The JCR President of Pembroke has criticised The Times for its publication of its article, ‘Oxford’s value for money league table points way forward’. The newspaper has been accused of manipulating the findings of Oxford University’s Student Union college inequalities report in order “to widen the discrepancy between colleges.” Exeter College emerged at the top of a league table, published alongside The Times article, that ranks Oxford colleges according to the value they offer students. Harris Manchester and Pembroke were placed bottom for providing the least for students’ money. Ryan McGhee wrote to The Times, along with nine others who had compiled the Student Union study, claiming that the article fails “to compare like with like – your table compares the highest rent bands in the most expensive colleges with the lowest rent bands in the cheapest ones.” The table exposes a huge discrepancy between the wealthy colleges, which can afford to use cheap rents as an incentive for the brightest students, and those at the bottom which in general produce lower Norrington Table results for a far greater charge. Exeter is almost twice as good value as the bottom colleges according to the study, which compares colleges’ academic record with the cost of attending them. Robin Hopkins, JCR President at Exeter, said that any excitement about Exeter topping the table was overshadowed by current negotiations over rents and charges. However, he said students do currently feel happy that they are not overcharged and believe food and accommodation are good value. However, the decision to write to the Times was unpopular with some of those named as having signed the letter. One JCR President feared that the Student Union would be seen as petty and that the article as a whole reinforced the original report’s conclusions.
ARCHIVE: 4th week TT 2003