What is the JCR?
The JCR stands for the John's Common Room, which is a charitable organisation. It is an overarching group which includes all students affiliated with St John’s College which includes the Middle Common Room (MCR) and the Cranmer Common Room (CCR), for Cranmer Hall students. You can only be a member of one subsidiary common room at a time, and upon joining a subsidary common room you are automatically made a member of the JCR. The subsidiary common rooms each have their own Constitutional Documents but these largely mirror the JCR's.
There are a number of elected positions, which can be either open to any member of the JCR, or only to a single subsidiary common room. Each subsidiary common room holds annual elections for a president and executive committee. The JCR executive committee is split into two tiers: Tier 1 executive which deals with overall JCR issues and are also automatically Trustees of the JCR. Tier 2 executive is made up of executive members who deal primarily with their own assigned area. All other non-executive positions are elected in ordinary general meetings and help with the day-to-day running of the JCR.
Why should I care about the JCR?
You ask a valid question. Well, basically, the JCR is you. But on a slightly bigger scale. John’s Common Room is a charity and a democracy, and you can be as involved as you like. It exists to function as a whole and to work collectively for certain aims. Together we vote on certain policies, elect people to positions and represent our views back to college.
This is mostly achieved through JCR meetings, which are usually held three times a term. These meetings can be attended by everyone and are usually held in Leech Hall. They can be exciting, inspiring, controversial and often downright hilarious (especially the fancy-dress ones). They tend to be quite casual – although you will need your gown if you want to speak, you could be wearing your PJs under it, or sitting at the back eating sweets, and no-one will care. If you’re at the meeting, then you can give your opinion and make sure that things are going as you would like them. They’re a bit like school assemblies (only more fun), in that they’re one of the only times when the whole college is together. We make important decisions, from ethical policies about what we stock in the JCR shop, to how and what and when we give to charity, to rules about snogging and petting in the college bar...
JCR meetings are your main chance to have your say in the running of the JCR. They exist to hold JCR officers (both exec and non-exec) to account, to debate and make decisions regarding the JCR's policies and money, and to elect people to positions in the JCR. In short, they are the democratic decision making body of the JCR. Any JCR member is entitled to attend, speak, and vote at any JCR meeting, and at any meeting of their subsidiary common room.
JCR members also all have the right to propose motions and stand for election to any JCR position, as well as positions in their own subsidiary common room. Guides for writing motions and manifestos are available here.
The minutes of all meetings are made available on this website.
There are lots of other rules and regulations for different types of meetings - for more details, take a look at the Constitution.