FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS FORMAL HALL?
On Friday evenings, we have a three-course waiter-served meal, known as Formal Hall, which is when many of the College community come together to round off the week. Students and staff wear gowns and dress more formally, and students may bring their own wine to the tables (wine is not usually included in the meal price). Many will often bring guests. Throughout the year, we also host special dinners and events, including: Advent Dinners; the Recognition Formal; Burns’ Night; and special themed food evenings.
Whilst gowns are required as part of the dress code, the rest of your Sub Fusc is not. Typically those who identify as female wear a dress or trousers and a blouse, whilst those who identify as male will wear a day suit.
Formal Hall also has its own etiquette rules, on top of the regular etiquette rules for a three-course meal (such as using the outermost cutlery first). Typically the MCR members will enter the hall after the JCR members but before the SCR members. MCR and JCR members are required to stand whilst the SCR parades into the hall and will remain standing until after the grace is read. Should you need to leave during the meal, it is requested that you turn and bow or courtesy to High Table upon reaching the door. There is a strict 'no phones' policy at Formal Hall, and ideally, all should be switched off before entering the hall. At the end of the meal, all JCR and MCR members are to remain seated until the SCR members stand up to leave, at which point the JCR and MCR members are once again required to stand until the SCR members have all left.
WHO ARE THE MINISTERIALS?
"One of the groups forming the MCR at Regent’s is the Ministerial Association; those preparing to be minsters in the Church, particularly within the Baptist Union of Great Britain. Most such students are also working part-time in local congregations and so are normally only in College a day a week in term-time, but they can often be found down in the MCR in between classes. The Ministerial Association also elects a representative, who sits on College Council and Governing Body as well as being part of the MCR Executive. This allows the particular issues that affect ministerial students to find a voice at various points within the community." - The Revd Anthony Clarke, Senior Tutor
WHAT IS ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP?
Associate Membership is membership of the MCR that is open to a number of groups who fall outside of 'ordinary membership'. These groups include: Students visiting for one academic term or less, who holds commensurate postgraduate status; Spouses of Ordinary Members; Partners/dependents of Ordinary Members who are above age 18; and other postgraduate members of the University who have a sponsoring Ordinary Member of the MCR at the discretion of the Executive. Anyone included in these groups who wishes to become an Associate Member should contact the Secretary and ask for an Associate Membership form.
WHAT IS SUB FUSC?
Sub Fusc is your ‘academic dress’, meaning that it’s worn for important occasions like your Matriculation ceremony, your degree ceremony, and your end of year exams. It’s from the Latin sub fuscus meaning ‘dark brown’, but actually most of it is black, so it’s best not to take that at face value.
There are rules regarding the items of clothing you have to wear for sub fusc, but within that you can wear what you want, regardless of gender.
Dark suit with dark socks, or
Dark skirt with black tights or stockings, or
Dark trousers with dark socks
Dark coat if required, worn beneath the gown
Plain white collared shirt or blouse
White bow tie, black bow tie, black full-length tie, or black ribbon
The appropriate academic gown
Mortar board or soft cap
In practice, students who identify as male often wear black suits with a white shirt and white bow tie, and students who identify as female often wear a black skirt or trousers, with a white shirt and black ribbon, but what you wear is entirely up to you!
You’ll first wear sub fusc for your matriculation ceremony, at the end of first week in your first Michaelmas Term. You'll wear full sub fusc, including your gown, and you’ll need to carry your mortar board.
There are several shops in Oxford where you can buy sub fusc, and some of them offer deals, so it’s worth checking out a few websites to see which has the best offer. In some cases they’ll only offer you the gown and mortar board, and perhaps the tie or ribbon, whereas in others they might also offer discounted shirts, suits and skirts as well. But there aren’t really any regulations about the rest of your sub fusc other than the colour, so you’re free to choose whatever shirts, trousers, skirts and shoes you like as long as they comply with regulations.
Traditionally the MCR hosts a gown fitting session at one of the shops in Oxford during Freshers Week, so if you're still a bit unsure, don't worry, we can help fit you out before Matriculation.
WHY IS THERE A SWORD IN THE MCR?
Ask Amanda Higgin.... (and look at the portraits in the MCR)