Today's news

November 17, 2005

Vice-chancellors 'ordered cuts' in fees report
University leaders have been accused of suppressing the publication of a report on student funding in a bid to prevent criticisms of the Government's plans to introduce higher fees. The research, which is due to be published next week, nearly two years after it was completed, is expected to conclude that students who take part-time jobs during term-time do less well academically. Initial findings suggest that most students take part-time work because they cannot survive on the current loans they are offered. More than 80 per cent of those who work sacrifice their study time for their jobs. 
The Times Higher Education Supplement (Nov 18), The Guardian

Soas librarians reinstated
Academic staff at London's School of Oriental and African Studies were today meeting to call off strike action after management agreed to reinstate two specialist librarians at the centre of a five-month dispute. The move will be welcomed by academic librarians at other UK universities, who fear that they are being downgraded in national negotiations over academic jobs. Members of the Association of University Teachers were today called to an emergency meeting at the school after a settlement was reached with Colin Bundy, the director of Soas.
The Guardian

End 'social divide' in HE, says Rammell
The higher education minister, Bill Rammell, yesterday told a university conference that the current social divide in those attending university was "unacceptable". Declaring the government's ongoing support for its target to get 50 per cent of 18 to 30-year-olds into higher education, he told a Hefce conference on improving higher education, hosted by Liverpool John Moores University, that it was also important to ensure that those going to university came from all social backgrounds.
The Guardian

Literature's gr8 txts edited 4 the mobile generation
"2B?NT2B?=???" It might look like deranged algebra but the truth, for purists of the language of Shakespeare at least, is worse. The strange equation is Hamlet's line "To be or not to be" rendered into text message speak for university students involved in a scheme which claims to promote understanding of English literature's classics via the mobile phone. The project will send text message quotations and plot summaries of seven works, from Milton's Paradise Lost to William Golding's Lord of the Flies , to mobile phones to act as an aide-memoire for undergraduates.
The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian

Enterprising students petition Brown
This was not what Gordon Brown imagined when he threw his support behind Enterprise Week. Student Enterprise 05, a national conference aimed at sparking enthusiasm among undergraduates about starting their own businesses, ended with all 200 delegates signing a petition to the chancellor to reduce student loans. The leader of the uprising, Greg Sandford, a politics student at Southampton University, claims that his generation wants to be entrepreneurs but are held back by the huge debts they have after completing their courses. The petition, posted to 11 Downing Street yesterday, calls for the Government to reduce repayments for graduates who set up their own companies.
The Financial Times

The food you eat may change your genes for life
It sounds like science fiction: simply swallowing a pill, or eating a specific food supplement, could permanently change your behaviour for the better, or reverse diseases such as schizophrenia, Huntington's or cancer. Yet such treatments are looking increasingly plausible. In the latest development, normal rats have been made to behave differently just by injecting them with a specific amino acid. The change to their behaviour was permanent. The amino acid altered the way the rat's genes were expressed, raising the idea that drugs or dietary supplements might permanently halt the genetic effects that predispose people to mental or physical illness.
New Scientist

Letter
Regarding Oxford and ethnic minority students.
The Independent

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