6 November 2013

Another fee rise?, Racist sombrero ban, Uni video fail, Rugby team spiking scandal…

LSU release terrible parody video

lsu la la laLoughborough University have released a parody video of the Naughty Boy song “La La La” as an attempt to boost its numbers and popularity amongst potential students.

The stunt has however quickly backfired, with the cringe-worthy video going viral for all the wrong reasons.

It’s hard to track down a version where the audio hasn’t been removed for copyright but we’ve found one here.

Our take: Why is it so hard for people to do online media?  It’s simple, just make funny, engaging and shareable content. Which in principle LSU have done with this video, it’s just that people are laughing at the institution, not with them.

Having said all that, we respect the work that the unions do and this shouldn’t detract from this and if they did it on purpose… we salute them!

Uni of Birmingham bans ‘Racist’ Sombrero

racist sombreroIn a crackdown against discrimination, the University of Birmingham has banned students going to fancy dress parties in sombreros.

Other outfits such as the fictional persona of Sacha Baron Cohen Admiral General Haffaz Aladeen or the Native American member of the Village People have also been refused entry to university nightclubs.

Our take: We think that Birmingham might be missing the point a little here. Undoubtedly, someone will wear a racist stereotype as a fancy dress costume, and they will be rightly criticised for it. But racism nearly always needs to be dealt with on a case by case basis, there isn’t a one size fits all RACIST/NOT RACIST category.

Applying a blanket ban means that the important issues (racism on campus) end up getting trivialised and even the best intentions can end up doing more damage.

Oxford College Rugby team in drink spiking scandal

drink spikingPembroke College Rugby team has been banned and relegated from the Oxford University rugby league, after an email that encouraged players to spike their date’s drink was leaked.

The plan for the delightful evening, involved bringing two bottles of wine on a ‘crew date’, one for the player and another for the unsuspecting female, which had been laced with a substance of the players choosing.

The club’s captain has stepped down, and the club is not eligible to take part in further competitions.

Our take: And rightly so! Events like this just put everyone in a bad light. The ‘antics’ of Sporting societies have always seemed a little strange to us, but at least they were inflicting it on themselves/each other, this however, is just out of order.

Leading VC argues for (another) rise in Tuition Fees

fee riseSir Christoper Snowden, president of Universities UK and Vice Chancellor of  Surrey uni has claimed that the current £9000 cap on yearly tuition is unsustainable.

Snowden argues that many institutions are losing money on UK and EU undergraduates because of the cap, as well as echoing statements from Oxford’s Vice Chancellor about “excellence not coming cheap.”

Our take: Obviously, we’re well and truly against this. If tuition fees should be going in any direction, it’s down. News like this just goes to show how out of touch the senior management are from the students and the lecturers at UK universities.

Gvt. to make switching Energy companies easier

Student Energy MeterThe Energy Select Committee met last week, in which MPs ‘grilled’ (we’d say lightly smoked) the big 6 energy companies on their price hikes, customer service and the (obvious?) need to reform the industry.

One of the few positives to come out of the committee is the initiative to make switching between companies easier, similar to the recently enforced 7 day current account switch over we saw with the banks.

Our take: While this is a step in the right direction, switching energy provider isn’t going to make much difference if the big firms are ‘all in it together’ and keep increasing prices.

To put it simply, these companies are putting profit before people. These reforms are too little too late, prices have been increased and thousands of people will go cold this winter in fear of not being able to pay the bill.

State of the Machin: On Funeral Selfies

funeral selfieMy job requires me to be on the internet a lot, and I love it. But at times it just makes me lose all faith in humanity.

Case in point, the Tumblr blog Funeral Selfies, which collected various Instagrams of teenagers (and some older people who really should have known better) taking pictures of themselves at a funeral, usually accompanied by some sensitive hashtags like #FollowForLikes,  #PicOfTheDay and #RIPGrandad.

I don’t want to tell anyone how to grieve, but seriously, you’re doing it wrong. The concept of a funeral and a selfie are just fundamentally at odds with each other. A funeral is for remembering and respecting a loved one, a selfie is just unnecessary, self obsessed vanity.

People do deal with death in various different ways, and grief can be done through social media, Scott Simon of NPR’s highly emotional live tweeting of his mother’s last moments as she passed away to cancer is a good example.

But a lot these photos aren’t grief, they’re just narcissism of the highest order. Stop the world, I want to get off.

And that’s the State of the Machin.

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