Today's news

April 8, 2005

Oxford college guilty of race discrimination
Oxford University was yesterday accused of "institutional racism" after an employment tribunal ruled that a former accountant had been the victim of race discrimination. The court heard that Diamond Versi had been subjected to a "personal vendetta" by the bursar at Keble College, Oxford, who had instigated a fraud inquiry against the 57-year-old "on a whim" and treated him in a "high handed" and "antagonistic" way. The tribunal report criticised the way Roger Boden was able to railroad the college's finance committee by "lobbying" fellows in the college's cosy atmosphere "over a glass of wine".
The Guardian, The Daily Express

Backlash over top-up fees may deliver 24 seats, says Kennedy
Charles Kennedy believes that the student backlash against university top-up fees could deliver up to 24 marginal seats to the Liberal Democrats. He said yesterday that Labour's vote had "collapsed" on campus and said top-up fees, Iraq and the environment could swing student votes to win 18 to 24 seats for his party. Labour played down the student vote yesterday, while the Conservatives dismissed Mr Kennedy's claim as "unbelievable".
The Independent

Student cheats 'buy eBay success'
Popular web-based auction sites such as eBay could be contributing to the spiralling number of plagiarism cases occurring at British universities, researchers claim today. According to academics at the University of Glamorgan, increasing numbers of students at British universities are turning to commercial sales sites to both buy and sell dissertations and essays on the web. In addition to the established market in these types of work, Powerpoint presentations and slides have emerged as the newest form of work to attract buyers on the internet.
The Guardian

US university enrolment 'in decline'
Participation in higher education has stagnated and even gone into decline for the first time in the US, a conference in Oxford heard yesterday. The unexpected development in the country that invented mass higher education, but is now seeing its lead whittled away by European countries, including the UK, has prompted soul searching among American public universities and state authorities.
The Guardian

Wolverhampton pilots text scheme for students
University staff are piloting an innovative scheme to keep in touch with students – by mobile phone text message. Timetable alterations, coursework feedback, revision tips, appointments and exam reminders are being texted to students at the University of Wolverhampton. John Traxler, a Learning and Teaching research fellow who is leading the initiative, said the unusual messages were currently being sent to a trial section of first-year students, Mr Traxler said: “This will help us communicate quickly and efficiently with students.
The Scotsman

Eat Med-style and expect to live a year longer ...
The largest study of the Mediterranean diet shows that people aged 60 who stick to it can expect to live a year longer than those who don’t. The principle applies whether you live in Hull or Heraklion: the closer you can aspire to the diet of southern Italy or Greece, the better your chances of living longer. The Mediterranean diet - high in fruit, vegetables and legumes, low in meat and dairy products, enlivened with a glass or two of wine a day and dressed with olive oil - has been the dietician’s favourite for a generation or more. But most studies on its benefits have been local, small, or based only on the Greek population.
The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Daily Mail

It’s a matter of body and soil
If you are prone to more than your fair share of colds and bugs, it could be the earth beneath your feet that is to blame. Levels of selenium, a trace mineral essential for a robust immune system, are now so low in British soil that it is affecting the food chain, our diets and, ultimately, our health, according to some experts. Scientists at Warwick University’s Horticultural Research Institute say that British and Northern European soils have been relatively low in selenium since the last ice age changed the mineral composition. But it seems levels are being further depleted by intensive modern farming methods and the use of chemical fertilisers.
The Times

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