This document hereby outlines the stance taken collectively by the Selwyn College Junior Combination Room Committee (“The Committee”) in regards to the following issues involving Selwyn College (“College”) and members of its undergraduate population (“The JCR”).
Article I. Membership of Cambridge University Student Union (CUSU)
Section 1.1 Interaction with CUSU
- The Committee currently recognises the existence of The JCR’s ongoing affiliation with CUSU. It will therefore seek to:
- Indiscriminately promote any of the beneficial services that CUSU offers to The JCR and so far as is reasonably practicable facilitate The JCR’s access to them.
- Cooperate so as far as is reasonably practicable with any CUSU officer for the furthering of any legitimate goal.
- Fully utilise all the education, services and anything else that CUSU can offer the Committee which will be of indirect benefit to The JCR.
Article II. Accommodation and Services
Section 2.1 Rents
- The Committee currently has limited control over the increases of rents as:
- This increase is representative of a University-wide pattern; and
- A previous incarnation of The Committee had agreed on a binding five year plan with College.
- The Committee will seek to ensure rents are fair and well within line with the market rates, and that financial hardship is no obstacle to any student wishing to become a member of The JCR.
- The Committee will work so far as is reasonably practicable to avoid or minimise future increases in rental prices.
- The JCR believes fourth year students should be able to freely choose where they live in the room ballot and will work so far as is reasonably practicable to restore this choice.
Section 2.2 Laundry Facilities
- The Committee remains opposed to further increases in the cost of laundry, and will act to block future rises.
- The committee supports reductions in the cost of laundry, and will pursue the matter with College and the private company contracted to provide these services.
Section 2.3 International Storage Facilities
- The Committee is currently seeking to find a new space for the storage of the property of students from outside the United Kingdom.
- The Committee remain concerned about:
- The unsuitability of the cellar currently designated to act as international storage facilities by College.
- The inclusion of a clause within the College handbook that excludes liability for any damage caused to the property of any member of The JCR upon storage within the international storage facilities.
- The Committee is currently seeking the following in reference to rules concerning the use of the international storage facilities:
- Clarification of the capacity of those members of The JCR who come from Northern Ireland, or any other constituent part of the British Isles about which doubt on the issue may persist, to use the international storage facilities.
- Alteration to the rules of qualification for use of the international storage facilities, whereby members of The JCR are granted access based on their status as an international student and no consideration is given to distance, wealth or any other hindering factor that might render it impractical to deny that member use of the international storage facilities.
- The Committee is not opposed in principle to offering the JCR Common Room itself as a space for international storage, insofar that:
- There is negligible risk to the security of students’ belongings and the financial well-being of the JCR.
- This will only be acceptable as a temporary measure and that College intends to resolve its own storage issues in the short term.
Section 2.4 Hall
- The Committee will ensure that the Menus for every Formal Hall are publically available to all members of The JCR through publication on its website and will examine the potential of expanding this to regular Hall menus.
- The Committee is currently seeking, through liaisons with representatives of College, to explore means by which the recent increases of prices in food can be alleviated. The Committee notes the following:
- The Committee recognises that the rise in food prices is inextricably linked to the rise in wages of the members of College staff and advocates the use of means by which food prices can be reduced which do not impact on the wages of those individuals.
- The Committee is seeking to expand the range and quality of vegetarian options available.
- The Committee is currently not seeking to provide access to publications such as newspapers or magazines available for the use of members of The JCR whilst eating at Hall due to subscription fees and the use of such publications, or lack thereof, not representing a worthwhile investment.
- The Committee, in line with its policy on environmental and ethical issues outlined in section 7 of this Article, is currently seeking to ensure that all food provided in Hall is so far as is reasonably practicable sourced from local and Fairtrade sources.
Section 2.5 Bar
- The Committee is firmly committed to promoting the use of the bar by all members of The JCR as a social space and is currently seeking to explore means by which more common use of the bar by members of The JCR can be secured, such as:
- The holding of regular social events such as quizzes, mock panel shows and karaoke.
- The use of the bar during the daytime as an alternative café-style space in which members of the JCR can work, chat or pursue other activities.
- The Committee is currently seeking to explore means by which the drinks available at the bar can be improved, including:
- The widening of the range of drinks available, including the potential creation of a College cocktail so as to mirror that provided by other colleges.
- The providing of deals on certain drinks so as to make the use of the bar more affordable to members of The JCR.
Section 2.6 Gym
- The Committee seeks to ensure that all members of The JCR are able to use the gym and the equipment therein. The Committee is therefore considering the possibility of providing periods of time during which the gym will be reserved for the exclusive use of certain individuals - namely, self-defining women and non-binary students.
- The Committee seeks to emphasise that all members of The JCR should use the gym safely and in line with the guidelines provided by College. In realisation of this:
- The Committee advocates the position that no member of The JCR should be permitted to use the gym facilitates without having had an induction to the gym, which will be organised and paid for by The Committee.
- The Committee is currently seeking to improve the gym and the equipment therein. To achieve this goal, The Committee is currently examining the feasibility of the following proposals:
- The installation of a clock, water fountain and anything else that may improve the gym environment.
- Improvement in quality, and the expansion of the range, of the equipment available.
- Repairs to the floor of the gym and the provision of means whereby such damage can be avoided in the future.
- The Committee accepts that, for the purposes of the College’s sporting development, certain societies have the right to book out the gym for exclusive use of their members. The Committee expresses the view that such practice is acceptable, so long as it does not unreasonably impact on the ability of other members of The JCR to make use of the gym.
Section 2.7 Fire Safety
- The Committee is firmly committed to promoting and upholding the fire safety guidelines provided by College.
Section 2.8 Green and Ethics
- The Committee is firmly committed to promoting the protection of the environment and high ethical standards throughout all the activities, educational or otherwise, carried out by College.
- The Committee expresses its disapproval at College’s decision to use non-recycled paper in many of its activities, including in printers available for use by members of The JCR, on the grounds of cost.
- The JCR supports the principle of divestment from fossil fuels and positive reinvestment in renewable energy.
- The JCR encourages the college to commit to a defined set of ethical principles according to which college investments should be made. The JCR further encourages the college to include JCR members in the consultation used to decide which set of ethical investment principles the college will adopt.
Article III. Use of JCR Facilities
Section 3.1 Use of the JCR Common Room
- The Committee is firmly committed to ensuring that any use of the JCR Common Room is a communal social space open to all members of The JCR at any point in time, to the extent that:
- The JCR Common Room cannot be booked out for the exclusive use of any member or members of The JCR at any time.
- The Committee expresses the view that the JCR Common Room is a valuable space. Any damage to the JCR Common Room or any facilities therein caused by a member or members of The JCR will be attributed solely to that member or group of members, who will be exclusively liable for making good their damage by whatever means required.
- The Committee is currently exploring ways by which use of the JCR Common Room can be further encouraged and have set aside a provisional sum of money for its redecoration and refurbishment, and are committed to ensuring that members of The JCR will be consulted throughout this entire process.
Section 3.2 Use of the JCR TV Room
- The Committee is committed to maintaining the current practice of allowing for the booking out of the JCR TV Room using the sheet provided at its entrance and confirms that priority for access and use of the JCR TV Room must be given to the member or members of The JCR who have correctly followed the booking requirements.
- The use of the JCR TV Room is subject to the conditions that:
- Even following a booking, no activities undertaken by any member or members of The JCR in the JCR TV Room can be to the exclusion of others.
- Even following a booking, the timespan of the use of the JCR TV Room is subject to the concept of reasonability.
Section 3.3 Sunday Tea
- The Committee maintains the customary practice of hosting ‘Sunday Tea’ every Sunday afternoon, whereby
- The Committee uses its own funds to provide food and drink to all members of The JCR and host events, talks and activities.
Article IV. Student Welfare
Section 4.1 Welfare Provision
- The Committee is committed so far as is reasonably practicable to providing indiscriminately via its relevant officers anything typically considered to benefit a person’s welfare – material or otherwise – to any member of The JCR if and when required.
Section 4.2 Access
- The Committee is committed to helping College ensure that the members of The JCR come from as wide a range of diverse backgrounds as possible, and will assist College in helping ensure any prospective student from any background has a fair and equal chance of admission.
- The Committee expresses no opinion on College’s current choice of access ‘target areas’ of West Yorkshire (namely Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield), South Yorkshire (namely Barnsley), East Berkshire and Scotland.
- The Committee endorses the Cambridge Refugee Scholarship Campaign as it calls on the University to:
- Offer at least 10 scholarships that cover course and maintenance fees for refugees and individuals who have been granted international protection by the state in which they reside lawfully. “International protection” in this context means recognition as a refugee or a grant of complementary protection;
- Publicise these scholarships so that potential students can easily apply.
Section 4.3 Disabilities
- The Committee is committed to helping College ensure that the members of The JCR are able to pursue an uninhibited life regardless of physical or mental disability, and will assist College in helping ensure that the College environment poses as small a restriction on the life of those individuals as possible.
- The Committee in no uncertain terms takes a zero-tolerance view on discrimination based on disability.
Section 4.4 LGBT+
- The Committee is committed to helping College ensure that no member or members of The JCR are subjected to discrimination based on their sexuality or gender identity – or lack thereof – and will assist College in helping promote liberal and tolerant values thereto.
- The Committee in no uncertain terms takes a zero-tolerance view on discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity.
Section 4.5 Race, Ethnicity and Religion
- The Committee is committed to helping College ensure that no member or members of The JCR are subjected to discrimination based on their race, ethnicity, skin colour or religion and will assist College in helping promote liberal and tolerant values thereto.
- The Committee in no uncertain terms takes a zero-tolerance view on discrimination based on race, ethnicity, skin colour or religion.
- In line with the University, the Committee uses the definition of anti-semitism provided by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/working-definition-antisemitism?focus=antisemitismandholocaustdenial).
Section 4.6 Gender
- The Committee is committed to helping College ensure that no member or members of The JCR are subjected to discrimination based on their gender and will assist College in helping promote liberal and tolerant values thereto.
- The Committee in no uncertain terms takes a zero-tolerance view on discrimination based on gender.
- The Committee is currently seeking to implement a sexual harassment policy which will impose a zero-tolerance measure thereon. The current enactment of this policy notwithstanding, The Committee in no uncertain terms takes a zero-tolerance view on sexual harassment in any form.
Section 4.7 Society Funding
- The Committee maintains, via its Clubs and Societies Officer, a process of fair distribution of funding to all societies registered at Selwyn, in the case that these societies request funding from the JCR Committee. The Committee notes that it is only able to distribute funds to official society bank accounts, and cannot distribute funding to the personal accounts of students.
Section 4.8 Subject RepresentativesThe committee intends to ensure a provision of subject representatives for all subjects, and the Education Officer will oversee their council with the aims of:
- Allowing their views to be put to The Committee and to College.
- Supplementing the benefits of the college parental system, by providing every student with a point of reference for educational matters, particularly supporting the newest members of The JCR in settling into academic life at Selwyn
Section 4.9 Sexual Harassment Disciplinary Procedure
The Committee is aware that the sexual harassment disciplinary procedures of the college may require reform. The Committee, in conjunction with the Selwyn Feminist Society, is in the process of considering the following:
- Whether to encourage the college to reform its disciplinary procedures.
- In the case that the Committee decides to encourage the college to do so, in what form the disciplinary procedures should be reformed.
- Whether to encourage the college to commit to referring all sexual harassment cases to the centralised Office of Student Conduct, Complaints and Appeals (OSCCA).
Article V. Political Expression In College
Section 5.1 Political Posters
- The Committee accept the validity of the argument presented by College which outlines the reasons why posters advocating any political cause or party should not be displayed by any member or members of the college.