Castle votes to change JCR President title to ‘Senior Student’

The following is an article provided by Palatinate.

University College has voted to change the name of its JCR President to ‘Senior Student.’

The change voted in at the end of last term will now allow the JCR President to choose between ‘Senior Man’, ‘Senior Woman’ or ‘Senior Student’ when taking up the role. The June vote was passed with 118 yes votes to 56 votes against the motion.

Commenting on the changes, incumbent Castle Senior Student, Will Throp said: “The decision was reached by a broad consensus, and I think we’re all quite comfortable with this.

“As a JCR we must seek to recognise and engage with our wider place in the world, while still retaining an appreciation of the opinions of our students.”

The vote is the second one of its kind in the past year. In November 2014, Castle JCR voted to retain the title of “Senior Man” by more than two votes to one after the College came under criticism for keeping its “sexist” title.

The successful vote in June came in response to the establishment of a college-wide deliberative jury, charged with investigating the issue of gendered titles.

Having consulted the evidence, the jury recommended that the title of ‘Senior Man’ be changed on the grounds that the title is a gendered term. Mr Throp said that this was “an important reputational issue for the college”.

Castle Student Joshua Bailey, commenting on the successful vote, said he hoped the change would see more women running for the position.

“I think the old title had an adverse signalling effect that played on the idea that women were less suited to official positions than men.

“I hope that [the new title] will come to symbolise Castle’s continued efforts to improve gender representation and inclusion in all facets of college life.”

University College follows in the steps of St Chad’s College JCR, which voted in Easter term 2013 to give the JCR President the option to title themselves either ‘Senior Woman’ or ‘Senior Man’. The motion was passed by a large majority under the then Senior Woman Chloe Williamson.

Hatfield remains the only college in Durham to retain the sole use of the title.

Photograph: Durham University