Today's news

May 17, 2004

Best universities snub state pupils
Students from fee-paying schools are winning 3,000 places a year at top universities at the expense of youngsters from the state sector, research by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, commissioned by the Sutton Trust, has concluded. State-school teenagers are losing out at the top 13 universities even though their A-level results are on average two grades better than the candidates who are admitted from the independent sector. Hefce's analysis found that the pattern was reversed at the former polytechnics that became universities in 1992.
( Times )

Oxford gets first for third year  
The University of Oxford is Britain’s top university for the third year running in the latest Times Good University Guide . Oxford increased its margin of victory over Cambridge to 47 points in the league table of 99 universities. Imperial College, London, came third. Loughborough emerges as the ultimate all-rounder, breaking into the top ten for the first time. St Andrews is Scotland's best. Cardiff, ranked 21, is top in Wales; the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, is the highest-ranking new university.
( Times )

Students try to attack UK embassy in Tehran
Iranian students scuffled with riot police who kept them from attacking the British embassy in Tehran yesterday, while Iran's supreme leader accused the United States of acting in a "shameless" way and damaging an important Shia Muslim shrine in Iraq. In a day of rising frustration with the American and British occupation of Iraq, more than 500 students burned American, British and Israeli flags at the embassy and demanded that the British ambassador to Tehran be expelled.
( Independent )

Bob Dylan fan wins Oxford poetry post
The Oxford establishment candidate, Christopher Ricks, a man sometimes accused of loving the lyrics of Bob Dylan as fervently as he does the epics of John Milton, has won the university's poetry professorship. He won Saturday's poll with 214 votes. Peter Porter and the Canadian classicist Anne Carson took a respectable 175 votes and 105 votes.
( Guardian, Independent )

Taxman puts squeeze on corporate graduates
Figures from the University Companies Association are likely to show that the number of companies being "spun out" of Britain's universities has halved in just 12 months because of a heavy-handed attempt by Treasury officials to close a tax loophole.
( Daily Telegraph )

A lesson in racism
The case of Fareda Banda, who took the School of Oriental and African Studies to an employment tribunal when she discovered that her white peers earned up to £10,000 more.
( Independent )

Drug may help control Huntington's disease
David Rubinsztein, a Wellcome Trust research fellow at Cambridge University, reports that the debilitating brain condition Huntington's disease might be controlled with a drug normally used to prevent organs being rejected after transplant.
( Daily Telegraph )

Shire horses could be a dying breed
The number of shire horse mares in Britain has dropped by a third since 1995, raising fears that the breed may die out in Britain. Ken Young, a council member of the Shire Horse Society and academic at the University of Warwick, believes that with many of the people who maintained the breed through the 1960s and 1970s now approaching old age, no one has stepped up to replace them.
( Independent, Daily Telegraph )

Obituary : Quentin Hughes, architect, academic and war hero who championed Liverpool and helped to ensure that the city became a world heritage site, has died aged 84. ( Guardian, Independent )

Higher education items in the weekend press
- University selection criteria and examination systems are set for radical changes. ( Financial Times , May 15)
- Universities are still struggling to take the sexual harassment of students seriously. ( Guardian , May 15)
- No one today is really proud of their degree because it so precisely pigeonholes its holder. ( Daily Telegraph , May 15)

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