Green Templeton College must be breathing a sigh of relief: no longer will it have the distinction of being Oxford’s newest college. Instead that honour will be held by a new college, the first since the merger of Green and Templeton Colleges in 2008, and the first built since Kellogg College was constructed in 1990.
The new college, to be named ‘Wartshog’ is projected to cost nearly £1b over the course of its construction. Though most of this, about £600m, will come from the coffers of the University and its constuent colleges, much of the rest will be donated by Joanne ‘Jo’ Rowling, perhaps better known by her penname ‘JK Rowling.’
Worcester Professor Josephine Quinn, a Buildings and Estates Subcommittee member, told Cherwell that Rowling was highly involved in the project’s conception and committed to building a college explicitly for the ‘gifted.’
“Her idea was fully fleshed out,” Quinn said. “And I must say it was brilliant – flew past the committee without a modification. Despite being new, the college will be built in the style of outdated architecture – Rowling showed us photos of an old Scottish castle – and open only to those who deserve to be there by dint of birth.”
Quinn explained that Wartshog College will take a revolutionary approach to determining admissions. Rather than requiring the ‘talented’ apply, it will send out postcards – to be returned by July 31 – to those whom the college deems to have just the right attributes for study at the University. Those students will be offered a one-of-a-kind education, all the while cloistered off away from the prying eyes of the masses.
The University said in a statement, “We view the creation of Wartshog as a way to truly begin moving forward into the 21st century. Oxford is continuously in the process of modernisation and advancement in order to stay truly competitive as the world continues to globalise. Accordingly, we are in full agreement with Ms Rowling’s plans to build a college where you will be able to graduate without having spent anytime interacting with anyone who is not in some way fundamentally similar to you.”
Students have lauded the University’s announcement. David Lawton, a second year at St Hilda’s told Cherwell, “I am shocked and impressed by the foresight of the University. In announcing that the new college would be built exactly in the model of pre-twentieth century architecture, they subvert our understanding of what modern truly is. And the decision to only accept those with certain ‘abilities’ means that Oxford will continue to maintain its firm hold at the top of whatever university rankings are next scheduled to come out.”
When asked whether he thought it was problematic that most of those who would attend Wartshog came from families that also attended Oxford, Lawton said, “Well, that’s only most, right? Every year I’m sure there will be at least a few who come from families in which neither parent attended a similarly presitigious institution.”
When contacted, Rowling told Cherwell, “I have always found Oxford a beautiful, magical place, perfect for nurturing ‘special skills.’ Not just that, but the University is the ideal mingling ground for bright young people and I’m sure that the relationships they form here will continue to shape their personal and professional lives for decades to come.”
In addressing the fears that students from atypical backgrounds could face discrimination and mudslinging, Rowling said, “It’s possible – but I think the education Wartshog will provide will be more than commensurate for any such problems. After all, they could always choose not to attend, couldn’t they?”
At press time, the University was announcing plans to identify potential applicants to Wartshog and other colleges as early as birth and make sure to accept them when they were old enough for admission.