Corpus Christi’s JCR has voted to suspend its subscription to the Oxford Student.
The decision comes after the student publication produced a series of articles concerning the “debauchery, anti-Semitism and nepotism” witnessed at the Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA)’s recent events and gatherings. Certain members of Corpus’ JCR, who featured heavily in these articles, feel that the newspaper targeted them unfairly.
Corpus Christi’s JCR president, Kezia Lock, told Cherwell how the JCR’s decision to unsubscribe resulted from the direct and disruptive nature of the paper’s attack on certain JCR members. “These stories were not factually accurate. Some JCR members went in to counselling following the publication of the articles.”
Lock has branded the OxStu’s behaviour as “unfounded harassment” which could be avoided “if the OxStu abided by the Press Complaints Commission’s standards and ethics, which they say they do but clearly don’t.”
The Oxford Student has fought back in defence of their journalistic integrity. OxStu editors Nick Megaw and Laura Simmons told Cherwell that “none of our reporters deviated from the PCC code of conduct, and all stories printed in the paper were based on verifiable facts and checked by lawyers, and thus we consider any accusations of libel or harassment offensive and unfounded.”
The motion to unsubscribe from the newspaper passed with an overwhelming majority. Those proposing the motion declared that “The Oxford Student on a regular basis publishes potentially defamatory articles about our college and its members. It is comprised of student journalists desperately trying to make a name for themselves. It shows little journalistic rigour or integrity.” Felipe Monge Imedio, proposing the motion, stated that “it is morally wrong for us to finance attacks on our own college.”
A JCR member seemed to share Imedio’s sentiments, commenting, ‘Cherwell is to The Oxford Student what a crystal phial of aged Cognac is to a beaker of tepid cat urine. The former exudes elegance, and sparkles with effortless sophistication and tantalising finesse; the latter is rancid, unsubtle, and unappealing to all but the crudest of observers. Corpus, it follows, has shown a commitment to taste and quality, which other colleges would do well to imitate.’
Jim Everett, another Corpus JCR member, made a speech during the meeting in favour of terminating the JCR’s subscription, saying, “Corpus is a welcoming and close-knit college and we cannot accept unfounded personal harassment of our members.” Everett has claimed that other Corpuscules believe that other colleges should stand up against the bullying of individuals in the press. “Such harassment is not just levelled at Corpus members.”
The JCR President Kezia Lock has circulated a draft letter to be sent to the newspaper detailing their reasons for unsubscribing.
However, Lock’s letter remarked that the OxStu is not the sole target of the JCR’s criticism, and suggested improvements that the student press could make. “If you ensured your writers actually subscribed to the code of practices and conduct outlined by the Press Complaints Commission, rather than merely asserting that they do, other individuals will be protected from going through what some of our JCR members had to and such poor journalism will not be published in the future.”
Lock said that while the JCR is not under the illusion that its unsubscribing will “cripple the OxStu economically,” the money saved will go to the charity Reporters Without Borders.