Gender segregation abolished at Oxford University after last college turns mixed-gender

St Benet’s Hall has begun to accept women as students

Jon Stone
Friday 05 June 2015 15:20
Oxford University
Oxford University

The last part of Oxford University to only accept students of a single gender has changed its policy, marking the end of segregation at the institution.

St Benet’s Hall has been male-only since its foundation in1897 but will now accept women as students.

The final college not to accept men went mixed at the start of the 2008 academic year.

Werner Jeanrond, the college’s master, advocated the change since his appointment three years ago and secured it in a vote.

“There's absolutely no reason why we should have a male-only education,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation news agency.

“I don't think it's a good thing for universities.”

He said opposition to the move had been minimal and accused critics of being stuck in the past.

Oxford University is comprised of 38 self-governing and semi-autonomous constituent colleges.

It is the oldest university in the English-speaking world, though its exact date of foundation is not agreed upon.

Last month the head of another Oxford college, Dr Alice Prochaska, said female students were facing "excessively harassing and intimidating behaviour" as they went about their studies.

"Any level of sexual harassment is also not a joke; it is not acceptable that members of the college and their friends should be made to feel uncomfortable and disrespected here," the head of Somerville College wrote in an email.

Her warning followed a widely-publicised open letter published by Oxford student Ione Wells, who waived her anonymity to highlight her own experience of being sexually assaulted.

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