Today's news

June 15, 2006

Many lecturers will reject pay offer, poll shows
Lecturers are so unhappy with a proposed 13.1 per cent pay rise that many intend to reject the offer and demand that union leaders return to the negotiating table, a new poll reveals. A poll of academic staff published in today's Times Higher Education Supplement shows that 47 per cent of members of the University and College Union said they would not accept an extra 13.1 per cent over three years, compared with 42 per cent in favour of the deal. The ICM poll revealed high levels of "academic militancy", with 81 per cent of respondents standing by the union's original claim of 23 per cent over three years, while 57 per cent backed the principle of an exams and assessment boycott in pursuit of the claim.
The Guardian, The Scotsman, The Times Higher Education Supplement (June 16)

Donations will be crucial to universities, Boris says
Alumni donations will be critical in keeping universities afloat, the Conservatives' higher education spokesman, Boris Johnson, predicts in a new publication. Mr Johnson will launch a paper at the rightwing thinktank Politeia tomorrow entitled Aspire Ever Higher: University Policy for the 21st Century, in which he argues that universities in the UK need greater autonomy and less state control. In the paper, Mr Johnson writes: "Universities are not part of the public sector and should be set free to run their own affairs, whether this means admitting students or teaching courses. The Government should acknowledge that 'hierarchies of excellence' must be allowed to flourish."
The Guardian

Colleges to share £200m campus
A purpose-built £200 million campus to house four Glasgow colleges was unveiled yesterday, in what has been described as the most ambitious further education project in Britain. Under the plans, the four city colleges will relocate to a new central site where they will share facilities which will include student residences and an international centre of excellence for maritime studies. The Central College of Commerce, Glasgow College of Nautical Studies, Glasgow Metropolitan College and Stow College, which are currently scattered across the city centre, will relocate in 2012 to a purpose-built site on Cathedral Street and Thistle Street.
The Scotsman

Recruitment of students from care backgrounds acknowledged
Six universities were today applauded for their work in recruiting students who had been in care. Southampton, Kingston, Bradford, Leeds, Sheffield Hallam and Edge Hill received recognition from the Frank Buttle Trust, which provides grants and support to enable young people to undertake courses in higher education institutions. Fewer than 5 per cent of children in care go on to university. Often the victims of domestic violence or estranged from their families, these young people may find it impossible to consider going to university without the emotional and financial support that is normally provided by families, according to Universities UK.
The Guardian

Flying in the face of scientific reason
A new species of butterfly has been created in laboratories by interbreeding two distinct species, offering new insights into how evolution takes place in the wild. The experiment by British, Colombian and American scientists has offered the strongest evidence yet that two species can cross-breed to form a new one, a process that many experts had considered impossible. In the study, the team sought to recreate the evolutionary pathway that the scientists suspected had given rise to Heliconius heurippa , a South American butterfly with red-orange and yellow-white stripes on its wings.
The Times, New Scientist, The Guardian

New evidence against night flights
Campaigners against night flights have a powerful new argument to support their cause: the flights make a much greater contribution to climate change than those made during the daytime. Flights during the three winter months contribute half of the annual mean climate warming even though they account for less than a quarter of annual air traffic, suggesting that night-flying restrictions could help to minimise the impact of aviation on climate. A study by scientists at Leeds and Reading universities shows that night flights are responsible for at least 60 per cent of the climate warming associated with condensation trails.
The Daily Telegraph, New Scientist

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