Issue 47 – Spring 2015
NORTH KOREAN SYMPATHISER ON UCL’S ACADEMIC BOARD? MANAGEMENT, SCIENCE & INNOVATION PROGRAMME TO MOVE TO CANARY WHARF (STORIES UNRELATED, COMBINED ON FRONT PAGE FOR EFFICIENCY)
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Down Your Union Norma de Plume
General Disarray The outburst of democratic zeal which dominated the tail end of last term seems to have been put back in the loft with the Christmas decorations as January 20th’s General Assembly - round two of the chaotic debacle adjourned by professional thrower-of-toys-out-of-the-pram Gabriel Gavin in December - sank softly into the familiar arms of inquoracy. The messy debate over the restructure of Sabbatical Officer roles continued into an emergency meeting of the UCLU Council. The congregation of elite-level hacks eventually passed a compromise motion tabled by Activities and Events Officer Sabeeh Imran Rasool, which will see the number of Sabbatical Officers for 2015-16 reduced to the confusing total of 7.5.
A Sabb In The Dark Sabb roles for Democracy & Communications and Ethics, Environment and Operations have been merged, being replaced by the woolly-titled Sustainability, Engagement and Ethics officer position. £25k-a-year slots for External Affairs and Campaigns and Medical, Pharmaceutical and Health Students have been scrapped altogether - despite both only having been established in 2013-14. Fulltime liberation officers for women and black and minority ethnic students will remain.
Institutional Apathy Under the Interim Governance Structure, Institute of Education Students will be represented by a part-time, paid elected officer. On the night, the Council voted to reject a motion put forward by IOESU President Suguna Nair to have a full-time sabb represent IoE students for one year, while the merger continues. This failed to
get the super-majority of council votes required, so another vote was immediately called to put the matter to a referendum of all UCLU students, which took place between the 29th of January and the 2nd of February. Though 85 of those who bothered to vote were in favour of a full-time IoE officer (inexplicably, 2 people cared enough to abstain), the turnout was 1600 students shy of quoracy. Is this the start of the IoE’s predictable descent into asset-stripped, voiceless irrelevance?
Council Part Two: Electric Chair Now Please The next instalment of the turgid soap opera of the UCLU Council saw the union vote to axe its cash-holding contract with much-maligned security firm G4S. There were concerns - almost a decade old - over the company’s involvement in wholesale human rights abuses, such as the treatment of prisoners in Israel and Guantanamo Bay. Council members thoroughly patted each other and themselves on the back for belatedly pulling the plug on a rather dodgy connection. David Dahlborn, a man only a doomsday device away from Bond-villainhood, took this opportunity to air his umbrage at the unrepresentative and unaccountable nature of the UCLU Trustee Board. In addition to the 12 Student and Sabbatical Trustees, the board has 5 External Trustees (including 2 former students, 2 members of UCL staff and one member unconnected to UCL), appointed for 4 year terms by the Council, with no student say in the matter. Dahlborn railed against the idea that these trustees could overturn democratic decisions.
Let The Raii One In The grand legacy of the last great white BNOC Michael Chessum was in evi-
Society Bitch Pi Magazine’s co -editor-inchief Declan Rooney wrote a blog (titled ‘Students: stop dreaming of a job in journalism and get to work’) which graced the homepage of The Guardian’s website near the end of the year. In it, he tells readers to stop dismissing life as a hack as ‘an unrealistic fantasy job’, before going on to describe an unrealistic fantasy job of him at Pi “making deals with advertisers and negotiating timings with printers” and how these skills make him look impressive on his resume. Soc Bitch has heard rumours that Rooney has actually done none of these things. Nor, apparently, has he written a story or feature for the magazine this year. He probably won’t mention that in his CV. Students attempting to drown their sorrows in Phineas only had them added to when Musical Theatre Society promoted their upcoming production of Spring Awakening by performing sexually explicit songs in the bar. They advertised the show, which includes rape and child abuse, by handing out condoms. Students can also find free condoms at the reception of the Lewis Building, where they won’t have to endure singing and dancing.
dence last weekend, after union EACO and erstwhile Phineas quizmaster Omar Raii was arrested at an anti-EDL demonstration in his native West Midlands. A photo of a teary-eyed Raii in cuffs has been doing the rounds on Facebook, leading to inevitable comparisons with last year’s arrest of London Student editor Oscar Webb. One hack said, “Raii looks like a prisoner of conscience, Webb looked like a spoilt child.”
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Korea-ing Out Of Control Ollie Phelan and Colin Cortbus North Korea is “very egalitarian” and a “democracy from the bottom”, and Stalin’s rule in the USSR was marked by “popular appreciation”, according to a member of the UCL Academic Board shown in a film obtained by The Cheese Grater. Dr. Hugh Goodacre, a lecturer and teaching fellow in the Department of Economics, can be seen in the film praising the “genius” of the North Korean dictatorship, and claimed that working-class life in North Korea was “better” than in the UK “in the sense that they are building a socialist society for all the people”. He went on to claim that there is an “enormous atmosphere of enthusiasm” about the brutal regime’s policies. Despite military tension “it is quite remarkable really… the degree to which if you go there you will find that in general people manage to live a free and dignified life and go about their daily concerns”. Speaking to The Cheese Grater, Jihyun Park, a Manchester-based North-Korean refugee and activist said that “people in North Korea live in slavery in a gargantuan prison, not even aware of the phrase Human Rights”. Goodacre claimed that there are “no prison camps as such” in the pariah state, which Amnesty International estimates to be detaining 100,000 people in political prison camps where “torture is rampant and public execution common”. Sitting in his comfortable Blooomsbury office, Goodacre said that he did “not accept that there are systematic human rights violations in North Korea… it is a very egalitarian country”. A United Nations report has said human rights abuses in the country are “strikingly similar” to those in Nazi Germany.
“There are not prison camps. There social issues under socialism are confronted, which are different from those which are confronted under capitalism. You have people who cannot reconcile themselves to the establishment of a socialist system. Something has to be done about them.” Nonetheless Dr Goodacre was keen to emphasise that “it is never necessary to violate human rights”, but contended that “any adverse effects on the lives of anybody in North Korea are the responsibility of imperialism. “ He eulogised North Korea’s eternal president’s Kim Il-Sung, whom he met once, as an “incomparable historical figure” who “always just went to the heart of any issue that was concerning the masses”. Goodacre is an avid collector of the dictator’s books: “I have got 40 volumes of his writings ... there is no such encyclopaedia of what daily life is like in poorer countries of this world”. Minutes from UK-based pro-regime groups record Goodacre as having spoken on the North Korean state’s ‘invincible might’ and singing the North Korean national anthem ‘to applause from the audience’. Goodacre defended his actions, saying “on these kind of ceremonial occasions I speak the same language as the Koreans do. Obviously I don’t speak like that in my normal daily interaction. I put that hat on when we are celebrating the Birthday of Korea’s leaders and so on….” The academic also heaped praise on Soviet warlord and mass-murderer Joseph Stalin, saying that his cult of personality amounted to “a form of popular endorsement for a leadership”. Asked whether there was an alternative to Stalin’s crimes against humanity, which included brutal Gulag prison camps and the Holodomor genocide in Ukraine, Goodacre replied “What alternative? Trostky and the
whole place would have collapsed.” Reacting to the economist’s comments, Dr Hiroaki Kuromiya - a Stalin expert from the University of Indiana gave a damning and barbed critique. He told The Cheese Grater: “it seems to me that he’s a bad scholar with no or little critical sense...Goodacre reminds me of David Irving. Goodacre’s views of Stalinism are utterly untenable“. Goodacre has also been photographed with British Latvian extremist and former Birkbeck student Aijo Beness at a pro-North Korea rally. Beness has a 2005 conviction for attempting to incite and overthrow of the political system and independence of Latvia, and is currently subject to an international manhunt after skipping bail over fresh charges on similar offenses. He is closely linked to armed pro-Russian separatist insurgents in Eastern Ukraine, considered to be terrorists by Latvian prosecutors. Recent photos show Beness posing with assault rifles and riding a separatist armoured vehicle there. There is no suggestion that Goodacre was aware of Beness’s links to violence when he posted for the photo. Goodacre told us the photo came as “no surprise” as he had “met him on more than one occasion at Korea events”. When approached by The Cheese Grater for comment, Dr Goodacre said: “I don’t really have connections with Korea at this time, though I had close connections at a previous period...In fact, I have very openly and publicly done everything I can to promote the Korean ideology of Juche, from public meetings to press conferences, for well over 30 years. Within UCL, I aim to encourage any activities and discussions similarly focused on the development of anti-imperialist and anti-racist activity.” At time of print, UCL have not responded to our request for comment.
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(Canary) WHARF! HUH! YEAH! What is it good for? Absolutely Nothing, Say Students Ollie Phelan The Department of Management, Science & Innovation is set to relocate its Masters’ programme to Canary Wharf in a move which could cost upwards of £6.5 million. MS&I’s move to 1 Canada Square - a minimum 42 minutes’ and two Tubes’ journey from UCL’s main campus - will leave the department with a £1.7 million yearly bill and has been met with a mixed response from faculty and students. Anthony Finkelstein, Dean of Engineering and the mastermind behind the move, told The Cheese Grater that some 80% of staff were “very excited”, but a senior member of staff claimed that 80% of MS&I staff were actually against the proposal. The staff member, who wished to remain anonymous, said that those concerned were unwilling to strike with their jobs on the line. On the logistics of travelling between Bloomsbury and Tower Hamlets, Finkelstein said that “there’ll always be movement backwards and forwards [between the main campus and Canary Wharf ]”. This will undoubtedly be an issue for staff,
who will have to teach both undergraduates in Bloomsbury and postgrads at Canary Wharf, and a headache for the many UCL students who live in North London. There has been much discontent among students, who Finkelstein described as being “basically disinterested”, that they were not consulted but rather were presented with the move as a fait accompli. Together with staff they have railed against the “opaque” consultation process. Bert de Reyck, the programme director of MS&I, canvassed staff opinion in emails seen by The Cheese Grater sent on July 21st 2014. However, only 16 days later on the 6th August Finkelstein sent follow-up correspondence to staff telling them that suggesting other locations - including several nearer to Bloomsbury and one on Gower St” was “bluntly unhelpful”. An MS&I student who wished to remain anonymous revealed that a first year representative posted a link to a petition calling for a transparent consolation process. However, she was told to take it down and students were emailed by course director Stephen Todd to not sign the petition.Finkelstein admitted that he had thought a lot about the “consulta-
Oil’s Well That Ends Well Ollie Phelan With the Fossil Free UCL divestment drive heating up, UCL management are attempting to pour cold water on the campaign. The group, along with Environment and Ethics officer Zak Mohran, has been pressuring the university to release their latest investment portfolio. Despite Fossil Free contending that it is their legal obligation to do so, UCL are holding back the documents, citing “sound commercial reasons.”
However, suspicions abound that this is merely a delaying tactic to hide the fact that UCL are not faring so well financially with their investments. Michael Arthur also rejected Fossil Free’s offer of a meeting, declining to give a reason for doing so. Last year, Fossil Free attempted to appeal to UCL’s Ethical Investment Review Committee, a group that is supposed to evaluate ethically questionable investments made by UCL, but Mohran has
tion dilemma” but that he hoped he had “steered the right line.” Another point of conflict is over who will pick up the bill for costs for rent and relocation. UCL has entered a 10 year lease costing £1.7 million a year. Finkelstein is open when discussing plans for further expansion within Canary Wharf. With rents likely to increase over time, especially after Crossrail opens in 2018, this would drive up the cost of supporting the department even further. The current wisdom is that MS&I will use money both from UCL’s capital plan and revenue budget. Finkelstein hinted at an active move towards the commercialisation of the department, telling The Cheese Grater that the department were obliged to “show how we get [the money] back”. There have already been plans to incorporate an evening masters degree programme for young people working for companies based in Canary Wharf. Despite claims that already heft postgrad fees would not go up to fund the rent, there are concerns amongst senior staff members that a fee-hike will prove unavoidable in the future. MS&I’s new base - opening in January 2016 - is yet another indication of UCL’s plan to expand beyond Bloomsbury and leave a sprawling footprint all over London. criticised it as remaining “at arm’s length, prodding a pointy stick.” This is the latest stage of a persistent campaign by Fossil Free to force UCL to divest from energy companies (see CG45). Fossil Free member Pekka Piirainen told The Cheese Grater that “UCL’s claims of engaging with investment reform appear to be nothing but empty talk to avoid the resulting publicity.” With no signs of divestment in the near future, UCL’s reputation as a global (warming) university is growing faster than the world’s temperatures.
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The Homeless Cinephile A review of the film world from street level Joris Brawnson I nicked a pen off some mug at Euston and I secured some bog roll and glossy student mag to scribble on, so I’ve used me thinkpan to share what I opine about the lights on the big screen. After stashing some Skollies Supers in me briefs, I went up the cinema, like you do. “BOY IT’S TOASTY IN ERE” I shouted unexpectedly, slathering a nearby child in bloody phlegms. They were on to me like my old dog Boner was on the rats. You know, the fun size ones. “Excuse me, sir, are you drunk?” they say “NAAAAAAHHHHH” I say, smashing a can to the floor. I shout at the bastards to get me a slush dog with me floor popcorn. Twats distracted, I broke inna screen 1.
Pictures nummer 1: Inherstella A big smooth-man’s face appeared on the screen - “JESUS CHRIST, HE’S A BIG-UN!” I trot to the front, for the views and the lights yanno, and sits me arse down. Now of what I can tell, the film was like space and I dunno bloody 9th dimensional super space though and LOADSA talking. I remember some bollocks about smoothman’s daughter being his nan before I hit the floor an chewed on the carpet. Nummer 2: Happy Robotman After that bloody palava, I shunned the old picturehouse for a bit, telling me fellows about the movies, an a mate of mine’s like “Come see this new one, it’s like robot copper or summat”.
I fucking love Robocop I says and we take a stoll downa fire exit and sneak in, all tip toes and shit. My mate was talking outta his arse though, I wanted Robertcop an I got a layabout on a chair, chasing kids and getting gals to take his clothes off for him. What a lazy bastard. After a bit I pissed on the seats and pissed off. Nummer 3: Inherent Spice Fuck’s sake I fell asleep inna cinema again. Woke up to some tosser whispering about how great Clive Marten thought this film was. Pretty sure that’s the geezer used to sell me bootleg vhs in the pub back before my ex-wife kicked off about the drinking, so I perked up cos he used to have a pretty nice selection of tapes. Thought it was shit, left after 20 minutes. Paul Thomas Anderson disappoints again.
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Jamie, Oliver. T. Twizzler You drive along a dusty track in Crete, the hot sun beating down on the vineyards and hills, and you catch sight of a lonely figure standing at the side of the road. It is Jamie Oliver; wearing his signature plaid shirt, unironed and buttonless, the sea breeze ruffling his sandy locks. But he isn’t alone. He slowly turns a whole lamb on a spit, muttering excitedly to himself. Jamie’s dead eyes glint obsessively over the charred carcass, and he rubs extra virgin olive oil into its rancid meat. His camera crew are not here today. Instead an elderly local sits behind him, breathing on his neck. He strums gently on a mandolin and chews a raw parsnip. No one knows who he is, not even Jamie himself; he’s just there. Now and then, Jamie stares purposefully into the middle distance, addressing an imaginary camera, throwing his hands about as if he were Tony Blair falling into a khole circa 1996.
Jamie goes to the market every day to pick up fresh produce out to catch your flight back to Luton, and you see Jamie again at the side of a rainy motorway.
He has lost his shoes, is trouserless and unshaven, and his hair looks like a bird’s nest. In fact, it is a bird’s nest. “This is a great way to make the most of local produce” he says, gesturing to the bird feeding its young on his head.“I’m just waiting for her to lay, innit”, he says, leering at nobody in particular. He kneels over the hard shoulder, where he has laid on a spread of Greek yoghurt, “And now, add the rosemary. Mmm. rotten fruit and bits of paper ripped to Pukka. I fink it’s better when you mari- look like pastry. nate that meat for at least 24 hours in plenty of olive oil,” he bounces around “Greek yoghurt is some of the best like a child without ritalin, “you could yoghurt in the world innit, so thick. whack this together with a naughty sal- Thick. It’s nice to have a dollop in the ad, lots of olive oil...olive oil...pukka!” morning with like a nectarine, or some plums... I still think it needs more olive A long, hot night passes and you head oil, I am Jamie Olive-r after all” and he
vigorously swigs the bottle of oil over the fruit before taking off his shirt and dry-humping the cold tarmac. “Lovely jubbly.” On your fetid Ryanair flight back to grey England, you think fondly of the times you saw the naked chef in various states of undress. Eventually, you forget it even happened, and fall back into the beige numbness of suburban life. On a cold night, you settle down before the telly with a single chocolate hobnob and large white wine. A familiar face pops up on the screen - it’s Jamie. His Greek Escape fills the room, and before long you are on the carpet, clutching your olive oil like a dead puppy. Each of his words is a hymn to the visceral beauty of being alive. Later in the week, you go out to WHSmiths, and buy the book. You find it is dedicated to you. Pukka.
Rejected ‘Rush Hour Crush’ Entries Found in a bin in Wapping To the Matthew Horne (from Horne and Corden, my favourite show!) lookalike on the Victoria Line at 11.47am. I saw you walk in at Euston and couldn’t keep my eyes off you all the way to Brixton. I had to get back on the one going northbound because I was meant to get off at Oxford Circus. The fact that you were nonchalantly using the Tube during the daytime suggests you’re not employed; that’s fine, me neither! Cheeky shag? Kate, 26, Harrow
To the Asian (my guess is Chinese, but there might be a hint of Thai in there) girl reading something foreign on her phablet on the Jubilee Line – konnichiwa! You look as cute as a geisha yet as mysterious as the Panchen Lama. I’ve had a thing for Orientals since I saw Miss Saigon as a child, and you’re hotter than an Indian Summer. When you reached into your bag to grab a sarnie, I saw a pack of tampons. Let’s just say that my dragon awoke and is raring to go. Romantic trip to Hong Kong Buffet? Steven, 31, Croydon
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The Provost’s Dream Diary
Michael Arthur January 5th dreamt that a swiss old cruel man with tiny cloth eyes sold me a whistle I played the whistle and hannah sketchley became unhappy 6/10 January 7th dreamt that I was back in leeds northern hands grasping at me northern fingers pulling at my shirtsleeves northern fingernails digging into my delicate skin 2/10 January 11th dreamt of a churning pit of torn flesh and gnashing teeth 10/10 January 16th dreamt that in the dark of the night I was tossing and turning the nightmare I had was bad as can be it scared me out of my wits a corpse falling to bits then I opened my eyes and the nightmare was me 8/10 January 25th dreamt that I had a cock made out of money but I tore it when tugging off 5/10 January 29th dreamt of that swedish moustache wanker foiling my schemes again darn kids make me so mad 0/10 February 4th dreamt I had a and bacon baguette brie and from the george farha cafe and the man who toasted it for me looked a bit like owen jones 3/10 February 8th dreamt of flesh and teeth again 9/10 took away a point because no morning wood this time Michael Arthur dressed as a Victorian miser
To Bell A Mocking Jard Ee Gee Following the news that American author Harper Lee will publish the longawaited sequel to her classic novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, The Cheese Grater has learned that another literary ‘one hit wonder’ is planning another trip on the gravy train.
Plath’s original semi-autobiographical page turner told the story of a young woman’s spiral into mental illness and repeated suicidal episodes. This latest novel will hopefully mark a timely return to form for Plath, who has been uncharacteristically quiet over the past five decades.
Sylvia Plath, whose only novel, 1963’s ‘The Bell Jar’, sold 3 million copies, is rumoured to be working on a sequel. Internal correspondence obtained from her publisher mentions ‘The Bell Jar II: Electric Boogaloo’ and ‘The Bell Jar 2 - Cruise Control’ as possible working titles.
There’s never been a better (or more lucrative) time for Plath to finally get round to penning her difficult second album, with the ‘chick-lit’ genre currently booming. ‘Mad About the Boy’, the latest in Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones series
of novels, was one of last year’s biggest sellers. Frothy celeb autobiographies are also huge right now, with curvy Stephen Fry publishing his third recently. Another helping of Plath’s semi-autobiographical city girl is guaranteed to be this year’s hit beach read. We can only hope Plath doesn’t rush to finish her book in the wake of Lee’s announcement. ‘The Bell Jar’ was an absolute gas, so maybe it’s best to leave the sequel in the oven just a little bit longer, eh Sylvia? Whatever Plath’s got cooking, it’s great to see another female literary lead not just found in the kitchen, and this is one sequel that we can promise won’t be dead on arrival.
Contributors: John Bilton, Maddy Comber, Colin Cortbus, Bo Franklin, Chorlie Hayton, Geoffrey Hazelton-Swales, Ross Humphreys, PK Maguire, Jess Murray, Nik Nicheperovich, Ollie Phelan, Gerard Westhoff
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Less than a mile away Active just now
Intelligent well bred male looking for genetically superior woman. got my own lecture theatre at ucl lol Pioneering Evolutionary Biologist and Eugenicist swipe left if youre from aberdeen if youre butters (due to inferior genetics) and we matched its cos my mates did it XD
Shared Interests Humans of New York
Hovis White Bread
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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