St Edmund Hall has closed its gym following an incident which may have caused upwards of £1,000 worth of damage to the college gymnasium.
In an email sent by the MCR President, David Severson, to the MCR body, the reason behind the gym closure was elucidated to students. “College has decided to close the gym for two principle reasons:
“1. The ongoing issues of disregard for gym etiquette with specific reference to weights left scattered, equipment moved out of place without return, and exclusive behaviours such as changing within the gym.
“2. They see that this context provided the climate for a recent incident, whereby one of the newly established radiators installed with the recent renovations to the gym was knocked off the wall.”
The College Welfare Committee held a meeting where the incident, and the context referred to in the first point, were discussed at length. The result of the meeting was that JCR and MCR representatives were informed by the College that over £1,000 worth of damage had been done to the gym, and that the Domestic Bursar had received numerous complaints for etiquette misconduct.
The College Domestic Bursar, Jayne Taylor, and the College Dean, Robert Whittaker, responded to the damage caused by proposing that the gym be closed for one week, beginning Monday 2nd March.
In Severson’s email, the reason for this proposed closure was cited “as an incentive for gym members in our community to hold one another accountable for the behaviour and resulting incident [seen in the College gym recently]”.
Severson continued, “Both the JCR and MCR representatives were not in a real position to ‘combat’ the decision, as it were, given the information that was laid on the table.”
He requested that all gym users “work together to exercise proper gym etiquette, and call each other out when improper behaviour occurs in order to facilitate a more cohesive and comfortable environment in what is a very small space.”
Severson told Cherwell, “I do think the closure was unfortunate, but probably appropriate, as my understanding is that such measures have been implemented by other colleges in response to etiquette issues (the damage to our gym being extra cause) like Wolfson to great effect.”
Wolfson College confirmed that it closed its gym five years ago, but did not specify the precise reason for this closure.
A statement released to Cherwell by Claire Hooper, the Communications Officer for St Edmund Hall, said, “The Gym was closed for operational purposes to complete essential maintenance, and has now reopened.”
The St Edmund Hall JCR President declined Cherwell’s request for comment.