University College JCR had appealed to the College, expressing upset at the absence of night porters in the college. From the hours of 11pm to 7am the porters’ lodge is closed. The new nighttime system also has a financial burden to students with one use of the OUSS service when locked out of a room costing a student £25.
On 15 March, the last night porter at University College stepped down, in the wake of the College’s decision to stop the night porters service. Instead, the College has enlisted the help of the OUSS who are contactable via phone number. There was a 24-hour presence in the Porters’ Lodge during freshers week which has ceased since, causing further upset among students.
On 8 October the JCR unanimously passed a motion which officially recognised the gravity of the situation relating to the lodge. The motion also obliged the JCR president to convey the JCR’s concerns to college leadership (Head porters, Bursar, and College Master), requesting a formal statement and risk assessment. The former JCR president told Cherwell that until recently “there has been an almost complete lack of official communication from the college on this matter.”
Shermar Pryce, University College emeritus JCR President has told Cherwell that the student body has ”made ongoing efforts to address this situation with the college authorities”, to no avail. The JCR has set up an online form in which students can share their grievances with the College.
Particular concerns have been expressed regarding students who are unable to gain access to their rooms during the night.
In the passed motion, the JCR noted that “the student body feels unsafe due to both historical and recent experiences of students who have been in this position, dating back to the initial loss of night porters over a year ago”.
Students who do not have access to phones – e.g. their phone may be locked inside their room – and so cannot call the OUSS are expected to walk to Queen’s College for assistance. This strategy presents difficulties for students who have also locked their bodcards in their room.
A spokesperson for University College told Cherwell that Junior Deans are available for support during the night. However, one student said they are not able to reach out to junior deans for assistance without the help of the lodge.
Pryce added that “the junior deans’ email addresses are shared with students, their contact numbers are not provided on any college documentation or the intranet, which could be crucial in emergencies”.
University College has affirmed that “the College remains committed to the safety and wellbeing of its students and staff”. The College told Cherwell: “All students have been emailed this week about overnight support at the College.
“The College and JCR have agreed to work together to provide answers to any questions that students wish to raise on this matter.”
In response to this statement, Pryce said that he is not aware of “any student at Univ which agrees with the presentation” of the situation.