Prof. Kate Tunstall, an interim provost of Worcester College, one of the colleges at Oxford, came under fire from students over an attempt to abolish the historic traditions practiced at formal hall, which include saying grace before meals and standing for dons.
This infuriated students from the Worcester college junior common room (JCR) after she decided to ax the Anglican prayer, read in Latin before meals. She saw this move as a way to boost “diversity” and “inclusivity” and prevent students from feeling alienated, the Telegraph reported.
Students said they were informed by catering staff at the start of term that they were no longer required to stand when senior academics entered and left the room.
The students are fighting back by petitioning the governing board after a majority voted against Tunstall’s actions.
Damon Falck, the JCR vice president, said students are “passionate about keeping the theatre that reminds them of this place’s history and that it’s a special place to be.”
He said it is “significantly more awkward to sit in silence while the tutors arrive or leave than it is to stand” and that standing is “an excellent way to signal the start of the meal, and for everyone to be silent for Grace.”
Referring to college officials, a senior administrator said, “the students are not quite as woke as they thought.”
“The college has recently created a multi-faith prayer room and it voted at its last governing body meeting to expand the range of texts that can be said at formal dinners from the single option of the Christian grace in Latin,” the spokesman said, “to include texts from other religions and cultures.”