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By Jonathan Tomlin
Brasenose students who continue to go to breakfast in pyjamas may face a dressing down.
Signs have been put up at the college warning students against the “slovenly practice” of attending hall in nightwear.
The poster, entitled “Hall Manners”, stated: “This practice evinces a failure to distinguish between public and private spaces in college.”
It added: “There is a clear distinction between night wear (private) and day wear (public). I trust that this slovenly practice will cease forthwith.”
The news has attracted a surprising level of media attention. The BBC, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail and The Oxford Times have all reported on the temporary sign.
The Daily Mail cited a “well-placed source” as saying that students were responsible for the “deliberately pompous and over the top” signs.
Sylvie-Anne Stenton, a student at Brasenose who was asked about the sign by The Daily Telegraph, said: “I thought it was a totally bizarre question – I had to point out to the journalist that a lot of the colleges don’t actually have a formal breakfast in hall.
“To be honest it seems like the kind of thing the media love because it would fit in with their whole image of Oxford being really conservative – it’s just like how they love the fact we wear sub-fusc for exams.”
One second-year student at Brasenose said: “I think it is all a bit of a joke really: it is really not that unreasonable to expect people to wear ‘day’ clothes to hall.
“But some people seem to be much more annoyed at what seems to be the media taking another dig at Oxford for having dress requirements.”
OUSU President Martha Mackenzie said: “It’s quite funny really – some colleges are more strict than others.
“For students, the colleges become their homes over the three years that they’re there, so that’s why you can begin to see a more informal approach as they become more relaxed.
“Traditions are an important part of Oxford life, but the most important thing is that it doesn’t infringe on the students’ work.”
The Dean of Brasenose, Dr Christopher Timpson, had raised concern about pyjamas last year, but reportedly had not put up the sign.
The College has since stressed that there was no “official” policy to ban pyjamas, and the sign has been taken down.