The News From The Dark Blues

Oxford’s TIM WIGMORE is also feeling sad about Luminar going into administration, but Oxford students did find £70 in coins this week. Bonus.

applications Chris Leslie Cindies living wage locksmith Luminar ma degrees news from the dark blues o'malley family oxford university park end tim wigmore

While I hate to have nothing to declare this week, most Oxford news seems to have happened in Cambridge too.

Park End, the hallowed home of much cheese and even more sweat every Wednesday night, is under threat. Parent company Luminar have come into administration and the long-term future of all its clubs is under threat. For now, Wednesdays remain the same, but Oxonions are waiting with baited breath.

As most of you probably know, there’s a new assault on our honorary MA degrees, with Nottingham East MP Chris Leslie labeling them “a historical anachronism” and an insult to those who pay thousands of pounds to obtain them. Including, incidentally, Leslie himself, who has an MA in Industrial and Labour Studies (I didn’t know that was a degree either) from Leeds.

While stats show a 10% fall in overall University applications this year, Oxford hasn’t really been affected. Figures for Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science show only a 0.8% drop on last year’s figures, which is rather better than many feared. In fact, it shouldn’t really be surprising: Oxford has a very generous system of bursaries and, for those from families earning under £25,000 a year, there should be nowhere cheaper to study once the fee hikes kick in.

Moving away from national stories, the Oxford Living Wage campaign has gained a little momentum. There does seem to be a sense of embarrassment among students about the fact that staff who often arrive as early as 6am are being paid as little as £6.49 an hour (in the case of little St John’s), and three college JCRs this week passed motions calling for a Living Wage for all those employed by their colleges.

Few JCR motions can genuinely be described as exciting, but Univ voted in favour of spending £180 on a locksmith to open a mysterious safe. This had been in the JCR President’s office untouched since the late 1990s, and was prized open after more than an hour’s work by the locksmith. The contents? Unfortunately not maps to stolen goods or wads of cash – £70 in 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20p coins probably wasn’t what the treasure-hunters had in mind.

It’s always nice to end on a warm and fuzzy note, and six siblings who attended Oxford over a period of 20 years will all graduate simultaneously next month. The O’Malley family, who attended five different colleges, delayed their graduations because they all wanted to share the occasion together. Here’s hoping they can all hit Park End together afterwards.