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TheCheeseGrater The Other Student Magazine of University College London Union

No. 10 October 2006

Portico Says No

THIS MONTH Down Your Union

Election problems! Mark Littler’s race relations. p.2

How to skin a philosopher Alive

Society Bitch Student information system causes gigantic headache for The Week That Was staff and students p. 2 UCL’s poshest student gets And get away with it too p.4

down with the proles p.4

Graduation to a Farce? Mr Chatterbox is back... p.6

Quirky Nipple Syndrome

Nipple erectus and nipple doormat p.6

A kick in the Balls!

How VP Prof Worton has upset Balls! Society p.7

Eel Pie and Extremism

Johann-Claude Hari-Mcnab gives the view from Leytonstone p.8

PI STUDENT EDITOR, Simon ‘Knob Jockey’ Dedman displayed some wonderful staff management skills over the course of the summer. As the society prepared for the launch of Pi Squared, its newspaper edition, Knob Jockey decided it was time for an editorial reshuffle. It was poor old ex-Deputy Editor Adam Freedman that faced the cut. However Knob Jockey didn’t have the gall to call Freedman – informing him of his sacking through email. Dedman bleated that he didn’t have “[Adam’s] number to hand”. Knob Jockey reassured Freedman that he had the utmost confidence in him as TV Editor. Indeed. So well placed was this confidence that, in the first issue of Pi this year, the TV section was demoted from a full page to a paltry box out wedged (badly) into the Games section. Perhaps Adam can take comfort in the fact that it was Bryony Taylor who was promoted to Deputy Editor of Pi Squared after his departure. Presumably Dedman has faith in her abilities – someone had better, her article on the NUS Coke boycott in the last issue of Pi made for painful reading. Not least because the pull quotes covered most of the (already incomprehensible) article.

Tits up for Portico

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Unclear finance options, non existent modules and student accounts with staff access. What else could go wrong with Portico? IS PORTICO A GOOD idea? Probably, but you would never have guessed with the sheer volume of problems that it has created in the last three weeks. Returning students have yet to enrol, unsure of how to do so, and both staff and students alike have been baffled by the complex module selection process. Portico is nothing new. In summer 2005 the “E:Vision” system was provisionally used in order to display module results for that academic year. However even at this pilot stage, senior staff expressed concern that at least 40% of students were not checking their UCL email and so were unaware that the system was being used. Over a year later and this is still a concern. Of course that didn’t stop College from notifying the students about Portico by… UCL email. For some of the students The Cheese Grater has spoken to, Portico is a welcoming as a kick in the shin. One student had difficulty working out how to inform the system that a bursary would pay her tuition fees. “It wasn’t very clear at all. In the end, the finance department had to enrol me themselves, which seemed totally pointless.” Paying fees through Portico is certainly easier and more convenient, but plagued with miscalculations of

bills and unclear options, the

Screenshot: access to staff sections from a student account system has been a source of confusion. Even worse have been the problems with module registration. Other than a few cursory remarks from staff at the end of last year, few students were aware of the change until an email was sent out on 18 September. So far, for some the system has caused nothing but woes. One exasperated student informed The Cheese Grater that he was unable to register for one of his courses because even after searching extensively for it, it was not listed on the system. When he complained to his tutor, the student was told Portico couldn’t be overridden and so it was best to just put up with it. More alarmingly, at least one student has been able to access parts of Portico normally reserved for staff use only. A programming blunder has meant

Down Your Union Jules Mazowiecki

Elections? Wot? A COOL LOOKING banner outside the Union, a plethora of emails from Nick Barnard, the Media and Communications Officer, and even fancy mugs. With all this publicity, why was the turnout so low at elections last week? Could it be that despite

that with an ordinary student

the media campaign just not enough people had heard about them? Whilst I’m no political scientist [’re a human geographer – Ed] it does seem that all this spontaneous arse-scratching round the Union for a solution won’t come to much. I decided to take what Geographers call a “pub sample” of opinion as to

login all course and staff codes can be accessed. It’s not just students that Portico hates, staff too are encountering problems. Having been given only one training session, departmental staff have had to “work it out as we go along”. Portico is currently unable to fulfil some of its most basic functions, such as creating registers and let us not forget the fact that it won’t let some students sign up for modules. A departmental administrator told us, “The system has meant endless hours of extra work for us, amending wrong decisions and manually entering students whose modules have not appeared on the system”. Admin staff recognise that the system will save them work eventually – but for now Portico has only been problematic. Robert Churm, Project why no one bothered voting (yet again) at the Elections. These are some of the answers I got: -No one I knew was standing -Doesn’t really matter anyway -No one I knew was standing -Doesn’t really matter anyway -No one I knew was standing -Doesn’t really matter anyway They’re right; around 14 people turned out for the hustings this term and over half were the candidates. The only elections that receive a decent amount of attention are those

Manager for the Student Information System told The Cheese Grater: “We admit there are issues but we are working to resolve these issues for the future through liaising with administrative staff. UCL has invested a great deal in Portico and we feel the system will allow students opportunities and services which have been available in other universities for some time. ” Certainly the Portico Implementation group appear to be doing all they can to rectify the current problems. The Portico User Group, a board set up to allow

Attempting to rectify UCL staff to express concerns and report problems, met earlier last week and feedback is being examined. Despite these efforts, the bedlam caused in departmental offices across the College speaks for itself. It would be unreasonable to expect no difficulties at all, but it is not unreasonable to expect the scale and magnitude of the problems to have been foreseen. Perhaps if the Portico Project Group had spent more time and money on publicity for the system amongst students instead of on a drinks reception with “lots and lots of wine” some of this confusion could have been avoided. MR for the Sabbatical Officers in spring and even those that turn up for this only do so because their mates are running. Why do those select few vote? Because said friends will get to earn £22k a year before going on to become accountants and earn even more. I know this, because I was running for Media & Communications Sabb last year until I wasn’t allowed to declare my own nomination [You handed it in late… - Ed]. Clearly one of the reasons

that the Sabb elections attract a much higher turnout is because the full time executive posts actually mean something. The recent elections highlight the fact that the Union has too many stupid positions. Many of these responsibilities could be met more efficiently by the Sabbatical Officers, who after all, are the only ones with real power. Of the roles offered in the latest elections, 90% exist purely to boost CVs. A Union election featuring fewer, but more important roles would surely attract more attention from voters than a larger (expensive) media campaign.

Students at UCL want their Union to provide good services. They don’t want it to fuck about wasting time trying to legitimise itself in every way possible. It needs to concentrate on its core competencies and get on with the task of achieving its mission statement. Endless, pointless committees and ubiquitous positions only hinder that.

Who do you think you are kidding Mr Littler? Ex-Finance and Administration Officer Mark Littler [see The Cheese Grater’s special issue]

October 2006 TheCheeseGrater 3 was a model of political correctness whilst at his post in the Union. So keen was Herr Littler to I wish I was show his support for his overseas Staying On! student colleagues that he hung the British flag of Hong Kong above his desk on the fourth floor of 25 Gordon Street. Not one to do things by halves, Mark also told a colleague that he liked to refer to countries by their colonial names beRhodesia or UCL fore loudly discussing ‘The Gold Union? Coast’. [We wish Mark the best in his bid for International Students Officer, at ULU- Ed]

Skinning a Philosopher Alive A blow by blow guide to on-campus predation for beginners, by Ben Graham phies, however, will always be the PhD students. Due to population concerns over the last decade, it is currently illegal to kill Fresher philosophers under the Endangered Species Act.

The Hunt

Socrates: Easy prey

You will need Rope Barbed wire Zip handcuffs .300 Weatherby Magnum High-powered rifle Buck Folder knife Cooking pot Spoon

Successful Capture IT IS WISE TO MAKE the philosopher play by your rules, so pursue it during the day, in open spaces, or around other people where its social shortcomings will render it a simple target. Do not target professors; their ivory tower at 19 Gordon Square is an impenetrable fortress guarded by a hideous chimera ( ½ man, ½ unknown DNA) that answers to the name Zuboff. Instead aim for undergraduates. The prize tro-

Lure the philosopher towards the hunting party with absolute statements such as: ‘Murder is always wrong!’ Most specimens will flock to you like moths on Ecstasy. If this fails deploy lollipops, the philosopher always requires something to suck on while they think. Once you have engaged the philosopher in competitive dialogue you must then rile it into anger. The political nerve is the one most easily struck. Espouse the necessity of Capitalism and draw parallels between the Free Market Mechanism and Natural Selection. The philosopher will bite. Once drawn into a debate, the organism will lose any concept of its surroundings, thus you and your team should work to encircle it. Most philosophers battle only with words. However, beware! Should you encounter an anarchist, (known for their ruffled tatterdemalion appearance and spectacular dorsal features), you must subdue it immediately. This species of philosopher can become violent at any perceived threat to their freedom. They are reported to have destroyed countless McDonalds, Starbucks

and other notorious institutions of torture. Shoot to kill.

The Kill The lead huntsman should work to isolate the target. Move from political discourse to ethical problems, e.g. ‘objectively, there is no such thing as right and wrong’ (they will accept this) and then progress to metaphysical disputes, e.g. ‘no known theory of truth has any real credibility’ (this may cause outrage). Meanwhile your team should prepare the rope and handcuffs (the barbed wire is just for fun) and dig a small pit. Wait for your second-in-command’s signal and then launch the attack. The team leader should start screaming: ‘Nietzsche showed you the way! Why have you forsaken him? Logic says nothing about the world!’ (Meaningless phrases to be sure, but to the analytic philosopher they are akin to Arsenic). Bind its limbs. Throw it in the pit. Spit on it. Do other things. Use your imagination. After your comments about truth, the creature may begin to weep openly or gnaw at its bonds (and/or fingers) murmuring: ‘Wittgenstein, Wittgenstein, Wittgenstein...’

The final touches Skin the creature and remember to have fun. The philosopher will not die quickly; it will (literally) deny the reality of the situation. Tell the creature that had they read Nietzsche properly,

they would have had better survival instincts and wouldn’t be in the current existential dilemma of facing imminent death.

Preparation Chop up, poach, season, serve. Try the tongue (overused and overlarge). Serves 4-6 Ubermenschen

Letters to the Editor Dear Sir, I have no problem with [your] illustrator mocking artists, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Yours faithfully E.Buddle

Guidelines The Cheese Grater is always keen to recieve feedback, positive or negative. The editor regrets that some letters may be cut due to reasons of space. Please send all correspondence to: cheese_grater_magazine_

The Week That Was

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Beastings, beatings and and other tales of jolly good fun from the poshest student at University College, ‘Chuffy’ Chuffnel, as told to Alastair Hemmens HELLO CHAPS. Well I didn’t get into Oxford. It turns out that pater familiarse was a little out of pocket during that crucial UCAS period, something about helping out those rotten Labour fellows. Good news though, Daddy’s now a Peer of the Realm which is something to put on my CV along with my gap year charity work supplying a Sudanese village with fishing rods. As Mater says “give a chef a fish and you’ve got a meal for four, give the servants fishing roads and you’ve got a whole lot more”. So to UCL it was, Mater said it was just like Oxford only with “proles”. One of my first worries upon arriving in ‘halls’, was that there would be none of the great traditions that give the Oxbridge institutions their reputation. But upon expressing my fears the lads soon enlightened me, urinating into my sink. What larks

eh? The large wet patch on my floor where Florence missed is, even after two weeks, still there and the maid hasn’t arrived to clean it up.

Mega Pint On my second night, I found myself in The Court, a student watering hole, and obliged to drink the ‘mega pint’, a myriad of vomit, beer, and cigarette ash, which all the others swore they had drunk the previous evening. One night in hospital and a taxi ride later; I was a true UCLian. One of the stranger traditions was the Spinning Dartboard game in which I was tied to two dartboards, spun round and round and pelted with not only darts, but when these had run out, broken glass and even fists. Another trip to the hospital, a heavy slide of the BUPA card and I was really getting into the swing of university life.

Father has always affectionately referred to the ‘fresher fillies’; his forays into the Rugby girls’ dorms have become the stuff of family legend and, indeed, the premise for several embarrassing court cases. So I too felt it my duty as a Chuffnel to faire l’amour comme un poisson. On Tuesday night wearing my best Jazz gear (green beret from C.C.F., unbuttoned white school shirt covered in flicked ink, D&G trousers with Doc Martin boots) I bee bopped my way down to the Union like a brother. Here among the sound of clinking glass and the nudist pranks of the medics, I studied my options.

Thrusting manner With my honed vision I spotted two lovely looking ladies in short mini skirts and nose rings just begging for the son of a Lord to raise them from the ranks of

the Great Unwashed. Like Zeus, I was to be their metaphorical golden shower. I approached them in my thrusting manner and asked if they wished to partake in a beverage. Unfortunately the music was exceptionally loud and the young dames did not spot me until one of them turned round and dropped her glass in fright. Here was my chance! I apologised profusely for scaring her and I asked if might replace the drink. Yet still the music was too loud and as noisily as I shouted it was to no avail. At last I grinned and produced five pounds from my wallet. I nodded to her in a knowing manner, waving the money in front of her to signal I would recompense her for her spilt beverage. To my sheer dismay, she screamed, I saw a flying fist and I awoke in University College Hospital for the third time that week, with a broken nose and concussion.

Pay more, get less Late-running building work leaves Ramsay residents to walk to refectory for food Keynes WITH RENT IN EXCESS of £130 a week, residents of Ramsay are not exactly getting what they pay for. Badly timed building work means they have to go to the Refectory for meals every day on top of having to pay a ‘proximity fee’ for the privilege. The first Ramsay students heard about work taking place in order to refurbish the kitchens and dining room, was after their accommodation offer was confirmed, by which time it would be difficult or even impossible to find a place in an alternative halls. “I only found out after I applied,” one resident told The Cheese Grater. Of

course they were also told they would have a bar, which they do, just not a license. The refurbishment means an inconvenient trek to the Refectory two times a day, though on some days only “about 50%” make it to breakfast. At least the College have kept the students well informed; “It’s quite clearly stated on the website we won’t get any compensation.” To make matters worse, Ramsay residents now have to pay a £10.50 weekly proximity fee bringing the total rent to £133.98. This charge, new for this academic year, has been introduced by College for those halls nearest to campus. Clearly the demand for halls close to the UCL main site was deemed high

enough for College to increase rents by over 13.5% on last year. Students in Ramsay will, in the meantime, have ample chance to appreciate how close they are to UCL whilst walking there for breakfast and dinner. No doubt Ramsay residents will be further pleased to hear that nearby Campbell House East is exempt from the proximity fee because of...building work. Refurbishment has not yet been completed and the Residences Office has chosen to waive fees in the meantime. Worse still, Education and Welfare Officer Ed Bray confirmed that Ramsay students can expect more disruption later in the year when work begins on a self catering block. Bray told The Cheese Grater that

he will be raising the matter with the Accommodation Office at UCL and that in the meantime “Any students in Ramsay unhappy about the situation need to contact me so that we can work together to solving this issue.”

Proximity charges The proximity fees are clearly unjust for those in Ramsay. Such a blatant attempt by College to squeeze even more money out of students is completely unacceptable if the accommodation is not providing its full service. The College cannot manage that, and neither can they manage a coherent and consistent fee policy which applies to all halls near UCL.

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Graduation to a farce? Tacky promotional videos, bland, pointless presentations and a stodgy, cheap reception to boot - does UCL think so lowly of its students as to insult them with such put together graduation ceremonies? Mr Chatterbox examines the situation HAVING RECENTLY returned- bronzed and fit, from his summer jaunt in Biarritz, Mr Chatterbox received an invite to UCL’s graduation ceremony. He was confident that, whatever disagreements he may have had with UCL Plc over the years – (a hideous polytechnic-style logo, cuts in academic staffing budgets, attempts to undermine the historic University of London) - University College London (est. 1826) was a institution that would be able to put on a graduation ceremony comparable with Cambridge (est. 1209) or at worst with Durham University (est. 1832). However he was swiftly brought back to harsh reality. UCL Plc (est. 2003) had decided to hold the ceremony in the Logan Hall, a venue placed within that monstrosity of Sixties architecture, the University of London’s Institute of Education. The choice of venue has been a subject of controversy. Previously the University of London had run the graduation function and the ceremonies were held in the Albert Hall. Since UCL had taken on the task, many graduates and staff have felt that the Logan Hall was not appropriate for such an occasion. The trouble, according to the College, is that there is no appropriate space within UCL and therefore the choice is a compromise between capacity and proximity to the Wilkins Buildings for a drinks reception afterwards. The resulting relatively expensive tickets in recent years, (£40 per person in 2006), are due to the costs incurred by hiring the hall from the University of London. The hall was decorated with hideous banners with the new corporate logo for UCL Plc hanging from the walls, lending the feeling of a meeting of the North Korean Politburo. Furthermore, the ceremony descended into near ridicule

before it even began when the genial face of Professor Malcolm Grant, our beloved Provost and President, appeared on the screen at the back of the platform to introduce a promotional video on the merits of UCL Plc. One student commented: “I half expected the camera to pan out to show him in Bermuda shorts, with a cocktail in his hands and two bikini-clad girls on either side, apologising for not being able to make it.” The room collectively struggled to suppress laughter as the video extolled

“The Provost listening to our concerns is about as likely as the Pope putting a condom machine in the Vatican lavatories,” the many virtues of UCL, unfortunately making the interesting sound trite and finishing with a series of vox pop interviews with UCL students. All of this was set to the “inspiring” strains of former M Person Heather Small’s pop ballad Proud. “The whole thing was totally misconceived,” commented one parent. “I mean, who signed that video off? Who actually thought that it was good?” Or appropriate for that matter. Was it just Mister Chatterbox who thought of Anton Chekhov’s dictum that “The University brings out all abilities, including incapability”? Unfortunately it was not the only element of the ceremony that hit the wrong note; the academic procession mounted the stage, the backdrop turned to a PowerPoint Presentation and the audience were treated a series of banal phrases flashing up such as Your Future Starts Here and Celebrating Success. (What else does one celebrate?) “Cheap. Cheap. Cheap. I was ashamed.” spat one graduate.

A source within the Registrar’s department said that the use of the video was “under review” and was “perhaps a mistake”. Perhaps? The unreasonably early cut off point for booking tickets provoked anger amongst students missing out on graduating because they had missed the deadline by a few days. “I think that a bit of flexibility would have been appreciated. Surely the graduation ceremony is organised for my convenience not for someone who is being paid for it.” There was a feeling amongst senior members of the university that the restrictions placed this year were draconian with many members of academic staff angry that they had been refused entry to the drinks reception after the ceremony since they had not been allocated the required wristbands. My source defended this policy saying that the number of “freeloaders” who had gate crashed the reception in previous years had been unacceptable but conceded that the scheme was, again, “under review”. However one graduate, who had asked a number of friends along, complained sniffily: “Its not as if we were drinking Krug ‘76. Quite the reverse.” Several students said there was a feeling that the graduation was “second rate” and “shabby”. A member of staff conceded that they still had not found the right tone for the oc

casion but said that in a “long term view” graduations had improved and were more “personalised” since the days when they were hosted by the University of London. What kind of university is it that cannot organise a fitting graduation ceremony? The words ‘piss up’ and ‘brewery’ spring to mind. While it has to be admitted they appear to be rectifying their mistakes and a number of issues are “under review” , several final year students are worried that this means “no change”. “The Provost listening to our concerns is about as likely as the Pope putting a condom machine in the Vatican lavatories,” was how one put it. If how a university marks the graduation of its students is indicative of the respect in which the institution holds them, then it is clear that UCL Plc holds its students in low regard. A nonUCL academic believes: “With the introduction of variable fees the student is becoming a client and therefore has a greater ability to make demands of services from the university. I would advise any student who is worried about their graduation to raise it as an issue of concern.” Perhaps we should. It is clear that the college on its own cannot look after the interests of its students. As John Ciardi once said, “A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students.”

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Toilet Humour

Richard Soames

can either head to the toilet with some industrial strength sellotape or coax shy old ‘reticent righty’ out for moral support. So I figure, if my right nipple was with me on the front line (try to keep up with the metaphor!) I’d treat it like my brother soldier – give him a pep talk, spur him into action, give him confidence to go out and conquer. After a few minutes whispering to my right breast about green and pleasant lands, I look up to see Boris, still sitting op-

posite me. Poor lamb, he looked worried, and I think he had a hard on, because at that moment, the front of his Levis ripped open and his penis popped out. I don’t know who was more embarrassed. This whole episode has got me thinking - was the beardyone screwed over by the pointyheaded-one and is that the reason that lots of people in Russia (like Boris) are misogynistic nipple-charmers, or could I be pregnant?

Fuck all your Quirky Nipple Freesheets Syndrome

Getting a solo nip-on at the worst of times, dealing with that errant nipple - what’s a luvvie to do? Hannah Hudson OKAY, so i’m sitting in a pub with a foreign exchange student and things are going really well. He’s already asked me what colour knickers I’m wearing and I’ve shown him how I can get my entire fist into my mouth. I think he’s impressed because he’s rubbing his groin against his hand. So, suddenly I get an attack of Quirky Nipple Syndrome. You know, it’s like taking two dogs out for a walk but only one is straining at the leash. I had hoped this was firmly in my past. I thought I could put the days of padding out one bra cup with a wholemeal roll behind me, but apparently not. I was a shark sleeping with one eye open, a solo stilettoed foot next to a false leg, if you will. Basically, nipple erectus and nipple doormat. So I’m trying to act like nothing’s happened. You know, carry on regardless, stiff upper lip, avoiding using clichés which

“Is it cold in here?” use the word ‘stiff ’ etc. I don’t want to make Boris feel uncomfortable but it looks like I’m staring at him with one breast and we’ve only just met. I hadn’t really planned on him meeting my left nipple like this, it’s all so public, so formal, you know. I thought there would be dinner first, perhaps even lingerie, or at least a grope in the dark outside my front door. So I have two options, I

Daniel Sage YOU’VE ARRIVED BACK at universit; you’re sauntering down Gower Street when you’re accosted by oddly clad street merchants wearing ridiculous logo-covered baseball caps who are giving you a newspaper for free. Yes that’s right, for free. Have the days when one had to pay to consume news, politics and sport disappeared? The Free World marches on; financial and cultural bonds are disappearing. The old barriers that once separated us, granting opportunity to some and shackles to others are visibly evaporating. Sod barricades and Bolsheviks; pick up your free newspaper (you have the CHOICE of two), swipe your Oyster card and shove an espresso up your arse. Look, even the people who give us the “freesheets” are all ethnic minorities. This is working multiculturalism and you know it you fascist bastards. If only. The sad truth, metrosexuals, is that you are not experiencing cultural harmony in one of the world’s Most Cosmopolitan and Global Cities™, but mere exploitation of cheap immigrant labour. This “Freesheet War” is hardly new and you are a fool for thinking so. Remember the

Metro? Probably not, as it’s only distributed in the morning (you lazy student cretins). Nonetheless it still exists and it is owned by the same press merchants as London Lite: who additionally own the Daily Mail and the Evening Standard. Phew, that’s a lot of newspapers. But there’s more! Standard Lite? Replace the former with the word ‘London’ and you have the rebranded version of a paper you read with fashionista elegance today yet scoffed at last year. Apart from a bit of superficial tweaking not much has changed there. So what has? This is it; it’s the one you want. It positively ignores the rules of conservative grammar laws; it’s thelondonpaper. You like the purple look and those adverts on the sides of buses that shout out slogans such as “You Live London”. You don’t know what the fuck all of this means but boy; doesn’t it look good in the back pocket of your skinny jeans? Journalism has reached its lowest ebb. Before you had to pay to read shite; now you can do it for free. Dear Reader, next time you are offered a “freesheet”, hold your head high and walk on, making sure that copy of G2 is poking out the top of your bag.

Contributors: Hannah Hudson, Sam Bathe, Daniel Sage, Richard Soames, Scary Boots, Alastair Hemmens, Jules Mazowiecki, JohannClaude Hari-McNab, Alexander Harris, Mr Chatterbox, Ben Graham, Colin Myer, Keynes

October 2006 TheCheeseGrater 7

The Art of Plagiarism: A Warning

By the time you have read this, 94 students will have submitted the entire of Wikipedia as their own work. History however, could serve as a warning to them... Colin Myer “Immature plagiarists borrow, mature plagiarists steal.” - from T.S. Eliot’s speech to the jury at his trial for plagiarism Believe it or not, I have already plagiarised almost 46% of this essay. I may have accredited the epigraph in the conventional fashion, with a pair of quotation marks, and a by-line nod to its origins, but as more and more students are discovering, this is simply not enough. Eliot himself was executed for several breaches of university plagiarism law including the comment above, in which he failed to source any of the six words he used. Happily, we live in more enlightened times, and the authorities such as they are, will not punish me for the massive transgressions made

thus far in this piece of work. However, were I to submit it as part of my academic pursuits, it would certainly be a different story. The term ‘plā’gĭar|ĭsm’ is an amalgamation of two ancient Greek words, plagion meaning ‘a kidnapping’, and ism meaning ‘soulless, purely self-interested, motivated by laziness’ depending on which internet encyclopaedia you are cribbing from. The history of plagiarism is lengthy and troubling, and there is not room on the page for me to copy and paste in everything I have uncovered on the topic. Problems with plagiarism go way back. Most historians now agree that the Crusades began after careless copying of ‘The Bible’. Prof. Ron Cage at the Metropolitan Polytechnic has spoken on the

subject: “Well…it seems that several prophets…collaborated on their…books. They then handed them in without making the necessary alterations. Of course when the different…faiths got their hands on the material, the whole thing went to shit.” William Shakespeare was another notable plagiariser. He cribbed his plays from Sunday morning cartoons, cereal boxes, and Christopher Marlowe. Indeed, the whole thing may have gone undiscovered if Kellogg’s had not decided to reprint boxes from their back catalogue. If the question is ‘does plagiarism kill people?’, the answer is certainly ‘yes, yes it does’. With the ‘Turnitin®’ system in place, UCL is more secure against the horrors of plagiarism than ever before. However, there

is one form of plagiarism that this magnificent detection system cannot fight against: ‘selfplagiarism’. Before you hand in a piece of work, ask yourself; Have I written a similar sentence elsewhere? Have I already used this font-size? Have I printed my essay on white paper before? Have I used the conjunction ‘and’ in another piece of work? Only you can regulate the dangers of ‘self-plagiarism’. If you know of anyone who is contravening plagiarism regulations, or if you are worried that you may be plagiarising from your own work, don’t fail to report it - plagiarists erode and undercut the originality of society, they are the greatest threat to our way of life. [This article first appeared in the last issue of the Cheese Grater -Ed]

rooms which provide a specialist type of space”. This includes Balls! who need rooms with high ceilings. Balls! President, Natalia Paredes Ventura, told The Cheese Grater they are unable to use gyms, because of the cost to the society members and that the prospect of practicing outside during the winter months was far from appealing. Natalia also expressed her surprise at the VP’s claim that a member of the public was hit during Balls! practice. Neither Natalia nor the Union have ever been able to find the incident form or any details for this ‘victim’. Presumably the shock of the encounter killed them, or at least, wiped them from any university records. With regards to UCL’s “image”, both the Union and Natalia pointed out Balls!’s involvement in UCL’s Charity Concert in the Quad. It seems that someone at College HQ must agree since Room Bookings have offered the society use of the North Cloisters again… but only after 8pm. It

appears that predictions Natasha Davies made in her May report – that limiting available space to societies “would have a detrimental effect” on some of their events – have been realised and will result in a loss of members. Meanwhile, The Cheese Grater wonders what activity in the Cloisters would reflect well on UCL. The VP conceded to Natasha Davies that the Cloisters are very important for college and corporate functions, despite the fact that Room Bookings confirmed College run events took precedence over Clubs and Societies in the North Cloisters “only when needs demand it”. Balls! argue this is not the case and that the society booking was ‘booked over for corporate events… once every two months’. This is perhaps more in line with the increasing spirit of ‘diversity at UCL’ - exemplified in a willingness to take money from businesses and corporate events and not just from its students.

A kick in the Balls! Vice Provost gets Balls! in a twist as use of Cloisters withdrawn at short notice because “activity reflects on UCL” Hannah Hudson THE WILKINS NORTH Cloisters are used neither for cock fighting nor as an illegal massage parlour, so why is the area under threat from the Vice Provost, Michael Worton? Only three weeks into term time and Balls! have found themselves facing homelessness after VP Worton took the unpopular step of banning all clubs and societies from using the cloisters, with such short notice given that a replacement venue has proved difficult to find. This is the first time Worton has been able to implement his plans to veto clubs and societies from continual booking of certain university rooms, including the Cloisters. After a meeting with the VP in May, regarding

this issue, ex Clubs Societies and Student Development officer Natasha Davis said that the space decision for Balls! still seemed am biguous, but that “Worton was giving off bad vibes”. So why is the VP now so keen to exile students from what is essentially their university space? The VP told Natasha Davies to think about “the image of the Cloisters and how what activity goes on in there reflects on UCL”. Another reason for the veto, was that “the space often became obstructive to those wanting to walk through [the Cloisters] when clubs and society activity is happening” These spurious claims have been refuted as “unfair” by both Balls! and the Union. In a report written and presented to the VP, Natasha Davies stressed the importance of students “using the

8 TheCheeseGrater October 2006 EDITORIAL&OPINION



Eel Pie and Extremism JOHANN-CLAUDE HARI-MCNAB With his full Arsenal kit, his fresh, beardless face and broad east London accent, 17 year old Khen Al-Livingstan does not appear to be a stereotypical extremist. “No, people never expect any trouble from me at all,” he says when I meet him at home, “they just think I’m some kind of multi-cultural success story.” When we sit down to talk he tells me that he feels ignored by the mainstream British media. The problem is that Khen, and many other young Muslim Londoners do not see themselves reflected in the media portrayal of Muslims in Britain. “There’s no one like me on

the telly,” he explains. He says that his extremist friends and schoolmates all feel the same way. “Islamic extremist youth in London yeh, we feel like we get underrepresented by the media. When they talk about ‘home grown terrorism’ on TV, it’s always Northerners innit? How come we don’t get covered? Shezad Tanweer [Leedsborn 7/7 bomber] yeh, how’s he meant to represent me? The media are just pushing their own agenda.” Khen feels that the media are failing to report on the reality of extremist activity in London in an attempt to create a better image for the city. The reality, he claims, is that increasing numbers of Londoners are deeply committed to an anti-western and anti-Semitic agenda. Many senior figures in government and the media were shocked by last Friday’s demonstration in Trafalgar Square, which saw broadsheet newspapers and press releases from the Mayor of London being burnt. A Sky News reporter trying to film the proceedings

was set upon by the crowd and beaten with his own microphone. It was whilst searching in East London for the source of this extraordinary rage that I met Khen. Alarmingly for the government, it seems that Khen’s attitude, far from being unique, is in fact pretty typical of disillusioned young Muslim men in this part of London. I spoke to a young man outside the library at Harrow Green, who did not wish to be named [because you just made him up - Ed]. He told me that “kids round here…see all this shit on telly about Beeston, Bradford, Dewsbury…we don’t even know where those places are! We’re alienated youth right here man, right here in London.” “Lads in Leytonstone, Walthamstow yeh, they cook up all kinds of foiled plots, and nothing! The media is just pushing the Mayor’s agenda. All of them man, all this One London shit man. Where’s the kids like me on telly man? I hate Jews and Christians and

no one mentions it. All they’re interested in is another ‘trooble at t’mosque’ story. It’s bullshit man.” Local youth worker B. TalAl-Lay thinks there is a simple explanation for this atmosphere of anger and distrust. “It’s a simple matter of role models. These kids have no positive male role models to look up to. Maybe if they saw young successful extremists from their own local communities on the television, they would be able to say ‘yeh, this is me, this is who I am,’ you know?” Last Friday’s demonstration, and the fallout from it, quickly fell away from the front pages, no doubt fuelling the demonstrators’ perception that they are being ignored by the media. The lack of coverage has prompted youth leaders to call for another demo, which is planned for next Saturday. Organisers are inviting protestors to march under the banners ‘Eel Pie and Extremism,’ and ‘Pie, Mash and Murder’.


£5.00 Reserve of £7.1 million (deficit) must be met


15.0% Negative

21-Oct-06 15:06:05 GMT (5 days 3 hours) Pick up only - very fragile

UCL Cloisters, London, UK 2 (head piece shipped seperately)

15.0% Negative

UCL Union Cheese Grater Magazine Society Student Publication of the Year - UCL Union Arts Awards 2006 President and Editor: Mark Ravinet Treasurer: Hugh Colyer E-mail : Humour Desk: UCL Union Cheese Grater Magazine Society, UCL Union, 25 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AY The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of UCL Union or the editor.

Cheese Grater Magazine - issue 10  

In this issue: Portico online services beset by problems; Ramsay Hall building work causes chaos for students; Mr Chatterbox examines the fa...

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