BNC find formal hall dis-grace-ful

first_imgBrasenose JCR passed an amended motion on Sunday changing the tradition of grace at formal hall, noting that several members of the JCR deemed the tradition of reading grace in Latin “inappropriate”.Daniel Garrett and Ned Goodwin’s original motion proposed to “instruct college that it does not wish to participate in the reading of grace before formal and to request that grace not be read aloud before meals in hall. “Until such a time as college enacts this motion, members of the JCR should be welcome to remain seated during grace.”The motion was proposed “in order to convey the dissatisfaction of some members of the JCR concerning the institutionalised denominational atmosphere instantiated by, among other things, the saying of grace before certain meals.”The amended motion which was eventually passed allows students to “sit down during grace with the support of the JCR, with no ramifications, but grace would still be read as usual.”Garrett commented, “While those who are religious are, of course, entitled to say grace for themselves, the imposition of religious service onto other members of the college community is not in keeping with a non-denominational atmosphere.”Garrett reported that the original motion only received support from approximately one third of the JCR, “but the subsection was passed fairly comprehensively.”He said, “This is not a witch hunt against the traditional aspects of the University. “We appreciate that Oxford is one of the world’s oldest universities and that maintaining traditions is an integral part of what makes it unique and outstanding.“During the recent history of the University, its members have managed to distance themselves from a shady past of non-academic elitism and exclusivity and we see no reason not to carry on this tradition of tolerance.”According to the minutes of the JCR meeting, some students  pointed out that standing up during grace was a matter of “politeness” and “respect”.Those who spoke against the motion said, “There is something powerful about going through the same things as past members of the University have done. It is something to distinguish us by.”Garrett emphasised “the duty of all to nurture an environment of free thinking and open criticism”, claiming, “we put forward our motion as we believe that any non-secular affiliation elevates one class of ideas above others.”A number of colleges including Balliol, St Catherine’s, St Hilda’s and New College begin their formal halls with “Benedictus benedicat”, which loosely translates as “Let him who has been blessed, give blessing”.The movement against the reading of grace is not entirely unprecedented. However, research undertaken by Cherwell suggested that most undergraduate colleges continued the tradition of reading grace in Latin. Grace is read at Regent’s Park in English because of its strong affiliation with the Baptist church, and at Kellogg College in Welsh.Wadham is the only college at which there is no grace, owing to the fact they do not have regular formal hall, according to one student.last_img