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Issue 54 – Autumn 2016 cheesegratermagazine.org

Our Survey Says... Declining Student Experience Threatens to Hit UCL Where it Hurts – in the Wallet

Error 404: Room not available • UCL Facilites at breaking point • Thousands of pounds spent on external spaces • New £500,000 pop up lecture theatre in Quad (Read full investigation on page 3)


2 Autumn 2016 The Cheese Grater

Down Your Union Norma de Plume

Fossil Fooled UCLU have effectively banned societies from receiving funding from fossil fuel companies, causing anger, confusion and an invasion of lawyers. New Sustainability, Engagement and Operations saab, Zakariya Monhnran, along with Activities and Events Officer, Nick Edmonds, took the decision to reinterpret a year old motion compelling the union to support the Fossil Free UCL campaign. The result was a supposed blanket ban on societies receiving funding from fossil fuel companies. Specifically the two saabs believe the word ‘campus’ in “For the EEOO, ECO, and EEO to coordinate and put resources toward a high profile Fossil Free campaign around fossil fuel divestment on campus” to include all affiliated societies. Last year’s sabbatical officer however, did not view the support of Fossil Free in this way. And yet, this year’s new interpretation has not been communicated effectively. Women in Finance were shocked to see their BP sponsorship blocked, after previously having no problems and not hearing anything to the contrary. Monhnran also initially rejected Energy Society’s £1000 worth of funding from EcoFuel. Regardless, it seems this new interpretation is up for negotiation. Energy Society hired lawyers to argue that Ecofuel merely stores oil rather than physically being involved in the act of drilling for it, and have now been allowed their funding. Woman in Finance were also allowed their funding from BP on a “one off basis.” The motion to continue supporting Fossil Free was up for renewal at

last month’s council meeting. The motion however was withdrawn by Fossil Free. This left members Energy Society furious as they would not be able to argue for a rewording of the motion. Fossil Free themselves are uneasy with the Union’s reading of the motion. Wary of causing conflicts with fellow students, Stacy Coomber an organiser for Fossil Free explained that they had withdrawn the motion “so that we can discuss it properly within the Fossil Free campaign before the next Union meeting.”

UCL imposes will on union The recent controversy over the protests against the appearance of Hen Mazzig, an ‘educational activist’ has shed new light on the subdom relationship between UCL and the Union. UCLU claimed that Friends of Israel, who organised the talk, left the risk assessment section of the external speaker form blank, taking issue with the society’s failure to disclose the violence that surrounded Mazzig’s last talk in London, taking place at Kings College in 2014. Protesters claim that Mazzig was an officer in an organisation responsible for the ‘day to day management of the military occupation, including demolition of Palestinian homes, forced displacement, restrictions of movement’. Whether it was simply a paperwork issue, or the event was deemed too much of a risk, UCLU decided it should not take place. In attempts to get the event reinstated, the Friends of Israel Society brought in lawyers and addressed the Provost directly. A Sabbatical Officer has told The Cheese Grater that management then became involved, asking the Union why Mazzig had been ‘no platformed’. However, UCLU

Society Bitch S o c i e t y Bitch suffered unp re c e d ent e d heartbreak this week when it emerged that her beloved Cheese Grater Society had been infiltrated by a journalistic mole. After taking a moment to appreciate that someone thinks us interesting enough to infiltrate, the society evicted the mole from future meetings and banished her to the gulags of barren Tab-eria. The real tragedy was watching the tears dry on our Investigations Editor’s face and realising he would never – could never - trust anyone again. In Groundhog Day news, Men’s Rugby spent a recent night of debauchery in the quad, which saw members strip, play with fire, and generally uphold UCL’s claim to being a world-class university, it transpires that the society recently failed to make it to Munich on tour. Whether this was down to Ladsontour Syndrome or simply more stringent border controls, Soc Bitch can’t say, but it does raise the question of what will become of European sports tours following Brexit. In other, happier news, UCLU Bars are no longer ending £1 Mondays. Impoverished student alcoholics everywhere will be delighted to hear that the so-called ‘Big Ones Funeral’ was premature, and the union will not be stopping the deal for several weeks.

are adamant that Mazzig had never been ‘no platformed’. Although management did send an email to the CEO of UCLU, Nick Edmonds, the Union’s Activities and Events Officer stated that ultimately ‘the decision was ours’. Hen Mazzig has now launched a tour of Uk campuses on the back of the publicity generated from these recent events. Grab your tickets before its too late!


The Cheese Grater Autumn 2016 3

Less rooms, more problems Jason Murugesu UCL is spending over £1 million pounds on short term solutions in an attempt to solve the College’s impending facilities crisis. Solutions range from booking expensive external rooms, stealing space from halls and building a lecture theatre in the Quad.

No Space Student numbers have almost doubled in the past 5 years but teaching space has not kept pace. Even the spaces that UCL has added, such as the Institute of Education, are not being “utilised efficiently”, admitted David Everett, manager of room bookings. This has been a source of intense frustration for UCL lecturers, who struggle to book suitable rooms for their classes. One Neuroscience professor told us a typical example of how she was allocated the Birkbeck computer room with no whiteboard, despite requesting a room with desks and a whiteboard. After calling up no less than 9 times, her class of 70 was finally reallocated…to the 900 seater Logan Hall. In fact there are only 4 teaching spaces that can hold over 250 people, down from 5 last year after Birkbeck took back sole use of Claw Theatre that UCL had previously shared. Logan Hall, UCL largest lecture theatre is currently unable to be used for lectures and events requiring wheelchair access due to a broken elevator, contravening fire safety regulations.This has led to the cancellation of events such as UCLU’s Annual Welcome Meeting, which was cancelled two times. UCL heavily relies on these four large lecture theatres. They have a 90% average occupancy rate during the term, with the Christopher Ingold Auditorium boasting a 98% occupancy rate.

Pay as you go In order to lessen the burden on these rooms, UCL is forced to hire out 20 external rooms on a pay as you go basis. Despite refusing to release the full costs these rooms entail, sources have told Cheese Grater that the number is eye-watering, numbering “in the hundreds of thousands of pounds.” Indeed, one of the smaller spaces that UCL regularly hires out is the Indian YMCA, located a 7 minute walk from campus, which costs £350 an hour. Not only are these external spaces costly, they often do not come with the correct facilities. Often they lack desks, whiteboards and internet facilities. As one Physics student remarked, “if you’ve ever tried to do quantum mechanics on a flipboard, you know that’s a problem.” Furthermore, the ad-hoc locations of these spaces means students often have to spend up to 20 minutes walking between lectures, eating into teaching time. One student we talked to told us that, out his nine weekly lectures per week, only one of those took place on campus.

Short term ‘Solutions’ UCL’s proposals to solve the crisis range from the costly to the ludicrous. The most visible proposal will be a new lecture theatre erected in the quad, costing £500,000 a year. It will be a temporary structure, comparable to the ‘pop-up learning hub’ currently situated outside the Print Room Café. Later this year the Maurice Wilkins Garden Room will be replaced by permanent study space, prompting accusations from societies, most notably Drama Society who used the room for rehearsals, that management do not care about their needs. Other plans include opening up a further 91 study spaces at the Institute

of Child Health, a 15-minute walk from campus, and making the North and South cloisters, quote, “less echoey”. UCL wants to eat into Accommodation Halls space as well by repurposing John Adams Halls’ common room into teaching space, taking away valuable space from students who pay up to £217 a week to live there.

Long term? In the longer term, IOE will be ‘restacked’ so that it can be better utilised to suit students’ needs. Lecture theatres in IOE will be refurbished and reorganised and a new extension will be built on the postage stamp area of grass between SOAS and IOE. Most hopes on solving the crisis in the long-term rest on the completion UCL’s projected East campus, predicted to be in use by the 2019/20 academic year. However, there are still doubts over the funding of this project (see CG Freshers issue).

Room booking cock-ups Whilst UCL room bookings are done by a computer programme, all society events are programmed manually. This means that four staff members are tasked with entering and organising up to 7000 events over the year. As a result, societies are often told of the result of their room requests a mere hour before the event is meant to take place and double bookings are common. Even the sabbatical officers are not immune. They were forced to host the launch of their Mental Health campaign, Head’s Up, in the cloisters. In a more humorous example, Drama Society were double booked with Life Drawing, resulting in Drama Society walking in unexpectedly on a man wearing nothing but the skin he was born in.


4 Autumn 2016 The Cheese Grater

UCL’s next top module Want to get on your favourite module? Dream on. Students struggle to get the modules they want. Laura Kenny

UCL’s bloated student body, while swelling management’s paychecks, continues to be a headache for the day-to-day running of the university. Since 2010, the university’s population has doubled, rising to an unprecedented 40,000+ fulland part-time students. This, coupled with management’s reluctance to hire more teaching staff, has led to students facing certain rejection from most of their module choices. New Regulations The whole problem is compounded by new regulations sent from the head honchos that demand that teaching staff are assigned spaces based on the speculative size, not actual size, of their classes. To make matters worse, students will often not find out they have been rejected by their modules until several weeks after the start of term, by which point

switching modules is only slightly preferable to switching universities. Nowhere has been hit as hard by these regulations as UCL’s flagship interdisciplinary course, Arts and Sciences BASc. Billed on the UCL website as “a bespoke programme of arts and sciences”, the course allows students to pick a range of modules from across the university’s disciplines. However, each department prioritises places on their modules for their own students, meaning that the nomadic Arts and Science students can each face three or four rejections before settling down for what’s left of their course. Postgrads catfished Postgraduate students have also been left embittered by the module rejections. A large part of UCL’s advertising for its Masters programmes centres on the benefits of elective modules. It is no surprise, then, that many postgrads feel they have been

catfished with promises of a bespoke degree, only to end up paying handsomely to study modules that are far from their initial choice. The Chair-cott inquiry It should come as a reassurance that UCL have noted the boom in student numbers as an issue in their “2016-2021 Education Strategy” manifesto: “accommodating a growing student body,” it concedes, “is a major challenge”. However, it appears that management are more concerned about the state of the university’s chairs than they are about the student population: an investigation into how furniture impacts teaching and learning has been commissioned for 2018, and deemed one of the university’s “most pressing problems”. A review of the module system, on the other hand, has been relegated to the distant date of 2021.

‘Dastardly Sabbs turn off funding pipeline’


The Cheese Grater Autumn 2016 5

Theresa May’s Neonatal Passport Checks A Cheese Grater Investigations Exclusive Philip. N. Tubes The Prime Minister has unveiled a pilot scheme that will require all newborn babies to carry a British passport for inspection upon exit from the womb. The plan is part of the government’s recent efforts to crack down on the so-called ‘maternity tourism’ that has seen foreign newborns taking lavish holidays in NHS hospitals. In a speech at UCLH Mrs May stated that “the birth canal is the largest hole left in UK border control” and that it is vital that the NHS “gets every penny” from any babies not eligible for taxpayer-funded care. However, critics of the programme have expressed concerns that recent administrative backlogs, caused by the EU referendum, could mean that 9 months is simply not enough time for a baby to apply for and receive a passport preceding its birth. Despite this, Mrs May has insisted that any baby who fails to provide adequate documentation prior to the cutting of the umbilical chord will be promptly “sent back up” with no grounds for appeal. “There’s no womb at the inn,” she jested, “so I’d invest in some forceps.” A seagull with the head of Theresa May.

Contributors: Liv Marshall, Efrem Craig, Lauren Perlowski, Robert Vilkelis, Jack Redfern, Ben Munster, Will Orton, John Bilton, Ollie Phelan, Jason Murugesu, Colette Allen, James Witherspoon, Laura Kenny, Oumou Longley, Laura Foster-Devaney, Anna Saunders.


6 Autumn 2016 The Cheese Grater

A Forbidden Lust: An Ode to Ivanka

7 Valuable Collective Nouns for Your UCL Day-to-Day

Now that the nasty woman Hillary Clinton has stopped bothering him, former businessman Donald Trump can relax and enjoy his favourite past-

Herd of Cattle? Gaggle of Geese? Murder of Crows? Too mainstream! Impress your friends with these lesser-known collective nouns.

When I see you, I see half of me And I’m attracted to that one half, my half. Okay, so I only want to date half of you, But I would date no halves of Tiffany Your breasts, they’re the best breasts You’d be nothing if they were average at best People are saying they’re above the rest A lot of polls are saying that I’m #blessed

• • • • • • •

A Hurting Wallet of Society and Club Fees. A 101.9 “Classic FM” of Art History Students. A Trollface of Disturbed Asbestos. A Displacement of Drama Students. An Uneasy Silence of Tube Passengers. A Cheese Grater of Humanities Students. An Are You Kidding Me? of Lectures With, Like, 3 Hours Between Them That You Need To Hang Around For.

Honey, no one respects women more than me When I grab them by the pussy, I do it gently But only if I think they’re actually pretty Enough, wouldn’t want to touch anyone ugly Ivanka, let’s cut to the chase: I want to date you We can date sitting or standing or date in Trump Tower Has to be quick though, I’m on Fox in half an hour How I wish you were mine, why’d you marry that Jew? Love, Dad.

Trump (left) with daughter Ivanka (right) Collective noun: Ifshewasntmydaughter.

UCLU’S LADS MAG GUIDE TO SMASHING BIRDS Hey fellow sexbombs! Wanna get yourself some tailfeather? Follow this simple naughty guide for the best night of your life! The Love Doctor Get a cast iron club. Go to the London Zoo, and steal the skeleton key from the zookeeper’s office. Head to the toucan enclosure. Open the wire-mesh door using the key. Wield club. Aim club at one or several toucans. Smash their stupid brains out. Remove feathers. Fashion sexy tropical scarf. Drape around your elven neck. Go to Roxy. Chat up birds. Get laaaaaaaaid. Wake up in some bird’s house. In morn’s subtle light scour rooms for a birdcage. Find and open birdcage. Fling helpless bird against windowpane. Hard. Extract feathers. Hard. Kneel gently by bird, crying crocodile tears. Wistfully contemplate ambiguity of the English language. Get laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaid.

42nd President of the United States, pictured here inside a seagull.


The Cheese Grater Autumn 2016 7

An Address to the Reader My fellow students, The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted a smorgasbord of birds as you perused this term’s copy of your beloved The Cheese Grater. Before you call Mitch Brenner [hero of Alfred Hitchock’s 1963 hit film ‘The Birds’ – Classic Film Ed], or Rod [hero of James Nguyen’s 2010 hit film ‘Birdemic: Shock and Terror’ – Modern Classics Film Ed], lend me your ears for a brief appeal on behalf of our winged friend – the bird. Birds first came to this great country nearly 80 years ago, arriving on boats from across the war-torn world. They put down roots in the great harbour towns: Leeds, High Wycombe, Notting-

ham, and the late, great Swindon. Only a handful could speak – even fewer could speak English – but the citizens of this land took them under their wing and gave them jobs in the wartime industries: wrapping Wine Gums, ploughing the great marmalade fields, and massaging the nation’s tired, tired brows. Before long, bird communities sprang up all over Britain – at that point protected from the rest of Europe by a little thing called parliamentary sovereignty – and we came to treat the birds not as strangers, but as colleagues, friends – sometimes even lovers. However, today’s world is a harsher world. A colder world. A – dare I say it – a less bird-friendly world. Here at

The Cheese Grater we have long had an affinity with birds: one of our first columnists was a heron in a sweater, and Society Bitch is currently dating a robin. I myself have just returned from our annual Cheese Grater pilgrimage to the RSPB centre in Bedfordshire. So if we can raise even one iota of awareness of our lovely feathery fellows with this issue, I will consider myself a successful columnist. For too long has journalism concerned itself with the shocking, the salacious, the sultry. Let this be the beginning of a golden age: the age of the bird. Yours in ornithology, Joseph Starling.

Charlie Brooker: The Cheese Grater interviews the man behind the Black Mirror mask Wanna B. Vice Sprawled in the middle of my living room, a virtual reality headset eclipsing his vision while he furiously masturbates into a handful of ham, sits the prophet of our age: Charlton “Charlie” Brooker. Messiah of millenials, the medicine for our mid-noughties malaise. I gently remove his headset and begin my questions. Firstly Mr Brooker, it’s great to meet you. I’m a huge fan of your work “Fans? Did someone say fans? How did you know about the huge fans? The fans on the ceiling are part of the gameshow, they make people go in them and then they’re in the gameshow. Giant fan gameshow. Giant gameshow fan. Fan... giant.... game.” You’re too kind. I’ve got to ask: where do you get your ideas? “Sometimes they come in the spaceship, or they make them come up on my phone. I have to do what the phone says,

then I can see the future. Then I know what the phone people are saying and they’ll be happy for me.” Quite. How would you describe your creative process? “It’s a way into the future, it lets me open eyes and makes the swirls all be clear. The words, they just come out, into mouths, so many mouths. Mouths full of shit and piss and fuck, make them stop chattering, please.”

writer of our generation – if not of any generation - has transcended mere human understanding. His unique and singular insight into the human condition and his stunning camera angles have rendered him a being of pure art. I leave, burdened at once with both an ancient insight and a childlike wonder. Truly, we live in an age of Gods.

[Brooker starts to salivate energetically, and rocks backwards and forwards.] “Nyaaaaaaaar” You mentioned “nyaaaaar”. Is there any way you can elaborate on that? Brooker collapses and issues a deep, rumbling moan. I put my finger to his lips and softly silence him. There is no need for words. Even from this short interview the situation is fairly clear. The greatest screen-

The legend, Mr. Brooker.


8 Autumn 2016 The Cheese Grater

Cheese Grater Couture Corner In celebration of the upcoming 2016 Fashion Awards in London’s Royal Albert Hall, The Cheese Grater has delved deep into the backstories of some of this year’s most iconic looks. Words/pictures by Aaron Aarsehole.

This outfit may scream “I had to take the bins out and these were the first shoes I found”, but its story is so much more tragic. Model Ryan says: “The jacket is obvious. It keeps out the cold, and I can wrap my fish and chips in it. The sandals, however, are medicinal: I’ve gone and caught myself a nasty fungal infection on my toe and the doctor says I need to let my feet breathe.” The Cheese Grater wishes you well, Ryan!

We caught model-cum-UCLH porter Dafydd on his way back from a night shift. “I’m the man men want to be and women want to be with,” he sneered, picking dried IV fluid from his hair, “I work for the NHS. I wear toe-shoes. See if you can catch me. I stole this coat from a dead guy and his family have been trying to catch me for the last five years. They’re still trying.”

We can’t print this young model’s name because of age reasons [Looks old enough to me – Tabloid Ed], but boy did he have a story to tell! “I just escaped from Aleppo,” he said coquettishly. “A man offered me a cup of coffee and a blanket if I stood here and let him photograph me.” Kudos to you, young entrepreneur!

Heard something funny around campus? Seen a good bird? Let us know at: RSPB HQ, The Lodge, Potton Road, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL.

UCL Union Cheese Grater Magazine Society President—Will Orton Editor—Ollie Phelan Investigations Editor—Jason Murugesu Humour Editor—Jack Redfern

president@cheesegratermagazine.org editor@cheesegratermagazine.org investigations@cheesegratermagazine.org humour@cheesegratermagazine.org

© UCL Union, 25 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AY. The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of UCL Union or the editor.

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