Today's news

September 27, 2005

U-turn puts £50m plans for college site back on track
Plans for a £50 million state-of-the-art Queen Margaret University college campus are back on track after bosses agreed to radical changes to a housing development that will fund the move. Education chiefs need to get approval to build homes on Queen Margaret University College's existing site at Clerwood Terrace in Edinburgh to help pay for the new campus in Musselburgh. But the proposals hit a stumbling block earlier this year when planning chiefs threw out a joint bid between Queen Margaret and Persimmon Homes to develop nearly 300 houses.
The Scotsman

Muslim students allege religious discrimination
Eight Muslim students and graduates are taking Birmingham University to court over allegations of religious discrimination. Legal papers have been served on the university following its decision to annul an election in which 14 Muslim students were chosen as delegates for National Union of Students conferences last year. Solicitor Shah Qureshi said the poll was later declared void amid allegations of voter fraud; legal action was necessary because the students had no right of appeal. The university said yesterday any allegations of racism or discrimination were "unfounded and utterly refuted".
The Guardian

Tough checks urged on overseas students
Universities must implement a much tougher regime of checks on overseas students to prevent campuses being used as recruitment grounds for Islamist terrorists, a report warned yesterday. Anthony Glees, professor of politics at Brunel University's Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies and co-author of the report, said lax controls had turned universities into a "national security risk". Universities, along with mosques, prisons and gyms, were now one of the most important environments for terrorist recruiters.
The Financial Times, The Times Higher Education Supplement (Sept 23)

Students meet to defend banned union leader
Students are today holding a meeting at Middlesex University in support of its student union president who was suspended for refusing to cancel a debate with the controversial Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. Keith Shilson was escorted from the campus last week by university security after he refused to cancel the question and answer session with the group, which the prime minister is considering proscribing as part of the government's crackdown on extremism. The move by the university's vice-chancellor Michael Driscoll to ban the debate came days after the education secretary, Ruth Kelly, told vice-chancellors they would have to play a part to tackle extremism on campus.
The Guardian

New leader for 1994 Group
David Eastwood, the vice-chancellor of the University of East Anglia, was yesterday appointed chairman of the 1994 Group of universities. The group of 16 research-led small to medium-sized non-Russell Group universities has in recent years claimed success in behind-the-scenes lobbying for top-up fees and research funding. Professor Eastwood succeeds Sussex's Alasdair Smith as the group seeks to raise its profile outside of Whitehall.
The Guardian

Statin drugs could cut heart attacks by third
Anybody at risk of heart attack or stroke should be prescribed a statin drug regardless of cholesterol levels. An analysis by British and Australian scientists has shown that the benefits of the drugs are not limited to those who have high cholesterol. Taking statins daily can cut the risk of heart attack and stroke by about a third, concludes a team from the Medical Research Council, in Oxford, and the Clinical Trials Centre, at the University of Sydney. The study also sets aside fears that the use of statins increases the risks of cancer. Over five years there was no evidence of this, the team reports in the online edition of The Lancet .
The Times

Man leaves £1m for medical research
A businessman has left more than £1 million to researchers to help find a cure for Parkinson's disease, which killed his wife. Winston Godward Edmonds, known as Bill, left the money in his will to Manchester University to help its research into the killer disease. Parkinson's killed his first wife, Sheila, whom he nursed until her death in 1990. Mr Edmonds died aged 92, in July, with his estate valued at £5 million.
The Daily Mail

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