Meet ‘Red Kate’, leader of ‘People’s Republic of Worcester College’

While she made no secret of her leftist views, Donations were nonetheless “shocked” that she had pledged to boycott Oriel.

“It’s extraordinary – there is no precedent for it,” Don said. “There is a very strict code among house managers in Oxford and Cambridge that you act collegially. This is a very basic principle.

“This means that it is not for one quorum to tell another quorum how to conduct its business.”

But the dismay of Professor Tunstall and the other senior professors who joined the boycott runs far deeper than the feeling that they betrayed their colleagues by speaking out.

“This boycott shows the ugly intolerance of its supporters, who simply will not live with any point of view other than their own and are ready to punish students for imposing their will,” said Nigel Biggar, regius professor of moral theology and pastoral care in Oxford.

“Having failed to convince, they now use force. Such authoritarianism has no place in a university that claims to be liberal ”.

Professor Biggar, who heads the Oxford McDonald’s Center for Theology, Ethics and Public Life, is currently leading a project on ‘Ethics and Empire’, which analyzes the impact of the Great Imperial past. -Brittany.

In 2017, academics launched a scathing attack on Professor Biggar after suggesting that people should be “proud” of aspects of their imperialist past.

“Someone who was properly liberal should accept a decision with which he does not agree. Otherwise all we have is the expression of deep feelings and civil war, ”he said.

Why Oxford is the epicenter of the crisis

For some, this episode shed light on what many in Oxford have known for some time: that the university is no longer the stronghold of the institution it once was.

“Oxford’s exterior image is deeply misleading,” Don said. “Although it has this reputation of being a center of tradition, it is really not in all respects that counts in the end.

“There are still ancient customs in some colleges – wearing dresses for formal dinners, for example. But it’s nothing more than exterior dressings.

“In terms of politics and political outlook, there is nothing traditional about Oxford anymore. With a few exceptions, Oxford’s guardians and fellows are politically on the left and in many cases very on the left.

He said this is part of a larger phenomenon, since academics tend to lean to the left. But this causes particular tension at a university like Oxford which is “likely to have ties to historical figures whom far-left academic staff despise.” He added: “This is the fundamental reason why Oxford in particular is the epicenter of this type of crisis.”

Culture changes from above

It is not just grassroots academics who display leftist tendencies. Some donations have noted that in the past decade almost all head of household positions have gone to “a Blairite, a former head of a quango, or someone from a left-wing media organization.” which means that the culture is also changing. from the top.

In recent years, former Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, ex-BBC Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer and former Observer editor Will Hutton have all been appointed as heads of the college.

Next month David Isaac, the current chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and former chairman of the Stonewall charity, will replace Professor Tunstall as Worcester provost.


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