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March 25, 2002

Oxford moves to curb 'cash for places' row
Oxford University was today taking steps to restore its reputation following revelations by The Sunday Times of places for sale. The Reverend John Platt and Mary-Jane Hilton, fellows at Pembroke College, have both resigned. A reporter posed as a wealthy banker trying to secure a place for his son. The newspaper said Reverend Platt and Mrs Hilton were involved in helping to secure a place for the reporter’s son in exchange for a donation of £300,000. The university said in a statement: “Both agreed that they were acting without authority in connection with the matters referred to in The Sunday Times and for this reason the resignations which they offered were accepted.”
Colin Lucas, the vice-chancellor, had said that he was “appalled” by the allegations of “totally unacceptable behaviour”. He added: “Such action would contravene all the principles on which our admissions process is based. There must be only one criterion for winning a place at Oxford and that is individual excellence.” Pembroke launched an internal inquiry and reaffirmed its commitment to places being awarded on academic merit alone. 

St Andrews is power behind science show
The Science Museum in London is highlighting St Andrews University’s research into rechargeable batteries as part of its new "Antenna" exhibition. St Andrews is developing materials for smaller, lighter and less toxic batteries to power everything from artificial hearts and laptops to environmentally friendly vehicles.

Do services keep students on track?
Student services, including counselling, personal tutoring, careers and employment services, will come under the spotlight in a project that aims to identify how effective they are at keeping students on course. The Department of Education and Skills and Universities UK today announced the launch of the research, which will be carried out by the Institute for Access Studies at Staffordshire University.

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