The outgoing Magdalen JCR Vice President has apologised for sending out an email which contained a hyperlink to an image of self-harm last Thursday. The email sought to address bullying in Magdalen College, but nonetheless attracted criticism from students for the graphic image.
In his final email to the JCR before the end of his tenure, Jamie Miles listed the failures and successes of his time as VP. In one section, which was addressed “to the bullies”, he highlighted a recent bullying problem in college and quoted an email he had sent to someone who had been reported for bullying. It read, “Just remember that one day, one of your vindictive or sarcastic remarks might be enough to push someone over the edge. People have enough stuff to cope with in this place.”
Miles has been criticised for embedding a hyperlink in the text, linking the phrase “over the edge” to a graphic image of a slashed wrist, thus exposing anybody who clicked on it to violent imagery without any warning.
He immediately sent an apologetic follow-up email, expressing regret over what he described as “a foolish act” and requesting that anyone who had not clicked on the link should not go back and look at it.
Miles told Cherwell that his email had been trying to address an all-too-prevalent bullying problem in the Magdalen JCR that had been present over the last term. When asked to expand upon the nature of the incidents, Miles said that he could not comment on these incidents because they are currently being investigated by the college.
Cameron Quinn, a fourth year at Magdalen, said, “Some people in the college find it personally amusing to antagonise others for sport. This is, as Jamie said in his e-mail, a disgrace, and it was both brave and necessary to bring it up. Unfortunately, Jamie chose to make this very important point in a way that perhaps wasn’t completely thought through, and that’s a shame, because it may mean that the people in college who bully people escape attention and blame.”
Another student added, “I understand that he wanted to send an important message out but he did so in a completely inappropriate way.”
When asked about the possibility of bullying culture at Magdalen, a spokesperson for OUSU’s Mind Your Head campaign stressed the importance of students recognising the psychological impact of bullying. They told Cherwell, “We know that bullying is linked to a number of negative outcomes, including increased rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicide, particularly when it occurs alongside existing mental health conditions.
“In the event that a student is feeling abused in any way, there are a number of resources available for them in Oxford including peer supporters, welfare reps, and the counselling service.”