Oxford JCRs consider boycotting Sky TV

JCRs are considering motions to boycott Sky TV for charging them the full £6,000 subscription, denying them a charitable status discount. 

The public license fee charged by Sky is contested by JCRs because they maintain that their charitable status is valid, despite Sky judging otherwise. 

St Hugh’s and Wadham are currently subscribed to Sky and are leading a movement by JCRs to boycott the TV provider in order to make it reconsider its position. 

St Hugh’s President Sara Polakova called for an emergency meeting last Sunday to discuss the issue with the JCR, emailing students to say, “The JCR Committee will put forward alternative and cheaper packages from other providers to be put in place of Sky. Every package including Sky will be debated upon and pros/cons will be discussed with the JCR members present.”

She urged students to attend, stating, “Even if you don’t watch Sky there is over 6,000 pounds of the JCR being debated over, so make an appearance.”

Sophie Jamieson, a third year student at St Hugh’s commented, “The atmosphere was fraught at Sunday’s meeting, with some of the contributors to the debate getting pretty aggressive. Although people argued that Sky wasn’t just for football fans, at times it seemed a battle of St Hugh’s Football Club versus the rest of the JCR. The use of the JCR TV at peak times is almost monopolised by sports fans, so in my opinion not having Sky Sports would be great, as then the TV would be available for back to back screenings of Great British Bake Off.”

Praful Nargund, a member of St Hugh’s football team, highlighted the popularity of watching TV in the JCR, telling Cherwell, “There should be some sports provision and in fact the JCR has agreed with this sentiment, having voted to guarantee that there will be an alternative package by 0th week of Hilary or to go back to Sky if nothing is found. I’ve spoken to the JCR and it appears that they’ve made some progress in finding similar, but cheaper packages.”

In Wadham, previous JCR motions to change the provider have been defeated. SU President of Wadham Jahnavi Emmanuel noted “Last term, our SU defeated another motion to switch to another provider” and stated, “The SU will continue to pay for it as long as its members want the service.”

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Oscar Boyd, St Anne’s JCR President, expressed solidarity, stating, “Anne’s doesn’t have Sky and cannot afford it because Sky is not offering the charity rate. However, we are keen to offer support to all the colleges and agree with the boycott and commit to action if it occurs.”

Corpus Christi also suffered from the changes in Sky’s pricing policy. The Treasurer was unanimously mandated at a JCR meeting last year to resubscribe to Sky. However when it was found that they were not able to get a charitable discount, the JCR decided they were unable to afford it.