Issue 48 – Summer 2015
PANOPTICONTRACTORS UCL’S CONNECTION TO PRIVATE PRISON COMPANY - pg.3
2 Summer 2015 The Cheese Grater
Down Your Elections Norma de Plume
We’re All In The Same Vote The polls have been polled, the hustings have been hustled, the votes have come in and taken their jackets off. It’s the most wonderful time of the year - the fallout from the UCLU Elections. This year saw a reduction from the 10 sabbatical officers we are currently represented by, to just 7 full-time electees (see CG 46,47). This made the competition for the £25,000 a year jobs/years-off even fiercer.
Turn Out Your Pockets The number of sabbs wasn’t the only thing to have fallen, with the voter turnout having slumped from the previous record high of 20.6% to just 16.7%. This was put down to the highest ever number of students being eligible to vote, in no small part including the influx from the Institute of Education merger.
You Win Some Amina Lunat (Black and Minority Ethnic Students’ Officer), Asad Khan (Activities and Events Officer) and Wahida Samie (Education and Campaigns Officer) all won by landslides, whilst current LGBT+ Students’ Officer Tom Robinson and Suguna Nair, president of the now redundant IoESU won tight races for Welfare and International Officer, and Postgraduate
Students Officer, respectively.
You Lose Some In the surprise of the election, for the newly created Sustainability Engagements and Operations Officer post, notorious moustachioed Swede David Dahlborn and sporting BNOC James Simcox were knocked out by Boxing President Mohammed Ali. Natalie James won an uncontested campaign for Women’s Officer. Her opposing candidate, Tory Soc big-wig Helen Chandler-Wilde, pulled out following the revelation that she had not actually re-enrolled as a student at UCL after being on an ERASMUS scheme abroad.
iPad, You Pad, We All Pad Those few hacks who turned up to the election results event were left waiting in the cold due to a Union disciplinary meeting to consider allegations of fraud against Asad Khan and Mohammed Ali. The two candidates and their teams of campaigners were accused of using iPads to pressure students into voting for them then and there, without the voters fully understanding what was going on. The Union disciplinary panel upheld the allegation against Khan, and docked his result by 1%, but found that claims regarding Ali were “unproven”.
Fossil Fuels Almost Out Of Gas? on fossil fuel investments. Gerard Westhoff In a small victory for the Fossil Free UCL divestment movement, UCL Council are finally set to review UCL’s direct £14 million investment in fossil fuels. A meeting of UCL’s Ethical Investment Review Committee (EIRC) last week reccommended that UCL Council discuss the enforcement of a blanket ban
UCLU Environment and Ethics officer, Zakariya Mohran, said that the decision was “great news” and puts divestment on “the agenda of UCL’s highest governing body”. The EIRC are also set to publish their recommendations on divestment from individual fossil fuels companies, a move Mohran believes will assist the Fossil Free cause further.
Society Bitch Soc Bitch was skulking around the sabbatical offices trying to borrow a cigarette when Nick Edmonds, Presdient of UCLU Men’s Rugby, strolled in to ask Women’s Officer Annie Tidbury if a picture to publicise a charity event was sexist or not. It’s not clear what Tidbury thought of the image, which apparently featured a man and woman snogging on a couch with the fella simultaneously pushing away another, more vomit-covered woman, whilst a bloke in the foreground passes judgement upon the entire scene with a thumbs up. In any case, Soc Bitch commends Edmonds’ decision to go straight to the ceremonial leader of the women with this issue. It’s AGM season for UCL’s Clubs and Societies, and Soc Bitch has heard that Rare FM’s new president Jarno Wolf may have, in a scene reminiscent of Mean Girls, brought in his friends from outside the society to help vote him in, one of whom doesn’t even go to UCL. One attendee described Wolf as a “sneaky dickstain”. Apparently Pi Media’s President Ben Monteith had to tell arts societies to stop bullying critics. Soc Bitch can only imagine that the fear of savage beatings explains why reviewers from Pi seems so reticent to score anything less than 3 stars. Soc Bitch would like to make clear that any critics who dare to impugn her will swiftly be met with stiletto-heelbased justice, whatever Monteith says. The ball is now in the court of UCL Council, who will decide on 21st May whether or not to divest.
The Cheese Grater Summer 2015 3
The Café-Industrial Complex Concerns Raised Over UCL’s Corporate Outsourcing Ollie Phelan As the Bloomsbury Master Plan (see CG37) continues to take shape, there have been concerns raised about some of the companies the university is working with. Sodexo, operating as the main catering supplier at UCL as Food Federation, has been criticised by organisations such as Human Rights Watch for persistent human rights violations, and is also the largest provider of private prison services in the UK. A TransAfrica report found that Sodexo uses “the lowestroad employment practices which offer workers the lowest wages possible and deprives them of their basic human dignity.”
institute a boycott of Sodexo for “gross violations of workers’ rights” in the same year.
In 2011 students from SOAS ran a successful campaign to oust the French company from their university, with worries centring around the unethical actions of the multinational business. The now redundant University of London Union also voted unanimously to
What’s more, in August 2013 Sodexo Justice Services was criticised in an official report for subjecting a female prisoner to “cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment”, which “appears to amount to torture” at HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, Surrey. The woman was kept seg-
Sodexo has fingers in many pies. It is one of the key drivers behind the growth of privatised prisons in the UK. Recently a subsidiary, Sodexo Justice Services, won the largest number of contracts to run probation services in England and Wales. However their performance has come under fire, especially at England’s northernmost prison, HMP Northumberland. Having cut a third of staff at the prison, inspectors in September found that the prison was “not sufficiently good” in all but one of their criteria.
Ain’t You Got No Homes To Go To UCL Accommodation Draws Ire From Students Ollie Phelan & Jess Murray In a document released by Rex Knight, Vice-Provost of Operations, to UCLU, it was revealed that UCL is reaping multi-million pound profits from impoverished students living in ramshackle halls of residence. What’s more, income is increasing year on year. In 2014, UCL’s income from residences was £31 million, while they spent £21 million on maintenance and renovations. In 2015 this income is expected to rise to £33 million whilst expenditure decreases to £20.6 million. The discrepancy between income and expenditure is expected to rise further in 2016, with a
projected £16 million surplus furnishing UCL’s already bloated cash reserves, which, as of the most recent financial report, stood at over £343 million. In a statement, UCL Cut the Rent said, “For students, there is a genuine cost of living crisis, as rent and living costs increase at a rate far exceeding the growth of their income. Nevertheless, UCL actively exploits its students through the setting of rent prices; we are the ones made to fund UCL’s ambitions to aggressively expand its student population and estate.” Despite the massive profits UCL
regated from other prisoners in an “unkempt and squalid” prison cell for more than five years. It seems Sodexo will be further expanding its food empire at UCL as the plans for the new student centre reveal that the cafe created there will be run privately. David Dahlborn, UCL’s most fervent establishment-worrier, expressed his displeasure at the proposed plans. Talking to The Cheese Grater, he thought the plans would create a “degree factory”, saying: “Students will be expected to come here, study, buy overpriced coffee and then leave. There are no recreational spaces, no bookable rooms for societies and no union-run bars or cafes.” On the subject of the decision to designate the huge planned café as non union-run, Dahlborn raged: “Without a sliver of doubt this means that it will be out-sourced to a business that will be taking a large chunk of money that could have gone into UCLU and putting it into private profit. It is evident from the plans that profit has been put before student wellbeing again.” elicits from its residences, like all of our grades, the service they have provided has rarely been satisfactory. Earlier in the year Ifor Evans halls reached levels that would make an open-top igloo seem hospitable, while residents at Hawkridge House currently face the unenviable reality of living in a tower block covered almost completely in scaffolding, and being constantly assaulted by the noise of a thousand drills. Of course, compensation is not forthcoming; students were expected to be placated by a poorly written letter. Future students don’t have it any better. With rent rising by the seemingly obligatory 5% next year, it appears that the UK’s second most expensive university to study at won’t be getting cheaper anytime soon.
Contributors: Maddy Comber, Bo Franklin, Chorlie Hayton, P.K. Maguire, Charlie Martin, Jess Murray, Ollie Phelan, Jamal Seddougui, Gerard Westhoff
4 Summer 2015 The Cheese Grater
Occupational Hazards Angry Students Are Taking Things Into Their Own Hands Charlie Hayton Student lefties across London have found their passions newly inflamed by a new spate of occupations in university spaces. Earlier this month, a group of women and non-binary activists associated with the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts seized a series of rooms in Senate House, the University of London’s administrative building, on the weekend of International Women’s Day. UoL decided to respect the occupation as a peaceful protest, a stark contrast to their reaction to the last major occupation, in 2013 (see CG41), when the police swiftly turfed out the protesters.
sprung up at LSE, and at the University of the Arts London, in their Central St. Martin’s campus. The Occupy LSE group has used their newly gained space to create ‘The Free University of London’, which their manifesto describes as the “building of a new directly democratic, non-hierarchical and universally accessible education”. The Cheese Grater asked David Dahlborn, man about town, why LSE hadn’t yet taken action to try and evict the protesters, and he conjectured that “reputation is hard currency for these institutions, and at LSE management is particularly afraid of getting a bad name in the press around application times.”
In the last week, occupations have
The Occupy UAL protest was called
Eugenics Heading For A Eulogy Will UCL find the courage to examine its murky past? Jess Murray & Ollie Phelan A member of the academic board has revealed that they suspect that the thorny legacy of Francis Galton, UCL’s resident not-so-hushed-up eugenicist, will be a subject of major discussion at the university in the coming months and years. Galton, who coined the term ‘eugenics’, worked closely with UCL academics, and the university provided rooms on Gower Street for the The Francis Galton Laboratory of National Eugenics. It was only in 1963 that UCL renamed Galton’s Laboratory, and the Galton Chair in National Eugenics, funded by money Galton left in his will to UCL, was held in one form or another until 1996, when it was abolished. However, it was reinstated in 2009, although the current occupant, Professor Nicholas Wood, has the rather less ignominious title of The Galton Professor of Genetics.
Given UCL’s commitment to equality initiatives, it has been pointed out that it is inappropriate for the university to continue to celebrate figures such as Galton, who, along with other notable eugenicists, has a lecture theatre named after him. Hajera Begum, UCLU’s Black and Minority Ethnic Students’ Officer, recalled that at a ‘Why isn’t my Professor Black?’ event last year, Provost Michael Arthur said that we had ‘inherited’ Galton. Begum argues that this response is unsatisfactory - she thinks that we should “be open about the impact of eugenics – have a centre (much like they had a whole department for eugenics) where we can be honest about the past and also look to fixing the issues that it caused”. Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman PhD, Research Associate in the Philosophy of ‘Race’, has put forward an Academic Development initiative titled “Critical Eugenics at UCL: Research,
in response to the news that UAL would be slashing its foundation courses. Also protested against are proposed staff redundancies, and a £500k cut to the Widening Participation programme, which encourages students from disadvantaged communities to get involved with an arts education. Dahlborn, who has been ensconced at the UAL Occupation, suggested that university managements have brought this on themselves, saying that if they “hadn’t been so evil and if we’d had democratic universities where nobody is exploited or oppressed, then we wouldn’t have to run occupations.” On the topic of where the newfound fervour of occupations would lead, Dahlborn pronounced that “where there are grievances and injustices and people who are prepared to stand up for fairness and democracy, there will be occupations. There are plenty of both in London at the moment.”
Teaching, Engagement”, which suggests going beyond merely renaming buildings, which would effectively sweep the problem under the carpet. Seen by The Cheese Grater, the proposal includes a call to emulate universities across the globe, notably Brown University, which are conducting serious academic research into their historic links with racialised slavery and eugenics. The proposal posits introducing new courses on critical eugenics, and public engagement by UCL Museums and Collections. However, the scale of the development would entail significant spending, and The Cheese Grater has learnt that it is only one of 24 similar proposals under review, and with a limited budget to be allocated, UCL may well opt to fund projects which would result in less significant soul-searching for the university. Dr. Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman told The Cheese Grater that “It will come down to whether UCL believes facing up to its invention and institutionalisation of National Eugenics, and – crucially – to all the legacies of those wrongful actions, is something worth prioritising and paying for.”
The Cheese Grater Summer 2015 5
Dear Sebastian, I think we both know this has been coming for a long time. You’re dumped, mate. I know that’s a very harsh way to put it, so let me re-iterate: I’m dropping you, like an unwanted child down a well; we’re over, like your grandmother’s life (sorry I couldn’t make the funeral btw, had to go to SportsNite); I don’t love you anymore, because you’re a cunt. I write this, my hands warmed by the burning remains of the 2 pairs of burgundy chinos you left here last time you visited. To be honest, this letter was in part spurred by finding those while cleaning my room. Ever since you dragged me to the Henley regatta, I’ve fantasized about destroying your beloved red trousers, and you would not believe how fucking good this feels. I only wish you could be here, so I could see you begging and weeping inconsolably as the flames consume them. When you left, you were wearing an additional pair of those same red trousers, and I would be immensely grateful if you could send them to me so they can meet the same fate as their brethren. Talking of that visit, let me run down a quick list of complaints which arose from the time: • Despite “really getting into rugby”, you’ve put on a lot of weight, so that now you physically repulse me past the point where I can hide my disgust. This was confirmed by the attempted tryst in the shower, which clearly didn’t have enough room for you, me, and your beer gut. • Somehow, your proficiency as a lover has degraded even more. To describe your ministrations as ‘awkward rutting’ would be to imply skill and passion magnitudes greater than what you manage to produce. I would have thought your indiscretion with Melanie from your halls might have taught you something. Apparently she is even more forgiving than me of your habit to clumsily swat at your partner’s clit in a way that no sane person could conceive of as pleasurable. • Your banter is stale. I know you’ll think this is just another rough patch, just another road bump in the under-maintained country road of our relationship. But it’s not. I’m leaving you behind. I have an exciting life in London now. I’ve been to Fabric, I’ve tried ket, I got off with a graphic design student. You just can’t compare to that. To be totally honest, after the affair you had with Mel, I also took the opportunity to spread my wings a little, and I slept with Miguel, the Portuguese guy whose accent you kept making fun of. It was a revelation, he was actually hot! I didn’t have to concentrate on picturing Bradley Cooper the whole way through just to remain minimally aroused. He performed oral on me, and didn’t once complain that it meant he was gay. It was then, in that moment, I think, with my cum dribbling down his chin, that I realised I was unhappy with our relationship. Goodbye, Seb. Let’s not stay friends. Yours,
6 Summer 2015 The Cheese Grater
An Analyis of Bitnittity’s The Rights Of Springs Originally published in 1978, in his 3rd collection, ‘Bungalow Hell’ Sean O’Shawn Oh rake, rapine and roar. 1 “Bah!” says your wife, The callous bint. 2 Gluttony, gluttony, gluttony, Glutton, gluttony, pride?
To live is not to prosper, You breathe but not for joy, Not to be is better, God’s discarded toy. 4 Shit, I’m late for my tea 5
1. With two exceptions (Hello Mother, can I touch you? and Bong-A-Long) all of Bitnittity’s works start with reference to garden tools. The rapine is an obscure piece of equipment, used only in some of the more zealous sects of Thai hedge discipline. 2. It is unclear what this refers to, since Bitnittity never married, and some experts suggest he never even talked to a woman outside of his immediate family (apart, it almost goes without saying, from the well documented incident with Jackie Onassis. For a thorough treatment of this event, see Uytfard’s work A Good Day In Dallas, and the subsequent film adaptation by Michael Bay). Despite this reticence towards the opposite sex, he filled out half of a marriage certificate every morning, just in case. It is my opinion that this practice significantly contributed to 2nd and 5th bankruptcies, although
it must be noted that I am in the scholarly minority on this matter. The general consensus holds that the main factors were his costly addictions to methamphetamines and postage stamps, respectively. 3. It is a matter of no dispute whatsoever that Bitnittity’s favourite sin was envy. 4. This bit is rubbish, and should be disregarded. 5. Notice how the sublime use of meter brings to mind images of quiet, ruffled dignity. How the rhyme scheme at lasts unveils itself, as if a particularly expensive stripper. How the use of priapic metaphor excites the passions within your limbs. Even as I write this, the sheer beauty brings me to big, blubbery tears, which roll down my cheek, and dilute my noodle soup to the point of palatability. Truly, the greatest poet of his generation.
Good Clean Fun For The Workplace.
The Cheese Grater Summer 2015 7
Dave & Barack Nick Blobinson
“You ate them all last night, darling” his wife replies. “Oh yeah, I remember now”, he lies.
It’s 6:50 am. Dave is at number 10, and he’s just fallen off his rowing machine. “I’ve just fallen off my rowing machine” says Dave. He gets up and begins to row again. “Have you fallen off the rowing machine again Dave?” Sam Cam calls from upstairs. “Yes, yes I have” he replies “You didn’t hurt yourself did you Dave?” she asks “No, no I didn’t” he replies.
Barack has just finished his joint. He’s relaxed and looking at the London skyline. “I want a Guinness. Let’s go to Dublin!”, he exclaims. “We can’t Mr. President,” replies his aide “Why not?” Barack asks with incredulity “We are here to meet the Prime Minister,” says his aide “I suppose,” says Barack.
Meanwhile, Barack has just lit up a joint. He’s been on a big one. “Are you sure you want that, sir?” his bodyguard asks “Damn right I do!” replies Barack “Do you?” he asks “Yeah brother, I do,” replies Barack.
It’s 8:53am. Dave’s nervous. He can’t remember how to tie his tie properly. He calls his friend George to ask him how he does it. “I always get my mum to do it for me,” George says, “You could try ringing her?” “Sure thing George. See you later!” Dave replies, realising too late that he doesn’t have her number. Sam Cam has to do it for him, but she
Sam Cam serves Dave his post-workout bowl of porridge. “No blueberries today?” he asks.
ties it too tight, and his neck hurts. It’s 9:45am and Barack is making his way to Downing Street. “So what’s going down today?” Barack asks. “We are meeting the Prime Minister to discuss foreign policy and the global economy” his aide replies. “Foreign Policy?” “Yes” “The Economy?” Barack inquires. “Yes” his aide replies tentatively. “Well I can’t wait,” he says. Dave steps out of number 10 and goes over to greet the President. “Hello” he says, but he’s forgotten Barack’s name. He tries to remember the name of the most powerful person in the world. Will Smith? Michael Jordan? Michael Jackson? Kanye West? Kim Kardashian? None of them are correct. He says “Hello” again and Barack smiles awkwardly. “Hello, Mr. President” says Dave finally remembering a name that is appropriate, “Would you like to come in?”
8 Summer 2015 The Cheese Grater
From Rags to Rich Tea Biscuits Or, The Hardships of Minor Celebrity.
5 Minutes With Rex Knight After the success of Michael Arthur’s Dream Diary, The Cheese Grater sits down with the Vice Provost. David Sidepurse When I meet Rex Knight he is stood suited and shoeless in his office. A busy man with little time for pleasantries, he picks up a pint glass and throws it at a crude drawing of David Dahlborn rendered with human excrement on the back of the door, and points wordlessly and forcefully at a damp cushion in the middle of the concrete floor. “Sit down. Make yourself comfortable. Print a word of what I just said and I’ll fucking sue you.”
Knight is surprisingly relaxed for a man tasked with overseeing much of the dayto-day management of one of the biggest universities in the country. Charming and engaging, he conducts the interview with his hand around my throat and a letter opener pressed into my midriff. “The problem with tertiary education these days is that you ‘people’ don’t know what’s fucking good for you” says Knight, spitting in my eyes. Knight is something of a bogeyman with
the UCLU crowd, but when his executive guard comes down, his boyish charm shines through. He spots my dictaphone, grins, and rocks back on his heels before throwing another pint glass in my direction. It hits me in my face and I begin to bleed. “You can put that away for starters, you sweaty little hack cunt. You try and take me down and I’ll fucking sue you.” I’ve yet to ask a question when Knight announces that there are to be no more questions. He has a meeting with UCLU’s sabbatical team and asks me to leave, but I am bleeding too heavily. Omar Raii enters with a warm hello. Knight punches him in the neck and he begins to cry.
UCL Union Cheese Grater Magazine Society President—Gerard Westhoff Editor—Chorlie Hayton Investigations Editor—Ollie Phelan Humour Editor—P.K. Maguire
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