Today's news

March 9, 2006

Union anger over vice-chancellors' pay hikes
The timing could not have been more embarrassing for university vice-chancellors. Their lecturing staff had just started a boycott of exams in protest over pay - a move that could mean thousands of students not getting their final exams marked this summer - then a survey dropped through the letterbox showing that their own pay had risen by 25 per cent over the past three years, with the result that 33 were earning more than the Prime Minister. Cue furious reaction from the lecturers and, according to the unions, growing determination from their members to back militant action over pay.
The Independent, The Guardian, The Scotsman, The Times Higher Education Supplement (Mar 10)

Students shun university life to stay at home with their parents
Students today are more likely to live at home with their parents and less likely to frequent the union bars, according to a lifestyle survey. Almost 500,000 university students - 20 per cent - are turning their backs on the traditional campus lifestyle and living at home with their parents, according to the survey by Sodexho, the catering company, and The Times Higher Education Supplement . Fear of running up debts was the main reason given for choosing local universities but for some it means commuting up to four hours a day. Students living at home are three times more likely to attend a new university than a traditional or red-brick institution.
The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Daily Mail, The Times Higher Education Supplement (Mar 10)

Oxford University seeks Indian backing for new centre
Oxford University sought the support of leading Indian business figures for an India research centre at its Said Business School yesterday, as part of a plan to attract more students from the South Asian country. Lord Patten, the chancellor of Oxford University, said such a project would require an investment of £10 million. The former UK politician discussed the project with senior figures at Reliance Industries, Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys Technologies, three of India's leading companies. He would not say from whom he was seeking contributions.
Financial Times

'Lancaster six' to challenge trespass convictions
Six protesters convicted of aggravated trespass after a demonstration at Lancaster University are to go back to court on Monday in an effort to overturn their convictions. The protesters - dubbed the George Fox Six - were convicted in September by a district judge of aggravated trespass because they had disrupted a corporate venturing event in the George Fox building on campus, although the judge did not find they had intimidated people there. They were protesting against the arms trade links and ethical records of companies involved in the event.
The Guardian

Tory MPs question value of arts degrees
Too many students are wasting their time and money on traditional arts degrees that are likely to leave them jobless, a group of Conservative MPs has warned. In a new paper, the right-leaning Cornerstone group of Conservative MPs argued universities were becoming overcrowded with students who would not benefit from higher education. The paper, written by the Conservative MP for Canterbury and Whitstable, Julian Brazier, suggests that vocational degrees in subjects such as media studies provide students with better job prospects.
The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph

RGU unveils £115m investment
Aberdeen's Robert Gordon University yesterday announced the biggest single investment in its history: a £115 million expansion of its Garthdee campus. The university says this will provide RGU with some of the best teaching and research facilities in Europe and will help to attract top academics and students from around the world. It has spent £60 million on the development of its "super campus" at Garthdee, on the banks of the River Dee, since 1998. It now houses the university's Aberdeen Business School, the Faculty of Health and Social Care, and the Faculty of Design and Technology.
The Scotsman

Edinburgh wins women-in-science award
A leading university has been honoured for its efforts to support women working in science, engineering and technology. Edinburgh University has gained two awards from a nationwide initiative to further the careers of women in the traditionally male-dominated fields. The institution's school of chemistry was one of only two UK university departments to be given a silver award by the Royal Society's Athena Project. The university as a whole scooped a bronze award.
The Scotsman

40p fare-dodger is left with a legal bill of £1,000
A legal student accused of dodging a 40p fare has been hit with a £1,000 bill and a criminal record which could ruin his promising career. Daniel Jackson today told of his "utter devastation" over an "absurd allegation" that he deliberately avoided paying for a ticket to save himself 40p. Jackson, 19, a Westminster University student, was found guilty of fare-dodging by magistrates in West Yorkshire after action by Northern Rail. The case was launched by Northern Rail conductor Mark Barraclough who claimed he saw the student sneak off the train at Ben Rhydding, in West Yorkshire, three miles on from his original destination.
Evening Standard

University spin-offs have their limits.
The Financial Times

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