Oxford college provost faces backlash after attempting to abolish formal hall traditions

Nov 13, 2019 by

by Camilla Turner and James Ashworth, Telegraph:

The head of an Oxford college is facing a backlash after attempting to abolish the traditions of Grace before meals and standing for dons.

Prof Kate Tunstall, the interim provost of Worcester College, has come under fire from students over a series of decisions about the customs practised at formal hall.

Students said they were informed by catering staff at the start of this term that they were no longer required to stand when senior academics entered and left the dining hall.

This provoked an angry response from Worcester College’s junior common room (JCR), who held a referendum on the issue. The overwhelming majority of students were in favour of preserving the practise and petitioning the governing body to restore the standing policy.

Damon Falck, the JCR vice president, said that students are “passionate about keeping the theatre that reminds them of this place’s history and that it’s a special place to be”.

He said it is “significantly more awkward to sit in silence while the tutors arrive or leave than it is to stand” and added that standing is “an excellent way to signal the start of the meal, and for everyone to be silent for Grace”.

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