Today's news

October 16, 2006

Universities urged to spy on Muslims
Lecturers and university staff across Britain are to be asked to spy on "Asian-looking" and Muslim students they suspect of involvement in Islamic extremism and supporting terrorist violence. They will be told to inform on students to special branch because the Government believes campuses have become "fertile recruiting grounds" for extremists. The Department for Education has drawn up a series of proposals which are to be sent to universities and other centres of higher education before the end of the year. The 18-page document acknowledges that universities will be anxious about passing information to special branch, for fear it amounts to "collaborating with the 'secret police'". It says there will be "concerns about police targeting certain sections of the student population (eg Muslims)".
The Guardian

History is 'strangled by cautious approach'
The Government’s approach to assessing university history departments is strangling research and preventing historians from breaking new ground, two leading popular historians have claimed. Professor Diane Purkiss, whose critically acclaimed book The English Civil War: A People’s History was published this year, told an audience at The Cheltenham Literature Festival that the study and practice of history had become more conservative as a result. Her claim comes as Alan Bennett’s The History Boys was released in cinemas, leading to debate over the importance of history and the way it is taught in schools. The Research Assessment Exercise requires university history professionals to produce “four items” (at least one book and three peer-reviewed articles) in each assessment period, typically six to eight years.
The Times

The veil is banned in hospitals
The backlash against the veil grew yesterday as it was banned from hospitals. The bar on a full-face veil was ordered at Birmingham University School of Medicine. Chiefs decided that Islamic women can cover their faces in lectures and around campus but not in the "clinical environments" of hospital buildings and GPs’ surgeries. Its women Muslim students must show their faces if they are talking to patients in hospital or surgery or if they are in meetings with other medical staff. The move was ordered to "help to aid good communications" between Muslim medical students, their colleagues and patients. Details of the purge of faceless medics surfaced as the nationwide storm about Islamic veils continued.
The Daily Express

Chefs think up lessons in a rich cuisine for the poor
A philosopher and a food critic have started the first free gastronomic university in France in an attempt to bring haute cuisine to “the victims of globalisation”. The founders of the Popular University of Taste have persuaded some of the country’s most illustrious chefs to give cooking lessons to an audience that they hope will consist largely of unemployed factory workers. Using vegetables grown on an allotment, the chefs will show how to make refined dishes in what supporters say is an attempt to close the gastronomic fracture that is splitting France down the middle. Their aim is to combat the notion that la grande cuisine is reserved for the middle and upper classes, while the poor eat fatty food that induces obesity and illness.
The Times

Girls held after man kicked to death on university campus
Teenage girls are believed to have been among a gang who kicked and punched a man to death as he walked through a university campus. David Woods, 51, a father-of-six, was returning from a shopping errand when he was ambushed in an apparently motiveless attack in the centre of Preston, Lancashire. Detectives, who said Mr Woods had simply been "in the wrong place at the wrong time", are now checking CCTV cameras in and around the University of Central Lancashire to see whether the attack was caught on film. It is believed the same gang, of up to six youths, had been involved in "skirmishes" earlier on Friday evening. One of these involved two young men, thought to be students, who were confronted half an hour earlier.
The Daily Telegraph

From the weekend's papers:


  • Animal activist loses court fight with Oxford University. The Times
  • Glasgow University announces deal with IP Group for exclusive rights to research. The Financial Times


  • Glasgow University has terminated its deal with IP Group for exclusive rights to research. The Scotsman
  • Staffordshire University launches sports journalism course for ex-football players. The Mail On Sunday
  • The greater your weight, the lower your IQ, say scientists. The Daily Telegraph

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