The Interhall Committee Responds to Proposed Changes to Residential Accommodation

Professors Baker, Hughes-Warrington and Dr Milnes,

I am writing on behalf of the Interhall Council of Presidents, in furtherance of our last email seeking clarification on the policies to be implemented as of next year.

Whilst we believe some of these changes to be sound, many of the proposed changes have caused no small amount of concern and consternation amongst not only ourselves but also our residents. We hope that these fears are due to our ignorance of what is actually being proposed, how the various elements (notably the central application process, percentage reduction of returners and everything that entails, and the fee increase) and the reasoning behind these changes.

To say nothing of how we feel at the utter lack of consultation throughout this process, we are incredibly concerned at how these changes will affect the colleges at a personal level. For all of the same reasons that we elucidated during the DRCC Review process last year, we fundamentally disagree with the idea of a central allocation process. To be very clear this will radically alter the colleges for the worse, and again we stress our absolute opposition to such a change.

The proposed change to the retention rate has already caused fear amongst current residents that they will be asked to leave their homes for failing to meet a set of criteria of which they are unaware. Further, drastically increasing the number of first year residents at the cost of later years has serious ramifications, such as the pastoral care implications of a college made up of predominantly eighteen year olds new to university, college and independence.

Lastly, it is well known that the current student body already have serious financial difficulty with a majority of students reporting as living below the poverty line. Fee increases of this magnitude only serve to further disadvantage students, and will have marked consequences on the make-up of colleges as low SES students are priced out. We stress you to consider the effects these proposed changes will have for those of us who actually live in these places.

All of our concerns are especially crucial in the lead up to Open Day. Open Day will see us attempting to advise visiting students how to apply for colleges, when we know nothing about the process. Further, there is already a growing sense of apathy regarding Open Day. Questions have been raised, asking what is the purpose of the Halls showcasing their unique and beloved natures if applicants are to be funnelled through a centralised process removed from the purview of the Halls themselves.

As a body, we feel we will not be able to host Open Days at our colleges without, at the very least, a comprehensive discussion detailing the proposed changes and their rationale. Noting the proximity to Open Day we feel the need to meet is pressing, and would request to meet with you by Monday 25th August.

Given that this is a matter of concern to the student body as a whole, this email is also being sent to Woroni and will, pending a response, be made public as of Friday evening.
Kind Regards,

James Thompson,
Signed on behalf of the IHC