St John’s College has been criticised after deciding to close its main kitchen next term, with students claiming that Americans on summer courses were being put ahead of students doing ‘proper degrees’.
Susan Hendrickson, Domestic Secretary for St John’s JCR, said the College’s decision to not postpone refurbishment until the summer vacation so as not to inconvenience American visiting students had proved unpopular.
“That’s a big sore point,” she said. “It’s annoying for students but the College said it did not want to inconvenience those tenants who stay over the summer, who are Americans who come back every year to do summer vacation courses. It’s a bit annoying in that we’re here to do proper degrees and they’re here to do summer courses, but its not going to ruin our term.”
The College hopes to have completed the upgrading of catering facilities for the start of Trinity Term, and in the meantime plans to use alternative smaller kitchens in the Garden quadrangle.
The reduced capacity of facilities means formal hall has been cancelled for next term, although informal hall will continue to be provided with extended opening times.
Hendrickson claimed that the College had made inadequate contingencies for the reduced capacity now available by extending informal hall.
“We do have another kitchen facility. It’s a smaller capacity and is not designed to feed four hundred people three times a day. So they are looking at increasing meal times and using reheated food,” she said.
Anthony Boyce, Principal Bursar at St John’s, said the College said it had planned the refurbishment to minimise disruption to the students and had consulted fully with the JCR and MCR.
“The refurbishment has been delayed by a full year to ensure that all of our alternative arrangements are in place when the work begins,” he said. “The JCR and MCR have been fully consulted over the plans, to ensure that any potential problems and difficulties could be identified and minimised.”