Today's news

November 28, 2003

Lecturer, 67, told she is 'too old' for college job
A lecturer who was headhunted by an art college but rejected when it discovered that she was 67 years old, may sue for breach of contract. Dinah Warnock was asked to prepare a lecture and a series of tutorials on fashion for Winchester School of Art, part of Southampton University, after the college saw her impressive CV. No one asked her age, although Miss Warnock stated her date of birth on her application. She was interviewed by the school's head of fashion and sent a contract. She returned it, with a form exempting her from national insurance because she is of retirement age. Miss Warnock then received a call telling her that the offer was being withdrawn because the university was "cracking down" on people working beyond normal retirement age.
( Daily Telegraph )

Clarke moves to head off revolt over top-up fees
Charles Clarke, the education secretary, stepped up efforts to win over Labour opponents of university top-up fees yesterday after 1 Labour MPs signed a Commons motion opposing the plan. Mr Clarke's senior advisers were holding a new round of one-to-one talks with rebels in an attempt to take steam out of the revolt. Next Wednesday officers of the National Union of Students will stage a mass lobby of Parliament demanding meetings with their MPs. They will be supported by the Association of University Teachers and the University and College Lecturers' Union.
( Daily Telegraph, Independent )

Cambridge prepares to charge £3,000 fees
Two out of three students at Cambridge University will graduate with debts of around £,000 after its vice-chancellor yesterday became the first to declare that she will seek to charge tuition fees of £3,000 a year from 2006. Alison Richard sought to lighten the blow by revealing the university's plan to award means-tested bursaries of up to £4,000-a-year to poorer students. But she acknowledged that two-thirds of the 10,000 Cambridge undergraduates would not qualify for financial aid, leaving them to accumulate debts of about £9,000 a year in fees and living costs.
( Times, Guardian, Financial Times )

Blair promises student fees rethink
Ministers accept that they will have to rethink plans to charge students top-up fees if they are rejected by the public consultation exercise launched today. Peter Hain, the leader of the Commons, said yesterday that if the consultation exercise showed that people did not want the policy, "then we will obviously have to listen to it very carefully".
( Times )

Student destroys BMW in rugby club prank
A student who took a BMW from a dealership as part of a rugby club initiation ritual and crashed it into a tree was banned from driving for a year yesterday. Jonathon Cummins, 22, led police on a high-speed chase after taking the car from the garage in Dundee and fled after the crash, the sheriff court was told. The student was dared to take the vehicle, have it photographed and return it unscathed as part of his initiation into Dundee University Rugby Club, the court heard.
( Independent )

British Museum pays £1.5m for brothel art
A Babylonian carving of a naked woman, which may have hung as a sign outside a brothel 4,000 years ago, has been bought by the British Museum. It has been acquired for the nation for £1.5 million by the museum, which launched an appeal earlier this year. The purchase was made possible with a £200,000 grant from the National Art Collections Fund, Britain's largest art charity.
( Times )

500 years on, tiny comic strips go on display
Some of the most exquisite illuminated book illustrations in the world - including the apparent equivalent of an early religious cartoon strip - are going on display in an exhibition at the Royal Society of Arts in London from this weekend. The books and their paintings, some only a few centimetres in size, were all produced in Flanders in the late 15th and early 16th centuries for wealthy patrons across Europe. The 190 exhibits, mainly from the British Library and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, have never been displayed together.
( Guardian )

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