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Issue 41 -Winter 2013


BRUTALITÉ? Special Report: Page 3

2 Winter 2013 The Cheese Grater

Down Your Union Norma De Plume

Ban-ter As the motions passed over from the flop of a Welcome General Meeting hit the council table, UCL Union joined a slew of universities in mandating the Union bars to not play Robin Thicke’s gyrating party banger ‘Blurred Lines.’ The song, which has been widely criticised for being objectifying and misogynistic, briefly became a political battleground for small time hacks. It seems the instructions did not filter down too far: one weak-beer-loving fresher reported that the video appeared on television screens at The Huntley – albeit on mute.

Copping Off! It was not only Robin Thicke who was prohibited from campus: the police received the same treatment as a motion was passed which resolved to “refrain from inviting the police onto campus unless absolutely necessary to counter a specific and material threat to, or attack on, the safety of people on campus.” It requested that UCL management does not invite or allow the police onto campus unless there was a material threat to people on it. Given recent events (see page 3) it does not seem that other campus managements have taken inspiration from UCLU’s instructions.

Attendance Dives; Sabbs Skive In a move to prevent spending his evenings in an empty theatre, treading the boards like a Phantom of Democracy, DCO Dan Warham cancelled Union General Assemblies until the Company General Meeting in February. The General Assmeblies were meant to compliment and replace Union Council, by allowing more people to make decisions. Warham cancelled them after consulting staff and Union Chair Sahal Quazi. However, the writers of this particular legislation forgot that, unless it’s no-confidencing a man with a nice moustasche or sticking up for Palestine, most students are

somewhat apathetic about the democratic process. Between the news of cancellation and the time of writing, a second General Assembly had been due to take place, and was missed by literally ones of people.

All the Presidents Gone? In his own styling of the Autumn of the Patriarch, Better Economics Society ‘s Tom Youngman tabled a motion to abolish the presidential role in societies. Presidents will now be optional and a secretary can take the bureaucratic duties. This new spate of dull grey blurs will be assissted in learning non-hierarchical organisation methods. We eagerly await the horizontal organisation of pint-downing competitions – although they’re pretty horizontal by the end of a Wednesday anyway.

Meanwhile, Over the Road... London Student editor Oscar Webb is finding himself on the wrong side of the law this month. Europe’s largest student newspaper can’t escape the legacy of exeditor Jen Izaakson. The paper faces legal action over an article titled ‘Racist and Sexist Tories Caught Out’. Written by Katie Lathan, Izaakson’s preferred candidate for editorship last year it accuses former ULU Trustee and Conservative Future member Daniel Valentine of making racist comments at a UCL Conservative Society social. The alleged comments were made during a private conversation, and are denied by Valentine, who wants a full apology and compensation. He is beginning legal proceedings. The Cheese Grater asked Mr. Valentine for comment, but has received no response. This is a situation not unfamiliar to The Cheese Grater, and we would suggest Mr Webb consult CG 25 as an instructive guide to dealing with pesky lawsuit threats.

Scabby Sabbs On December 3 the spirit of Billy Elliott took over Bloomsbury again as four Higher Education unions went on strike. UCL Un-

Society Bitch Our sauce in American Society has spilled the refried beans on a tasty deal that’s gone sour (cream). Burrito-based fast food purveyor Chipotle had offered society members free food for an event two Thursdays ago – but when people name-dropped the society in order to get more freebies the next day, they were met with a chilli reception. The restaurant are understood to be deeply unhappy, potentially foiling plans for future events. Looking on the bright side: Pi Magazine’s latest issue contained some stunning scientific errors in their article on nuclear fusion. Somewhat at odds with the high standards of accuracy and veracity UCL students have come to know and love, the article proposed that “without nuclear fusion in the sun … the ozone layer would collapse, leaving us exposed to the harsh radiation from the sun.” Readers could be forgiven for wondering where exactly this harsh radiation would be coming from, given that without nuclear fusion the sun would no longer be shining in any meaningful sense of the word. An even more astute reader might question exactly how “x-rays are stretched out to less harmful, visible light” during their transit to earth, given that the expansion of space and Doppler reddening are neglible over the space of a mere eight light-minutes. ion Council had passed a motion in support of the strike, urging its officers not to cross the picket lines. How odd, then, that Ethics, Environment and Operations Officer Zayyan Butt and Activities and Events Officer Doris Chen were reportedly at work on strike day. It seems that there is little unity in or adherance to the Union’s politics this year.

The Cheese Grater Winter 2013 3

Liberté, Egalité, Brutalité? Three-Day Battle for Bloomsbury; 41 Arrests Hannah Sketchley & Bo Franklin Bloomsbury streets were stained with blood as protestors clashed with police during demonstrations. What began with the occupation of Senate House ended with a total of 41 arrests: five from the occupation and a  mass arrest of 36 on Thursday 5 December.  These included London Student editor Oscar Webb (the third of four ULU sabbatical officers to be arrested this year.)

The Occupation   On Wednesday December 4, around a hundred students occupied the management corridor at Senate House, which contains University of London Vice-Chancellor Adrian Smith’s office. They asked workers to leave and issued demands. These included full pensions for  outsourced workers, part of the 3Cosas campaign, and that ULU remain under student control.  They also called for UoL student halls to cost no more than the annual undergraduate maintenance loan (£4988/annum).

The Eviction The University of London increased security throughout the afternoon, photographing those reporting on the occupation from outside. At 7.20pm, in a show of force unseen before for a civil matter, police entered the building. Some occupiers were dragged out, in some cases by their hair, handcuffed and thrown to the ground before being ejected from the building.  The majority, however, nipped down a hastily purloined ladder from the south balconies of the occupied rooms to escape unhindered.

Whose Streets? Tensions came to a head as police chased protesters around the car park to get them to leave, indiscriminately throwing punches and arresting one student. As the van containing him left, it was followed by demonstrators who built an impromptu barricade of bins across Malet Street.  This appeared to fox the driver for a while, before he remembered he was in a riot van and could drive

through them. Keen to protect their vans from shouting protesters, the police began to throw people aside.  Video footage has emerged of one girl running from the scene followed by police officers, who then slammed her to the ground.  A running battle of police and protesters made its way onto Torrington Place, as a young man was forced to the ground in the middle of the road and one officer was clearly seen punching a man in the face.


a standstill the police moved in again. The protest was split into two groups, with many being kettled into Euston Square station.

Marked With Blood One student, trying to escape, was thrown to the ground by three officers before being driven away, leaving the pavement where he was tackled marked with blood. Eyewitnesses recognised an officer who had punched a man in the face on Malet Street busy knocking a student’s crutches out from under him and arresting him. By this point, around 40 protestors remained trapped by police, who then began the process of arresting each person kettled – including London Student editor Oscar Webb – for affray. Extra vans then arrived to transport those arrested to various stations around London, including Croydon and Bromley. A UCL student who had left his lecture and was concerned with getting his nicotine fix was caught in the kettle as he walked up Gower Street, arrested and released in Croydon at 2am Friday morning.

A total of eight riot vans were deployed for around a hundred people and the night saw three arrests, all of whom were released the following day. The University of London released a statement decrying the protests. Chris Cobb, Chief Operating Officer and University Secretary said of the occupation that “invading our working environment and blocking fire escapes is potentially life-threatening and plays no part in democratic dissent. The University will never ...enter into dialogue with any group...who adopt this approach.”  Hey, Bail The University remained silent over the police’s response to the demonstrators, though Protestors were later released with bail ULU Officers condemned it. conditions including not setting foot in Senate House or UCL buildings unless exThe Demonstration pressly invited by management or attending On the afternoon of Thursday Decem- pre-arranged academic events.  Some arrestber 5, 150 students gathered for a pre-ar- ees’ conditions bar them from associating in ranged demo to call for ‘Cops Off Campus’; groups of more than four people, including after the demonstrators proceeded to Senate themselves, in any public place. House, nine riot vans arrived with around Enforcing The Follow-On 60 officers inside, perhaps missing the point slightly. While protestors chanted ‘No jus-  A further demo was called immediately aftice, no peace, fuck the police’, the officers terwards, on Friday 6.  Whilst attracting a attempted to block any exit through Russell similar number of people, there were no arSquare. rests.  Although the policing was heavy and attempts to kettle the protest were made, the Rain Doesn’t Stop Play event passed without arrests. The University With rain drenching the demo, the of London’s response to was to obtain an crowd had no choice but to return to ULU, injunction to ban ‘violent and intimidatwhere they were met by more police. As a ing’ student occupations on its Bloomsbury helicopter hovered above, the officers took campuses until June. Despite this, a national to watching the crowd continue to Euston day of action against police on campuses has Road, but when the protest brought cars to been called for Wednesday December 11.

4 Winter 2013 The Cheese Grater

Fossil Fuels & Fried Chicken Bo Franklin The Cheese Grater has got hold of UCL’s current investment portfolio, and it appears that recent campaigns to stem profits from fossil fuels have had little effect. In total over £14.5m of UCL’s £219m portfolio is directly invested in energy companies. While this is only around 7%, it does mark an increase in the number of energy companies invested in since this time last year. Fossil Free UCL, part of a national campaign to encourage universities to divest themselves from reliance on fossil fuels, has repeatedly appealed to Provost Michael Arthur to stop supporting companies which are damaging to the environment. In October, Professor Arthur admitted that he didn’t know how much of UCL’s investments went into energy companies, but indicated that ‘if it is a very small percentage and wouldn’t cost us much’ then maybe UCL could divest entirely. The 7% investment represents millions of pounds’ worth of safe investments, which could give the accountants more sway than Arthur’s principles. A spokesperson for UCL

told The Cheese Grater that ‘UCL does not have a large proportion invested in energy companies, and we have a diverse portfolio spread across many sectors’, suggesting that there are no immediate plans to move away from the energy sector. At present, any controversial investments can be referred to the Ethical Investments Review Committee, made up of UCL Council members, academics and the Ethics, Environment and Operations Officer. This Committee doesn’t review every investment, however, only meeting when there is a specific complaint submitted. Unsurprisingly, this is rare, although last month Fossil Free UCL submitted an in-depth criticism of the College’s involvement in the energy sector. The review highlighted the extent to which UCL profits from companies such as Cairn Energy, which has had its unsuccessful oil drilling in Greenland both reviewed by parliament and criticised by Greenpeace. It also worked out that there is a further £6.6m held in gas, oil and coal indirectly through banks and holding companies. The Review Committee is still to discuss the document,

Yummy KFC in my tummy and when The Cheese Grater asked no date had been set for the meeting. As well as Cairn Energy, UCL also has over £1m invested in Glencore Xstrata, which has been accused of breaking UN embargoes to profit from despotic and violent regimes such as that in Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s not all bad news though: UCL also funds fascist-turned-family-friendly-animator Disney, and purveyors of greasy, animalwelfare-free delight KFC and Pizza Hut.

UCL Pours £40 million Into Deadly Building Site Bo Franklin Last month a worker was killed at the building site of the Francis Crick Institute as a sheet of steel fell on him. The Institute, due to open in 2015, is a joint project between UCL, Imperial and King’s, amongst others, to create a new centre for biomedical research. UCL itself has contributed £40m to the project. In the weeks leading up to the death, questions were raised about the safety of the workplace. Trade union Unite claims that Laing O’Rourke, the contractor operating the site, had denied safety representatives access to the site, though Laing O’Rourke dispute this. In the wake of the death, demonstrations sprung up around the site, incorporating a TUC campaign against the blacklisting of workers known to be active within their union. One worker at the demo, who asked not to be named, told The Cheese Grater how

being blacklisted resulted in him losing work and wages. He said that his blacklisting came after he was identified as a union representative, and he was only reinstated after a lengthy battle against his contractor. Another protest on the same day at a site in Leeds left two blacklisted workers in hospital after being assaulted by security staff. A blacklist support organisation has since confirmed that neither suffered any serious injury. Professor John Hendy QC, a visiting professor at UCL and specialist in industrial relations, told The Cheese Grater that ‘creating a secret list of trade union activists for the purpose of denying them employment is both morally obnoxious and unlawful […] It would not appear to be compatible with UCL’s duty, its moral standing and its regard for the rule of law to deal with companies which set up, financed and continued the pernicious practice of blacklisting; a practice

from which those companies only desisted when the secret organisation they had set up to organise the blacklisting was publicly revealed.’ The £600m contract was awarded to Laing O’Rourke in 2011, with Katie Matthews, Head of Communication at the Institute, insisting that the company ‘scored the highest in both technical and commercial factors and represented the best value for money’. The Francis Crick Institute wished to make it clear that Laing O’Rourke have absolute control of the site until its completion in 2015. Laing O’Rourke is not the only contractor to blacklist workers, but it has been accused of being one of the worst. The company made £54m in profits last year; in the light of its employment practices and apparent disregard for safety, it is possible that the value for money UCL was so keen on has come at a tragic price.

The Cheese Grater Winter 2013 5

Uncle Benn’s Advice Time As he basks in the warm autumn sunset of his long long life, the cuddliest socialist firebrand in town dispenses pearls of wisdom and avuncular advice in response to our readers’ problems. “Aaargggh! I’ve REALLY missed my family and friends back up in Wolverhampton-upon-Stoke this term but I’m worried that after living in Camden Town for 3 months things just won’t feel the same! Am I right to think that maybe I’ve outgrown life in my hometown?! Help!” Jamie Sidebottom (1st Year Arts & Sciences)

Eyes you can trust, advice you can immediatly disregard: Benn

Dear Jamie, Thank you for taking the time to write me a letter. You will be relieved to hear that this isn’t the first time I’ve heard of a problem such as yours. The worry you describe is typical of many students who I’ve had the absolute pleasure to meet over the course of my six decades in politics. Indeed, I can picture you now, sitting in your room in Max Rayne, reading Kerouac and smoking a blunt and listening to Dark Side of the Moon, with that nice lad from Haberdasher’s who you think is great, but really wants to take a shovel to your sallow provincial face until the blood-choked gurgles of agony cease and shards of skull litter the gory red mush that used to be your head, and sitting in the stairwell with your acoustic guitars at 3am having a singalong in the Trainspotting t-shirt you got from Camden Market and finally feeling that you belong. Deleting your mum’s posts on your Facebook and replacing them with GIFs from Woody Allen films instead because you’re grown-up now aren’t you, you’re cultured, not like your old mum, that auxiliary nurse who only gave up the best years of her life to rear the unpardonable piss-stain that you see in the mirror every day, so who gives a fuck about her anyway? Now you’re pouring Red Stripe on your Weetabix because you’re a student and you’re going to make a difference and no you won’t fucking conform and every month is Movember isn’t it? You’ll go home and stare into their cold dead eyes as they laugh at Mrs Brown’s Boys and pump their pallid bodies full of Quality Street in that comfortable living room. You promise yourself that things will be different and you won’t work in an office, you’ll live in a studio in Hoxton with that arty girl who you’re going interrailing with, because you just get each other and she fills that gaping crevasse in your grubby soul and you’ll drink gin and get ketted up in the mornings and sign on while you write that play. You’re going to contribute and be worthy aren’t you? Well, flash forward to 2017 and you’ve got a first, so now you’re at Deloitte with sensible shoes and without that awful fucking hair, you contemptible little smear of shit. Soon, it will be you sat with a bedraggled and well educated son who listens to Allen Ginsberg poems on vinyl and wants to break out of the middle class hell you’ve created for him, with that wife you’ve never loved and the suits and the cocaine and BBC Radio 2 and voting Tory because hey, I earn my money selling shares in diamond mines that enslave children to hedge fund managers who snort gak off tramps’ faces just for a laugh and anyway why should lazy chavs get their share for the schools and hospitals that you went on a march for and painted your face for and had a piss on a police van for. You’re not outgrowing anything, you pitiful, worthless scum. You will die, and when you die, you will be cold and wretched and alone because you deserve it. So, really, Jamie, there isn’t much to worry about! Many happy returns for a merry Christmas and a healthy, prosperous New Year. Yours, The Rt. Hon Tony Benn Contributors: Laurie Chen, Alex Daish, Alex Dutton, Bo Franklin, Charlie Hayton, Eleanor Hyland-Stanbrook, Beatrice Kelly, Patrick Maguire, Ben Munster, Hannah Sketchley, Hana White, Jon Wright.

6 Winter 2013 The Cheese Grater

Cheese Grater Christmas Charity Appeal Paul Erlich Today, an urgent appeal is being launched to save one of the most endangered species on the planet. The Ulu (Bureaucratus maximus Chessumii) is native to Bloomsbury and is an integral part of the ecosystem, yet only around one percent of London students are even aware of its existence; now its Malet Street habitat is under threat from University of London plans which could drive it to extinction. The Ulu is a delicate and temperamental animal, ill-suited to almost all environments. It suffers endemic diseases such as Low Turnout and the potentially fatal Lack of Interest; its diet is limited to jacket potatoes, and though it is strongly attracted to the colour red it is fatally unable to digest poppies. Already suffering from years of victimisation by university managers, the Ulu is thought to have declined to a pop-

Without your donations, this little Ulu won’t make it through the night ulation of just one. We must not let this natural treasure slip from our fingers. Just £22,000 a year could pay for a full-time

Ulu preservation specialist. Please, we urge you to dig deep, give what you can and Save The Ulu.

Not-Quite-Humans of UCL

“So how are you finding life at UCL?”

“What is your favourite thing about UCL?”

“What was your first experience with the university?”

“It's pretty good actually. Food's pretty abundant.

“There’s actually really good piping around here, you

“Well, I was minding my own business chasing this

But this weekend I'm making a migration up to

see. You can scurry along to yer heart’s content. Very

lady pigeon round. Then this gust of wind whaps

Max Rayne, I heard that's where a lil’ cockroach

few cats either which is good, the mangy bastards.”

me right out of Mornington Crescent, into this

like myself can live the dream”.

“Are cats a big issue for you?”


“And how do you expect that journey to go?”

“Yeah, have you seen ‘em? They’re the smuggest shits

“Are you enjoying your new residence here?”

“Well everyone says that my best features are my

and they play around with you and stuff you in their

“Oh boy, am I loving it here. Have you seen the

legs, so it should only take me a couple of days, I

mouths whilst you aint lookin, right by the tail. I am

sandwich crusts people leave in Gordon Square?


more of a dog person.

Marks & Spencers crusts you can find in there! ”

The Cheese Grater Winter 2013 7

YouTube User DestroyZOG10 Meets Up With The Legendary Illuminati Giles Bandwidth My first sighting of The Illuminati, or “Chris from Shropshire Council” as he’d asked me to call him, is a dark silhouette at the window of the Costa we’ve agreed to meet in. He sits down opposite me at our suspiciously clean table, and I try to make out his features, which are obscured by dark shadows. I’m forced to conclude that he simply is a silhouette, comically emphasising his shady nature. I chuckle to myself at this witty thought, and make a mental note to create a meme of it. If I come out of this interview alive. “Hello!” says The Illuminati, shrewdly trying to lure me into his web of lies. He shifts in his chair slightly, probably flinching at an uncomfortable memory of his part in the destruction of the Twin Towers. I notice that a lot of people in the café have eyes. Eyes that can see. Christ! He’s surrounded me with living cameras! He proceeds to order a drink, just like

he’d ordered the death of JFK 50 years ago. He starts speaking to me, but all I can hear is a weird mix of orphans wailing and Nicki Minaj songs. I know, in my heartest of hearts, that both of these things are his fault. I immediately start singing Neutral Milk Hotel’s “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” very loudly – I know that they can’t be Illuminati, because nobody buys their music. It occurs to me that if I do anything out of place he’ll have me killed instantly. I think of the most non-suspicious, normal thing I can do to avoid this outcome, and shout “NICE WEATHER WE’RE HAVING”. He gives me a puzzled look. GOD. He’s only gone and sussed me out! I leap over the table, sprint towards the door, then trip. As I look up, I see Hitler, Tupac and Elvis blocking the exit, wielding Paul McCartney’s corpse as a club. My last chance of escape is through the window, but a UFO piloted by Barack

The Illuminati enjoy a flat white Obama in a burka hovers outside. I do the only thing I can do. I reach for my official V for Vendetta merchandise Guy Fawkes mask (trademark Warner Bros. Pictures, which is a subsidiary company of Time Warner Incorporated), and become completely anonymous. I simply walk past them. The fools. Beneath this mask is more than just flesh. Beneath this mask is a YouTube account with more than 40 subscribers. And YouTube accounts with more than 40 subscribers are bulletproof.

Real Life Story: He described me on Spotted: UCL…now we’re getting hitched! Martine Spatchcock Sharon was a frumpy MA Classicist who never thought she’d find love…until, like a in proper Greek tragedy, she found that her Romeo was right under her nose all along! Smiling Sharon, looking every inch the blushing bride as she chatted to the Cheese Grater in her modern Kentish Town apartment, told all about how her hubby-to-be wooed her…via FACEBOOK!

LIBRARY “I was sat in the library and decided to check Facebook”, says Shaz. “One of my girlfriends popped up to me on chat and asked what section of the libes I was in, because someone had posted a message on Spotted about a fitty with a great rack in the Ancient History section.” It turned out that Shazza was there! “My palms were really sweaty as I read the message. Who-

ever posted it said they thought I was ‘super hot’ and had a great bum! I started blushing… I’d never been charmed like this before.”

SOCRATES How did it make Sha feel that her secret admirer had asked to show her his Socratic method via the Spotted page? “I found it adorable” giggles a blushing S-Dog, “I hate it when guys make eye contact and try and find out more about me as a person, so when I realised that I’d been ogled from the other side of the room and had a threateningly saucy post dedicated to me, I knew whoever wrote it was a keeper!” The Big S looks at her cuppa and smiles. It’s clear that she’s fallen in deep…I’m jealous!

CASSEROLE We ask Shazzter Bojangles for her tips for guys, who, like her hunky beau, want to find love on

Spotted. “It’s a lot easier than you think! My tip would be to cut out all that soppy stuff, emotions are for wets and weeds!” she laughs. “Show off your verbal dexterity with some suggestive innuendo! Be as sexy as you can… it may be unsolicited, lecherous and anonymous, but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn them on with thinly-veiled descriptions of what you wanna do to them in the sack!”

ICE HOCKEY The couple have yet to set a date for the big day, and DJ Shazzy Sheff is quick to bat away my cheeky suggestion that this might be because her Achilles still only communicates via Spotted: UCL. “It’s a bit unconventional, I guess, but it really makes me giggle when I look at my phone and I see ‘to the curvy brunette in our kitchen…do the fucking washing up!’ I’m so in love.” After hearing Sharon’s story, so are we!

8 Winter 2013 The Cheese Grater

Long Walker To Freedom

A.N.C Wilson Last week the world lost a true giant. Everyone has been deeply saddened by the passing of an icon this past month, someone who left a deep mark upon the world and whose actions touched the world-wearied hearts of many. Nobody took the surprise death of Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker worse than the ex-president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. His last words were reportedly: “He was the icon of a generation, Vin Diesel will be just a shadow. The struggles that Paul endured and the burdens he bore are a testament to the human spirit. The sacrifice in his selfimposed typecast prison in six and a half Fast and Furious Films must serve to elevate us momentarily off this mortal coil”. After learning of the death of the Silver Screen giant, Mandela was said to have gently faded away.

Friends You Should Dump After Christmas

The guy who assumes your friendship means you share his love of Chairman Mao

The guy who rushed to join Economics Society, and is yet to remove his sunglasses indoors

The girl who can’t wait to study abroad so she can write a column for Pi Magazine

UCL UNION CHEESE GRATER MAGAZINE SOCIETY President—Beatrice Kelly Editor—Hannah Sketchley Investigations Editor—Bo Franklin Humour Editor—Charlie Hayton

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

The Cheese Grater | Issue 41  

Special report on student protests and YouTube user DestroyZOG10 takes on the Illuminati.

The Cheese Grater | Issue 41  

Special report on student protests and YouTube user DestroyZOG10 takes on the Illuminati.