The new semester has heralded the inception of a new system of operation for JCRs across campus as they become more fully affiliated with the Students’ Union.
The move, which was decided upon last year, sees the abolition of individual JCR constitutions and their integration into a centralised SU-led system. Along with the standardisation of committee member training, JCRs will be held more accountable for their spending.
Richard Lockington, a current hall President, comments, “There is still some flexibility there. JCRs can [still] do their job effectively; this just means they are being kept in line.”
One facet of the change is that only hall residents may now stand in JCR committee elections, prompting some concern that the committees will be hamstrung by the inexperience of their members and will potentially increase bureaucracy.
The timing and format of JCR elections have also been standardised as a result of the changes. Nightingale has been the only hall to be negatively affected as, having only elected its incumbent president at the end of the 2007/08 academic year, first years are unable to run for this position.
Despite concerns, the changes are also expected to improve communication between JCR Committees and the SU and bring the accountability that many people felt the system needed.