Two quit as St Hilda's votes 'no'

March 14, 2003

The Hildabeast will remain a female-only species after a vote on Wednesday at the last remaining women's college at Oxford University. The result led to two fellow resigning from their college offices as tutors for undergraduate and graduate admissions, writes Caroline Davis.

Falling applications and the prospect of a more centralised university admissions policy were particular concerns for St Hilda's. But the college's governing body voted against admitting men at undergraduate, graduate and fellowship level. The change needed support from two-thirds of fellows. One said the vote "could not have been any closer".

Anita Avramides, a philosophy fellow who opposes mixing the college, said:

"This decision was always meant to be part of our strategic planning for the future. The debate has thrown up many interesting and innovative ideas for tackling these issues that we can take forward for discussion."

But Hilda Brown, the vice-principal, responded: "I am deeply disappointed - most especially on behalf of the young fellows, virtually all of whom were looking forward to new possibilities."

Undergraduates in the junior common room voted in February against admitting men, but by the smallest majority ever. This led to speculation that the fellows were receptive to change. The college was believed to have been deeply split over the issue.

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