Oxford University Worcester College students vote to stand for tutors

Image source, Jeremy Bolwell
Image caption,
The tradition of standing for tutors at Worcester College goes back hundreds of years

Students at an Oxford University college have voted to reinstate the tradition of standing for tutors at formal meals.

The custom at Worcester College Formal Hall, which includes a recital of Grace in Latin, had been ditched after a vote by its governing body.

But Worcester Junior Common Room (JCR) students voted to reinstate the centuries-old practice.

The college said the original vote was welcomed as "progressive change".

Dr Kate Tunstall, interim provost at Worcester College, said a vote chaired by her predecessor Sir Jonathan Bate in June resulted in students no longer being required to stand for their tutors at formal dinners.

"That vote was taken following consultation with students and staff who welcomed this as a progressive change," she added.

Reasons for the governing body's decision included the fact that it excluded students that could not stand because of disability, and that some tutors felt uncomfortable that students were expected to stand for them.

But JCR president Ellen Flower told the BBC the "majority of students expressed the view that they did not feel uncomfortable standing for tutors".

"We let the governing body know, and they have been very receptive and welcoming of any guidance.

"They did not wish to require something of the students that they themselves no longer believed to be in-keeping with a progressive institution," she said.

Several Oxford colleges maintain the tradition of Formal Hall, a weekly three-course meal with wine, for which students wear formal gowns.

Formalities include a Latin Christian prayer recital before the dinner by a senior fellow.

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