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Balliol JCR confesses “major oversight”

first_imgSignificant work will be conducted on the masonry of the west side of Balliol College, it has been annouced. Alex Bartram, JCR President, informed students on Monday, only a day before students living in college next year would choose their rooms.Cherwell has learned that members of the last JCR Executive Committee were informed about this work by representatives from college at the end of their term in office, in Michaelmas, but that neither they nor college had informed the current JCR Executive about the planned restoration.The measures will affect the west side of Balliol during Michaelmas and Hilary of next year, totalling seventeen rooms overlooking Magdalen Street, on four staircases that are usually reserved for finalists.Although the actual stonework will be done offsite, the affected rooms will have their windows covered with plastic sheeting for a portion of the two terms and will be subject to an amount of noise described by College sources as “no more than the sound of soft rain.”  Bartram agrees that this was “the source of the problem”, but emphasises that he “would not place the blame squarely on my predecessors, as they were not aware of the scale of the problem at the time, and its effects would be felt after their time in office and even their time at university for the most part.“Nevertheless, it’s impossible to avoid concluding that this was a fairly major failure of the JCR’s institutional memory, and a major oversight on their part.”Former JCR President Ben Marshall commented, “Everyone has now been told of the situation, it has been resolved in a perfectly reasonable way, and other than the later than desirable notice, the JCR has been in no way adversely affected.”In response to talks held between members of the current JCR Committee and the Domestic Bursar on Tuesday morning, it was agreed that those choosing to live in the affected rooms will be compensated to the tune of £65 for each term of restoration, an amount equivalent to 5% of the rental cost.Bartram described this as “a satisfactory and logical solution to the problem,” remarking that the College were “reasonable and open to suggestions, even urgent ones, and even expensive ones, from the JCR.”The student reaction has been muted. Sam Atwell, a second year PPEist, told Cherwell, “It is unclear how much of a problem this will be. However, with the system of dynamic room pricing recently introduced, I am surprised that the issue hasn’t been flagged up earlier.”Some students, however, were more ambivalent about the matter, such as Emily Troup, a second year CAAH-ist, who commented, “If it means that rooms are cheaper and people know in advance, then I can’t see it being a massive problem. Magdalen Street is ugly anyway.”Room viewing and choice will go ahead as planned.Balliol College is yet to respond to Cherwell’s request for comment.last_img read more