Oxford’s last remaining single-sex hall for undergraduates is preparing to admit female students for the first time in its 116-year history, it has announced.
St Benet’s Hall, a Benedictine monastic Permanent Private Hall, is looking at plans to build a new hall of accommodation for female students. According to its master Werner Jeanrond women are not able to live in the current living accommodation as, due to canonical rule, they are not permitted to live in the same house as monks.
The current accommodation holds 25 undergraduate students, though a total of 54 are affiliated with the PPH.
Johan Trovik, the JCR president of St Benet’s, said “I'm happy that the Hall now is working on improving our infrastructure so that we will be able to extend our offer of a unique sense of community of learning and friendship to female students as well whilst continue to respect our student monks' monastic requirements.”
Oxford’s six Permanent Private Halls are separate from its collegiate system. Each Hall is affiliated with a different Christian denomination, and they are given a license by the university to present students for degrees. There is one other hold out, Campion Hall, associated with the Jesuit order of Catholics, but it only admits graduate students.
Oxford’s last single sex college, St Hilda’s, opened its doors to men in 2008, 88 years after women were first admitted to the university in 1920. There are still three all-female colleges at Cambridge, Newnham, New Hall, and Lucy Cavendish.