prowess on the rise!
This week is Unity Week – Megan and the Equal Opportunities committee have been hard at work arranging a range of talks, events and activies to enjoy over the week. Do get involved – there are some great events lined up, details of which can be found on Facebook.
The plans for the renovation of the JCR have been finalised ahead of the work over the summer…we look forward to the unveiling in late September! Freshers’ week planning is well underway (it seems to get earlier every year) so do get in touch if you have any ideas as to how to make it even bigger and better than last year. Zoe represented us at OxSU this week and I’m sure she’ll be happy to chat about anything that came up. This week we are meeting the head of alumni relations to discuss improvements to communications and Hannah and I will also be attending Governing Body on Wednesday. The JCR Presidents are getting together on Wednesday evening for what should hopefully be a good chance to get tips on the projects ongoing at Corpus.
A couple of fantastic opportunities have arisen over the last week and I just wanted to draw attention to them again:
- Ball Committee – we’re having a ball! It will be taking place in early May 2019 and applications are now open for the roles of ball president, secretary and treasurer. The deadline to return these to me is Saturday 2nd week, although extensions can be arranged.
- Telethon – this is a great chance for us to raise money for the JCR and a good chance for you to earn money whilst living in college for free. Hannah, our lovely VP, took part in it previously and I’m sure she would be happy to talk about the experience.
- JCR Photos – happening this Sunday! Should be good fun, see Hugo’s latest email for timings.
Lastly I just wanted to remind you about the elections in third week. The sign-up sheet for nominations has just gone up and we have a real range of positions up for election. I’d encourage you to take a look, there really is something for everyone, and it’s a great chance to get more involved in college life and join a great committee. I’m always happy to talk about the roles and what they entail…although we have now entered ‘purdah’ so committee members cannot endorse any candidates!
Hope you all enjoy Mayday, whether you choose to spend it at the O2 or catching up on some much needed sleep.
Welcome to Trinity!
Corpus seems a completely different place from the end of last term when the quad was covered in snow, and I hope that despite collections you’ve managed to enjoy the sun. In my first blog post of the term I just wanted to give a quick update on some of the things I’ve been involved with, as well as a look ahead to some of the term’s events.
1st week began today with my first drop-in session and I’m hoping to continue them over the term, so that you can have a chance to ask me anything you might have on your mind, whether suggestions, concerns or a general chat. Over the summer the JCR will be entirely refurbished, and we are completing the design process on Wednesday so I look forward to sharing the new layout with you. This evening we just had our first meeting of ‘Freshcom’, the group that organises Freshers’ week, and the preparations are well underway for what should hopefully be a fun week – if you have any suggestions for events do let me know. OxSU holds it first meeting of term on Wednesday, so Zoe and I will report back at our first JCR meeting of term, which will be next Sunday. In the meanwhile Francesca and I are welcoming nominations to be our next Returning Officer, and we hope to make an appointment next week.
The committee have been hard at work ahead of this term, and there are lots of events to look forward to. Under Meg’s leadership, Unity Week (wk 2) looks set to be even bigger than last year and there are a range of special JCR teas and talks on offer, all of which will be fully publicized shortly. I know that Ella has been working on Arts Week as well – details to follow. Don’t forget the JCR photos on the 6th May and, of course, the Tortoise Fair on the 27th May, arguably the highlight of the year.
This term will see elections at the end of week 3 – it would be fantastic to see lots of freshers running as it really is a great chance to get more involved with Corpus and be part of a great committee. I am more than happy to answer questions on hustings/what it’s like to run, so feel free to get in touch if you are considering it.
That’s all from me for now – I’m sure that there will be lots more to report after what looks like a busy first week.
First week love,
Welcome to 9th week – good luck to those of you with exams this week and congratulations to all who finished last week. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to publish a weekly blog this term, so to make up for it I’ve written a summary of some of the key things that have been going on in college the past term.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first term as JCR President and it’s certainly been a busy one, and the committee have put in a lot of hard work to ensure events such as Corpus Challenge and Charities Week were a big success. OxSU was remarkably busy and a lot of discussion went into the question of boycotting the NSS, which we are currently doing, and supporting our striking lecturers. The strikes are still continuing as I write this, but it seems as if progress is being made in the right direction. On an academic side of things, we have been working closely with the Academic Registrar and Senior Tutor to improve the sessions put on by college about revising for exams, from both an academic and welfare perspective. The one in 6th week seemed successful and we are looking forward to another one early next term. Welfare lunch this term was particularly productive as the acting Dean of Welfare came in to talk to the JCR about exactly what college can offer to students, and over the vac we will be looking into the possibility of having a college counsellor. Excitingly we also have a new set of trained peer supporters and our new male welfare rep will be elected soon. There are a few loose ends that need chasing up – I will be putting together a formal suggestion for replacing fines with community service and will also try to tackle issues that have been raised with Vac Res. Related to that is the matter of international storage, and we should hopefully be able to share an update on that soon. Lastly, I just wanted to provide an update on the Fraenkel room – the topic was raised at Governing Body in 8th week in the reserved agenda, and I can assure that you that discussions are well underway.
Trinity term should be fantastic, as we prepare to host Unity Week, the Tortoise Fair and Arts Week. We will be finalising JCR renovation plans as well, and I look forward to sending out the completed designs soon. We will also be having another set of elections, and there are some really great positions being vacated so do get in touch if you have any queries about that.
Vac well Corpo,
Here it is folks, my last blog post before I hand over to the wonderful Shiv!
It’s been a full-on year that has at times been very overwhelming but I’m so happy I got to work for the JCR as President. The committee has achieved some amazing things, from supporting liberation causes to updating the general running of undergraduate life. I came into this role hoping to make college life easier to navigate for students and to help make the burden of student life a little more bearable and I hope myself and other committee members will be leaving our roles having made Corpus JCR just that tiny bit better. Thank you to everyone who has helped make these changes happen!
This week I have been tying loose ends up. For example, we finally got an answer as to whether ollege will be financially supporting students with extended terms. The decision taken was that students with extended terms in financial difficulty can apply to get help from college, whether this be in the form of a loan, grant etc. This is a small change, but hopefully will help students who need financial support the most.
Other news includes the JCR renovation as the clear-out is underway and hopefully the “JCR Office” will be completely stripped this week with the help of maintenance. If you fancy taking anything from the room before it all goes, please just leave a small donation with one of the committee members to go to charity. For those wondering about storage, the JCR Welfare Room will be used as international storage over the vacation and we are looking into introducing a new system next year. Also of note, the JCR Renovation group met on Friday to go through what changes were to be made and the group were in general agreement about changes. If you have any particular opinions about this then please let them know. Most of the changes will be affecting the JCR Office by turning it into a cafe-type space!
Of course, JCR elections were the biggest news of this week, so congratulations to everyone who got elected to committee (and to the new tortoise keeper). I look forward to welcoming you into your roles come midnight at the bop on Friday! On Wednesday Shiv and I will both be attending Governing Body as part of our handover.
Today was our final JCR meeting of our quincentenary year, 2017. We passed lots of different and important motions so make sure you look out for Hannah’s meeting with the minutes! Keep an eye on how what has been voted this week works out next term by coming to the meetings!
As we are nearing the end of this committee’s tenure, we are looking ahead to next term. JCR renovation should get into full design mode, Corpus Challenge will be taking place alongside other exciting things! Keep getting involved in the JCR, it’s here to represent you throughout your time at university, so make the most of it.
Lots of love,
Only one more post till my successor will (partially) take over the website. Come to the JCR on Wednesday 7th to see candidates battle it out for JCR positions. If you’re still thinking you’d like to get involved then email Fran Parkes before sunset(?) on Tuesday!
So this week has again been quite quiet given the fact that we are into the election bit of term and the focus is on the candidates. Last Tuesday I did attend an Equality Committee meeting with our Equal Opps President where we discussed how college could go forward in diversifying the fellowship. There was talk of creating wider discussion about issues in academia within college as well as formulating certain structural procedures that would reduce subconscious bias. Hopefully this conversation will be continued in future and lead to very real change in Corpus!
I also have been working on re-writing the community service paper which will hopefully we discussed in 4th week JCC in Hilary. For those that don’t know, this is part of a move away from reliance on fines as decanal punishment as they often have a disproportionately negative effect on student finances. This decanal business was accompanied with the Junior Dean and I drafting questions for the on-line version of the Personal Development Fund form that will hopefully be available next term as well. Other important notices relating to the Dean include the fact that our interim Dean, Liz Fisher, will be taking over as Dean of Welfare from Judith as of the start of next term whilst Judith is on sabbatical.
This brings us on to more exciting news as this week Finance and Budget Committee approved the funding of the JCR renovation as proposed by the college Vice-President. This will mean that in the Summer of 2018 the JCR will be redesigned and smartened up a bit. JCR members will of course be consulted throughout this process, hence why we have been pushing the recruitment of a JCR renovation group!
I also attended the President’s Committee meeting this week where I brought up vacation storage schemes in other colleges. The consensus seems to be that most colleges are provided with storage by the college, so hopefully this will give the JCR good leverage in asking for help organising storage once the JCR storage room has been renovated as a small cafe. The International Students Rep will most probably spearhead this discussion, though with the support of the JCR exec. This also means that we need another clear-out of the JCR storage room hopefully before the end of this term!
Looking forward, this week I have a meeting with the Senior tutor to discuss whether students with extended terms will be supported financially due to the fact that they have large accommodation bills. Oxford Student Union’s Council will also be taking place on Wednesday if you would like to attend with Zoe! And JCC informal lunch will be taking place on Thursday if anyone has anything they would like to bring up about college matters.
Hope you have a great week!
First up, thank you to those who have sent in applications for the JCR renovation group so far. Applications are still open this week if you would like to be a part of changing the image of our JCR!
Secondly, the sing-up sheet for JCR elections goes up tomorrow. If you are thinking you’d like to run for a position then please talk to the current incumbent and message Fran Parkes our Returning Officer that you would like to stand. Sing-ups will be open until Tuesday 7th week. On Wednesday 7th week husts will be held in the JCR for all positions up for election, this is a super fun event where candidates will give speeches about why they want the role and answer questions from the audience. It can be a long night so remember to factor than in to your week!
This week has been quite quiet on the committee meeting from. On Wednesday I went to Governing Body where we ratified minutes from 4th week meetings. Previous to this I met with the President to discuss items such as potential increasing the number of JCR officers on the Equality Committee to allow for full representation of JCR views. Speaking of which, on Tuesday I will be attending Equality Committee to discuss strategies which could be used to increase the gender-balance on the fellowship. I will report further on this next week.
In the JCR meeting all motions were passed. This included several monetary motions such as the purchasing of a new bike pump and board games for the JCR. The motions also included a move for the Accommodation Officer to take on the DO’s role of implementing the bike cull; we hope that following this discussion a bike cull will take place by the end of term, but that also in future the accommodation officer with discuss with the Domestic Bursar the potential to introduce a bike registration scheme as seen in other colleges. The final JCR meeting will be held two weeks from today, so if you would like to propose any motions before the end of term please get in touch with the VP, Hannah Cheah.
This week I will be focusing on still chasing up decisions on papers before I hand the role over to my successor. This includes re-writing the paper on introducing community service to include more specific examples and chasing up the decision on providing financial support for students with extended terms. I hope that decisions are made by the end of term, or at least finalised when they will be discussed so that I can inform my successor. Other than this, the only other items to discuss with college are getting a decision on changes to the PDF fund and discussing hopeful JCR renovation.
As ever, if you have any questions about JCR matters do not hesitate to ask me! I will be hosting a final drop in session on Saturday 7th week to answer any final queries!
We have entered fifth week of term which can often see the onset of “fifth week blues”. With the cold weather sometimes it can be extra hard to get out of bed and working for the day, BUT our welfare officers have lots of great treats like hot water bottles to help you get through term, so do let them know if you need anything!
We’ve had a super busy week sorting out various loose ends before various committee terms are over. This includes getting together a group that will look at possible JCR renovation. If you think you’d like to be a part of this group then email firstname.lastname@example.org with a short paragraph about why you would like to help out with the group! This is an awesome opportunity to help improve our JCR spaces for future generations.
In other news, this week saw the return of Welfare Lunch. We discussed how to improve Freshers Week for next year and suggested all JCR workshops should be held within one afternoon to maximise attendance and also highlight the importance of the topics. We also discussed vacation residence for students with ill mental health. Although nothing was confirmed, it was discussed that vacation residence has been granted for similar situations in the past but that a student should approach the Academic Registrar to discuss any concerns they may have. Finally, we discussed having another informal tea to go over college’s PREVENT policy to make sure that all students are aware of what it is and college’s specific policy; this will hopefully be taking place next term.
On Wednesday, Julia and I attended Academic Committee. We had an incredibly interesting conversation about ho to increase the number of women on the fellowship and two fellows presented their department’s work with the Athena Swann system. Hopefully this will be explored further in future and female students will be included in the discussion as to how to prevent drop-off from further higher education. this committee also covered a new safeguarding policy which will affect Subject Ambassadors and a new scheme of volunteers that will work alongside Subject Ambassadors to help with school tours and workshops. Applications for Subject Ambassadors open next term and is a great opportunity to earn some money whilst helping with access and outreach in college.
On Thursday, I met with our interim Dean and Junior Dean about changes to the Personal Development Fund. We are looking to digitise the process and also altering it’s policy to reduce ambiguities, making the process of awarding financial aid simpler but also more accountable. This discussion was continued the next day at JCC and hopefully the policy will be changed by the end of this term or the start of the next. In JCC we also discussed running community service alongside fines as a form of decanal punishment. Unfortunately, this issue was left unresolved from last term and due to our current Dean being on sabbatical will have to wait for a firm decision to be made. However, it was decided that the policy paper should be updated to include specific college examples and will be brought forward to Hilary Term’s JCC meeting. Other discussion included renaming party forms to event forms to prevent confusion when undergraduates are booking rooms and the possibility of using an external company for vacation storage. No definite decision has been made as of yet regarding vacation storage for both international and home students, but if you have a particular opinion as to what should happen then do not hesitate to get in touch with myself or the International Student’s Officer. We hope that whatever solution is found will be fair and should not cost the JCR too much money,given that International Students vacation storage is currently free.
Looking forward for the next week I will still be chasing loose ends such as updating the decanal punishment policy paper and looking for a final decision to be made on the paper addressing accommodation costs for undergraduates with extended terms. Of course, if there is an issue that has recently arisen that you would like addressed please do not hesitate to talk to me as I can still bring these forward to committee to be discussed with my successor next term.
Hope you all have a great week!
Can you believe we’re nearly halfway through the term? This also means that we’re now 3 weeks away from JCR elections, so if you’re thinking of running for a position, now is the time to ask the current incumbent about it! The JCR website is also a good resource for getting to grips with what each committee member does. I’d recommend taking a look at the Who’s Who page to start.
Now it’s onto what has happened in the JCR over this past week. As I mentioned in my last post, on Monday I met with the Vice President of college and the Domestic Bursar with Shiv and Hannah to talk about JCR renovation. This was a great discussion in which we talked about how this term we will aim to scrap everything that is currently in the JCR storage room next to the main JCR. In it’s place we will hopefully start to get new vending machines, a coffee machine etc. This will hopefully be the start of wider discussions about improving the JCR space and hopefully making it a slightly cleaner and lighter place to be (whilst keeping all its original charm). JCR storage will therefore have to change and I have talk to the DB and Louisa about different companies we could use to help with this. This conversation is ongoing, but hopefully we reach a conclusion by the end of term. There was a vote on these proposals at the JCR meeting this evening and it has been suggested that a committee is created to oversee the renovation.
On top of this, this week I also met with the President to discuss and confirm that Freshers will be reimbursed the £15 charge on their battels for Monday 0th week on Hilary Term’s battels. I also met with our Dean, Liz Fisher, who is standing in for David for the term. We discussed changes to the decanal policy such as introducing community service as well as fines. We also discussed updating the party form process and how it could be modified to reduce confusion and this discussion will be taken forward to the next JCC which is luckily at the end of this coming week. Finally, this week saw Oxford SU’s meeting being held at Corpus! If you have any questions about what was discussed feel free to chat to myself or Zoe. Alternatively, if you’d like to come to the next meeting, let us know by Tuesday 5th week!
Now if you’re looking to hear about what meetings are lined up this week, we have a Welfare Lunch on Tuesday, Academic Committee on Wednesday and JCC (Joint Consultative Committee) on Friday. In these meetings we’ll try to cover items such as college’s Prevent policy, admissions stats, vacation storage and personal development fund changes. If you have any queries or questions that could be addressed at these meetings then let me know as soon as possible. Alternatively, just wait for the debrief on them next Sunday!
Alongside this we will also be working on updating the accommodation section of the JCR website and getting more information about how we can use the extra money in our charities budget to help tackle homelessness in Oxford.
Hope you have a great week!