It was the way in that college not to use the high table every day; instead, the Scholars were encouraged to sit among the students, and the teachers and older pupils from the school, of whom Lyra was one, did the same. It was a point of good manners not to sit with a clique of the same friends all the time, and it meant that conversation at dinner had to be open and general rather than close and gossipy.
«Lyra’s Oxford» by Philip Pullman
I put the quotation above as a nice variant to the following clip of Van Jones on safe spaces on college campuses:
He’s right. As for the form, I wonder whether mixing tables and being open might not be the way to go (quotation above). Especially considering how closed and guarded university conversations have become. I recently heard someone say something akin to (somewhat paraphrased) «I went to a comedy club during the weekend. I cannot repeat the joke the comedian made, otherwise I get into trouble with HR.»
That is not a good sign for an institution that looks for the truth (knowing it can never be sure to have found it).
So yeah, it should be a gym.