Grey College to replace college parenting system


Grey College has announced plans to phase out the college parenting system. This decision follows what the president termed ‘inappropriate behaviour at last year’s college parenting dinner’.

From the beginning of the upcoming academic year, the College will put in place a new scheme: ‘the course parenting system’. Under this system, approximately three freshers will be assigned to one parent, all of whom are studying the same subject.

The college parenting system is a tradition which one student described as a ‘big part of university life’, making the Durham experience unique. As such, this decision has been met with controversy, particularly from students of Grey College itself.

This decision was first revealed on Durfess, and many students have posted their reactions on the page. One user described the system as ‘a fundamental part of the community’ and thought that the removal of the system is ‘not fair on incoming fresh’.  Another student who spoke to Palatinate expressed worry that the loss of the system could be ‘isolating for freshers’.

However, there are some who agree with the proposed changes. One student said that, although they are ‘really close’ to their college parents, the system could be ‘problematic and unnecessary’. They were particularly troubled that ‘a lot of the freshers were unnecessarily pressured into drinking’.

The reasoning of the college’s JCR and trustees has been similar. According to college president Leo Harris, the new system will maintain ‘a focus on pastoral care and academic support’. This is due to the fact that ‘involvement of alcohol inevitably leads to risks’.

Nevertheless, this choice has remained controversial. Durfess even attempted to set up its own university-wide parenting scheme, under which each first year would receive two parents from the upper two years. This is due to their belief that ‘the college parenting system is critical to the collegiate experience’.

“The college parenting system is crucial to the collegiate experience.”

Durfess Representative

Durfess had planned to hold its own parenting dinner with the families it had created, referring to the event as an ‘impromptu formal’.

However, they had to cancel this event so that Grey College students would be able to hold a parenting dinner. The reason given for the prevention of this event was that not holding both events would ‘reduce confusion’.

Although public reaction has appeared negative, Grey College’s staff and JCR are continuing their original plans to institute a course-parenting system. The College plans to send out applications at some point next week.

Featured image courtesy of DS Pugh / Victor Watts Library / CC BY-SA 2.0. No changes made to image.

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