Today's news

May 27, 2005

AUT overturns Israeli boycott
Britain's biggest university lecturers' union yesterday voted to overturn its controversial boycott of two Israeli universities after weeks of heated debate on its merits. AUT members had voted last month to end links with the two institutions over their alleged complicity in human rights abuses. Opponents successfully argued it was an unacceptable attack on academic freedom, which undermined the free exchange of views that is central to the concept of a university.
The Financial Times, The Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The Scotsman

Oxford keeps Cambridge at arm's length
Oxford has held off Cambridge for the fourth successive year at the top of the rankings of the UK’s best universities. Heavyweight muscle helped the dark blues to win the boat race this year, but it is Oxford’s spending power that gives it the edge in the league table compiled by The Times Good University Guide 2006. Cambridge holds a clear intellectual lead, coming top in 25 of the individual subject tables compared with Oxford’s ten. Unlike Oxford, Cambridge also ranks in the Top Ten for overall teaching quality, a listing led by Dundee and York.
The Times, The Times Higher Education Supplement (May )

Survey reveals toll of lecturers' workload
University and college lecturers work an average 11 unpaid hours a week, detrimentally affecting their health and personal lives, according to a survey published today. The online survey, conducted by the independent charity the Teacher Support Network and lecturers' union Natfhe, found that 69 per cent of respondents worked extra hours despite the knock-on effects.
The Guardian, The Times Higher Education Supplement (May )

Report calls for 'flexible' Welsh university fees
Universities in Wales would be allowed to charge students up to £3,000 a year in tuition fees under recommendations published in a major report on higher education funding today. The Rees report on funding and student support in Wales has put forward plans to introduce "flexible" fees from 2007, to be paid back after graduation, and a national bursary system.
The Guardian, The Times Higher Education Supplement (May )

Gang recruited students in £2m fraud
Three men who realised that a government scheme to teach people computer skills was a "licence to print money" were jailed yesterday. The men got away with more than £2 million of taxpayers' money because the Department for Education and Skills made no effort to check that the courses on offer were legitimate. The fraudsters were paid £200 by the Government for every student they signed up, even though all the "course" comprised was a pirated copy of a CD-Rom that cost them £1 each.
The Times

Royal Academy expels its first member for more than 200 years
The artist who quit running the Royal Academy's art college in a row over disputed bank accounts has become the first to be expelled from its membership in more than 200 years. Brendan Neiland becomes only the second Royal Academician to be kicked out in the 237-year history of one of Britain's most venerable artistic institutions. As the academy was established under royal charter, the Queen was informed yesterday after the majority of the general assembly decided Professor Neiland should not be allowed to continue as a member. She gave her assent.
The Times, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph

Midday sun may be good for you
Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun - and scientists now say it is good for them. If the sun appears this bank holiday weekend, people should expose themselves for 10 to 15 minutes without sunscreen, said Ann Webb, an ultraviolet radiation expert at the University of Manchester, because sunlight helps the body produce vitamin D. Dr Webb said: "Our calculations have found that the best time to be out in the sun if you want to maximise vitamin D production and its benefits is midday.
The Guardian, The Scotsman

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