TheCheeseGrater The Other Student Magazine of University College London Union
No. 18 October 2008
THIS MONTH Sanctuary Strikes Again
The worst student paper around makes a comeback p.2
HE WHO MUST NOT D E BE NAMED... SOR
N says goodbye and good The Cheese Grater E C riddance to UCL Union’s very own Dark Lord. See p. 3
Malcolm Grant to the rescue
Thank God for Charlie Clinton!
‘Slasher’ cosies up to the Labour Government p.3
News In Brief
Read all about some shit that happened p.6
Palin top trumps
How will the Spanish Inquisition fare against a shotgun wielding hockey mom? p.7
Shitty academy: are UCL students being kept schtum? lecturers STUDENTS, and the general public have all voiced concerns about UCL’s proposed scheme for a city academy in Camden. So why is Education Officer, Ed Steward, so keen to alter a motion opposing the academy being proposed to Union Council?
A motion outlining opposition to the academy was proposed by Societies Officer, Sam Crews, at the Welcome General Meeting. After the motion was successfully passed, Crews was called to an informal meeting with Steward because he “wanted to know a little more about
[opposition to the academy]”. In fact, Steward seemed pretty clued up on the matter and was able to “blast” the unsuspecting Crews with facts and figures, quoting lines previously used by the Provost. Steward told Crews that an academy working group exists that includes a student rep-
resentative from UCL, although it has yet to be publicised on the Union website. Steward then went on to say that Crews would be compromising the position of the Union and damaging the close relationship with College if he proposed his continued on page 2
2 TheCheeseGrater October 2008 continued from front page
Desperately Seeking Sanctuary
Banned paper tries (and fails) to stake a claim on Union turf. Alex Ashman
Ed Steward motion to Union Council. Crews withdrew his motion, replacing it with a considerably toned down version in light of the information provided by Steward. Crews said he was given the impression that the original motion was far too political for the Union to be involved with and declared that it would never be made policy anyway since Governance Committee would deem it irrelevant to students. Irrelevant? Even though College has suggested a special mentoring scheme existing between UCL students and pupils at the proposed academy? And how would Steward know what UCL students think? Until recently they were never explicitly invited to express their views on the matter and public meetings were not advertised to students by the Union or UCL. There has been some confusion over whether it was College’s or the Union’s rewsponsibilty to make students aware of the proposals. After the WGM, Steward posted a link on the Union website to an online questionnaire. However, in the “who you are” section, there was no specific tick box for UCL students. Steward pointed out that it did however contain a box entitled, ‘other’ which UCL students would certainly qualify for. But changes are afoot in UCLU. On 29th October, Steward posted an extremely lengthy note on the Union website, including seemingly all the information regarding the Camden academy he could get his hands on. The Cheese Grater hopes someone will be bothered to read it.
THE LATEST ISSUE of Pi Squared includes an interesting piece regarding that much maligned “student” paper, Sanctuary. The article in question rages about the “Stolen Sanctuary Scandal”, in which copies of the non-UCLU newspaper delivered to the Union for distribution at the Freshers’ Fayre mysteriously disappeared. For those unfamiliar with the Sanctuary, it is a profit-mak-
ing newspaper that opened a franchise at UCL last year. Despite describing itself as an “independant” [sic] organ, the paper exists purely to make money from advertising. The owner of all ten Sanctuary papers is one Tom Freeman, who in his own words is “the sort of sole evil corporate entity at the top, pulling all the strings.” When The Cheese Grater approached Freeman posing as a potential advertiser last year, he noted that he “can’t afford to
3000 copies of Sanctuary. Last seen dumped outside the Union
lose advertisers” and strongly insisted that “before print we vet all the editorial” (See Cheese Grater issue 15). The only sense in which Sanctuary is “independent” then is that it remains unaffiliated to the university unions in which they distribute. Media societies are affiliated to UCL Union to make sure student journalism is responsible and accountable to its audience. Pi Squared’s article accuses the sabbatical officers of binning 3000 copies of the Sanctuary, but doesn’t mention that since the newspaper is banned from Union property this would be the only decent thing to do. In fact, UCLU’s active stance against the banned paper is clearly noted in recent minutes from Arts Board. The Communications and Services Officer promised to liase with Union security to ensure that no further deliveries of Sancutary would be accepted and reiterated that, since Sanctuary remains unapproved by UCLU, its presence on Union property is completely illegal. Pi Squared will have to try harder the next time they try to generate “scandal”!
October 2008 TheCheeseGrater 3
When your ship is sinking, the last thing anyone wants is a useless crew and a captain too busy propping up the bar to do anything about it...The Cheese Grater looks back on two disastrous years at UCL Union. Or at least we would have done, if the article below hadn’t been censored by UCL Sabbatical Officers who are too weak-minded to “put their neck on the line” for a free student press! IN JULY THIS YEAR the Chief Executive of UCL Union, “left UCL’s employment”. As specified in the job description written by the Union, the Chief Executive “provides the link between the direction and policy decisions of student officers and the implementation of the same by full time staff ”...
Censored Here should follow an honest and truthful account of one man’s complete mismanagement of UCLU. However, the article was deemed unpublishable by Communications and Services Officer, Charlie Clinton, after being told by UCL that it provided grounds for libel action. Clinton pulled the article in its entirety after receiving further advice from “other people” - people he has admitted were neither lawyers nor anyone with legal experience.
“An article like that will have an impact on his reputation. It is irrelevant if it is 100% fact or 100% rubbish.” “You are correct that if it was 100% accurate we could not lose the case”
No legal grounds There are no legal grounds for forbidding the article. Clinton himself is unable to point to a law which says anything in the article is illegal. Although he claims to have doubts about the accuracy of the piece, he insists he is not able to disclose specific inaccuracies without breaching “confidentiality agreements”. How convenient! A potato
“I’m sure it can’t be a good thing to print this - but on the other hand I can’t see why not.”
Hot potato The article certainly did cover sensitive issues, making it “ too much of a hot potato” to be printed according to Clinton. He is not willing to take the risk of printing an article that was extremely relevant to UCL students and went part way to explaining why the Union was so poorly run last year.
Clinton: “my neck on the line”
Silenced It looks like the students of UCL will have to suffer the disastrous effects of two years of complete mismanagement of their Union in silence. JH
See the next issue of London Student for full and uncensored coverage, including the article that UCL Sabbs are too afraid to print.
4 TheCheeseGrater October 2008
UCLU stock healthscare sweets
Peter Stevens On October 3rd The Food Standards Agency issued a statement advising retailers to remove all “White Rabbit” sweets from their shelves. The Chinese-made toffees recently tested positive for more than six times the legal limit of melamine. The chemical was the source of the recent milk contamination scare in China, that killed four infants and injured 52,000. UCLU belatedly pulled the product on October 13th, but staff at the Bloomsbury Café were not told why. This lack of information meant that although the sweets were no longer on the shelves they could still be purchased on request, inadvertently putting student’s health at risk.
Rat Joins Sinking Ship
UCL’s Provost has been “hand-selected” by Gordon Brown to represent struggling British businesses abroad. Mark Hoffman CONGRATULATIONS to our very own Provost, Malcolm Grant, who has been appointed to the Government’s new Business Ambassadors Network. UK Trade and Investment, the Government’s international business development organisation, claim the network has been created out of the need to promote UK business excellence globally, with ambassadors being hand-selected by the Prime Minister himself.
UK Business Ambassador and occasional Provost, Malcolm Grant
Although the role is voluntary, UKTI will be covering Grant’s travel expenses. Which must be a relief, given that dedicated trips are planned to such business hotspots as Australia and China. UKTI told The Cheese Grater that they anticipated the majority of the work would be undertaken within the Business Ambassador’s own travel schedule, but just how many roundthe-world trips does Grant’s busy diary allow for?
And what company the Provost is keeping. The Chairman of Barclays and the Chairman of Lloyds TSB are both fellow Ambassadors, as is Dick Olver, Chairman of BAE systems, a company well-known for supplying military hardware to international buyers and in which UCL hold a £1million stake through the London University Superanuation Agreements. A reliable, trustworthy bunch then, eh?
Lovely bubbly More worrying is how Grant’s cosying up to the Labour Government will affect UCL’s stance on current issues such as lifting the cap on top-up fees. Grant might not be on the Government payroll yet, but after a few a glasses of bubbly on a business class flight, UCL’s independent stance might look somewhat precarious.
Well don’t go making a song and dance about it...
UCL performance societies get a slap on the wrist after casting graduates before UCL students. UCL’S MUSICAL Theatre Society certainly know how to put on a performance. The production team of West Side Story used their acting ability to the full when they auditioned over two hundred UCL students – and then cast seven graduates. On the West Side Story facebook group the production team states that “to be a part of this prolific new production you must have enthusiasm, commitment and talent”. What they don’t mention is that you also need to be old chums with Musical Theatre committee members. The cliquey nature of many UCL societies means that nepotism is rife and new members are at a disadvantage when contributing for the first time. How-
ever, regulations are in place to prevent UCL students being deprived of opportunities for their “intellectual, cultural or physical recreation” – after all, it’s what we pay our fees for! In the case of performance societies, those who aren’t students at UCL should only be cast as a last resort, and even then have to be approved by Theatre Users Sub-Committee. But such is the confusing nature of Union policy (the original documents were written so long ago that they are almost impossible to find in print) that non-UCL performers are not usually declared… until somebody complains. And complain they have, not just about West Side Story but about upcoming productions
by the Drama and Jazz societies as well. Why, then, have there been no recastings? Perhaps it has something to do with certain
Sabbatical Officers being closely involved with performance societies. Student Activities Officer Jen Currigan and Arts Officer Ric Lipson have admitted that they are “too involved” to action any of the societies to recast their shows. They did at least mandate the TUSC to vote individually on whether to let each external perform in UCL productions. However, it would surely be in their interest to allow non-UCL students in, especially if they’re interested in performing in UCL shows long after their own graduation! Although recent grumblings from Musical Theatre Soc suggest the iron-fisted approach of this years’ Sabbs has paid off. Let’s hope the show can go on...
Contributors: Alex McKenna, Josh Worth, Christina Ravinet, Tom Bance, Jenni Hulse, Sam Steddy, Gareth Spencer, Alex Ashman, Mark Hoffman, Zoe Cosker, Ka Bradley, Will Moss, Toby Youell, Helen Turek, Thomas Webb, Peter Stevens, George Starling, Thomas Rhoades. Special thanks to Kat Lay.
Down Your Union
October 2008 TheCheeseGrater 5
UCL Union’s Sabbatical Officers play it safe at the Welcome General Meeting... and end up looking stupid anyway. Jenni Hulse SOME TENTATIVE congratulations are in order for this year’s Sabbatical team, who promised at the Welcome General Meeting to improve the Union’s reputation. UCLU could certainly do with a PR makeover. Last year saw the resignation of a Sabbatical Officer, the suspension of two Union Executives and a farcical AGM in March that made a mockery of democracy at UCLU (see CG Special Report March 2008). The Union made national headlines and received mass criticism for banning the Officer Training Corps from Union property, despite the fact that many Union events, including Freshers’ Fayre, are held on College property over which the Union has no jurisdiction.
the floor that the results would be passed on to the next Union Council as “recommendations”, and policy decisions would be made there by a small group of elected members. When asked why previous Sabb teams had allowed inquorate general meetings to run and make policy, Macdonald explained: “They were wrong”.
Ethical ingorance It’s all very well following the Union’s Standing Orders to the letter, but perhaps the Sabbs should have spent less time read
What a Dummy
Technocracy Students who attended the WGM were given snazzy new electronic touchpads with which to vote, a costly investment designed to avoid the voting irregularities that plagued the AGM last year. The pads were handed out in exchange for students’ UCL ID cards, presumably to prevent anyone taking one home as a memento of the dawning new era of democracy at UCLU. Sadly, if the WGM is anything to go by, it looks like the new Sabbs will be ushering in nothing but another era of frustrating bureaucracy. So keen are this year’s Sabbs to avoid accusations of misconduct that Finance and Democracy Officer Nathanael Macdonald, who chaired the meeting as acting General Secretary, jumped the gun by declaring the meeting inquorate (and therefore unable to make policy) just five minutes in. This left all present rather confused as to what they were actually voting for, and Macdonald found himself fielding questions as to whether any Union policy was ever going to be passed! Macdonald reassured
when Ed “For Education” Steward claimed that UCLU had no policy on the future of Senate House Library. Oops! Just such a motion was passed at Union Council only last May, and mandates future Education Officers to help other University of London sabbatical officers to lobby to ensure students’ access to the library’s resources. When corrected by the motion’s proposer, Ed conceded, “Oh, that motion”. Reassuring stuff from the only Sabbatical Officer who sits on UCL Library Committee and, as mandated by the motion, should be making a submission to the working group’s review on the library’s future, emphasising it’s importance to all UCL students!
Nathanael Macdonald ing the rulebook and more time clueing up on their responsibilities. When questioned about the Ethical Investment Motion, first passed in 2007, Communications and Services Officer Charlie Clinton claimed he’d never heard of it and asked, “Is this to do with Fair Trade”? Actually, it isn’t. It’s ‘to do’ with the Union lobbying UCL to divest its shares in arms companies and, rather notably, it mandates the “Communications and Services Officer” to make all students aware of the DisarmUCL campaign against UCL’s investments in arm companies. Hope that’s cleared matters up for you, Charlie!
Groaning idiot Next, there were audible groans of despair from the floor
At one point there was great celebration among the floor when a motion was passed to allow military organisations, including the OTC, to attend Union events, prompting a reminder from Macdonald that no policy was actually being made. Other motions included one from Rare FM on having recycling bins in proximity to all union buildings. Designed to demonstrate how easy it is for ordinary students to get policy passed in their Union, the fact that the meeting could not make policy meant this motion ended up being a dummy in more ways than Rare intended.
Society Bitch OH DEAR! It’s been a wobbly start to the year for a few societies at UCLU... PI CALLED AN Emergency General Meeting to elect their new magazine editors before anyone actually had a chance to join their society. Naturally, the Student Activities Officer told them this wasn’t allowed, so Pi whinged a bit and then held the meeting just days into Joining Fortnight. A little hypocritical when you compare this with the democratic ideals that Pi Squared applied to the recent Welcome General Meeting – all we can hope is that the new editors will put Pi back on the straight and narrow... DRAMA SOCIETY are also holding an EGM, to appoint a new Social Secretary. Let’s hope they’re a little more sociable than Dan Pick, was booted out of the role just weeks into term for organising a Freshers’ trip to see Avenue Q – and then not showing up. What a muppet! Got something big and juicy? E-mail it to email@example.com
6 TheCheeseGrater October 2008
News at a Glance Profit Mohammed accused of “abuse” Yesterday evening the Profit Mohamed was taken in for questioning regarding allegations that he sexually assaulted a young girl (Aisha bint Abu Bakr) at London department store Harrods, some time during May 2008. The Profit strongly denied the claims stating; “It was Prince Philip and the CIA who fugged her, and even if I did do it she must’ve been asking for it.” (Turn to page 13 to see the whole incident retold in a series of hilarious cartoons).
Government lose key data... again
Due to an unprecedented demand on resources during Freshers’ week, the NHS has issued this foolproof self-diagnosis sheet. Nye Bevan would approve. YES
In another episode of data loss, the government has admitted to losing details regarding the integrity, credibility, and dignity of several Cabinet Ministers. In the latest incident private delivery firm Parcel Force sent a hard drive containing the information to a kebab shop in Ilford rather than to government offices in Guildford. Boris Johnson has proudly stated that he is ‘impervious to these kinds of mix-ups,’ as ‘details such as these are not and never will be associated with me’. (More on page 14).
Gordon Brown left the depths of 10 Downing Street this morning to announce to the world that a day had just gone by where everything has been “...just about OK, actually”. In one unbelievable day, the world has seen no collapsing banks, no loss of investments, no nationalisation, no ecstatic communists, no Z-list celebrity deaths, no car pile-ups on the M25, no mysteriously disappearing 3 year olds, and no terrorist activity. “Well, I mean about 500 people died in a car bombing incident in Baghdad this morning, but no-one actually really cares about that any more.” (More on page 13... or 14).
October 2008 TheCheeseGrater 7
Simon Says: ‘sex it up!’
Shocking new evidence of Simon Friend’s dismal editorship of Pi Magazine. All images ARE genuine. But this strapline is a lie. Clare Greenwood - Draft
The Columnist The A to Z List
This week woman on the street, Tiffany Loveswood, presents a summation of the contemporary feminist debate. I’m going to stand up for WWKWTW (Women Who Know What They Want)! Why is it that a guy can sleep with loads of girls and be called a stud when a woman just gets called a slut? Huh?!! It’s TOTALLY unfair. If I want 2 suck 10 cocks in one night, I’ve got the right! And why do some men get more money for doing the same job?!! I asked MNBBCFWAMSAP (My New Best Bi-Curious Friend With A Minor Substance Abuse Problem) about this, and he just started on about glass walls or something. (Stupid if you ask me! How am I gonna shag my man without the whole world knowing about it?!!!) But, basically, I want the same rights as men! At the end of the day we all just want a good seeing to, don’t
we? So come on girls, pop in yer diaphragm and get yer tits out!!! Tiffany, 24, lives in King’s Cross and works in PR.
More or Whore?
Should Tiffany write for us again? Or is she just a pure filthmonger? Text your decision to your decision to: 077123WANK Yesterday’s result for: ‘I’ve Never Read a Book But I Crack One Off Over ‘Nuts’ on a Regular Basis’
More - 83% Whore - 31%
The Cheese Grater’s rougher than rough guide to London. More rough, less guide. PART IV: The North East
1. Turnpike Lane Around the late 60s, Turnpike Lane witnessed the en masse immigration of Cypriot communities to this Leafy district of North London. The traditional Greek Turkish conflict over the Mediterranean island now becoming irrelevant in their new home, the Cypriot community worked together and their previous animosity diminished. Today the two traditional communities, acting as one, act like general cunts to anyone of any other nationality, and treat the newly established Polish community like shit, defying the UK Government’s laws on minimum wage together.
2. Manor House As above. Swap ‘Cypriot’ for ‘Kurd’ and you’re laughing. But they’re not. They hate each other.
3. Jarrow [Er, wrong kind of North East Ed]
8 TheCheeseGrater October 2008 a club minding my own business Letters to the Editor and that blasted song comes on, I Dear Sir/Madam, am instantly encircled by leering pervy girls expecting me to perI assume that the edito- form homo-erotic actions on my rial team will join me in express- pals, and as a further insult, they ing disgust at the new single, “I demand that I “like it”. kissed a bloke” by that perverted The scene is quite absurd. failed popstar Jon from S Club. First of all, society expects me My objections are multi-faceted to look as sexually appealing and seeing as though your pub- as possible in jeans and a shirt, lication is nothing more than and then I have to act as loose as smug bourgeois bullshit I shall possible. To add insult to injury, if I do pull, they label me hurtnot hesitate to go into detail. My first objection is the ful terms such as “player” and sheer distaste of the lyrics. “machine”. Next thing, I’ll be Frankly, I would have liked to expected to dress up in a cap and be spared such details as “he shorts and then pretend to be a tasted like lager and chips”, and “naughty schoolboy”. I couldn’t give a damn about his I wish girls would see me as “experimental phase”. Let’s face a man and not just some sort of it, we all go through one at some sex object. This just goes to show point, but I don’t expect to make that feminism has gone too far, a living from singing about my we should never have given them time in public school. the vote! However, my most profound objection is the dehumanBrian, 6 inches, Essex ising aspect of the song. If I’m in
A Whiter Shade of Palin George Starling’s US Election Top Trumps
November 2008 will see the election of the 44th President of the United States, or more precisely, the selection - by a minority of white voters in the State of Florida - of either a black man asking for change, or the geriatric owner of a bedpan. No wonder the people of Britain are finding it so hard to take seriously...
UCL Union Cheese Grater Magazine Society www.cheesegratermagazine.org Student Publication of the Year - UCL Union Arts Awards 2006, 2007, 2008 President and Editor: Jenni Hulse Treasurer: Alex McKenna E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org Humour Desk: email@example.com 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.
In this issue: Cheese Grater censored by Union over corruption story; The Sanctuary Newspaper returns despite ban on campus; UCL academy sto...