Today's news

March 17, 2006

Inquiry into Sussex chemistry course closure
The vice-chancellor of Sussex University is to be called before a Commons committee inquiry to justify his controversial decision to axe chemistry from the university. Alasdair Smith has been asked to give evidence at the Science and Technology Committee inquiry on March , which will examine the university's plans to close the chemistry department and merge it with biology. The senate at Sussex will decide the fate of the chemistry department tomorrow, and students and teachers are planning a protest at the university ahead of the meeting. The president of the Sussex Association of University Teachers, Jim Guild, said: "Sussex University has every right to boast of its two Nobel laureates and their remarkable achievements. Slamming shut the door of opportunity for current and future chemists makes no sense at all."
The Guardian, The Scotsman

Leeds seeks to silence 'racist' lecturer
Leeds University has moved to silence a lecturer who aired controversial views on race after protests from students. The university initially resisted calls for the sacking of Frank Ellis, a lecturer in Russian and Slavonic studies, who caused outrage went he told the Leeds Student newspaper he was an "unrepentant" supporter of Enoch Powell and of the so-called Bell Curve theory that white people are more intelligent than black people. But the university management has now paved the way for possible legal action against Dr Ellis by asking him to clarify his views on its policy on equality and diversity. In the meantime, he has been asked to refrain from public comment.
The Guardian

Colleges face a flood of bogus students
Record numbers of foreign students are trying to get into British colleges and universities using bogus applications, it was revealed yesterday. The number of Suspicious applications detected by anti-fraud watchdogs doubled last year, and the number that had to be cancelled due to missing or forged documents rose by 50 per cent. Investigators at the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service admitted that cases were spiralling. Most of the bogus cases come from countries such as Nigeria, China, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Ghana.
The Daily Mail

Universities urged to seek private funding
English universities are being urged by the Government to follow the American example and chase donations from philanthropists and alumni. Yesterday, the Department for Education and Skills announced £7.5 million in matched funding over three years to help universities in England to set up development offices to increase income from private donations. The money is going mainly to new universities or smaller institutions, which have not yet got into the donations business.
The Guardian, The Times Higher Education Supplement (Mar 17)

Concern over new student housing codes
New codes to improve rundown university accommodation have been criticised by the National Union of Students amid fears that the tougher standards will not be adopted. The NUS has welcomed the long-awaited standards but fears that the existence of two separate codes will not ultimately benefit students. One of the codes - developed by the Accreditation Network UK, an independent body for private landlords - sets down strict maintenance standards as well as helping students understand how to complain about the state or management of their halls.
The Guardian

£2m theatre extension gets its cue
A £2 million bid to extend one of Edinburgh's main arts venues has been given the green light. The trust running the Festival Theatre has been given the go-ahead to start work on a major complex behind the building. It is hoped the Potterrow development - creating rehearsal space for visiting theatre, dance and opera groups - will be completed within three years. The complex is also expected to include student housing, shops and offices.
The Scotsman

Vaccine bid to dispense with booster jabs
Scientists are working on slow-release vaccines that could spare children the distress of booster jabs. The technology, being developed by Cambridge University and the Cambridge Biostability company, could also free up millions of pounds in international vaccination programmes. The technique, which could be available in five years, would allow the controlled release of vaccines over weeks or months. The vaccine uses tiny particles, known as nanoparticles, which are insoluble in water but are eroded once in the body, to release the vaccine.
The Scotsman

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