Talk:University of Oxford/Archive 1

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I have removed Richard Burton (actor) from the list of "scholars" (for the third time) because I don't feel that the list of scholars should be simply a rehash of the lists of alumni which already exist on the individual colleges' pages. I'm not sure how the person who began this list intended it to be used, but it's obvious from the other names present that it was reserved for those of some academic standing - not those who did a short course at Oxford and didn't even take a degree. I hope other contributors agree. --Deb

Well, I for one do not agree that you should be the one to get to decide who gets to be on the list and who doesn't. I keep putting Richard Burton back on because he's listed in a booklet I bought while I was there (taking a short course one summer), and I consider that if Oxford sees fit to include his name in its official booklet, he should be in the Wikipedia article. Lots of the people on the list didn't get degrees, and some of them weren't "scholars" by your standards, either -- some of them were even kicked out, I think. This is a list of people who attended Oxford, and he did, so I say leave him on the list. -- isis 18:25 Dec 15, 2002 (UTC)
Having watched the recent edit war it occurs to me that in the future, the list of scholars could (and probably will) become too large and unwieldy for the main article (a look at "what links here" will give you and idea of what I'm talking about; that's just the tip of the iceberg).
I see only two ways to avoid this, one being to decide on a level of "scholarship" which would qualify a person to be on the list, the other being to do away with the main list altogether, and distribute them among the individual college pages (many of which are conspicuously empty at the moment).
The disadvantage of the first is that there is probably no way to do it objectively (retaining NPOV). I doubt there is a standard that would please everyone. The disadvantage of the second is that we'd probably lose Bacon, Boyle, and Duns Scotus (and possibly others in the future). My own opinion is that the second would be better.
I completely agree. There is no point in duplicating the list, and we could get round the problem of losing teachers and academics by having a separate list for them within each college. Deb

The 'pedia has many lists (and many longer than this one) of much more dubious reference value than notable persons who have attended Oxford. I question, for example, why anyone would consult a list of persons who died of cancer or were said to have been other than heterosexual. Moreover, the individual college pages focus on "alumni" whereas this list includes the undergraduates who never became alumni. Having the lists on both the Oxford and Cambridge pages both provides meaningful information about them and illustrates the point that Oxford is known for literature and Cambridge for science. (Have you ever seen an encyclopedia article about Oxford that didn't list some former students, and not just alumni?) Removing information from the 'pedia, no matter how little you personally value that information, is censorship, and I'm strongly against it. Deb's problem isn't with the list, it's with having Richard Burton on it, and we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath-water -- let's just focus on solving her problem, shall we? -- isis 05:15 Dec 16, 2002 (UTC)
Deb's problem with Burton seems to be that she thinks he is one of "those who did a short course at Oxford and didn't even take a degree" instead of a regular undergraduate student. Here's what Michael Hall wrote in the "Exeter College" article in Oxford (ISBN 0-13-647595-7 & ISBN 0-13-647595-1):
"Exeter's 20th-century undergraduates have included the actor Richard Burton and J. R. R. Tolkien, the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and professor of Anglo-Saxon."
Thus, Burton was a genuine student who dropped out. And I think naming just those two students from that college tells the reader something meaningful about Exeter and Oxford, too. -- isis 05:30 Dec 16, 2002 (UTC)

Let's get this straight - I have no problem with Burton being listed as a former student at Exeter (in fact, let's change the name of the college lists to "former students" instead of that awful word "alumni"), and I'm happy to let you have your own way on that subject, Isis. My objections were, firstly, to his being listed as a "scholar", and secondly, to your altering the title of the main list so that it duplicated the ones on the individual college pages. Anyone who has been at Oxford identifies with their college rather than with the university as a whole, and it has to be a good thing to move the lists accordingly.

There is much confusion over Burton's achievement in getting into Oxford - many ill-informed websites, and even some books, foster the myth that he "won a scholarship to Oxford at the age of 16". You won't find this on his "official website", because it simply isn't true. The facts are these, and you can check them out in his autobiography. At the age of sixteen, he was forced to leave school and find work as a shop assistant. His former teacher, Philip Burton, recognising his talent, adopted him and enabled him to return to school. In 1943, at the age of eighteen, Richard Burton (who had now taken his teacher's surname), was allowed into Exeter College for a term of six months study. This was made possible only because it was wartime and he was an air force cadet. (Even nowadays, Oxford is not that egalitarian.) He did not win a scholarship, nor did he study for a degree, nor did he "drop out". He was, however, a one-time student. --Deb

What do people think of the bit about Magdalen being 'perhaps the most beautiful'... POV? EddEdmondson 07:59 Jan 29, 2003 (UTC)

Well, it does have some of the best grounds - a lot of the colleges don't have any greenery. And architecturally, it's pretty impressive. And it does only say "perhaps" and "one of". I think it's probably the most popular with tourists, if that's of any relevance.Deb 18:04 Jan 29, 2003 (UTC)

Large parts substantially rewritten; what was there before was factually incorrect and misleading. 16/7/03

An unknown person removed the references to the Halls that preceeded the Colleges as being older than the three colleges of original foundation. I am not sure why he/she did this, since it is factually accurate. For references, see "Being an Medieval Hall in Oxford University" or "A History of Oxford University". I am placing the information back. Anyone who has a reasoned objection to it, please say so here. Automaton 27 July 2003

The new version of the Halls-to-Colleges line is better (if rather long) but the obsessive need to mention SEH is not really justified. SEH has barely existed as an independent institution for substantial parts of its history; conversely, some colleges are the offspring of older Halls (Worcester; Oriel; Hertford; etc). 28.7.03

I have to disagree with your removal of SEH. Given that the information I included was factually accurate, I do not see that removing it is justified. As well, the statement that SEH "has barely existed as an independent institution" is not accurate. While Queen's College retained the university-mandated right to name the head of house for many years, SEH was always an autonomous institution (and, for example, conflicted with Queen's during that period on a wide variety of sectarian issues). The halls that gave rise to Worcester etc were in fact not older than SEH. By comparison, I note that you did not remove my paragraph about Blackfriars which (as I stated in the paragraph itself) did not exist at all in Oxford for centuries after the Reformation. The reason I feel it is important to list both Blackfriars and SEH is that they represent links to a more ancient organisational structure that in many ways defined the university. Given that the information is correct, I do not see what purpose is served by removing it. Automaton 28 July 2003

How nice to see other people, both of you knowledgeable, having the disagreement on this page, instead of me. For what it's worth, I think the mention of SEH could be profitably reinserted, but reworded to take account of the criticism. Deb 18:14, 29 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Deb, thanks for the note. I have re-inserted the mention of SEH, but scaled it back to the barest minimum, which I hope will make everyone ecstatic (well, at least satisfied). Automaton 29 July 2003

I think it now makes sense - will have to check dates of founding of Halls (had thought SEH later than was-it-St-Mary's. Have also changed one line re:graduate colleges to try to account for weirdness of All Souls without going into that whole thing. 31 Jul 03.

History is getting better. But what does Aularian mean? And why is Blackfriars specifically called permanent and private? Rmhermen 21:35, 31 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Originally, the University was divided between Halls and Colleges. Members of Halls were called "Aularians" and members of Colleges "Collegians" (the latin term for Hall is "Aula" and the latin term for College is "Collegium"). As the Halls began to disappear, there were a few hybrids (Brasenose was founded as the "The King's Hall and College of Brasenose"). Today, the University is divided amongst 39 Colleges and 6 Permanent Private Halls (PPH). The PPHs are "permanent" in that they are official foundations of longstanding, expected to remain part of the University for all time; "private" in that they are not public or royally founded, but created by non-sovereign bodies (usually religous houses); and "halls" in that they are not Colleges (with the powers over University governance granted to Colleges in the University statutes). The PPHs are also typically very small insitutions. Automaton 11 August 2003

Someone changed the reference to Brookes' entry requirements from 'are less stringent' (than those of Oxford) to 'mirror those of other modern universities'. I don't think the original was non-neutral, and I think the replacement takes away information while conveying nothing at all. I have therefore amended the replacement Andrew Yong 12:48, 5 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Good move. Deb 21:20, 7 Oct 2003 (UTC)


Do you like the table? I think it's quite useful. Sky 16:36, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Yes, it looks lovely. Nice work. Deb 21:01, 11 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Thank you :-) Sky


Someone deleted parts of the table. What was the reason for it? I don't mind changing the colour, but taking the motto, memberships, etc. out?!? Sky 15:37, 25 Jun 2004 (UTC)


I think the new table looks better, more modern. However, when you look at the script it is just awfully long. Can't this be done in a shorter way or is that not a real problem. Sky 13:20, 29 Jun 2004 (UTC)

College Scarf Colours

Does anyone know where I can find a list of the college scarf colours, similar to this, I'm trying to make the Oxbridge scarf colours article a little more even handed, but it's proving difficult.

  • I very much doubt that All Souls have a college scarf, being composed entirely of Fellows. If I have half a chance I will nip into Castell's for you and look for Greyfriars. -- Uncantabrigian 20.20, 16 Jul 2005 (UTC)


It would be helpful if the individual college pages gave some info on what subjects they taught. Do different colleges have different specialisations? Seabhcan 23:46, 6 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Interesting question. They do tend to have their strengths, but perhaps not to the extent that it would be helpful here. Students may get their teaching at another college, and in any case specialisations can change over the years. I'm not sure wikipedia is the best place for that kind of information. Deb 18:14, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)
So, all colleges more or less teach everything? Thats amazing - completely different from the usual College of Science, College of Engineering structure of other Universities. Perhaps this should be said clearly somewhere in wikipedia? Seabhcan 19:07, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Term names

Michaelmas term lasts from early October to early December; Hilary normally from January until before Easter; and Trinity normally from after Easter until June.

Could we have an explanation for the origin of the term names? -- Tarquin 22:11, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

It looks as if Trinity term is named for Trinity Sunday, which occurs in the middle of the term. Michaelmas, clearly, is named for the little-observed festival of the same name. Hilary is named for Hilary of Poitiers, whose saint's day is January 13th. See I am therefore restoring the relevant links which Flapdragon removed. Nomist 04:31, 19 May 2005 (UTC)
It's interesting information, but I suggest that a link to some obscure saint is the hardly right way to present it. Links are not meant to be a shorthand way of explaining the etymology of a term; we wouldn't expect the "Oxford" of "Oxford University" to link to information about cattle or river crossings, we'd expect to find something about, well, Oxford. Michaelmas term is (as you say) obviously named after Michaelmas, and we might click on the link to remind ourselves of the details of that festival; but wouldn't expect to find ourselves reading about the life of St Michael. Likewise, it's a bit puzzling to be transported without explanation to a 1911 hagiography of St Hilary which sheds no light whatsoever on the subject in hand (Oxford terms) and in fact doesn't even mention anything to do with Oxford, universities or terms -- it just looks like a mistake. We're left to conjecture that the name must have some connection with the saint, but have no idea what. Why not, instead, add a sentence explaining the not very obvious origin of the name of Tinity Term, quoting sources and explicitly linking to the saint in a more conventional and comprehensible way? Flapdragon 16:13, 21 May 2005 (UTC)
Fair point. I don't have the time to do it at the moment. Was worried it might make the article cluttered. Is it worth having a separate section about obscure oxford terms (in all senses of the word 'term')?Nomist 16:45, 22 May 2005 (UTC)
That sounds great, always assuming such a thing doesn't exist already. Battels, collections, rustication etc need explanation. Perhaps even a combined Oxbridge glossary since some terms are found at both universities? In the meantime I've added a quick parenthesis about Hilary Term -- feel free to improve of course. Flapdragon 23:18, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

The Oxbridge page is fairly short and could hold a subsection on Oxford and Cambridge terminology, I'd be happy to include some Oxford examples but my Cambridge is very rusty.Alf 29 June 2005 18:18 (UTC)

Criticisms of Oxford

Sorry, folks, but if you genuinely believe that admission to Oxford is based exclusively on academic merit, then heaven help you.

Whilst I would agree that this is the case in a good 90% of instances, there are a significant number of people who get in on reputation alone.

agreed - and that the Oxford interview process selects without error those candidates with the highest "academic merit and potential" is also disputable. --Eddy b 12:09, 20 October 2005 (UTC) Eddy B

It is also a total disregard for the truth to claim that Oxford is making any sort of worthwhile progress towards attractive more state-educated students. There remains a huge discrepancy at the institution.

This article has clearly been written by Oxford students, desperate to promote the best possible impression of the University, leaving the article purposefully blank of criticism when in some cases it is much deserved. 00:35, 22 Dec 2004

[moved, sig'ed. James F. (talk) 01:55, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)]

You are talking out of your own arse. Just shut up. This comment was added by on 8th March, 2006. At that time it was the only contribution from this user.

I find the states school admissions comments somewhat inaccurate. The tutors involved with admissions I have spoken with have stated that, if anything, they would favour a states school candidate with the same grades as a private school candidate in a direct comparison, since they would consider the states school candidate to have done better to achieve the same grades as the one who had had the privilege of attending a private school. The simple fact is that private school students statistically outperform states school students and academic achievement is the primary criterion used by universities when selecting applicants. Although it's not fair that some people have an easier time getting top grades since they had better resources, I think it would be more unfair to ask that states school students with lower grades were systematically favoured just to balance statistics. Though there could potentially be more accurate methods for judging academic ability that didn't give such an advantage to private school students (IQ tests, perhaps?), arbitrarily increasing the intake from states school students to manipulate the statistics is not one of them.

krebbe 21:46, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

I would think 99% of people who get in have straight "A" grades in any case. Deb 11:33, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

The main difference between entry to Oxford and Cambridge is that you are interviewed and the entry decisions made by the people who will be teaching you for three years. There is bound to be a personal element but any capriciousness is guarded against by the abilty to apply to more than one college and then to a PPH. Oxford has made substantial efforts to attract state school students, sometimes at great cost, for example the old system of remaining at school for a seventh term in sixth form to take the Oxford and Cambridge exams was abolished precisely because it was too hard for state schools with only one or two candidates for some reason. The result is that most students now go straight from school to Oxford whereas they used all to have had nine months off. This has changed the attitude of students in a big way. They arrive as seventh formers rather than as young adults. A chief cause of the low level of applications from state schools is ignorance and even prejudice on the part of state school teachers. One way Oxford attempts to deal with this is by colleges offering "schoolteacher fellowships" where a schoolteacher is a member of a college senior common room for a term supposedly to research his or her subject but really to find out how the Oxford system works. I have sat next to one such at dinner when I was a guest and he told me that his school had never put anyone forward for Oxford but would be doing so in future.

Admissions Section - Discrepancies

These two sentences in the Admissions section appear to be contary:
Oxford, like Cambridge, has traditionally been perceived to be a preserve of the wealthy, although today this is not the case.
Around half of the students in Oxford come from state school backgrounds; for comparison, approximately 93% of students in the UK study at state schools
Unless the article is trying to argue that pupils in fee-paying schools are 'brighter' than those in State schools? Perhaps the authors are trying a bit too hard here, why not just report the facts as they currently stand, maybe spin-off a seperate topic about why there should be such an inbalance? Markb 14:26, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

I've always replied to such statements by quoting the statistic, the origins of which currently allude me, to the extend that approximately 50% of pupils recieving three A grades at A level are from state schools, as are about 50% of Oxford undergraduates. Draw your own conclusions from this.
In addition do not suppose that parents who send their pupils to private school are neccesarily rich. My parents had to struggle to send me there, as did many of my friends parents. In fact the demographies of the parents at my school were in many ways better than many state grammer schools.
Anyway, enough of the politics. The first statement should have a source regarding Oxford not being the preserve of the wealthy; and I would remove the part about 93% of British pupils being from state schools as an irrelevance. --Neo 18:35, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
50% of pupils recieving three A grades at A level are from state schools, as are about 50% of Oxford undergraduates.
along side the 93% of pupils attend state school, one conclusion is that Oxford prefers pupils from private schools.
Anyway, I'll go ahead and remove both statements, unless someone can come up with a source for the former? Markb 12:50, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I think it's just one of those statistics that buzz was what i was told when i applied. We should point out perceptions, or theories, as to why so few (comparitively) State school pupils attend. Everyone knows private school kids are coached to within an inch of their life...not that i'd put this blatently POV fact on the article. Pydos 13:20, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't think that this (Admissions) section fits in with the Neutral Point of View Guidelines. It isn't that bad, but at the end of the day, sentences like Admission to the University of Oxford is based wholly on academic merit and potential or Oxford, like Cambridge, has traditionally been perceived to be a preserve of the wealthy, although today this is not the case are (even if they happen to be true) subjective without any source to back them up. If this article is aiming for featured article status (which it probably deserves), this section should maybe be slightly rewritten. Also, I don't think you can discuss Oxford admissions and widening participation without reference to the Laura Spence Affair from 2000. I'm not saying Oxford was at fault, but the fact that the row happened should be acknowledged for balance surely? Smeddlesboy 13:13, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Bullingdon Club

The club's mention is inappropriate to the heading under which it occurs but perhaps would be more appropriately listed as a 'see also' link elsewhere on the page. The Bullingdon Club is of course associated with Oxford but unlike other institutions and organisations included in the list, the club is not an officially sanctioned organisation nor one formally affiliated with the University. In the past, this club has been removed by other contributors when it has appeared here, and I'm not sure why its deletion has become so problematic. If we feel it should be included (reasonably enough), I would suggest it should not appear alongside official University bodies.

It says "Events and organisations connected with the university", not "officially sanctioned or formally affiliated with the University". Why make such an opaque and artificial distinction? "See also" paradoxically gives this institution that you obviously take such exception to a higher level of visibility and implied importance. The Bullingdon Club may not be a source of pride to the University, but it's very much an institution (your previous assertion "not an institution" makes no sense to me), and a far more notable and (in)famous one than some of those currently listed. If you want to be pedantic about it, gaudies are not affiliated with the University, they are college events. Have you actually checked that all the student organisations mentioned are "formally affiliated with the University"? More to the point, what does it matter to the reader whether they are? Who cares? This is supposed to be a neutral encyclopaedia article, not an official Oxford University publication.
You say that the mention of the Bullingdon has been removed by other contributors in the past. The only case I'm aware of is a Czech contributor who deleted what was then a red link under the mistaken impression that it was some kind of vandalism -- he simply hadn't heard of it. Which is a good reason to include it, in fact.
It would be interesting to see some explanation of the strength of your objection. Are you connected with the University in any official capacity? By the way, have you thought about registering with Wikipedia so your edits and comments are not anonymous? With just an IP number one can't tell if a run of edits even come from the same person. Flapdragon 10:10, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I'm happy with Bullingdon Club there alongside punting and May Morning. I made the May Morning link point to 'May Day', subsection 'English tradition' as it's quite well explained there.Alf 29 June 2005 17:40 (UTC)
Thanks Alf, I saw that. Misslectures 30 June 2005 08:05 (UTC)

Link deletions

I have seen a revert that removed links added by a previous contributor and have restored those links as there was no basis, according to WP, on which to remove them. They seem as relevant as the other links given. The justification given to Weyes regarding their inclusion is on good ground (see User_talk:Weyes):

Wikipedia is neither a mirror nor a repository of links, images, or media files. All content added to Wikipedia may have to be edited mercilessly to be included in the encyclopedia. By submitting any content, you agree to release it for free use under the GNU FDL. 2 Wikipedia articles are not:

Mere collections of external links or Internet directories. There is nothing wrong with adding to an article a list of content-relevant links; however, excessive lists can dwarf articles and detract from the purpose of Wikipedia. (From Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not)

As the links given by Wiki alf and the anonymous contributor are well embedded, relevant and inobtrusive, I have restored them. Is everyone else OK with this? Drjoycej 30 June 2005 07:58 (UTC) (talk)

I definitely agree. Misslectures 30 June 2005 08:03 (UTC) (talk)
Yes. I was quite taken with the format of The(external) Whatever(internal) format and saw some that were out of shape, I had only planned to put a link to 'University Museum of the History of Science' when I visited the page, I think the list needs a bit more work myself.Alf 30 June 2005 10:58 (UTC)

Old boys

Famous Oxonians: wasn't president Clinton an Oxonian?

He studied at University college as the OXFORD UNIVERSITY ANNUAL REPORT 1993/94 Supplement *No. 2 to the Oxford University Gazette, Vol. 125 shows. Where would this fit? I can't decide from two or three places.Alf 29 June 2005 18:08 (UTC)
However, having had a long look at famous Oxonians and feel that the summary is good enough and we should then be redirected to List of University of Oxford people for any names here, recasting the last sentence to include Nobel award winners.Alf 29 June 2005 18:31 (UTC)

Picture Caption

The 'dreaming spires' picture is clearly taken looking westward - into what must be a sunset, rather than a dawn. The caption needs changing.

This has now been done (by Drjoycej). Alf 5 July 2005 11:56 (UTC)

disputed citation

In the words of David Horan, 'its Fellowships are the most coveted prizes in all the universities of the world'

So who on earth is David Horan, and is he really an authority worth quoting? If so perhaps he should have his own page on Wikipedia; if as seems likely he is just some bloke who happened to make a rather hyperbolic statement that may or may not carry much weight, his thoughts should perhaps be rephrased in a a more encyclopaedic style and the namecheck removed. In any case he's certainly not famous enough for the entry to assume we know who he is; at the very least it shold be changed to "according to the author/biographer/academic/historian/whatever, its fellowships..." A statement isn't more true or more worthwhile just because a name can be attached to it. Flapdragon 5 July 2005 18:48 (UTC)

Ah, he must be the Horan, David chap who appears at ... University of Oxford#Further reading !. Alf 8 July 2005 23:51 (UTC)
Perhaps someone was trying to "cite sources" and went a bit OTT. Deb 9 July 2005 13:17 (UTC)

Pranks at Oxford = True or False?

In the 1970s my Indian-born father was on an exchange program that took him to Oxford for the better part of six months. Our family now resides in Canada, and growing up he often told my brothers and sisters (myself included) that during his time there, some ingenious scholars took the time and energy to put toilets on the Radcliffe Camera overnight as a joke.

I have seen pictures of the Radcliffe Camera (not having had the chance to go to England personally) and, despite my father's penchant for honesty, find his tale hard to believe. (He also says that another group got one of its members to dress up as an Eastern prince - who subsequently got wined and dined by a number of colleges before the charade was exposed, of which I'm equally sceptical.)

I'm sure there are other former students of Oxford who attended the university at the same time and frequent Wikipedia... So please could someone tell me, are my father's stories true? (We, his children, owe him a gourmet dinner if they are.) -- 17:53, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I was at Oxford between 1974 and 1977 (so obviously I'm old enough to be your mother). The first of your tales doesn't ring any bells, but the second one certainly sounds familiar. I think I may have seen it written up in a student newspaper (but of course that doesn't guarantee it's true...) Deb 19:06, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Sounds a bit like the famous Dreadnought Hoax of 1910, the most famous prank of Horace de Vere Cole (1881–1936). According to Wikipedia, "As an undergraduate at Cambridge University, Cole dressed as a sultan of Zanzibar - who was visiting London at the time - and made an official visit to his own college." Perhaps a garbled memory of this, or a copycat stunt? Flapdragon 20:01, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Copycat, I'd think, because I wouldn't have been interested in anything that happened at "the other place"! Deb 21:12, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

bias in favo(u)r of overseas applicants?

As is the case for many other British universities, University of Oxford admission often favors fee-paying overseas applicants over EU-students of equal strength for undergraduate studies. This is a broad development, and understandable from a fiscal point of view, but it nevertheless tarnishes the University's academic credibility in the undergraduate sector.

Can we cite some evidence for this allegation? Otherwise it should probably be removed. Flapdragon 21:47, 3 November 2005 (UTC)

College templates

I have created a series of templates for former students of Oxford's various colleges. There are still plenty to do, but if you want to add one the the templates to your user page then feel free. See Wikipedia:Userboxes/Education/United Kingdom/University of Oxford for complete list. 20px Deano 18:14, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Charter of liberties


On June 20 1214, a charter of liberties was granted to the University by Nicholas de Romanis, the papal legate, which authorised the appointment of a chancellor of the University.

Was that all that the "charter of liberties" did? It would be good to be clearer, and to have a citation. (I googled but didn't get far.) --Singkong2005 02:49, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

Minor Changes

I think that information on how Oxford currently ranks needs its own section; for one, rankings fluctuate every year and therefore, though important, cannot be considered defining characteristics. Also, selectivity can be quantified, and therefore ranked. To say that Oxford is highest in selectivity because it is perceived as such by the public is unneccessary when data, less debatable, can instead be used to back up the claim. Courier new 03:00, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

A little help from the British

Hey gang, I'm trying to clean up College application, which currently has a tag on it saying it doesn't come from a world-wide perspective. (This probably stems from the fact that the article starts, "In the United States...".) I was hoping to get the perspective of non-American editors to "globalize" this article, and Oxford seemed like a good non-American place to start. I'd appreciate it if y'all (a little U.S. twang for you) would take a gander and give it a different perspective. Truly, JDoorjam Talk 18:50, 14 April 2006 (UTC)


There are a lot of free images of Oxfod on the commons, would someone please remove the unfree images from the aritcle and replace them with free one? Thanks.--Peta 05:38, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Links to institutions

I have reverted the removal of links to institutions because I see no logic in which were deleted and which kept. I suggest that removal of such links be discussed here to get consensus. I'll start the discussion:-

  1. Delete links that are specificto one College and ensure the link is on the College page.
  2. Include all links to Faculties or equivelent or none.
  3. Keep the link to Rhodes House.

--Bduke 23:22, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Indeed, there was no logic yet, simply because I intended to delete more today. It was starting to look like a place where people could add anything with some link to the University in order to advertise their favourite institution. I agree on the first point, and I'd rather we remove all links to Faculties. Some faculties are not listed for the moment, and adding them all will make the list even longer.
I also dislike the format of an external and a wikilink mixed together (as in The Oxford Union Society). If there is a Wikipedia article, people can go there for the external link; including it here as well just makes it ugly. PruneauT 09:31, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree about mixed links - go only to the WP article. As you say, the external link is there. I'm inclined to agree about Faculties and Department links. Let us leave it for a few days to see whether others will comment and then delete College links, Faculties and external links where there is a WP link. Then we can see more clearly what is left. Rhodes House should certainly remain given the importance of the Rhodes Scholarships. --Bduke 10:40, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
I agree with both of you. Deb 11:11, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

The list has been getting longer. I have deleted links to student societies and a College Choir which no longer has an article. I have left notable student societies such as the Oxford Union, broader student bodies such as the Student Union and Sports Federation, and student newspapers. I still think we should remove links to Departments and Faculties while leaving links to museums, libraries, Rhodes House etc. --Bduke 23:12, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

I have removed more links, and reordered those remaining (I put the libraries and museums together at the beginning). I have removed the link to the Taylor Institution, but it might be more important than what I think. PruneauT 23:36, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

"Scholars" at Oxford

The term "Scholar" has a very specific meaning in the context of an Oxford college (and probably elsewhere too, at Cambridge and maybe Durham). It means a person who has been formally admitted to a specific category of college membership (usually after their mods or prelims at the end of the first year, on academic merit). Scholars are entitled to wear a different academic gown from other junior members ("Commoners") and usually receive a very token amount of money. At some colleges they receive additional privileges such as free meals one or more times each week. They formerly sat in different places in Hall and at services in chapel.

Elsewhere a scholarship is usually a purely financial affair, intended to assist a student with their tuition fees and living expenses (at Oxford this might be termed a "bursary", as in the recently-introduced Oxford Opportunity Bursaries, and will often not be combined with a "Scholarship" as defined above).

At present this article repeatedly uses the term "scholar" in a way that would not be heard in Oxford - within the university the term would be used purely in the sense defined above. The term scholar is mostly used here to mean any member of the university, which is incorrect in any case. I think we really need an explanation of what a Scholarship is in Oxford, and to avoid using the term in any other way such as may cause confusion. –Casper Gutman 16:11, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

Note that "usually after their mods or prelims at the end of the first year, on academic merit" is relatively new. Scholarships and Exhibitionships used be awarded as part of the entrance examinations. This useage is important for the reader because of the long history of Oxford and its many mentions in fiction. Also note that in some Colleges exhibitioners wear (?wore) Scholars gowns and in others Commoners gowns. --Bduke 23:36, 12 July 2006 (UTC)
You're quite right about exhibitioners wearing scholars' gowns at some colleges. I just noticed a post in the discussion of Term Names above suggesting we need some sort of glossary of Oxford terminology to deal with these things. I'd say words used in a different way at Oxford need explanation even more than those unique to Oxford, as they have much more potential to cause confusion otherwise. "Scholar" falls into this category. A word like "battels" on the other hand is unfamiliar to most and they would hopefully realise they needed to look up the meaning if they encountered it. –Casper Gutman 07:08, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I can recall arguing with someone about the term "scholars" in the past -- probably on an archived talk page. It does need explanation, though it's so complicated I'm not sure I can contribute (I was a commoner!) Deb 18:16, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, just noticed there's actually a paragraph that goes some way to explaining this, but it's hidden away under "Admission". I've tried to remove any overly vague uses of the "S" word before that explanation kicks in, but don't have time to do much more just now. –Casper Gutman 10:18, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Removal of Stuff without reference

I have removed the following:

"The Sutton Trust Summer School occurs each year around the summer months, with courses in various subjects. Two notable students were Michael Petkov and Louise Anderson who found a new compound used to deal with depression in old age."

I can only find information about this on Wikipedia mirrors: even the Sutton trust itself's website doesn't mention it, and it's the sort of thing you'd expect them to trumpet from the rooftops. I also think it unlikely that someone on the ST summer schools would be in a position to discover anything, having been on one of the early ones myself. I'm fully aware that not everything is on the web, so if anyone has an offline source which can be easily referenced I'm happy to believe it and put it back, but this is the sort of thing I really would expect to appear on the web otherwise.

CJW—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 19:48, 2 August 2006 (UTC).

Oxford in literature and other media

Would anyone mind if we tried to keep the University of Oxford#Oxford in literature and other media section down to works which feature Oxford prominently, so we would remove e.g. Tomorrow Never Dies and several others. Stefán Ingi 23:29, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

I removed Gaudy Night. It certainly passes the test of featuring Oxford prominently but it is just one book in a series and that series is not particularly about Oxford (although the two main characters are Oxford graduates) so it seemed less important than the other crime fiction mentioned, which are whole series set at Oxford. Is there some other reason for why it is exceptionally important? Stefán Ingi 23:47, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Dorothy L. Sayers is one of the great classical crime writers. Much as I like the books by Veronica Stallwood and Colin Dexter, I do not think they are in her league. Her influence on crime writing has been immense. Also Gaudy Night is often considered one of her best. The central part takes place at a Gaudy - the College feast - and is thus more university based than much of the Stallwood and Dexter novels. Only one of the Stallwood novels, if I recall correctly, is firmly based in a College although the Colleges make an appearence in several books. The Morse books are even less university based. I am firmly of the view that it should be retained. --Bduke 01:12, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Guardian 2006 league table

I'm confused by conflicting stories:

Did Oxford come second, as here:

Or first, as here:,,1765251,00.html


-- 16:33, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Sports teams

Someone added a link to Oxford University A.F.C. in the "See slso" section. I removed it once as I didn't think there was much of a case for having it there when none of the other sports clubs were listed, but this was reverted. Clearly the rugby team and rowing club, to name but two, are at least as noteworthy these days as the footballers, however important OUAFC was in the early days of the organised game in England. If we're going to have one team then there are many more that should be included. Perhaps there should be a "Sport" section on the page, or a separate Oxford University Sports Clubs article we could link to instead?

What do others think? I'm aware there's been some attempt recently to reduce the rather overwhelming numbers of links from this page.--Casper Gutman 08:56, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

South Parks controversy

I think this article needs to touch upon the current construction of the South Parks animal research lab, and the controversy/protests surrounding it. It would be extremely difficult/impossible for ME to write such an article and stick to NPOV, but this would be a good oppertunity for someone who feels less passionately about this subject to contribute.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 17:38, 25 September 2006 (UTC).

I totally agree, that is a current issue in oxford at the moment, and should be reflected in the article, I'd write somthing, but i am not well enough informed and also would struglesticking to npovGeorgeryall 21:58, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Date of establishment

An anon editor has changed the date of establishment (but not the category). Could someone better versed in the history of the university address this? --Bduke 20:12, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Omission of Ripon College

There is an anomoly in the Colleges and Permanent Private Halls. Ripon College Cuddesdon appears in neither list, although its students matriculate and graduate with Oxford degrees. Ripon College is anomolous, fitting precisely into neither category, but it should properly be included in one, if only because its foundation pre-dates other colleges mentioned.


The article at Ripon College Cuddesdon indicates that it offers courses "validated" by Oxford Univ, but is not a constituent college of Oxford Univ. May be worth a "See also" mention. --mervyn 13:09, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Thank you, but it is not a precise solution. All of the Permanent Private Halls are also independent of yet offer degrees 'validated' by the University, but if that were the sum total of the University's involvement, students would not matriculate to the University, simply to their respective colleges/halls. Students at Ripon College are full students of the University, and enjoy equally all of the benefits and status of those who belong to the other colleges. Ripon College is a de facto college of Oxford University, with rather more validity than some of the more newly founded Permanent Private Halls. It should therefore appear in one of the lists. +Cranmer 14:28, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Belles, Sirens and other clubs/societies

This page does not and should not include an exhaustive list of Oxford student societies and/or sports clubs. There are category pages (Category:Oxford student societies, Category:Oxford student sports clubs) that aim to do this, so the proper way of noting the existence of a society is to add the appropriate category to the society's page.

There is debate to be had about whether a particular society should be noted on the main University page, but IMHO a better solution would be to remove those that are here than to add more: the excessive lists on the main University of Oxford page were one reason it was rejected as a featured article some time ago.

--Casper Gutman 11:23, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree with that, and I think it is more or less the conclusion we came too last time we mentioned the links. Pruneautalk 14:27, 14 November 2006 (UTC)


The article appears to overlook the Oxford University Chest. --Alf melmac 22:38, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

University ratings

(I'm posting this to all articles on UK universities as so far discussion hasn't really taken off on Wikipedia:WikiProject Universities.)

There needs to be a broader convention about which university rankings to include in articles. Currently it seems most pages are listing primarily those that show the institution at its best (or worst in a few cases). See Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Universities#University ratings. Timrollpickering 23:20, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

Official name?

Is the university not officially called "Oxford University", or is that just an informal alternative name? — 18:29, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

No, I think it's officially "University of Oxford". That's the usual British way of naming a university. Deb 20:08, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
"University of Oxford" seems to be slightly preferred on the University's own web pages (see [1] as compared to [2]). That said, the terms "Oxford University" and "University of Oxford" are both widely used. Indeed, the University Homepage, though titled "University of Oxford Home Page", has a link to "Information about Oxford University". So, I don't think there's a great preference for either even within the university; I certainly don't think there's any problem with the terms being used interchangeably in the article.
As to whether one term is more "official" than the other, I doubt either has more official status. I don't think the university has a founding charter that could be consulted, as it developed gradually and organically. The university's Statutes and Regulations even use both titles ([3] vs. [4]), though again the longer "University of Oxford" version is favoured. If anything, I'd say the "University of Oxford" name is more appropriate for use as the "official" name, but the terms seem to be more interchangeable at Oxford than most UK academic institutions — the marginally more informal name is certainly heard much more than e.g. "London University" or "Leeds University". --Casper Gutman 15:33, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
"Official" is a confusing term for UK universities given that several have both a "legal" name in charters, statutes, legislation etc... and a different "public/brand" name used on the logo, given as the name in most contexts. (See for instance "Durham University", "Queen Mary, University of London", "Lancaster University" or for that matter the Dutch "Leiden University".) The extent to which the latter is used often depends on how much people care to update everything and also how much control the branders have - look at the many students' unions that use a different form of the name from the university, e.g. Southampton University Students' Union at the University of Southampton. Also some rebrandings do spark controversy and even pedantic use of the legal name when previously one wouldn't feel the need - I've known people (whether students, alumni, academics or other staff) deliberately call their institution/alma mater "University of Foo" in casual conversation when prior to the rebranding to "Foo University" they would have probably said "Foo University" or even just "Foo" and not given it any thought beyond simply saying which institution.
The arms that appears to be the currnt logo does clearly say "University of Oxford" so in so far as the university is projecting a single name (not everywhere's actually given this thought and Oxford is not exactly a place that needs to use a single name universally to present to the world as it's already a wee bit famous) I'd say it's "University of Oxford". Timrollpickering 22:06, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
The university was incorporated as the "The Chauncellor Masters and Schollers of the Universitie of Oxford", which in its modern spelling remains its legal name, so "University of Oxford" is clearly preferable. Andrew Yong 12:37, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
The Oxford University Calendar describes the blazon of the "University of Oxford" and describes its corporate designation (as Andrew said) as "The Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University of Oxford", though in most headings on its own papers (Gazette for example) they do indeed use "Oxford University" but you'll note that the printing notes run as "Published with the authority of the University of Oxford by Oxford University Press".--Alf melmac 12:48, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Interesting discussion. I raised the point (I was the original poster - I wasn't logged in at the time) partly because there was a scam a while back in which overseas students were offered the opportunity to study at "Oxford University" and ended up at the "University of Oxford", which was a separate and lesser institution. I might not remember the details correctly, but I was surprised to see the article name referring to what I thought was another institution. Can anyone provide the actual details of this scam? It might be worthy of a mention in the article. — Paul G 11:56, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

It's possible they were confused by Oxford Brookes University but I've not heard of this particular scandal. Certainly here in the UK there is much less confusion over university names than in other parts of the world - whereas "University of Miami" and "Miami University" are two separate places and "University of New York" seems to mean three different places, in the UK pretty much every university is unqiquely named and there are common understandings of the short forms - "University of Durham", "Durham University" and "Durham" (in an academic concept) all mean the same place (whatever those in the backlash against the rcent rebranding may feel), ditto Keele, Lancaster, Newcastle and others using "Foo University" and Manchester, Exeter, Kent and others using "University of Foo". The granting of university status to the former polytechnics has created a number of cities and towns with more than one, but the newer universities in such places have taken unambiguous names and nobody would ever think, say "Southampton University" is ambiguous between the University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University (well no-one in the UK at least). About the only regular confusions I'm aware of are people confusing University College London with the University of London (and that's as much because of the federal nature of the UoL) and possibly "York University" - although that is the name of an institution in Canada, most in the UK would probably use and assume it to mean the University of York. Timrollpickering 12:35, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Oxford Prime Ministers . . .

I make it eight out of the last 11 PMs who were Oxford men and woman, and the other three did not go to university at all. 09:25, 17 February 2007 (UTC)