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Jesus JCR votes to recommend abolishing free Second Hall for committee members

At its third meeting of Hilary term, the Jesus College JCR committee passed the motion to recommend that the College abolish free second hall for JCR committee members. 

Jesus College’s current policy is that JCR committee members have weekly access to formals, or second hall. In meetings with the committee, the Department for Accomodation, Catering and Conferences (DACC) had indicated that this policy was a contributing factor toward high food prices in hall. 

A formal hall for a member of Jesus College not in the JCR is £8.20, and £13.65 for guests. Comparatively St John’s College offers a formal hall dinner to guests for £4.98.

Jesus JCR Vice-President Sam Freeman put forth the notion to be debated at the Jesus JCR meeting. He stated in his motion: “Subsidising some members of college to eat for free whilst others struggle with ever rising costs is unacceptable. The costs of running hall should be more transparent to facilitate greater accountability to the student body.”

The debate on this motion was extensive. It was countered by claims that there would be no immediate reduction of present hall food cost, meaning the removal of eligibility for free formals could be without impact. 

Further debate took issue with the reduced recognition of the JCR committee members, though this was countered by a general keenness to avoid an atmosphere of reward in the JCR for those working on the committee. 

There was further concern that removing this policy would weaken the negotiating position the JCR had with the college over reducing costs. Sam Freeman stated during the meeting, however, that the motion would serve as a demonstration of the committee’s dedication: “Here’s something from us, now something big from you.”

Before the motion went to vote it was altered from an immediate abolition of free formals to a proposal that the removal of free formals be discussed with the Director of the DACC team. After further debate the motion went to voting and was passed. 

Freeman told Cherwell: “I’m very pleased the motion has passed and has now been sent forth to the director for accommodation, catering and conferences (DACC). For too long Jesus students have had to put up with unacceptably high hall prices and we hope this can be a start point for negotiations to decrease them across the board as well as sending a message to college management about just how seriously the JCR committee are taking this issue.”

Jesus has the fifth-highest endowment per student of undergraduate colleges. The College is implementing a trial re-balance in prices between first and second hall next term, with first hall prices decreasing as formal prices increase. 

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