Today's news

May 7, 2003

Oxford still tops Times league table
Oxford has retained its position as Britain's best university in the latest Times league table, published today. Sir Colin Lucas, the vice-chancellor, said: "I hope that this result will encourage more bright students, whatever their background, who want to aim for the top to apply." But the president of the Oxford University Student Union said that Oxford could soon price itself beyond many teenagers. "Huge efforts have been made to attract students from comprehensives and non-traditional backgrounds to apply," Will Straw said. "The fee increases the government is proposing and the cost increases at colleges will put that effort to waste. Oxford will once again become the preserve of the rich."

Oxford students protest at hike in cost of living
Students at Oxford University yesterday condemned plans by some colleges to abolish the generous subsidies that have contributed towards their food and living costs. Michael Beloff QC, the president of Trinity, blamed government cuts in funding and world events, such as the stock market slump, which has resulted in reduced endowments, for forcing the changes. Will Straw, president of Oxford University student union, said: "People like Michael Beloff claim that the colleges have to stop subsidising their students, but it is unclear if this is really taking place. In our experience the reverse actually takes place with students subsidising the expensive costs of maintaining the chapels and halls. In any case, Oxford colleges were often founded precisely to provide subsidised accommodation and food for poorer students. Students shouldn't be paying for slumps in the stock market."
(Guardian, Daily Telegraph)

Riding injury for top university woman
The first woman to be appointed vice-chancellor at Cambridge University has had her spleen removed after a fall from a horse while holidaying in the United States. Alison Richard, 52, an anthropologist who recently gave up her job as provost at Yale to prepare for her return to Britain, fell while on a riding holiday with her husband last week in New Mexico. The university was forced yesterday to deny reports that she would not be able to take up her post after Varsity, the undergraduate newspaper, claimed there had been an attempt to "cover up" the extent of her injuries.
(Daily Telegraph)

Intelligent life exists outside Golden Triangle
Eric Thomas, vice-chancellor of the University of Bristol, writes that the Golden Triangle institutions are vital to Britain's success, but that they are not its only world-class research universities. Research must be viewed as a national activity that brings economic benefits to all regions. Through one dirigiste stroke, universities are being forced to choose between focusing on teaching and focusing on research. This has sharpened the debate about what we mean by a research-intensive university - and how many we can afford to fund.
(Financial Times)

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