4 December 2014
Postgraduate Loans, Tuition Fee Protests, Student Sent 55″ TV By Mistake…
Police ‘use CS spray’ on Warwick protesters
West Midlands Police is investigating whether its officers were “disproportionate” when dealing with a tuition fees protest at the University of Warwick.
According to campaigners, some students were “punched, pushed on to the floor, dragged, grabbed by the throat, rammed into a wall and kneed in the face” by police.
YouTube footage also shows officers using CS spray, and threatening students with a Taser. Three people have been arrested and bailed following the fracas.
Allegations that students were “unnecessarily harmed” will now be “thoroughly examined” by the force.
Our take: Video clips of demonstrations can give all parties a clearer idea of what has unfolded. But violence of any kind – from police or protesters – undermines the purpose of a demonstration. It shifts the focus from what the protest was about, to the arrests that were made.
Postgraduate loans are on their way
Good news, prospective postgraduates! The chancellor’s Autumn Statement has revealed plans to introduce a loan system for postgraduates under the age of 30.
The scheme – available from the 2016/17 academic year – will encourage 40,000 more students to undertake further degrees and maybe earn the right to be a doctor (because that would be awesome).
It’s early days, though – and possible that these loans will command a higher interest rate than those offered at an undergraduate level. They will be designed to be paid back in full, as you’ll have the potential to earn a lot more money afterwards.
The National Union of Students has welcomed the move, saying it would make a “fundamental difference to the lives and opportunities” of young people.
In a statement, it added: “Many postgraduates are currently funding their study through potentially disastrous measures such as credit cards, overdrafts and personal loans.”
Our take: Postgraduate study is a natural step after getting a Bachelor’s degree – but the cost of further tuition puts many of us off, as you have to fund it yourself. Let’s be honest, few people have thousands of pounds lying around to spare. These loans seem like a pretty simple thing, so why hasn’t anyone thought of introducing it sooner?
Students could decide 2015 election
If there ever was a reason for people to bow down before the awesomeness and intelligence of university students – it’s this.
A report by the Higher Education Policy Institute has studied the pattern of voting students, which suggests that they could tip the balance when it comes to electing a new Supreme Leader… er, I mean, government.
According to research from Trinity College, Oxford, the student vote is going to swing to Labour next May – and in 10 constituencies, this could dramatically affect who is elected as MP.
The only problem is that many students are not registered to vote. New rules mean each individual must register to vote, instead of the household as a whole. If you haven’t already registered to vote, get on it! You have a voice, so use it.
Our take: Voting is important – the UK is a democracy. You can’t moan about the government if you haven’t tried to change it. The report from the HEPI shows just how powerful students can be in shaping this country.
Students drop dead in protest
Dozens of University College London students have staged a “die in” – laying dead on the floor – outside a building where uni managers were meeting.
Their protest was in reaction to claims that UCL has invested more than £14m in the fossil fuel industry.
Lecturers and visitors were pictured having to step over their bodies to get through the entrance.
The “die in” was organised by Fossil Free UCL, a group which wants the university to cut ties with companies involved in using fossil fuel, and involve students in future discussions.
Campaigners claim they have been “frozen out” of the talks, and that UCL’s financial interest in firms such as Shell and BP “contradicts its own research”.
Our take: Well, it was certainly a different type of peaceful protest… but the students managed to get their point across very well. Universities can’t ignore their students – we pretty much pay for your wages!
Brains go missing at Texas uni
There was panic at the University of Texas (and a lot of head scratching!) when 100 human brains, preserved in jars, miraculously disappeared. Students were being blamed for the theft.
The brains were from patients of a lunatic asylum, and one allegedly belonged to a man who shot his wife and mother before climbing a watch tower and killing 14 others with a sniper rifle in 1966. He injured a further 32 people.
But there was a sigh of relief when academics realized they hadn’t been lost. In fact, they were all safely destroyed in 2002 because they couldn’t be used for research.
Our take: Even if it was a false alarm, how is it possible to miss that many brains? Anyway, it’s a lesson for any university: don’t instinctively blame your students!
Student sent Amazon goodies worth £3,600 by mistake
And finally, here’s proof that honesty is the best policy.
A computer glitch in Amazon’s returns department meant that Robert Quinn, a Uni of Liverpool student, was sent a bunch of high-end goods worth more than £3,600.
The 22-year-old got in touch with the online retailer to let them know, but has been told that he can keep all of the products he received – which include a 55″ TV, a laptop, a pram, an ironing board and a snazzy fountain pen.
Robert, from Bromley, has said that Amazon hasn’t fixed the problem yet, as he is still receiving mistaken returns. He is planning on selling some of the items (on Amazon, of course!) to fund a trip to Bruges… and to invent an electrical cannabis grinder.
Our take: Free gifts are always good, but must get annoying in the long run to constantly receive mistaken goods. Hopefully Amazon will find a solution. If this means redirecting the goods, we can send you an address…
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