Today's news

May 12, 2005

Soas faces action over alleged anti-semitism
A dossier of evidence documenting alleged instances of anti-semitic behaviour at the School of Oriental and African Studies has been compiled and delivered to Colin Bundy, the head of the school, with a threat that legal action could follow should he not take action to implement his own anti-discrimination rules. The document has been collated by the Jewish lobbying group, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, following a meeting with the then education minister Ivan Lewis last month after six months of controversy surrounding Soas, which is part of the University of London.
The Guardian

Unions reject 'insulting' pay offer
Unions representing university and college staff from lecturers to cleaners today emphatically rejected a 5 per cent pay offer over two years from the employers as "insulting". Universities had been given a generous financial settlement and from next year the income from top-up fees would bring billions of pounds into the sector, said the seven unions involved in the sector.
Today's Times Higher, The Guardian

University accused of deceit over bogus emails to staff
Academics at Nottingham University have accused their bosses of employing "underhand tactics" after admissions tutors were sent bogus emails purporting to be from prospective students and then ranked on their responses. The central administration at the university sent five emails from made-up applicants in January to all 32 academic departments asking them about how they get a place to study at the university and including questions such as "Why should I come to Nottingham?" Heads of departments were then called into a meeting where they were given marks for their responses ranging from excellent through satisfactory to poor.
The Guardian

IP2IPO to set up £14m drugs arm
University technology group IP2IPO yesterday raised £14 million from investors to set up a new division that will help academics turn science into medicine and cut deals with big pharmaceutical companies. The new division, LifeUK, will be separate from IP2IPO's existing business of creating spin-out companies from five universities with which it has agreements. The new division will be able to work with any academics in the country. "We've had other universities and academics approach us to work with us and we have had to say no," said Dave Norwood, the chief executive of IP2IPO.
The Guardian

Israeli threat to sue union over college boycott
The dispute between Israeli universities and UK academics intensified yesterday after it emerged that a leading lecturers' union was facing legal action from Haifa University. Last month the Association of University Teachers voted to sever links with Haifa in a wider boycott of Israeli academia, claiming the university had victimised staff who spoke out against Israel's policies in the occupied territories.
Today's Times Higher, The Evening Standard, The Guardian

Six more join the elite club
In the next few months, another six new universities will be created in the United Kingdom, bringing the total number to 116. This will be the biggest expansion of the sector since 1992, when all the polytechnics, known as "new" universities, came into the fold. Most of the six that managed to qualify for university status are busy commissioning new logos, ordering colourful new academic gowns and buying a mace, the decorative rod that will be trotted out on special occasions.
The Independent

Expert panel to oversee work of British physicists
Not content with regular audits and the research assessment exercise peering over their shoulders, UK physicists and astronomers have asked an international group of academics to review the quality of their work. The review panel announced yesterday will be chaired by Professor Jürgen Mlynek, president of the Humboldt University, Germany, and include scientists from the US, India and Europe.
The Guardian

The Americans are advancing
The University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business announced in January that it was moving its European campus from Barcelona to London. This will surprise the many prospective MBA students who didn’t realise that Chicago GSB had a European campus. In fact, Chicago is one of a select, but growing, group of US business schools that has established a beachhead on this side of the Atlantic.
The Times, The Independent

Gender gap opens as men desert higher education
The gender gap between the number of Scottish males and females entering higher education is at an all-time high, new figures revealed yesterday. According to Scottish Executive statistics, the number of women entering higher education has increased by nearly 14,000 - or 10 per cent - in the last five years.
The Scotsman

Students turn to 'brain food'
Students facing end-of-year exams have abandoned the practice of replacing sleep with sugar and are turning to lightly grilled fish and fresh fruit, according to two of Britain's biggest supermarkets. Tesco and Sainsbury's are attributing a significant increase in sales of fish, which is rich in Omega 3 oils, and fruit to an exam time demand for "brain food". A Tesco spokesman said "It doesn't fit the retail patterns for diet sales, and the rise is greatest in university towns".
The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Times

£74m for research into new treatments
Medical charities and government agencies are to pump £74 million into research into new treatments for patients. The boost for clinical research - science that involves the patient rather than tissue in a laboratory dish - could lead to new approaches to obesity, diabetes, cancer, mental illness, Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.
The Guardian

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