20 February 2013

Fee Rise costs more than they Save, Scottish Unis to Charge over £9k, Harlem Shake Takes Over…

Oxford Uni Continue to Discriminate Against Poor

Oxford University Degree dayThe row about Oxford University discriminating against poorer students has rumbled on this week.

Judge Armitage has reserved judgment on the case of Salford’s Dale Shannon, who claims that St Hugh’s College is in breach of human rights because he couldn’t prove that he could cover his living costs.

Critics claim that by requiring proof of living costs, Oxford Uni education is only available to the richest in society, and discriminates against poorer students, even if they are academically qualified to study there. Oxford have issued an apology to students who have felt discriminated against.

Our take: We’ve covered this before, it’s obviously an unfair policy to exclude anyone from education because they can’t pay an upfront fee. As this case keeps going it does more damage to Oxford University and higher education. By delaying the judgement, Judge Armitage hasn’t done anyone any favours.

Scottish Unis Could Charge Over £9000

Scottish Finance systemThe Scottish government wants to change a currently voluntary agreement on tuition fees into law.

At the moment, Scottish institutions chose to raise the cost for students from the rest of the UK to £9000 a year to fit in with costs across the country. University leaders, both representing students and institutions, object to having no cap on fees, and want the government to rethink its plans.

There are fears that students from the rest of the UK could become ‘cash cows’ if the law is passed. This could have a massively detrimental effect to higher education north of the border, especially if it puts potential students off Scottish universities.

Our take: You all know our position on this, the increasing fees are unfair for everyone. It’s especially exploitative if the government want to raise money out of RUK (rest of UK) students studying in Scotland.

Rise in Fees Will Cost More Than They Save

tuition fees 2012A new figure suggests that government changes to University could cost up to six times more than they save.

The changes, which include the infamous raising of tuition fees, were supposed to save £1.17 billion, but a report by the Higher Education Council for England has found that the economic cost of implementing the new system could be £7 billion!

Graduates earning less, lower tax revenues and a higher write off of student loans all contribute to the huge economic cost of the supposedly cost saving measures.

Our take: Who saw this one coming? Well everyone really. Nobody from the education camps really thought increasing the fees were a good idea, and now it looks set to blow up in the government’s face. Can we really afford for cost cutting measures to cost us £7 billion? Nope.

Manchester Student Newspaper in Homophobia Row

university_of_manchesterThe Manchester University student paper has come under criticism from its Union because it published a secret recording of an allegedly homophobic comment made at a society meeting. The paper is accused of acting unethically by using deception and then printing the quotations out of context.

The recording took place at a Global Aspiration for Women’s Society, and the Middle Eastern student who was recorded, was involved in a debate about an ‘ideal’ Islamist state. Other viewpoints were also discussed, but the society accuses the newspaper for cherry picking the quotations and changing the context of the debate.

Our take: This is a tough one, because there are so many different issues being raised. People have a right to hold whatever religious beliefs they want, and a right of privacy, to not be recorded in secret and then have that video circulated. On the other hand,  religious homophobia (while nothing new) is not to be celebrated, or tolerated. Also it’s hard to see how well the context argument stands up when there is video proof of what the student said.

The Harlem Shake Takes Over Campuses

harlemshakeThe latest viral dance video, the Harlem Shake, is making it’s way across campuses as everyone wants to be part of the sensation. A quick look on YouTube and you can see Universities across the country take on the dance.

Among the most popular are videos from Northumbria University and the UCL version which is reportedly the biggest in the UK.

Our take: Without wanting to be grumpy spoilsports, this ‘craze’ feels a little forced and lacking in originality. Gangnam Style was good because it was so far removed from anything we knew before, and it’s parodies all had a local twist that made repeating the joke enjoyable. Having said this it’s still a bit of a guilty pleasure to watch all the videos.

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