An Oxford University college is to appoint a “class liberation officer” to protect working-class students from being called “chavs” or being insulted over Primark clothes.
Students at St Hilda’s College voted to create the post after it was suggested that working-class students are under-represented at the prestigious university and suffer from “microaggressions” and classism.
According to the motion, the post will act “in a similar way” to appointments including the “RE Officer, LGBTQ+ Officer, Women’s Officer and Disabilities Officer to represent students who self-identify as being part of this group.”
One student at the college told the Sunday Times: “Insults such as ‘chav’, chav-themed social nights and questions such as ‘why are you wearing Primark?’ can make poor students feel upset and worthless.”
Earlier this year, the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission criticised Oxford and Cambridge for the lack of social diversity among their students, with some colleges making less than half their offers to state-educated pupils.
In the report, the commission said Oxford would need to increase its number of working-class students by a quarter (24%) to reach benchmarks for disadvantaged pupils.
Charles Ors, one of the students who proposed the motion, told The Oxford Student that by creating the position, the college hopes to “have more accessible and comprehensive support for students from a socio/economically disadvantaged/working class background.
“We hope that the position will provide this support and representation,” he said.
However, the move has been criticised by some who say it is simply another act of the “snowflake generation”.
St Hilda’s College follows Manchester University, Kings College London and the School of Oriental and African Studies in creating such a role.