Last October Cherwell reported that JCR members passed a motion to allow a week of mourning for the “death of fun” at their college, a motion which accused Senior Tutor Dr Alexandra Lumbers of using “scare tactics” to raise academic standards and to clamp down on extra-curricular activities in which the students participated.
Luke Eaton, Access and Academic Rep for the Jesus JCR Committee, said that “this has not, however, signalled the death of fun. Dr. Lumbers is an extremely diligent and hard working member of staff, about whom I have heard no complaint during my year as Access and Academic Rep. If anything I have always found her welcoming and open to my input. Jesus remains a place of fun and the friendliest college in the University.”
“We’re here primarily to do work- if you’re going to take on something huge then you need your tutors’ support. Dr. Lumbers isn’t looking to stop people from being blues- she’s looking to remind us why we applied here in the first place.”
Tom Rutland, OUSU Rep , commented that “it’s important that university life is rich and varied, and staff should remember that although academia forms the main part of the university experience, it should not form the entirety of it. Oxford University is not just the best place to continue your education beyond secondary school as an undergraduate, but its wide range of clubs and societies make it the best place to further current interests or develop new ones in sports, politics and creative arts.That being said, students should obviously focus on their work in this unique place of academic excellence.”
He went on to detail how “the initial reaction to the changes made to the by-laws by Governing Body has been quite negative, and we feel students were not properly listened to”, but said that the JCR Committee “are yet to see many people affected by these changes, which is reassuring. Jesus prides itself in its involvement throughout university-wide societies. “
Ollie Capehorn, Treasurer of the Jesus JCR, stated that “although some of the measures and policies are prima facie a little heavy handed, and an uncomfortable step towards to micro managing the lives of undergraduates, I know that Dr Lumbers is well-intentioned. Jesus is still a great place to be, and many enjoy a considerable extra-curricular schedule. Fun is by no means dead yet.”
One third year undergraduate at the college who wishes to remain anonymous reflected on last year’s motion, saying that the JCR body “thought that it had all blown over” since the week of mourning last October, but that the email from Lumbers “has ignited it all again”.
He went on to state that “I don’t think that the character of the college has changed enormously….but it’s certainly on the way to doing so…college can try as hard as you like to make people work forty or fifty hours a week, but we’re still university students, after all.”
He described himself as “one of the worst” for taking on activities outside of degree study.
Dr Lumbers was unavailable for comment on the email or on the views of undergraduates.