Brasenose students have voted in favour of a motion whereby students would have to gain permission from the college parents of the student they wished to ‘marry’ before proposing.
The motion, which was passed last Sunday and will come into effect in Michaelmas, aims to combat the “geographic gap” between first years living in college and second years residing in Frewin Halls, located next to the Union, which “hinders the fostering of relations between year groups”.
The motion, submitted by Brasenose student Russell Black, stated, “In this, Britain’s second ever Diamond Jubilee year, the power of traditional institutions has never been higher.” It added, “The University of Oxford is a bastion of colourful and archaic tradition.”
However, the motion also acknowledged the need to modernise certain traditions due to “patriarchal overtones” and thus will be completely gender neutral. Black also told Cherwell that the JCR had agreed on a pact of silence never to tell incoming freshers that the motion was new that year, but rather to pretend that it was always the case.
Louis Trup, who seconded the motion, told Cherwell that as part of the new rule, “freshers may court their partner’s parents with the purchase of a drink or gift”, explaining that the motion was put forward to increase mixing between first and second years, outside of the family structure.
He added that the motion would also prevent the “inevitable occurrence of unions between two bright-eyed freshers occurring in the drunken abyss of Park End which, 86% of the time, end up with very awkward college family events in the future” and that it would be unlikely permission would be refused unless due to “extreme circumstances”.
The motion appears to have been received favourably by Brasenose JCR. First year biologist, Alice James said, “I think we all reckon it’s a really lovely idea, it means not only that we’ll get to talk to our parents and other parents a bit more but that college marriages will be a more considered affair.
“It’ll also probably guarantee a stronger friendship with your spouse at least in the early lonely days of Michaelmas.” She added, “We don’t seem to do things by halves at Brasenose, so if you’re going to get married, do it properly!”
Trup, who also described the motion as “wonderful” and “a great opportunity for second years to get a free drink”, recommended that the idea should be rolled out to all colleges due to it being a force for the strengthening of relationships between year groups.
Members of the Brasenose JCR committee were contacted, but did not wish to comment.