Today's news

September 26, 2005

This is not a weird place, Cambridge tells teachers in state education
Teachers in state schools still feel uncomfortable about encouraging pupils to apply to Cambridge and have to be persuaded that it is not a "weird place", says the university's vice-chancellor. Alison Richard believes that there is a "perception gap" among school staff about the reality of student life at Cambridge. Her comments come as official figures last week showed that the proportion of British university students who had come from state schools - compared with those from private or overseas backgrounds - had fallen for the first time in five years to 86.8 per cent.
The Daily Telegraph

Oxford beat Cambridge and crocs on Zambezi
With hippos and crocodiles as bemused onlookers, Oxford handed Cambridge their second rowing defeat of the year this weekend at a regatta on the Zambezi marking the 150th anniversary of David Livingstone’s discovery and naming of Victoria Falls. Despite the sudden appearance of an elephant behind the starter, neither British crew could match the pace of the University of Johannesburg boat that took first place. “We just hit it as hard as we could, we knew there was one big croc there who had been watching us all week in training. We just got going and that was that,” Grant Cellier of the winning boat said. To the delight of the crowd, Cambridge lost out to Oxford by just a foot.
The Times

Strictly ballroom steps up to rival the Boat Race
Cambridge University has appointed its first permanent ballroom dancing coach as the activity becomes the latest campus craze. Bruce Lait, an awardwinning dancer who was caught up in the London bombings in July, will spend three days a week training the teams that students hope will wrest the inter-varsity title from Oxford. The image of dancing as old-fashioned and "sissy" has been transformed by the television show Strictly Come Dancing , in which celebrities learn to master the dance floor, he says.
The Daily Telegraph, The Times

Students face jail over protest
Six university students face up to three months in jail after being prosecuted for demonstrating on their campus. The so-called George Fox Six will appear at Lancaster Magistrates’ Court today charged with aggravated trespass after they heckled a corporate venturing conference in Lancaster University’s George Fox building last September. The move by the university to press charges has provoked international condemnation, with more than 600 academics and undergraduates calling on Paul Wellings, the vice-chancellor, to drop the prosecution.
The Times, The Times Higher Education Supplement (Sept 2)

Breast cancer risk doubled for left-handed women
Left-handed women are more at risk from breast cancer, according to new research published today. A team in the Netherlands looked at the relationship between left or right-handedness and cases of breast cancer in more than 12,000 middle-aged women who were born between 1932 and 1941. The researchers also took body measurements and assessed risk factors such as economic status, smoking habits, family history of breast cancer and reproductive background. The study, published online by the British Medical Journal, found left-handed women were more than twice as likely to develop pre-menopausal breast cancer as right-handed women.
The Scotsman, The Independent, The Guardian

Regarding university admissions agony in the 1960s to 1980s.
The Times, The Independent

From the weekend's papers:


  • Letter from Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell on the strength of his devotion to widening access to higher education. The Independent
  • Drop in the number of Scots at university blamed on English 'fee refugees'. The Scotsman


  • As universities face the biggest shake-up in years, more jobs, especially in administration, will be created. The Sunday Times
  • Lecturers at leading universities are calling for students to take literacy tests owing to incredibly poor writing skills. Independent On Sunday

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