This article is in response to JCRs: ICOs (Inner Circles Only)
When I first read this article, I found myself whooping as, finally, someone had said what I’ve been feeling in my 2 years and 1 term at Durham. I have read through some of the responses to this from other members of the JCR and I’d just like to throw my 2 cents in.
First of all, I felt this article was a reasonable criticism of the JCR. I believe its intent was not to personally attack anyone. I understand the need to defend oneself, but I hope that this article can be a starting point for a conversation, rather than a catalyst for anger. Students are completely within their rights to criticise university and collegiate systems, as well as events organised by the JCR, be it in an article, or a post on the JCR page. Just because you may disagree, does not mean that we cannot create a reasonable argument for why we are dissatisfied with the JCR and its events, nor does it invalidate our feelings. As a side note, my own experience at the fashion show as an observer left me feeling very isolated, even though I was surrounded by close friends. I am happy to expand on why this was, however I don’t feel it is relevant in this particular response.
Another issue that was brought up was mental health. As someone with a long history of dealing with issues with my mental health, both severe and mild, and as someone who has ALSO tried very hard to get involved with the JCR, this article truly resonated with me. Having mental health issues does not automatically mean we are exempt from taking part and being included, I and many other people are testament to that. However, I personally feel that I have not thrived in the JCR through participation.
I know the JCR lineups change year on year, but I have frequently felt ignored or under-supported by the JCR. This is in both the capacity of a society president and committee chair for various years. Maybe my own issues prevented me from getting the help or support I wanted and I fully accept this, however I don’t believe that this is the only reason.
I do not think that those dissatisfied with the JCR believe that the JCR is a malicious entity looking to exclude people purposefully; I personally don’t believe that this is the case at all. But please listen to our concerns. We want what everyone else wants; to feel included, and feel like our voice matters. I think at this current stage, the JCR is not somewhere I feel like I can do this and I’m glad someone has spoken up about it.
Tessa Bailey, Josephine Butler JCR