Issue 43 – Summer 2014
MERGER • UCL set to gobble up Institute of Education • Institute staff fearful for their jobs • University of London ‘slowly dying’
2 Summer 2014 The Cheese Grater
Down Your Union Norma de Plume
Unnecesecratary Outgoing Black and Minority Ethnic Students’ Officer Shanell Johnson has been forking out Union funds to pay for a personal assistant, a luxury which no other officer seems to be taking advantage of. Johnson’s assistant is paid for seven hours work a week at the London Living Wage, although The Cheese Grater struggles to imagine what the assistant has been doing, when officers are already supported by the Union’s own staff.
Officers Assemble Democracy and Communications Officer Dan Warham could have done with some extra assistance this term, as he seems to have forgotten to hold any Union General Assemblies since the start of the year. After a woeful turnout at the Welcome General Assembly in October (see CG 40), Warham cancelled all future Assemblies up until February. These were meant to function as forums for decision making. Fans of student apathy have been short-changed of their right not to turn up as no more meetings are on the schedule for this year. Warham explained that the lack of Assemblies was due to him tweaking the Memorandum & Articles of the Union, trying to lower the quoracy needed to hold a General Meeting from 2% to 0.5% and resolve some gaps in the governance of the student trustee board. However, these changes would need to be passed at a quorate Company General Meeting. This being an unlikely prospect, the Union appears to find itself stuck in an infinite quorum-lacking loop.
We’re Going To Need A Bigger Suit Failed Women’s Officer candidate (2013) Kirk Sneade was banned from UCLU areas and sports teams until last December, after his election campaign
rather catastrophically backfired. Now that the ban’s been dropped, Sneade’s still been keeping a (comparatively) low profile. At this month’s Varsity rugby match, Sneade was hidden in plain sight as an ersatz UCL mascot, dressed head to toe in a giant shark costume. Surprisingly there was no mascot fight this time, despite Sneade’s history of starting fights with pretty much anything, including, in his first year, a wall.
Hogging the limelight Turnout was 20.6%, up 4% over last year. At a lavish results ceremony in the South Quad, Dan Warham wowed the crowd with pricey lights and pyrotechnics to rival a Pink Floyd concert, the announcements dragging on for almost as long as both parts of ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’. Warham arranged free food at the results night, laying on falafel and a near£600 hog roast. The chickpea budget is presumably much lower, Judging by the turnout of known hacks and hacksessories, the publicity for the event was not as widely read as was hoped and the majority of people who enjoyed Warham’s considerable spread were the various UCL political cliques.
A sporting chance? The actual campaigns weren’t as controversial as in previous years, but there were some cats put among the democratic pigeons. The use of iPads by candidates to encourage voting, which was discussed in Union Council before the elections but never outlawed, led to some complaints. Eleanor Tresize, who lost out to Sabeeh Rasool for the Activities and Events Officer, claimed later on social media that ‘elections shouldn’t be about who has more money’ and that she had ‘heard of people being lied to or intimidated into voting straight away’. Warham countered that he believed that the increased turnout wasn’t down to the use of iPads, and that complaints
Society Bitch Soc Bitch has learned that soonto -be-former Democracy & Communications officer Dan Warham’s hopes of resuming his post as UCLU Labour Society president were dashed upon the cruel rocks of realpolitik. The current committee made it clear where he could stuff his dreams of another year in charge. He settled for the role of Social Secretary, where he’ll be playing second fiddle to first year president-elect Nathan Steele. Michael Chessum is understandably desolate at the prospect of being cast out from ULU onto the cruel streets of Bloomsbury. We can only imagine how glad he was to hear that those kind people at UCLU Conservative Society decided to provide some consolation by electing him an Honorary Life Patron. Isn’t it great when everyone gets along? UCLU Think Tank Society’s hopes of going out on a bang have ended up being downgraded to a damp squib. The vaguely political society’s leadership had assumed that it would become defunct after this year, and naturally, they blew the entire remaining budget on booze and takeaway pizza for their Black Tie AGM. However, a last minute candidate arose for the presidency, meaning that Think Tank will continue on to next year. Not so much “Gentlemen, it has been a privilege playing with you”, more “Pass the pepperoni, Pres!”. received before the close of voting had been investigated.
Trot on Omar Raii, the winning candidate
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Dial M For Merger Cheese Grater Gets Under The Skin Of The Institute of Education Merger Bo Franklin Last month UCL and the Institute of Education, the largest education research body in the UK, entered negotiations to merge. The IoE will follow other institutions such as the School of Pharmacy and SSEES which have been gobbled up by UCL At the time of the announcement, Provost Michael Arthur attempted to allay fears of asset stripping and future staff redundancies, partly due to the IoE’s prime location in Bedford Way. Currently the IoE has a 999 year lease from the University of London on the building, which would no doubt help UCL with its chronic shortage of teaching space. In recent weeks, however, staff at the Institute have expressed their fears over the merger. Miriam David, Emeritus Professor of Education at the Institute, wrote in the Times Higher Education that the merger was like an arranged marriage, with the Institute bringing a healthy ‘dowry’ to UCL in the form of property and research and valuable as-
sets. She questioned what UCL brought to the table, however, claiming its new role as protector of the Institute in ‘the big bad world’ was overplayed. This role used to be carried out by the University of London, of which the IoE is a constituent college, but its colleges and institutions are no longer treated as equals in the competitive world of higher education. This increased role of the University as a managerial body shows in the wrestling of ULU out of student control, and the hard-line taken on student protestors at recent demos (see CGs passim). David told The Cheese Grater that ‘we need to change the rules of the game towards a more inclusive and egalitarian approach which does not embrace hierarchies and league tables.’ She claims the driving force behind the merger is the misogynist attitudes prevalent in higher education today, which have arisen from an ‘international race for the best students’. One former Director of the Institute, Professor Geoff Whitty, has come out
in favour of the merger, noting that the plans go back over a decade. He insisted that ‘in principle, a merger need not be a threat to the vision and mission of the Institute of Education.’ Professor Anthony Finkelstein, Dean of Engineering at UCL, said he was looking forward to working with the Institute to further ‘something which I care deeply about: education’. When The Cheese Grater asked Finklestein about the University of London’s role he responded that ‘I don’t think it’s made sense for twenty years… There are no meaningful relationships brokered by the University. The only thing keeping us there is proximity and historical affection. I think it is slowly dying.’ Recent rumours of stripping power from UCL’s Academic Board (see page 4), however, will do little to assure staff and students at the Institute that they aren’t simply pawns in a London wide game of academic chess. The results of the consultation will be revealed in May.
Down Your Union Part 2: Election Boogaloo for External Affairs and Campaigns, was attacked for his membership of the Alliance for Workers Liberty. Raii found himself at the centre of a factionalist fight due to criticism of the AWL over an allegedly Islamophobic article from 2006. A poster campaign quickly sprung up in opposition to Raii’s involvement in the AWL, led by Former Democracy and Communications Officer Sam Gaus. Many of those opposing Raii fear that his new position will allow members of the AWL to gain influence within UCLU. Other candidates’ campaigns were similarly derailed. The Black and Minority Ethnic Officer candidate Vimbai
Dzimwasha had her banner cut down from the railings outside the Lewis Building.
The RON Prognosis The only candidate to lose out to ReOpen Nominations was current School of Pharmacy Officer Sergio Lanza. Lanza missed out by 200 votes. continuing UCL’s trend of RONning incumbant officers. Not announced on the night was the Medical, Pharmacy and Health Students’ Officer, result. The only candidate, Harkiran Dhanjal, did not submit her campaign expenses and could not be contacted on result’s Night. She beat
R.O.N with a stunning 148 votes.
Vlad the Villain This year’s comedy villain came in the form of Union Chair candidate Vlad Kardapoltsev. Kardapoltsev tried the unusual tactic of sending out a mass email to students encouraging them to vote for him, and faced accusations of sexism and racism over comments he made online. The list of winners and losers can be found deep in the bowels of uclu.org, but for now future sabbs can neck their complimentary bubbly and steel themselves before they ascend to the fourth floor battleground of Gordon St. in July.
Contributors: Alex Daish, Alex Dutton, Bo Franklin, Charlie Hayton, Beatrice Kelly, Patrick Maguire, Ben Munster, Hannah Sketchley, Nathan Steele.
4 Summer 2014 The Cheese Grater
2034: A Planned Odyssey Mister Chatterbox scrabbles around the murky realm of The Future UCL’s imperial designs on other Bloomsbury buildings are a favourite subject for Mister Chatterbox (CG15, 08), College’s resident busybody and concerned citizen. The future, however, is something that Mister Chatterbox is very interested in indeed, and UCL’s plan for the next twenty years intrigues him greatly. The draft 2034 Plan lays down the College’s aims and values for the next two decades. Mister Chatterbox noted that the document states its dedication to:“Ethically acceptable standards of conduct” and wants to “continue to attract global talent”. Bare minimum for a university, one might think, but UCL PLC feels the need to constantly remind people that education is its purpose. Mister Chatterbox cannot help but ponder: does the Provost protest too much? The only section in which College’s aims are laudably clear is“Financing our
Ambitions.” College wishes to create surplus, whilst “spending appropriately on salaries.” Engineering Dean Professor Anthony Finkelstein dodged enquiries as to whether appropriate payment meant acceding to UCU demands of higher pay, or whether it would mean an international student fee raise, reminding Chatterbox that they were already at the top of the market. With this surplus, the Eastern front is set to be reopened: building on the Carpenter’s Estate was deemed “politically infeasible,” but UCL has nearly sealed the deal on a place in the Olympic Park. UCLU Education & Campaigns Officer, Keir Gallagher, was keen to remind Mister Chatterbox that UCL’s current surplus is a none-too-unimpressive £20M, and laid out his concerns about the Plan’s financial dealings: “The gaping hole in this section is no mention of lobbying government for greater funding
Mr. Chatterbox returns from the Empire for Higher Education, which should be the primary income stream for universities, not student tuition fees.” The thing which niggles at Mister Chatterbox is this: if fees are not raised, and wages continue at the current level, where will the hordes of gold be found? Professor Saladin Garcia-Meckled, Academic Board member, asserted to Chatterbox that College would get a “massive” loan and increase student numbers by 25%, with a greater proportion of international students topping up the change jar. Mister Chatterbox waits to be convinced on the merit of these twenty pages of buzzwords and financial skulduggery.
Academics Concerned Over College Democracy Concerns are growing among academics about the way the Academic Board is governed by Provost Professor Michael Arthur. Reforms are rumoured to be afoot, and some academics are less than happy about the current state of things.
Gowning the issue Academic Board is, in theory, the governing body of College. Every Professor at College is allowed to have a seat with voting rights on the Board. A small smattering of teaching fellows and doctors are also elected from each faculty. The Board originally had direct decision-making powers, but these were cannily and slowly stripped by previous Provost Malcolm Grant. According to School of Public Policy Professor Saladin Meckled-Garcia, there is a growing sense that staff must cam-
paign for changes. Currently it is down to the will of the Provost as to whether items appear on the agenda and there is no procedure to move to a vote. Academic Board is also asked to ‘note’ things rather than approve them, leaving little political power in the hands of those who teach in the university.
Just a minute There is also the question of minutetaking. One Board member asserted that the Provost was wilfully falsifying the minutes. A group of academics challenged the record on a matter relating to Statue 18, regarding staff redundancy rights, in the last meeting. It’s recorded that the changes to Statute 18 were welcomed, whilst in fact it was said that although changes to the statute were accepted, further discussion should be
based on the vehemently anti-Statute 18 ‘Statute 18 Working Group.’ Their challenge was rejected as the Provost remembered the meeting differently.
Powerful Provost Plans are afoot to give the Provost more power, as he now wishes to also chair Academic Committee. Engineering Dean, Professor Anthony Finkelstein, said that although the Academic Committee is to be grown and given more legislative power, the representation of academics on this committee will not change. Suspicions remain amongst several Board members that this will wrest power from them in favour of the nonacademics who currently populate College Council and Academic Committee. Given the descent into UCL PLC that the 2034 plan reveals, they may be right.
The Cheese Grater Summer 2014 5
Chessum Installs ULU Panic Room Amid Assassination Fears Student union generalissimo Michael Chessum, known affectionately by his followers as ‘Michael Chessum’, has installed a Kevlar safe-room in place of the ULU dancefloor, having told friends of his fears that, “Now that they’ve got Bob and Tony, I’ve got to be next, haven’t I?” The 38-year-old father of 3 is said to have taken up residence inside the huge structure not for his own safety, but rather for the sake of the future of the left. Speaking exclusively to The Cheese Grater, Chessum, wearing a burlap sack and listening to Roxy Music, attempted to give a rational explanation for the events unfolding. “It’s simple really,” laughed the affable Michael, 15, “you can’t see it because they’ve pulled the wool over your eyes, but the Tories are trying to kill me. I’m only the bloody heart and soul of the labour movement. Which is why I now live in this massive cage. They’ve already picked off my mates, you know, the lads I set up in this game – people like Bob Crow, Tony Benn, Rosa Luxembourg. If they get me, then basically it’s just Kinnock left, and he’s a big ginger freak”. Neil Kinnock, whose favourite drink is Um Bongo, was unavailable for comment. While many have expressed disappoint-
Chessum fears the people may already own the means to execution ment that 63-year-old spinster Chessum has “ruined it for everyone again” by burrowing into ULU and refusing to come out like a naughty shrew, others were more upbeat about the future of the Malet Street building as a venue. “Ooooooooh! That lovely Michael Chessum waiting for me in a cage? Chance’d be a fine thing,” said one 70s sitcom stereotype as queues built outside the grubby hellhole last Friday. Crowds of degenerate freshers had to be dispersed
after they reacted poorly to the news that their favourite debaucho-venue had been repurposed, but were soothed by reassurances that it was being put to a worthy use. As they sodded off, various murmurings of, “Who the fuck is Michael Chessum?” were heard, a sure sign that his legend will carry on down through the generations. Chessum has told his mother that he will be home in time for Blue Peter.
6 Summer 2014 The Cheese Grater
Adventures of Oscar Webb, Boy Reporter (Age 22 ¾) Ben Bizaakson
Things had been rough for lil’ Oscar ever since he’d lost his little paper after “The Case of the Squandered Budget”. Oh, he’d tried everything to stop them from taking it away from him: blog posts and columns and even editorials, but nothing had worked. But he hadn’t fought his way up to the top of Europe’s biggest student newspaper just to lie down and die like a common or garden Alexander Litvinenko! He’d set up stall from his treehouse, with a sign in crayon reading: “Oscar Webb, Mysteries Investigated, Editorials Written - 25p a Day”. He’d even pinned his NUJ card to it. “Look mum,” he said, showing the offensively-stereotyped yet voluptuous Mrs Webb excitedly. “It’s like
I’m a real journalist.” “That’s nice, Oscar,” replied his mother in a wearisome voice, before returning to her third bottle of wine of the day and preparing to spend the day lying to her friends about what her son was up to. No sooner had Oscar set up shop than his first story dropped right into his lap, like a stripper with an inner ear infection. He was biking home from the local WI bakesale, apricot jam smeared all down his breeches, when he heard the tell-tale sounds of a window being smashed from the garden of his next door neighbour, Mr Johnson. “Gee whiz!” cried Oscar, picking up the shattered glass and getting his fingerprints all over a crime scene. “This looks like a clue! The first piece in a puzzle
that’ll make it all the way to page eight of the local paper! Who could be behind this? I’ll bet it’s that Mean Old Metropolitan Police, they’ve always had it in for me.” “Oh just fuck off, Oscar,” sighed Mr Johnson. “It’s just those kids from the estate.” He pointed to a gang of hooded teens further up the road, leaning on bikes. Like an experienced green-grocer, Oscar knew bad apples when he saw them, and these apples were so bad, they were practically Hitler’s own Granny Smiths. “I’ll show them,” said Oscar. “I’ll get an exclusive interview, which I’ll then butcher into a self-serving column on the sociological causes of delinquency in western youth. After all, what’s the worst they can do to me for just trying to talk to them?” Oscar Webb (1997-2014) was the editor of London Student from 2013-2014. He will be sorely missed. RIP.
Life Beyond The M25 In the distance, there is the faint sparkle of a tender stream, which glides over the terrain, gracefully licking up the bright air and polishing the speckled love-turns of the emerald foliage. An attractive gazelle is frolicking through the fields of joy, sniffing cocaine through a straw. Whilst the steady kneading of the stream fills the ears of all who behold, the crystal sun opens up the creases in the sky’s pillowy surface, exposing its genitals and their ravishing wonderment. Thousands of exposed snails rain from the marshmallow-like clouds, absorbing the fresh scent of rosemary, lilting in the summer breeze and petulant earthwash. As a king may rise from his throne, the great sequoias rise up from the dusty earth, spinning wildly and spraying leaves everywhere. To the north, a humble farm conceals the screams of cows being rather ferociously milked. Mmmmm creamy. Numerous buttheads sprout from the ground nearby a supple pond, reflecting the sun’s arrows and darting to and fro like
“Run away!” fish, or Norman’s dad’s eyes. Unlike the sequoias, the buttheads spin gracefully and subtly, with a banal expression on their pyretic faces. Manito florins sway from side to side, giggling and laughing like the little shits they are. A dark mass lurks on the horizon, suckling its young. This dark mass happens to be a forest. It is so dark that even the sun cannot shine on it, or rather chooses not to. If one were to venture into the forest, one would enjoy the smell of burnt hazelnuts. On the other side of the horizon lives the
ocean. As its name suggests, it is an ocean. However, what it lacks in earth is made up for by its sheer amount of water. It is as vast as the seven seas, yet as small as a small frog. It holds a huge amount of things: • Fish • Sharks • Whales Some describe the ocean as a very large bit of foil wrapped over a potato. Is this how you would describe it? If you would describe it any other way, write it in this space with this pen: “PEN”
The Cheese Grater Summer 2014 7
Cheese Grater Has Fun Leonid Slutsky Students love to party! Degree? What’s one of them? Let’s review that staple of UCL nightlife, the Roxy, and find out that it’s still as much fun as we (somewhat) remember (because we were drunk lol!!!). [A note from the editor: Due to a computer error, the redaction of the author’s identity has not functioned properly. In the interest of maintaining their anonymity, please take a black pen and scribble out their name from the top of this review.] It is cold outside, but this sad cavern is so much colder. My change from yesterday’s trousers clatters lovelessly on the bar. I am alone. They share their jugs of that loud, bright medicine. It is swill to me. They dance, and they laugh. The thick, dead air does not stifle them. My limbs indulge in empty pleasantries with R Kelly, and my jaw
contorts into a sick, involuntary grin. Somebody from my course, a lithe stranger shaped like a friend, grinds his way through the crowd like an uncle at a 14th birthday party. I cannot falter. I too, must grind. She is flaxen-haired and listless, but reciprocates. My gut is in a vice. My conscience tugs at it. “What’s next? A speech to the Tory conference? A law conversion? Vaginal intercourse? You ought to hate yourself.” I already do. I do not feel the girl’s embrace, only the dense grey fog of self-loathing. Paul Simon tells me to call him Al. I want to tell him to euthanise me. Another empty hour drags its heels across my raw, tender skin. I don’t feel the pain, I don’t feel anything anymore. I don’t feel anything anymore. Eventually, I climb out, back to the tarmacked shell of the life I pretend I love. I run for the bus. I’m flailing at my dreams with a sieve. The sieve is broken. Everyone has gone on without me. I sit on the pavement, pale and unsexed, eating a Subway and weeping.
The author asked not to be photographed SCORES ON THE DOORS Choons: 5/5 Totty: 4/5 Banter: 5/5 Booze: 100% Wow Factor: 4.5 yards
A Tinder Surprise!
8 Summer 2014 The Cheese Grater
News 20th March 2014
UCL RAG Kidnap-athon Raises Over £1 Million in Donations!
Popular Commented Recent
9.30 am: Aaaaand they’re off! 24 teams from UCL are taking part in this year’s Abducto-Bonanza! Their objective: to capture targets from across the government, military and industrial sectors to encourage charitable donations. 10.48 am: Score! Madeline McKant’s Categorical Imperative have successfully jumped Iain Duncan Smith’s wife. Don’t worry Betsy, it’s all for a good cause! 11.54 am: The daughter of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has really gotten into the spirit of the event! She’s so overwhelmed, she was unable to hold back tears as she read a statement on behalf of her abductors, The Kidnappy Chappies, begging her father to donate £500,000 to ensure her safe release. How generous! 15.11 pm: Uh-Oh! It looks like Stockport Syndrome are in trouble! The Met’s raided their hideout in Beckenham, and we can confirm that 4 team members are dead, two are in police custody, and History of Art fresher Sally has locked herself in a loo with their hostage, Glaxo Smith Klein Chairman Simon Collins. 15.13 pm: Sally and Collins have both popped it. A sad day for the pharmaceuticals industry. 18.18 pm: We’re hearing that The Ramsay College Sausage Bandits have dropped off the map. Their target bled out after an ill-fated attempt to remove their target’s knob and post it to his family. There’s always next year fellas!
Quiz: Do you knob in the library enough?
Pictures: Knobbing in the library
by BNOC Powell
Debate: Is too much library knobbing bad? Interview: Did Sutton kneecap library knobbers? Beth Sutton throws chair at Drab writer Don’t miss out
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Lightning: Dangerous, but is it sexy?
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Anti-intellectualism: Big words but what do they mean?
UCL UNION CHEESE GRATER MAGAZINE SOCIETY President—Beatrice Kelly Editor—Hannah Sketchley Investigations Editor—Bo Franklin Humour Editor—Charlie Hayton
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