Cherwell

Magdalen Commemoration Ball scrapped

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Magdalen College has scrapped its Commemoration Ball, due to be held at the College next year.

In an email to undergraduate students, seen by Cherwell, JCR President Calla Randall wrote that the Ball “has been cancelled due to a lack of applications for Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Treasurer.”

Magdalen’s Commemoration Ball was also previously cancelled in 2015.

A first-year Magdalen student told Cherwell: “It’s a shame, but if there’s no one willing to put themselves forward for ball committee then there’s not really much we can do.”

Magdalen College’s freshers have been criticised on the Oxfess Facebook platform for not applying to fill organising roles.

One Oxfess read: “Magdalen freshers why did none of you apply for ball committee you selfish little shits.”

In her announcement to fellow undergraduates, JCR President Calla Randall wrote: “The MCR President and I did try our best to advertise this opportunity so we’re disappointed that the Ball will not go ahead.

“There will be an opportunity for the next JCR and MCR Presidents to request a ball in 2020 next academic year.”

A smaller black-tie event was held in 2015 when that year’s ball was cancelled.

Randall told students: “Thus, there is precedent for event [sic] to take place in 2019, although there is some resistance from College to repeat this.

“However, if – together with the MCR – a group were to put together a detailed plan for how this might work, referencing similar events at other Colleges, I think it would be possible to convince College otherwise.”

However, in a later message to JCR members, obtained by Cherwell on 6 April, Randall confirmed that the ball was “definitely cancelled.”

She wrote: “Despite working hard with the MCR President to persuade College to reopen applications for the Commemoration Ball committee, it is clear that they are unwilling to change their position.

“College argues that we are now too far behind schedule to manage a successful Ball.”

She again cited a lack of applications for the main management positions as the ultimate reason for the cancellation.

Magdalen College Home Bursar, Mark Blandford-Baker, told Cherwell: “Commemoration Balls are substantial undertakings and organised by students primarily for students, albeit with extensive administrative support from the College.

“It is unclear why no one has come forward to hold the post of chair or vice-chair.

“The College noted that changes to some exam timetables may have been a contributing factor in the lack of applications.

“The College has pointed out that the common rooms can apply again next January for a ball in June 2020.”

Cherwell understands that a number of freshers were originally interested in smaller roles, as opposed to taking on responsibility for an event as notable as a Commemoration Ball.

Speaking of the prospect of a smaller ball in 2019, Randall told students in her earlier message: “If you were one of those people, this Ball would involve less responsibility and thus might suit you.”

JCR President Calla Randall did not respond to Cherwell’s request for comment.

This article was updated Friday 6 April (17.45pm) to include the Magdalen JCR President’s second message to undergraduates, confirming the ball would definitely be cancelled.