Issue 65 â€“ Spring 2019
2 Spring 2019 The Cheese Grater
Down your union
Fight over IHRA definition drags on Compromise briefly appeared within reach. Speakers from both At a heated Union members’ meet- sides attempted to negotiate and proing on Monday 21st January, students pose an amendment but Union rules voted by a margin of 212 to 78 to re- permitted only procedural amendject the adoption of the International ments. The motion went to an imHolocaust Remembrance Alliance mediate vote, and failed to pass. The (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism announcement of the result was met after an attempt at compromise was with cheers and whoops — a surreal scuppered by Union regulations. and somewhat grotesque end to the meeting. Particular low points included the pro-IHRA speaker who claimed that UCL Jewish Society told The Cheese the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was Grater that it was ‘deeply saddening’, ‘low casualty, low-key,’ and the anti- and that ‘it should be Jewish students IHRA speaker who questioned why and Jewish students alone that define ‘we need to mention Israel when what it means to be anti-Semitic’. we’re talking about discrimination against Jewish people’. But things do not end here. This week, the Academic Board will deOpponents of the IHRA defini- bate UCL adopting the IHRA defition view some of the accompanying nition. Should the university adopt operative examples of anti-Semitism the definition, the Union will have to as too restrictive. Activists claimed adhere to it. What isn’t clear is what various examples would restrict free practical changes this would mean for speech: shutting down legitimate crit- the way the Union deals with socieicism, and limiting external speakers. ties and external speakers — if any at all. Peter Daniels
Academics oppose GRA reform
News & Investigations
Society Bitch This month, Soc Bitch was distraught to learn of an attempt to trample on CG’s turf. In January, a group of students submitted a request to the Union to affiliate a new magazine. They proposed to ‘document, through satire, the current issues and events facing UCL students.’ This, they claimed, ‘is not currently catered for by any existing UCL publication.’ Draw blood, why don’t you? Unfortunately for the interlopers they were unsuccessful in getting union affiliation. Soc Bitch is relieved that CG remains top dog for now. Elsewhere, Jazz Soc came unstuck after its Big Band conductor was forced to abdicate, following a bureaucratic omnishambles on the Union’s part. His replacement will mark the third figure in the space of a year to occupy this role, their initial bandleader having been let go under reportedly unsavoury circumstances that Soc Bitch is not at liberty to divulge. Oh, the scandal!
demics all say they signed the letter in defence of ‘academic freedom’. How‘Academic freedom’ or something more? ever, the debate often appears to have Aditya Dabral criticism of trans advocacy organisa- little to do with academia. tions, many of whom work with and Six UCL academics were among the offer training to universities, and who An article written by Sullivan and signatories of an October 2018 letter the signatories of the letter believe Suissa for the British Educational Republished in The Guardian. They ex- have a ‘dangerously all-encompassing’ search Association Blog illuminates a pressed reservations about proposed definition of transphobia. different motivation behind claiming changes to the Gender Recognition academic research is being shut down. Act, arguing that it would stifle genuHowever, none of the six UCL sig- They are critical of the fact that ‘trans ine academic research by labelling it as natories — Prof Alice Sullivan, Prof activists claim that questioning the potransphobic. Judith Suissa, Dr Holly Smith, Dr Ruth sition that a person’s “gender identity” McGinity, Prof Sophie Scott, and Dr trumps their biological sex in legal or The letter expresses concern about Julia Jordan — conduct research that social contexts amounts to being “antithe introduction of self-ID for gender relates to trans issues. trans”’, and highlight the need to ‘dereassignment, a proposed change to fend women’s sex-based rights.’ The the GRA, but otherwise has little to do Jordan did not respond to a request article also quotes a poll, finding ‘that with the law. Rather, the bulk of it is for comment but the other five aca- only 19 percent of people share —
News & Investigations
The Cheese Grater Spring 2019 3
The perils of outsourcing
UCL shifts blame for unpaid security staff to the incoming contractor. However, Axis failed to follow their obligation to Last November, UCL switched secu- obtain the required data from CIS, or rity contractors from CIS to Axis. The insist UCL push for it, making it unroster of security officers at UCL has clear which company is responsible for changed little, but the messy transition the pay issues. has caused them huge problems. Axis appears to be getting the blame Holiday records were lost during the from the guards, with the Christmas handover, impacting officers’ pay. Many party being cancelled last year due to have been consistently underpaid since low morale. However, Derek RichardNovember and some have lost out on son, a security officer and IWGB rephuge sums. One officer received only resentative speculated that ‘ill feeling £20 for a whole month’s work. The towards the university will get worse,’ if irregular pay has forced some onto an the pay problems are not soon resolved emergency tax code, resulting in potential long term loss of income. At January’s Union General Meeting, Provost Michael Arthur described the CIS allowed workers to accrue holi- ongoing problems with pay as ‘unacday if they worked overtime, while Axis ceptable,’ but placed the full blame on does not, meaning officers will be los- Axis, suggesting that UCL was not reing out on holiday, even when the pay sponsible for the issues caused by their problems are resolved. contractor.
pay security officers better without incurring extra costs if they contracted staff directly, although the Provost has said that insourcing all UCL workers would cost around £3 million.
the view that “trans women are wom- tacked for her academic work, but for en,”’ even though any academic consid- her public stance against self-ID. eration of the issue would rely on science rather than public opinion. Sullivan and Suissa’s article makes little distinction between political issues A spokesperson for UCL LGBT+ that play out in the world of academia Network told The Cheese Grater, ‘We and actual academic research. The aumaintain that research that furthers the thors are defending views they hold marginalisation of minorities like trans around gender rather than scientific repeople — who are disempowered eco- search that confirms them. nomically and politically — is unethical, and deserves critique,’ noting that this is Placing this debate in the realm of not the same as censorship. academia frames it as an issue of academic freedom, even in the absence Last year, Professor Rosa Freedman of specialised knowledge, rather than a of Reading University found her office more rights-based discourse that would door covered in urine, and was called occur in a public debate about legal ‘a transphobic Nazi who should get changes to trans rights in the UK. raped,’ by a student who was, rightfully, disciplined. However, she was not atDr John Gray of the UCL Centre
for Applied Linguistics, who researches issues of gender and sexuality in the teaching of language tells a different story about academia. He said, ‘I have always felt able to explore issues relating to gender and sexuality with colleagues who identify as LGBTQ and those who do not in a spirit of openness, respect and dialogue.’
Danny Millum, Secretary of the University of London branch of IWGB told CG that for outsourced staff, ‘the managers and structures in which you work are much harsher than you would get if you were a university employee.’ A large proportion of these workers are migrants or BME, demonstrating the discriminatory nature of outsourcing, subjecting already disadvantaged groups to worse treatment.
UCL, as well as being the last London University to introduce a living wage, is also resistant to insourcing, which has become a trend across other institutions. Goldsmiths has already brought all staff in house, and LSE and King’s Axis blames CIS for failing to supply According to Richardson, many appear to be following suit. Despite its holiday entitlement data, despite it be- officers wish to be brought in house as wealth, UCL has proven once again to ing a legal requirement that the depart- ‘it would be a massive improvement in be behind in protecting its lowest paid ing contractor supplies this information our pay,’ He suggests that UCL could workers.
Most of the academics who signed the petition did so on the grounds of defending ‘academic freedom’, which is important for research in all fields. However, fundamental denial of the fact that trans women are women, which covertly underpins so many of these discussions about academic freedom, is a dangerous intrusion of personal politics into the academic sphere.
4 Spring 2019 The Cheese Grater
News & Investigations
A brief history of eugenics
UCL panel convenes to probe the legacy of Galton and Pearson Sasha Baker and Iona Jenkins
UCL is finally facing up to its past. An inquiry has been convened to investigate UCL’s history of eugenics and make recommendations as to how to best confront it. The Provost has said it is likely that buildings and rooms at UCL bearing the names of eugenicists are likely to be changed, but more difficult issues of remembering eugenics without celebrating it must also be answered. In 1963, UCL renamed The Francis Galton Laboratory of National Eugenics as The Galton Laboratory of the Department of Human Genetics & Biometry. Rather than condemning Galton, this absolves him of the sins of a defunct pseudoscience. A genuine attempt to repent for it must confront the reality of eugenics, not whitewash it. The current curation of the Galton Collection offers a positive approach to UCL’s history, using it as a teaching tools to confront racism directly. In an interview with The Cheese Grater last year, curator Subhadra Das, complained, ‘we don’t talk how [racism] was a scientific construct.’ Science has moved on. As Das said ‘every geneticist worth their salt knows there is no such thing as race.’ Purifying the Race UCL Professor of Evolutionary Genetics and member of the inquiry panel Mark Thomas told CG that eugenics has ‘none of the hallmarks of science that I recognise.’ It is unscientific because inherent within it are aims to purify the nation through selective breeding. Scientific procedures including IVF, embryonic screening and abortion were promoted by eugenicists like
Marie Stopes, another UCL research- German colonies. Pearson was a diser, but, historically, were deployed to ciple of Fischer and drew similar concontrol who could procreate. clusions from his biometric experiments on Jewish migrant children, Modern applications of sterilisa- suggesting there should be no Jewish tion and termination procedures are migration to Britain. understood to be a matter of individual choice. This vastly differs from The Afterlife of Eugenics the forced sterilisation advocated by Francis Galton, who coined the term Eugenics’ demise as a mainstream ‘eugenics’, and based his ideology on policy proposal occurred after the the ‘survival of the fittest’. In Galton’s Second World War, when academics hands, evolution became something began to causally connect it with Nazi for humans to control. genocide. But eugenicist ideas live on in unexpected ways. Petrie’s assertion Galton recommended that only that ancient Egyptians could not have healthy, strong individuals should re- been black due to their civilizational produce, with financial incentives to sophistication still informs portrayals encourage this. He argued this would of ancient Egypt. be advantageous for all of society, leading Beatrice Webb, one of the More disturbingly, India’s sterilifounders of LSE, to propose ‘procre- sation plan from 1975–77 involved ation tickets’ which would levy fines some forced sterilisations and wideupon ‘inferiors’ who reproduced. spread financial coercion. Though its aims were population control in a Legislatively, eugenics was more purely numerical sense, the effect was influential in the colonies than in to prevent the poor from reproducBritain. Notions of non-white blood ing. More recently, China’s one-child weakening the white race led to anti- policy has allowed forced late-term miscegenation laws in many colonies. abortions. Sterilisation was also a key component of eugenic theory. Galton considered it to be a humane alternative to infanticide. The Nazis are believed to have forcibly sterilised 400,000 people, including the ‘feeble-minded’: the mentally ill, gay men, Gypsies and those of mixed African and German descent.
While UCL is not culpable for everything done in the name of eugenics, it is an institution connected to its development, possibly more so than any other. UCL has not done enough to confront its past in this respect.
The outrage caused by the eugenicist London Conference on Intelligence held at UCL last academic Of course, the Holocaust itself year may mark a turning point. Prof was a eugenic project. Jews were seen Thomas told CG, eugenics is ‘a hisas the greatest threat to the Aryan ge- torical lesson on how scientific connepool, a trope that survives in mod- cepts can be misused in the domains ern anti-Semitism. Such theories were of politics, law, medical practice and developed by Eugen Fischer, who had social policy.’ previously carried out experiments on mixed-race children in German South Perhaps UCL is finally learning West Africa, after which he ensured that lesson. miscegenation was banned across
The Cheese Grater Spring 2019 5
Hannah Sketchley Editor, 2013–2014
Liberté, egalité, brutalité?’ (CG 41) I think this was, for me, one of the most important stories we featured during my editorship, and it’s certainly my favourite cover of the year. One of the most memorable parts of putting it together is a lengthy argument among the editorial team during put together about whether to include the question mark on the headline!
‘An Interview with Richard d’Urquart’ (CG 42) The interview with Richard d’Urquart by roving gastronome Chorles Higson was response to the cultural moment that is Charles Campion and his many appearances on Masterchef that year..
6 Spring 2019 The Cheese Grater
Charlie Hayton Editor, 2014–2015
The Cheese Grater is a strange publication for a strange time, and it naturally attracts the malcontented of UCL to its doors. I joined by happenstance because I didn’t have much going on on Tuesdays, and with equal parts determination and gladhanding, I rose through the ranks to Editor. To this day I treasure the good friends I made at the magazine. But it’s not too late for you — turn back now and live a wholesome and happy life; join a more glossy and popular magazine society and feel your head and its worries grow lighter and airier. The Cheese Grater will still be here, carrying on in open defiance of God’s laws and our mothers’ concerns.
Charlie Hayton (right) with 2015–2016 Cheese Grater Editor Bo Franklin and Pi Media’s award for Best Publication
‘Eugenics Heading for a Eulogy’ (CG 48) This article by 2015–2016 President Jess and 2016–17 Editor Ollie, later republished with more detail by the Runnymede Trust, preceded the revelations about eugenics conferences at UCL by nearly 3 years.
‘The Provost’s Dream Diary’ (CG 47) This piece is of particular significance to me, owing to an incident shortly after its publication when a Greek man (with whom I had a running rivalry/mutual disdain) revealed he had found it very funny and asked who wrote it, to which I took no little pleasure in revealing that the author was me. It was these sort of incredibly petty victories that made being Editor worthwhile.
The Cheese Grater Spring 2019 7
Editor, 2015–2016 The Cheese Grater is something truly special and irreplaceable: a smaller, less well-written Private Eye hung up on the minutiae of College life. More importantly, though, it has consistently been a tonic for the trite rubbish that makes up most student journalism. It has also given birth to a comedy group of inconsistent quality, and some of the finest traditions of any society at UCL (RIP Club Fitzrovia, your cardoons and calzones will be always in our hearts and arteries). Chen more years! CG at the Fitzrovia Private Dining Club (RIP)
‘Spotlight on... Rex Knight’ (CG 53) A great profile should capture the essence of the individual. When The Cheese Grater described Rex Knight, UCL’s Vice Provost for Operations and scourge of Cut the Rent protestors (Christ 2016 feels like a long time ago), as ‘the man with the supervillain’s name and undertaker’s smile’ I’d like to think we did this. Rex made quite a name for himself during my time as editor, threatening to expel a pesky Pi hack who knew too much and riling the aforementioned activists such that they burned an effigy of him on Euston Road. Thanks for the memories, Rex. ‘The Herstory of the Potato’ (CG 53) The finest piece of Pi-baiting outside of Soc Bitch during my tenure, this piece sent up a baffling article in UCL’s official student publication that chronicled the crushingly dull history of the potato, most of it seemingly lifted from Wikipedia. The Cheese Grater instead told the root vegetable’s radical role in the emancipation of women, including the real reason Emily Davison died under the King’s horse (she was chasing a potato down the street) and Germaine Greer’s objection to both third-wave feminists and bubble and squeak. Bucking the trend for The Cheese Grater at the time, this piece wasn’t written by a man. Bit of fun.
8 Spring 2019 The Cheese Grater
Editor, 2016–2017 For me, The Cheese Grater is a pocket of irreverent student journalism that railed against the twee, pious thinkpieces embodied by Pi Media. It is great to see a flourishing investigations section. Although I definitely didn’t think that at 11pm in the media suite, cracking into the fourth lot of mini flapjacks. Ultimately what I remember is the seriousness with which we took the society balanced with the pure weirdness and hilarity encaptured by the comedy wings. Long may it continue. ‘The tragic story of how UCL fails victims of sexual assault’ (CG 57) Coming from the investigations side of the magazine, I really valued the role of The Cheese Grater in bringing UCL malpractice to light. One issue that did that more than any other in my time was the Spring 2017 issue, which looked at the incredibly inadequate support UCL offers to students who have experienced sexual harassment and assault. The investigation was a powerful piece of journalism, led admirably by Jason Murugesu and Oumou Longley, and pre-empted national investigations from The Guardian into the response to sexual harassment across UK’s university campuses. What is also striking is the front page. Bucking past practice, there was no sardonic cartoon. In its place was a sombre, black front page that demanded people pay attention.
‘Korea-ing out of Control’ (CG 47) An article memorable for its bizarreness. A member of the academic board and senior lecturer, Dr. Hugh Goodacre, had been filmed claiming that North Korea was ‘very egalitarian’ and a ‘democracy from the bottom’. The video was sent to The Cheese Grater by an eccentric chap, who accompanied the editors in the media suite right until the bitter end of Sunday evening. When approached by CG to explain his position, Goodacre doubled down — claiming that whilst this was a position he held a few years ago, he still encouraged ‘debate’ on the issue. Maybe Michael Arthur was taking tips from Goodacre on good leadership…
The Cheese Grater Spring 2019 9
Jason Murugesu and Jack Redfern Co-editors, 2017–2018
‘Zero tolerance is just a marketing scheme’ (CG 59) Jack writes, in 2017’s winter issue we exposed the shortfalls of the union’s schemes to combat the harassment detailed in issue 57. “Zero tolerance is just a marketing scheme” was our lead quote for the issue, which revealed “a students’ union under-equipped, under-staffed, and unwilling to support targets of sexual assault and harassment”. Iona Jenkins and Jason led this report, which was built on months of investigation into the union’s dismissive emails, circuitous referrals, and hypocritical proclamations. ‘“Regal Carpet” Review’ (CG 59) Part of what makes The Cheese Grater unique is that, alongside its tireless journalism, it produces brilliantly funny pieces. Issue 59 featured a piece that was so simply funny that I couldn’t read it aloud for laughing: ‘“Regal Carpet” Review’, a review of a carpet on Amazon that was “not quite a ‘Crapet’ but certainly quite crap in some respects”. The hysterics of the review bubble just below its placidity, creating really joyful images: the reviewer is “a keen tap dancer”, delighted by the “two tap dance shoes that came with the carpet”. Unfortunately, they are stuck together: “I have to tap dance in my socks, and it’s not quite the same”.
This is of course all hackneyed fairweather nostalgia, and I confess that there have been times where I have wanted nothing more than for this rag to be industrially pulped into something more worthwhile, like a paper cone for chips. That said: Happy Birthday, Cheese Grater. Here’s to 15 more sullen years – but no more than that, please. For your sake as well as ours.
10 Spring 2019 The Cheese Grater
In the Bleak Midwinter: A UCL tale In the bleak midwinter The IOE made moan The building’s slowly crumbling Like an old grey stone Concrete is piling up Block on block In the bleak midwinter Built 40 years ago Brits and foreign students May have travelled there Depression and exhaustion Filled the air Luckily Kate Middleton In her royal bliss Blessed the 70s breeze blocks As broken heaters hissed. What can I give student finance? Poor as I am If I was a shepherd I’d have ignored this scam What will I do now? After three years of pain It’s beginning to seem like I’ve thrown £27,000 down the drain.
#41 Hugh Grant’s Blue Door For fans of Notting Hill, this one is a must! The blue door, famous for upstaging Hugh Grant in the 1995 film Notting Hill sits as it did then: woodenly. the debate has long raged as to whether the better actor was in fact Grant or the door—so why not go and see for yourself? Recently tourists have taken to shouting out premises for romantic comedies that the door could star in, and watching in amazement at the versatility of the door as it gives a performance for each possible leading role.
The Cheese Grater Spring 2019 11
Students’ Union under fire as emotional support dog exposes harsh treatment P. Upparazi
Students’ Union UCL has come under fire this week after reports of mistreatment from one of its recent guests. Gruffles, an emotional support Shih Tzu, visited the university campus as part of the annual mental health awareness week. He was shocked by his reception. ‘I was looking for somewhere to put my things and rehearse my speech on the importance of being open about mental health,’ said Gruffles to The Cheese Grater. ‘I have a history with tricky mental health, and it’s a cause very close to my heart. ‘However, before I could so much as find a spot to do some vocal exercises, some pushy female dog with a short fringe and fashion spectacles that took up her entire face grabbed me and started forcibly rubbing my back. ‘I had no opportunity to give verbal consent, and sooner or later I was being passed around her trendy, posh friends all of whom were cooing about anxiety while taking photos with their smartphones. It was hell.’ We can now confirm that by ‘female dog’ Gruffles meant b***h. The Union has declined to comment.
12 Spring 2019 The Cheese Grater
The Cheese Grater Spring 2019 13
#247 UCL Cruciform Library Come exam season, this is the nightlife destination of the century! What better place to feel incredibly tired like it’s 1999, letting the trauma wash over your head like the soothing hum of a dank techno beat? We suggested going early in the year to avoid the droves of thrillseekers descending in term 3. But worry not! There are still droves of people to meet in the toilets at 2am – and you might even pull… If either of you had any free time for that sort of thing, which you do not.
#318 Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens If you like memorials, you’re in good company! The royal family can’t get enough of ‘em! Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are chock full of ‘memorial this’, ‘monument that’ and ‘playground whoever’. So if you love respectfully splashing in a fountain or taking a relaxing stroll, whilst always brutally aware that the ace of death swings so closely to your head and threatens to fall at any second—look no further!
Contributors to this issue: Sasha Baker, Darcy Bounsall, Aditya Dabral, Sam Dodgshon, Ollie Dunn, Peter FitzSimons, Alice Fraser, Katherine Hutchinson, Maria Ikonomova, Suzy Kingston, Ella Ticktin-Smith, Felicity Wareing
14 Spring 2019 The Cheese Grater
Grater Expectations From the editor:
Well, would you look at this — we’ve infiltrated! And who said mainstream was boring? We at the zine are very excited to take up our place within the pages of The Cheese Grater, worming our way in like young men onto the Warwick campus (although really nothing like that). This issue contains contributions from the magnificent Darcy and Alice, with special thanks going to the wonderful Esther. Additionally, we’re throwing it back to summer 2018 (still not hot enough to melt my icy heart) with a script from the Graters’ Edinburgh run, where we ask the question: with jobs for women, news for women and special days off for women* has feminism gone too far? The second half will land next issue (the revolution must be serialised).
*Disclaimer: Ms. Anthropy doubts the existence of the items in this listicle and believes feminism will not have gone too far until, actually, never.
The Cheese Grater Spring 2019 15
By Issy Macleod A post-match interview. Interviewer: Jordan, there have been a few tears obviously, but how do you sum it up in the end? Jordan: [less intelligibly than suggested here] It was an experience for us, and the one we wanted to win…and sometimes it might be it could go one or t’other way, and we went ahead too early, it was a great finish but I tripped, nothing better than getting an early goal and we needed that next goal, I think, to kill off the tie and that would, but – we – we had some good chances but never put them away and I feel like – like if we got that goal in the half time or first bit of the second half we might have that opportunity to win the game, and… Cut to studio. Susan: So Germaine, let’s really try to break down what Jordan seems to be saying here.
Susan: Men are from Mars, amirite Germaine? Germaine: Right you are, Susan! I think a little more sensitivity to their surroundings would really have helped turn the tide for the little lads. But anyway, let’s hear from Harry Kane!
Post-match. Interviewer: Harry, incredibly tough night for all of you, can you put your emotions into words? Harry: Yeah of course, gutted. Um, we worked so hard, it’s been such a good campaign for us so far…er, we wanted to go all the way, and we thought we was good enough to go all the way… it just wasn’t our night tonight. Germaine: Harry Kane, COMPLETELY hysterical there! Susan: Yeah, you can barely make sense of him, poor guy. You know, I do sometimes think that when men speak...so deep, you know?
Germaine: Yes, Susan, let’s. So from what I can Germaine: Yes, yes. gather, more or less, it seems to be the case that if England had managed to get another goal, that Susan: It’s a bit hard to take them seriously isn’t might have helped them win the game. it? Just like ‘blahh, blah blahhh’ Susan: Yes, yes, Germaine, I’m getting that impression too. Jordan seems to be a little worked up after the game, a bit hot-headed, and he’s not really expressing himself very clearly, is he? Germaine: Mm, and I think it may be fair to say that that lack of communication is what really got the team in the end. Men do, after all, have a tendency to let their large, flailing bodies get the better of them, and really lose sight of the nuance of the game.
Germaine and Susan grunt in low, mocking tones. Germaine: [chuckling] Ah Susan, have you been drinking male tears again? Susan: I have Germaine, for breakfast! Germaine: [both laughing genially] Ah gals, we’re just kidding. We actually think it’s adorable. Anyway, let’s hear from that silver fox, Gary Lineker…
16 Spring 2019 The Cheese Grater
UCL CHEESE GRATER MAGAZINE SOCIETY President—Peter Daniels Co-Editors—Ollie Dunn and Peter FitzSimons Investigations Editor—Sasha Baker Humour Editor—Suzy Kingston Zine Editor—Felicity Wareing Online Editor—Jasmine Chinasamy Graphics Editor—Darcy Bounsall
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
© Students’ Union UCL, 25 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AY. Views expressed herein are not necessarily those of SU UCL or the editors.