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Palatinate www.palatinate.org.uk| FREE

Thursday 1st December 2016 | No. 790

Opinion Poll

& European Christmas markets closer to home

Who did Durham vote most popular politician?

University looks for stability postBrexit at town hall meeting Hugo Harris Deputy News Editor

Professor Stuart Corbridge, Vice-Chancellor and Warden of Durham University

Photograph: Durham University

Durham offers “very good value for money,” Vice-Chancellor tells Palatinate Professor Stuart Corbridge talked about the University’s relationship with the city, affordability, and Durham post-Brexit Olly Mawhinney & Ryan Gould Palatinate News Since Professor Stuart Corbridge took office as Vice-Chancellor and Warden in September 2015, Durham University been in a state of transition and transformation. With a new University Strategy set to be delivered to University Council on 13th December, of which the relocation of Queen’s Campus to Durham City forms a part, Palatinate sat down with Professor Corbridge a year on from his appointment to ask him about some of the

changes and challenges faced by the University. Professor Corbridge reflected positively on his first year at Durham, stressing the uniqueness of the collegiate system and his desire to ensure the University continues to create a “truly distinctive Durham experience” for its students. The Vice-Chancellor said his overarching vision for Durham “hasn’t changed all that much. I think we would expect any Russell Group University to have worldclass education and world-class research, and I think I was hardly the first person to come to Dur-

ham and say that we should have a world class student experience,” Corbridge said. “Although we’ve prioritised the wider student experience more than previously, I don’t think that would take many people by surprise. I think where the vision has changed is that you then have to operationalise [world-class education and research]. Through the course of the year, we had to then think, ‘Can we offer world-class research, world-class student experience, world-class education both in Durham City and at Queen’s Campus?’” Alluding to Queen’s Campus,

which is set to be repurposed as an international foundation college, Corbridge admitted that the University’s vision has also changed “in the sense that it became more focused in terms of our students in Durham, thinking more about the internationalisation of the University. “Clearly that was an evolution from where we were even ten months ago. We’re a long way involved in operationalising the vision. The plan is to take the full University Strategy to Council on 13 December—that’s fifteen months’ work,” he said. Continued on page 4

On the issue of future research funding at Durham University, senior staff maintained a positive outlook during a town-hall meeting on the implications of June’s EU referendum last week. Despite asserting in the vote’s immediate aftermath that “Brexit was not the referendum outcome that British Universities sought,” Vice-Chancellor Stuart Corbridge sought to ease student concerns when questioned about the matter by Palatinate: “I am pleased to report that we’ve had a report back from the research information services office that European partner universities are still working with us as they did before, in fact they really are being helpful to us at the moment.” Noting Durham Physics Department’s collaboration with CERN, he then added: “At the moment, we’re sending out a message of business as usual and trying to get these partnerships sorted.” As reported by The Northern Echo earlier this year, Durham stands to risk millions of pounds of future funding from the European Research Council (ERC) when the UK leaves the European Union. Since 2008, Durham has received £27 million from the ERC, which seeks to fund schemes that “cross disciplinary boundaries” and “address new and emerging fields.” The comments of Tim Burt, ProVice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience), disputed these anxieties: “Over the last couple of decades there has been a steady growth of collaboration with other European universities […] I think what we will be hoping is that we can remain parts of those sort of consortia even if we were outside the EU.” “There are already European Continued on page 6


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Editorial A time to be reflective It may be the impending doom of what to do after graduation, the influx of deadlines or the inevitable sadness of my last edition as Editor-in-Chief but the past few weeks have particularly been a time of reflection. 2016 has been a year of seismic change on an unparalleled scale in recent history. From the looming Armageddon of Brexit and Trump to the unlikely heroics of Leicester City and Strictly’s Ed Balls, 2016 has produced historic magnitudes from what less than a year ago were mere impossibilities. It’s been a big year for the University too: the relocation of Queen’s campus to Durham City was confirmed and the launch of the Estates Masterplan revealed plans to build two colleges in Durham City and target an additional 4,000 students by 2067/27. I recently had the privilege of interviewing the Vice-Chancellor, Stuart Corbridge, for Palatinate to discuss some of these changes- you can read the in depth interview on page 4-5. One cannot fault Corbridge’s ambition and enthusiasm for the University and the exciting times currently surrounding Durham. Only a year in it may be premature to judge the VC’s tenure. However, as my time at Durham nears its end, I have found myself increasingly reflecting on whether much has changed during my time at the University. I would argue that little has.

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Durham’s intake of working class students remains a pathetic 14.2%, while colleges such as Hatfield reportedly have a close to one in two private school intake. Furthermore recent cuts in the Durham Grant diminish much of the hope in this figure improving. Upon arrival in Durham in October 2014 I paid £6,289 for a single-room in Hild Bede. If I was to continue for a fourth year at Durham I could expect to pay £7,171 for the same room. Unfortunately my student loan, has not risen at a similar rate. While not ideal I can begin to understand the proposed 1.6% rise in accommodation fees for next year, although inflation has typically remained below 1% recently. However where I disagree with Professor Corbridge is that we are currently offered “very good value for money”. The uniqueness of the collegiate experience is fantastic and I cannot critique much of the standard of teaching I receive. However many students continue to struggle to get by while in dilapidated college accommodation. Here I question the extent to which college accommodation currently offers such value. It was reassuring that in our conversation the Vice-Chancellor was aware that the collegiate experience can only flourish if it is financially attractive. It remains too early to judge Corbridge’s tenure, however it is important to continue to hold the Univeristy

to account. I am fearful of what a future Durham may look like. On a brighter note we have a Christmas bonanza in this final edition of 2016: Profile interview Lib Dem leader Tim Farron (p.12), Fashion meet the models of the 2017 Fashion Show (i.8-9) and Music provide you with the albums to get through a conservation with a music snob (i.14-15). On a personal note this is my final edition as Editor-in-Chief; it has been an honour to edit what I believe is one of the best student media outlets in the country. I say that because of the exceptional team that makes up Palatinate. Through Palatinate I have been introduced to some of the most interesting, creative and hardworking friends. Palatinate will remain committed to the issues which affect you continuing into its 800th edition next year. Finally thank you for reading across the year and from all at Palatinate we hope you have a great Christmas and 2017! Olly Mawhinney

Thursday 1st December 2016 | PALATINATE

Inside 790

Editorial Board

What’s on page 3

Editors-in-Chief Olly Mawhinney and Charlie Taylor-Kroll editor@palatinate.org.uk News Editors Ryan Gould and Emma Pinckard news@palatinate.org.uk News Features Editor Holly Bancroft news.features@palatinate.org.uk Deputy News Editors Hugo Harris, Sophie Gregory and Anna Tatham Politics Editor Mason Boycott-Owen politics@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Politics Editor Kate McIntosh and Joseph Costello Profile Editors Lily Boulter and Jack Reed profile@palatinate.org.uk Science and Technology Editor Luke Andrews and Tommy Pallett scitech@palatinate.org.uk Comment Editor Adam Cunnane comment@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Comment Editor Scarlet Hannington Sport Editor Nick Friend sport@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Sport Editors Reece Moore and James Martland Indigo Editor Yongchang Chin indigo@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Indigo Editor Olivia Howcroft deputy.indigo@palatinate.org.uk Features Editor Sophie Paterson feature@palatinate.org.uk Food and Drink Editor Divya Shastri food@palatinate.org.uk Travel Editor Charis Cheesman and Naoise Murphy travel@palatinate.org.uk Fashion Editor Victor Schagerlund fashion@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Fashion Editor Emma Denison Film and Television Editor Simon Fearn film@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Film and Television Editor Eugene Smith Stage Editors Sofya Grebenkina stage@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Stage Editors Alison Gamble Music Editor Rory McInnes-Gibbons music@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Music Editor Beth Madden Creative Writing Editor Anna Gibbs creative.writing@palatinate.org.uk Books Editors Ellie Scorah and Aaron Bell books@palatinate.org.uk Visual Arts Editor Jane Simpkiss visual.arts@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Visual Arts Editor Lolita Gendler Chief Sub-Editor Marianna Mukhametzyanova sub-editing@palatinate.org.uk Sub-Editors Harriet Cunningham, Jack Heeney, Inka Karna, Grace Long, Ollie Mair, Ciara Murphy, Violet Nicholson Web Editor John Morris Photography Editor Grace Tseng photography@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Photography Editor Dai-Khue Le Duong and Max Luan Illustrations Editor Faye Chua illustration@palatinate.org.uk Advertising Officer Sian Round advertising@palatinate.org.uk Social Media Officer Elizabeth Watson Digital Coordinator Craig Bateman

News pages 4-8

Comment pages 9-11

Profile page 12 Politics pages 13-15 SciTech page 16-17 Sport pages 18-20

indigo

Editorial page 2

Books page 3

Film & TV pages 4-5 Visual Arts page 6 Features page 7 Fashion page 8-9

Travel page 10-11 Food & Drink page 12 Stage page 13-14

Music pages 14-15

Creative Writing page 16

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The best of Palatinate Online www.palatinate.org.uk

PALATINATE TV: Exclusive interview with Jeremy Vine Find Palatinate’s extended interview with broadcaster and Durham alumni Jeremy Vine on the Palatinate TV Youtube channel

PROFILE: Jess Green: the spoken word poet

MUSIC: Music from down under

FASHION: Melania Trump: the politics of dressing

Helen Spalding interviews accomplished performance poet about her recent sucess and recent work: ‘Dear Mr. Gove’.

Olivia Thompson explores some of her favourite bands she found during her time in Sydney.

Anna Callahan discusses the impact of the recent presidential election on the fashion industry and how the industry is responding to the new President elect.

Palatinate is published by Durham Students’ Union on a fortnightly basis during term and is editorially independent. All contributors and editors are full-time students at Durham University. Send letters to: Editor, Palatinate, Durham Students’ Union, Dunelm House, New Elvet, Durham, DH1 3AN. Alternatively, send an e-mail to editor@palatinate.org.uk


PALATINATE | Thursday 1ST December 2016

It’s that time of year again – housing!

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What’s On Palatinate’s festive pick of the next fortnight FOOD & DRINK

Every year I’ve lived out of college I’ve signed for a house in January. Unfortunately I’m in the minority, and at this time of year, there is a sense of urgency around getting a house as soon as possible. I’m not saying there’s a ‘best’ time to sign for a house, or that you shouldn’t sign before January. My main advice to students is to make sure you know what you want in a house and your housemates and you get answers to your questions before you sign on the dotted line. As pointed out in Lucy Godridge’s article in the last edition of Palatinate: ‘Words of warning when choosing your home there are pitfalls to not checking the damp and mould situation, the noise levels or the fine print of your contract’. So whenever you choose to sign, please take the time to look into these things. The other reason not rush into signing is to ensure you have time to make yourself aware of your rights as a tenant and the choices available to you. There are a plethora of landlords following best practice and providing great student homes in Durham, so take the time to make sure your prospective landlord is one of them and that you make an informed choice. This year our Advice Service is seeing an increase in agents charging ‘administrative charges’, which can cost up to £180 (£150 plus VAT) per student. Given that students are being panicked into signing earlier and are often completely new to the rental market, it feels like letting agents are taking advantage of tenants who have relatively little power to object to high prices and additional fees. There are many letting agents and landlords who do not charge extra fees, so if you don’t want to pay just shop around and find an agent you are happy with. Remember: STOP-THINKSIGN! Alice Dee is President of the Durham Students’ Union

What’s On

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Durham Christmas Festival Durham City 02/12/16; 09:00

Photograph: Burns Coach Tours

FOOD & DRINK

STAGE

Newcastle Christmas Market

DUCT’S present a Christmas Carol

Newcastle City 12/12/16; 10:00

The Assembly Rooms 14/12/16; 19:30

Not just content with Durham’s festive offering? Hop on the short train journey north to visit Newcastle’s attempt at Christmas. Centred around Grey’s Monument, the Christmas Market offers a delightful range of food and drink include locally brewed beers, homemade sweets and chocolates, and winter warmers. The Market is on until the end of term, packing up on Sunday 18th

From the 14th to the 16th of December, The Assembly Rooms Theatre will be transformed by festive cheer for Durham University Classical Theatre’s production of ‘A Christmas Carol’. Watch the Charles Dickens classic come to life in this adaptation, as you witness even the cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge slowly rediscover his Christmas spirit. Tickets are just £4 for DST members and a

December.

fiver for students.

Durham’s Award Winning Christmas Festival returns for three days with many exciting events taking place. Based around the Cathedral with other locations within the city, however the Market is a must visit and the perfect place to do some Christmas shopping! The Craft Marquee on Palace Green will have 190 stalls filled with products ranging from jewellery to handmade soaps. In the Cathedral Cloisters, there are 30 regional food and drink producers, as well as additional markets in Durham’s Market Place, Millennium Place, and Market Hall.

MUSIC Durham Christian Union Carol Service Durham Cathedral 12/12/16; 19:30 One of the most popular events of the festive period every year; what better location to hear your favourite Christmas Carols than the awe-inspiring setting of Durham Cathedral? Make sure you get there early to get a good spot and don’t forget to bring your Christmas jumpers. Stick around afterwards for some minced pies and mulled wine- you’ll regret it if you leave Durham without attending at least once.

A Jazzy Christmas 4 Durham Students’ Union 14/12/16; 20:00 The renowned Durham Big Band are back again this year for their fourth Jazzy Christmas. With an evening of Jazzy fun, drink deals and big band cocktails to get you out of the cold winter air. This free gig at the Riverside Bar in the Students’ Union will get you in the Christmas spirit with the usual festive tunes as well as some big band favourites and those songs you just cannot escape at the moment.

FROM ALL OF THE PALATINATE TEAM WE HOPE YOU HAVE A HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR

PICK UP YOUR NEXT COPY OF PALATINATE ON THURSDAY 26

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JANUARY


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News Vice-Chancellor interview

Thursday 1st December 2016 | PALATINATE

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“We’re committed to students having a colle

One of the criticisms of the University, I think, has been that the University tends to act before it has entered into dialogue.

Continued from front page ... “What’s been a great joy about it is that it’s been a very collective effort; a large number of people have been involved in putting the Strategy together. So the vision is just the starting point, I think.” Corbridge said that “trying to roadtest the [University’s] vision as best as we can through town hall meetings, the website, and with the alumni is more difficult. It comes with a very big price tag and it is up to Council then to say what they want to do given the political uncertainty in the UK.” While Corbridge spoke positively about this vision, many local residents have voiced concerns about the growth of the University—particularly in Durham City. Responding to questions raised by Douglas Pocock, the Chair of the City of Durham Trust, asking whether the city should adjust to the University or the University should adjust to the city, Corbridge said that “the first thing I think we should say is that we need to work together on a plan for the city that works not just for the University, but for the people of the city and the county. “One of the criticisms of the University, I think, has been that the University tends to act before it has entered into dialogue,” Corbridge said. “So what we’ve done as part of the University Strategy is to be absolutely

upfront that our ambition is to grow the University over ten years by no more than—so could be less than— 4,000 students. I don’t think the University has ever said that to the local community before. “We’ve grown substantially over the last ten years, but it’s been incremental, and I think that has caused some concern in the community.” Professor Corbridge referred to the new Estates Masterplan, which was launched at the beginning of the academic year for public consultation. As part of the Estates Masterplan, the University intends to build two new colleges on the site of Mount

Oswald to accommodate students migrating from Stockton. Additionally, the University intends to open Sheraton Park, a new purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) building in Neville’s Cross, as a college for postgraduate students. Sheraton Park will eventually replace Ustinov College. Referring to public consultation on the details of the Estates Masterplan, the Vice-Chancellor noted that the University held consultation events at Maiden Castle and at the Marriott hotel, but he says the University knows it “will have to do more—not everybody is able to get to those two meetings.” He also said that he talks regularly to residents’ associations across Durham, Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, and to Durham County council. “So we’ve said first of all this is the table of growth we imagine; this is how we imagine it will take shape in terms of the academic estate and the colleges; and then I think what we’ve tried to say is that we will do our very best to house more of our students in Durham University accommodation. “We have been very open that we are planning four new colleges over [a ten-year] period. We have been very open to say that the first two [colleges] will be at Mount Oswald, so that should cause less disruption in town. “We will do our best to work with

Corbridge stressed the University’s £1.1 billion worth to the UK economy the community on things like the routing of students through the city, making sure people are involved and consulted on the design of new buildings,” Corbridge stressed. “And the last part of an answer to Mr Pocock, or anybody else I suspect, is that the University does also contribute a massive amount to the UK,” Corbridge said, citing a recent report by BiGGAR Economics that Durham is worth £1.1 billion per year to the

We will do our best to work with the community on things like the routing of students through the city

Photograph: Durham University

“We need to work together on a plan for the city”

UK economy. Corbridge also claimed that the University is worth around £640 million to the North East, and over £400 million to Durham.

“Our students are volunteering, as you probably know, about 14,000 hours of [their time] a year—our staff too. So whilst, inevitably, there will be some tensions, I think we have to tell a story too about what the University contributes. “I think it’s a mixture of what the University contributes, being transparent in what we intend to do, and then genuinely getting feedback and seeing what happens. We have to operate in a legal planning regime, so we can propose but we can’t take all of the decisions ourselves,” Corbridge said. With the cost of a single room in college increasing by 1.6% to £7,171 for the 2017/18 academic year, the affordability of living in college was a theme that emerged in many questions submitted by Palatinate readers. Palatinate asked the ViceChancellor at what point does college accommodation become too expensive. Professor Corbridge expressed that the University’s vision is to increase the number of students living in college: “At the moment, 43% of students we think live in colleges at any moment; we would like that figure in ten years time to be over 50%. “We’re committed to students having a collegiate experience. We will only get 50% or more students liv-


PALATINATE | Thursday 1st December 2016

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News

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Vice-Chancellor interview

egiate experience,” Corbridge tells Palatinate

Photograph: Durham University

ing in college if it’s an attractive offer relative to what else they can access here, in Stockton or the surrounding villages.” Referring to the 1.6% increase in accommodation fees, relative to a 3.5% increase last year and 20% rise in the three years preceding 2016/17, Corbridge stressed “we know that DSU would prefer zero, but I think that 1.6% will prove to be a pretty good deal—it’s much different to what’s happened over the last three years. “My own guess is that inflation will be above 2% in the UK, so that’s a reasonable rate rise given that our staff costs are going up greater than that,” Corbridge said. Considering the future cost of college accommodation, the ViceChancellor emphasised that “going forward, the issues will be can we maintain that sort of low level of rent rise over time and what sort of debate will we have with the student body over some degree of differential accommodation. “That’s the other issue of concern for some students as I hear it, that you can pay the same price for a room that is really nice and for a room which really has problems, so we will need to have a discussion on that.” However, he was keen to assert

the importance of not creating exclusions within college accommodation. “What we really want to avoid… is that you price certain parts of the accommodation so high that only a certain group of students can access it, and that is a problem at some UK universities as we know it.” In seeking to address concerns of the impact of rising accommodation and tuition fees, as well as cuts in the Durham Grant Scheme, on the accessibility of the University for students from lower-income backgrounds, Corbridge raised that as part of the new University Strategy a review has been commissioned on improving accessibility. “We’ve just asked for what’s the most radical thing, what’s the least radical thing we can do,” he said. The Vice-Chancellor noted that building relations in the North East is increasingly part of the University Strategy. “I think we’ve decided as an Executive, and talking to students, staff, is that we probably want to make a big push in the North East. “One of the difficulties with Durham is that we are a top-ranked global university, and sometimes people might think we’re slightly detached from the region, and I think we need to work hard to show that we’re not.” In expanding upon the relationships the University already have in

70th in 2015/16 to 96th in the latest Times Higher Education (THE) university rankings, the Vice-Chancellor made his case for the University’s success, but also recognised that more needs to be done to internationalise the reputation of the University. “If you are talking about the international league tables, we’ve had our second best performance ever in terms of QS, dropped a little in THE. We’re in the top one hundred world Universities,” he said. Professor Corbridge recognised that the University is facing increased competition from universities around the world. “You have to understand that there is enormous competition on the one hand; there is the rise of universities in Asia and elsewhere—so our recent drop in THE was mirrored by places like Exeter. “In the THE league table, one of the issues for places like Durham going forward is that a lot of the mark is based on reputational surveys, not teaching and research.” As a result Corbridge asserted the importance of improving the reputation of the University abroad. “What this tells me and what I think it should tell us is that Durham is incredibly well known, regarded, and loved in this country; we know because we’ve done some work ourselves in Europe, less so in the United States I believe. We don’t have the name recognition that we should outside this country. “We have a lot of work to do in terms of internationalising the reputation of the University, when you look at what I would call hard metrics—employability, student citations—then we do very well, which is partially why we do better in the QS

We have a lot of work to do in terms of internationalising the University

place with the local area, Corbridge understood that the University has more to do with local schools. ”We’re doing things now in Bishop Auckland; we’ll remain in Stockton; we’re here, contributing a lot in terms of gross value added, but I think we can do more with local schools to get people from low-income backgrounds into university,” said Corbridge. He added that Alan Houston, the incoming Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), has a lot of experience in this area. “What we will do when Alan joins us is look at the balance of how we spend that money, to what extent we spend it on things like the summer schools, the Sutton Trust scheme, or on bursaries. “We will involve students in a review of that to see whether we’re doing as well as we could do.” The Vice-Chancellor raised the possibility of introducing the living wage, insisting that the University were “working on it.” He added that the University is “committed to trying to be a responsible employer, a living wage employer.” A front-page story in the Guardian the day before Palatinate’s conversation with Professor Corbridge revealed that Durham sits eighth in a table that ranks the percentage of staff at Russell Group universities employed on “temporary” or “atypical” contracts. Corbridge said that he hadn’t “had a chance to look at the Guardian article in any detail,” but did allude to a University project on how staff are employed. “We are doing a large piece of work on how many people we employ, how we employ them and the terms and conditions. “We have about 3,500 people FTE [full-time employees] on the payroll, but as you say there are far more bodies going through the payroll, so we do at the moment have a large number of atypical contracts but some of those of course are students—working in the bar, working in the library.” According to the Guardian article, 60.5% of staff employed by the University are on “temporary” or “atypical” contracts. Comparatively, the figure for staff employed on similar contracts by Cambridge University was only 13.4%. Within the piece of work, led by Jen Robinson, Chief Operating Officer, Corbridge stressed that the University will “look at the Guardian article to see why we appear, as you tell me, different from Oxford and Cambridge, as they would be reasonable comparisons you would think because they are collegiate universities.” Following the University’s fall from

league tables.” With the University’s fall in rankings and tuition fees expected to rise to £9,500, Corbridge was asked by one reader how Durham can ensure that it remains a competitive choice for prospective students. The Vice-Chancellor commented: “In my view, we do offer very good value for money. You would expect

me to say that, but for that fee. the quality of the education is very high.” Corbridge added that, “more generally it’s a collegiate University, so I think we’re offering something through the college system, through Durham Students’ Union (most universities will have something like that), through Experience Durham, which adds extra value.” Referring to future plans to develop the student experience, Professor Corbridge spoke enthusiastically of plans to expand the Durham Award—an award developed in partnership with employers and students to recognise the extra skills that Durham gives to students. Currently around one hundred students participate in the Durham Award. However, Corbridge proposed that “we could scale that up so that on a voluntary basis; thousands of students would be interested in taking it, and we offer students something really useful for it. “We can’t force people to [take the Award]. Well we could, but I don’t think we intend to force students to do the Durham Award, but if we offer something really good that they would value, that employers would value, that’s going to cost a bit of money, then we would show we’re offering good value for money to students.” Responding to questions about the uncertainty of Brexit, Corbridge stressed the importance of consultation. “We’ve got a town hall for European students and international students next week and we’ve done two town halls with staff members. I can tell you what I would hope for: we want to go from 21% international students now to 29% in ten years time. “By then of course EU students, as we understand it, will be classified as international, so they need to be added onto that figure. My firm hope is that the Government recognise that all universities, particularly top universities, need to attract students and staff from all over the world, so we’re campaigning hard to ensure that the new regime doesn’t close to well qualified students and staff,” Corbridge said. “We’re working with local MPs on that, the University UK lobbies on that, the Russell Group lobbies on that. What will happen we don’t know; we will have to hope the government retains reasonably open borders, particularly for students. It would be better to take the students out of the migration totals, for which there is a lot of public support. I don’t think the public generally thinks students are permanent migrants.”


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News

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Thursday 1st December 2016 | PALATINATE

“Where there are already strong partnerships, those will continue somehow or another” sities will continue to pay the same fees as ‘home’ UK based students for the full duration of their course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU. This has been confirmed by the Student Loans Company. Corbridge remarked that “the government has (also) guaranteed that EU students applying to study in England in 2017/18 will continue to be eligible for tuition fee loans for the duration of their studies.” Regarding the Erasmus+ exchange scheme, Corbridge admitted that its future was “rather less certain,” even if those “taking part this academic year are not going to be

We need to know if our business model will be in the wake of the triggering of Article 50

Continued from front page ...grants facilities for involving people from non-EU countries. One would hope that we would get some benefit from that because we’ve already got strong research links with various European universities. “It is in nobody’s interests for that to finish, and I’m sure that where there are already strong partnerships, those will continue somehow or another.” The town hall meeting also enabled Corbridge to speak about the type of Brexit Durham University will promote as a member of UUK (Universities UK) and the Russell Group: “We have been keen to suggest that students should not be included in the net migration figures in the UK and that we want to maintain as far as possible open borders, open recruitment for students and staff from all around the world.” Corbridge and the 23 Vice-Chancellors of the Russell Group are expected to have dinner with Home Secretary Amber Rudd this week to lobby this agenda in person. It was acknowledged that the government has allayed some immediate uncertainty on the issue of tuition fees. EU students attending UK univer-

affected by the referendum result.” Moreover, given the government’s commitment to reducing net-migration figures to the tens of thousands, the Vice-Chancellor considered it “naïve” to dismiss the possibility that changes would not be made to the status of non-EU international students. Recognising this, Janet Stewart, head of Durham’s School of Modern Languages and Cultures, stated that some of her staff were looking to affiliate with Open Britain to provide some political pressure on a grassroots level. A newly created Brexit steering group at Durham University will consider issues closer to home through a Brexit lens. It is anticipated that Durham University’s 2017-2027 Strategy, which underlines the plans to relocate Queen’s Campus and Ustinov College, will be signed off in December by the University Executive Council. “We need to know if our business model will be in the wake of the triggering of Article 50,” Corbridge said. It was also noted that further Brexit-orientated town halls would probably be held once a term to get a sense of such issues from the point of view of both staff and students.

Photograph: Durham University

University clarifies Hardship Fund spending

In 2012/13 exceptional funds were approved to support a cohort of international students

Durham University has responded to the Freedom of Information data received by Durham for Accessible Education, clarifying information behind the Hardship Fund statistics. The University has acknowledged that it has less money to allocate towards the Fund than in previous years, partly due to the fact that it received an allocation from the government—the Access to Learning Fund—in both the 2012/13 and 2013/14 academic years. It continued to explain that, “[b] ecause of the way funding from external bodies is accounted, the University was also able to carry forward some unspent funding from the previous year’s allocation and to spend loan repayments from previous years. “In 2014/15 the University made £100,000 available to fund home undergraduate students in hardship. The University was also

allowed to carry forward unspent funding from the 2013/14 Access to Learning Fund allocation, estimated at the start of the academic year to be £50,000. “The University also made £75,000 available for home postgraduate and all overseas students in hardship.” “In 2015/16 the University made £100,000 available to fund home undergraduate students with a household income of less

than £42,875 in hardship via the Access Agreement. It also made £75,000 available to fund all other students in hardship.” Durham has further clarified that the reason for the 55% decrease in support given to students over the past three years is due to the fact that “in 2012/13 exceptional funds were approved to support a cohort of international students who were experiencing major unexpected hardship,” and therefore it was “not a typical year.” It has also highlighted that, although 31 grants were awarded, the University made a total of 113 awards in various other ways, listing Short-Term Loans, Bridging Loans, Discretionary Loans, and Long Vacation Loans as examples. “As a result of this, it can be seen that in 2015/16, 63% of applications resulted in an award of some kind.” Information on the Hardship Fund is made available online, and all applicants are given “detailed explanations of refusals,” including their “individual Calculation

Sheets which determine how their income was compared with the University’s definition of the minimum level of expenditure for their personal circumstances.” Durham has confirmed that a part-time member of staff monitors and collects unpaid hardship loans, but explained that they also negotiate repayment plans so that funds can be “recycled to allow others to access the Hardship Loan fund.” The University claims that a number are still being repaid from 2004, whilst others are being repaid at a rate of only £1 per month. It also explained that “the ‘loan book’ for hardship loans is in the region of £327,000, of which £270,000 is still outstanding, and therefore a value of £5,800 towards the recovery of these interest free loans—1.77%—is very small.” The University has rebuked claims that students can be prevented from graduating if their Hardship Loan is unpaid. “Students are only prevented from attending their graduation cer-

The expenditure in the Disability Support service is directly linked to student demand

Emma Pinckard News Editor

emony if their tuition fees are not paid,” the University clarified. It has also stated that “there is a difference between budget and expenditure. The expenditure in the Disability Support service is directly linked to student demand and individual support requirements, consequently it will fluctuate from year to year.” Information can be found at www.durham.ac.uk/student.finance/uhf.


PALATINATE | Thursday 1st December 2016

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News

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Durham SU Assembly passes motion to tackle HE Bill Anna Tatham Deputy News Editor An extraordinary Assembly held by Durham Students’ Union has passed a motion to tackle the Higher Education and Research Bill proposed by the government. The motion resolves “to mandate the SU Officers to continue pursuing the goal of widening access to Durham University and campaigning on the cost of living for current students.” The Higher Education and Research Bill proposes major reforms to the HE sector, including the controversial introduction of a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) which will utilise the National Student Survey (NSS), Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) and retain data to assess teaching quality. Performance in the TEF would then denote universities’ ability to increase fees in line with inflation. Academic Affairs Officer Lisa Whiting applauded the elements of the HE Bill such as furthering student protection, yet expressed concerns about the “detrimental impact” the rise in fees could have for Durham students, as well as the accuracy of the TEF. She vowed to “continue lobbying the University” over the issue yet stated “we must recognise the University is under a significant financial incentive to engage in the TEF.” She also stressed the importance of officer involvement in working alongside the University, and the need to “commit to having student representatives in all future conversations.” There was a resounding majority at the assembly in the vote for adopting the motion. President of Durham’s Students’ Union Alice Dee commented on the result, and stated: “There’s

Durham Students’ Union Assembly Photograph: Durham Students’ Union definitely a feeling that [the HE which would configure an impact National Conference 2016, how- vour of the ballot, stating that “it Bill] is probably going to happen, assessment on the tactic of a proever the University of West Lon- can’t do any harm” to obtain more [so] we need to work with our uni- posed boycott of the National Studon suggested a comprehensive information about the implicaversities, our institutions, to try dent Survey (NSS). assessment of the possible risks tions of a possible sabotage of the and mitigate as many issues that Over 30 other universities of the boycott, including how it NSS. could arise”. across the UK have provided eviwould impact vulnerable Students’ She also noted Durham’s “relaAlice Dee stated that content of dence of their support for the reUnions and the NUS as a whole. tively safe position” in that “the the HE Bill “wasn’t all negative”. quest for a National Ballot. Harry Cross contested the vote NSS doesn’t necessarily affect our She claimed that if the Bill were The National Ballot question for a National Ballot, stating that block grant from the university”, to be passed, she would lobby for would be “Should NUS conduct it would consist of “very specific but also highlighted that we have a more grants, “so that we don’t and publish a risk assessment and demands” which were “above and duty to “speak for [those] universihave this ‘elitist’ feel to Durham”, equality impact assessment before beyond” NUS funds and capabili- ties that the NSS results are really as she recognised that the Uni- finalising the NSS boycott/saboties. important for.” versity “would probably do quite tage action?” He also described the Ballot “a There was a majority vote in fawell” in the TEF. A motion which called for the deliberate attempt to put the NUS vour for the National Ballot to take The Assembly also voted in fa- sabotage of the NSS was passed in a difficult position”. place. vour of a proposed National Ballot, at the National Union of Students’ Alice Dee, however, stood in fa-

Durham University Electric Motorsport showcase their latest solar car Sophie Gregory Deputy News Editor The Durham University Electric Motorsport (DUEM) team have returned to Durham from Marrakech after showcasing their latest car at the UN Climate Change Conference. The exhibit was part of the Conference’s Sustainability and Inno-

vation Forum and was held from the 7th to the 18th of November. DUEM is the longest running solar car team in the UK, being founded in 2002. The student run team constructs the cars that run solely on solar energy to compete in events such as the World Solar Challenge in Australia. The car they showcased at

the UN Climate Change Conference, the DUSC2015, has a top speed of 70mph. Here they demonstrated technology that Durham students have produced whilst prompting action against climate change, “truly representing UK Innovation on the world stage.” The team’s website describes how “we have always pushed

the boundaries of technological innovation to the limit. The 50-strong team is entirely run and led by students outside of academically rigorous degrees, all of whom are incredibly future focused. “We believe that inclusion inspires innovation and have always had students from a diverse academic background, at both undergraduate and postgraduate

level: from engineering, to physics, mathematics, biology, economics, marketing and more.” Prior to the Conference, the solar car was displayed at the Formula E-Prix event that also took place in Marrakech from the 11th to 12th of November.


8

News Features

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Thursday 1st December 2016 | PALATINATE

Activists take part in a demonstration to protest sexual violence against women in Argentina

Photograph: Reuters

New Figures on Sex Attacks single out Durham University Holly Bancroft News Features Editor New figures on sex attacks, reported by the Daily Mail, reveal that at least 463 sex attacks were reported by female university students during the past two years. This equates to around one suspected victim a day during term-time. Rachel Krys, from End Violence Against Women, quoted in the Daily Mail, said, “These are disturbing numbers, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. There is a laddish culture at our universities that believes highly sexualised behaviour towards women is somehow acceptablethat it is all just banter. Universities are not doing enough to tackle this problem.” The University of Oxford and Durham University have the largest numbers of recorded rape and sex assault allegations in the past two years, with 36 incidents each. Hareem Ghani, National Women’s Officer at the National Union of Students (NUS) said, “This data shows that incidents, whether perpetrated by students or by staff, are far too common for women students.” Although it is true that these statistics are scary and show that sexual violence

is still a very present problem at universities, Gina Cuomo of It Happens Here Durham, said, “What is really important here is to differentiate between disclosure and actual incidents. At collegiate universities we have a much better support system for students and so there are many different avenues in which students feel more comfortable to disclose incidents of sexual violence. The fact we have such high numbers of disclosures shows that people are more comfortable to disclose this information.” It is through taking incidents of sexual violence and allegations seriously that more people feel freer to speak out about the incidences that do happen. An NUS survey previously revealed that one in seven women claimed to have experienced a serious physical or sexual assault while studying at university. More than a third said they sometimes felt unsafe visiting their university in the evening. Part of the reason why such high levels of disclosures are made may be because students feel like their experiences are more likely to be acted upon. Gina, speaking to Palatinate, said, “At Durham University we are in a really good place, in a way because we came from

a blank canvas in regards to how the University responds to issues of sexual violence. There has been a lot of research put into it over recent years and we are very happy with what they’ve come up with. Now it is just a question of implementing and keeping the University to its promises”. The University has set up a Sexual Violence Task force and now has focused Freshers week workshops and training for Freps to help prepare them for responding to these sorts of situations. Despite big steps being made forward, the problem still remains and more work needs to be done to make universities more forthcoming about the extent of the problem on their campuses. Hareem Ghani, National Women’s Officer at the NUS, said, “There is an urgent need for institutions to be transparent about the prevalence of sexual violence affecting their students. This includes implementing a centralised reporting system so that incidents can be effectively monitored and to ensure survivors are being properly supported”. A Government inquiry was launched last year to tackle violence against women at universities. A Durham University

spokesman said, “At Durham, we want all students to feel safe and to be treated with dignity and respect. We are open and transparent about the issue of sexual violence… The number of reports has increased, and we believe this is the result of a change of culture whereby students now feel more confident about coming forward.” When Palatinate asked Gina about how much progress she felt Durham students had made in stopping the normalisation of sexual violence she said, “I think it depends where you fall in the Durham community. The number of survivors is really prevalent but the supportive nature is also really good. We also still have an issue as a wider society with the culture of sexualisation and therefore the normalisation of rape culture as a result. This is my fourth year now and I really have seen a massive cultural shift, when I look at events they are now way more respectful. We’ve come a long way but there’s always room for improvement.” Over the past six months, the University has doubled the level of specialist support offered to student though the Rape & Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre, increased staff and student training and appointed a Student Support and Training Officer for Sexual

Violence and Misconduct. Big steps have clearly been put forward out of a genuine recognition of the serious nature of the problem. One next step that does need to be taken amongst universities is one towards transparency about revealing numbers of disclosures to those who ask. One thing universities can do is to not keep track of their disclosures so that they then don’t have to give the statistics up. Durham University is currently very open about disclosure statistics so this is not necessarily a problem here but it still remains in other British universities. The Daily Mail picked up on this in their article saying that almost a third of universities contacted by the Mail on Sunday refused to reveal how many assault allegations were made. Rape Crisis groups warned that the figures surrounding the number of allegations made were likely to be an underestimate after 28 top universities refused to release statistics. Overall it is fair to say that high numbers of disclosures show that Durham is getting better at dealing with cases of sexual violence but there is still more to be done.


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Homelessness in Durham

Homelessness across the UK is continuing to worsen with the number of people sleeping rough increasing by 30%, but we can all do something to help Adam Cunnane I had not been having a good week. Amongst other things, the queuing system at Tesco had thrown me into an existential crisis. I had begun to ponder what the morass of queuing said about the meaning (or lack thereof) of human existence. Wrenching myself from my musings, I decided to go out for a run. Big mistake. The freezing cold air embraced every facet of my body; warmth seemed like something from a distant, former life. An aspiration to the ideal, nothing more. Returning home, I had the luxury of pressing myself up against the radiator, trying to absorb as much heat as possible. The cold has been on everyone’s lips this week (in more ways than one). As if we have been paid by the weather to engage in a guerrilla marketing campaign, it has not failed to come up in almost every conversation I’ve had this week. But for some people, there is very little respite from the cold. Between February 2015 and 2016, the number of people sleeping rough has increased by 30%, meaning that on every one night there are around 3,569 people

than the national average. The statistics look even worse

If we have time to complain about the cold, we have time to ring Streetlink

if you focus on specific groups of people. 40% of those sleeping rough now have a mental health problem, according to statistics in The Guardian, while the Kennedy Trust informs us that one quarter of young homeless people identify as LGBT+. It’s very easy, I think, for statistics to become meani n g -

less. We tend to forget that homelessness can happen to anyone at any time. Take my grandad for instance. Coming to this country from Ireland in 1950, he didn’t have anywhere to live. So he slept on the benches of train stations until he could find a job. And I couldn’t even go out for a run for 20 minutes because it was too cold. I spoke to Darryn Hook at Sanctuary 21 in Durham about what we can do to help. He told me that they already received “quite a lot of support from students” with Castle’s Community Action group regularly coming to volunteer in the kitchen they use to provide free food to the homeless. They tend to get about 13-14 homeless people a day in Durham. He stressed that in order to help, people can offer to vol-

unteer with them or perhaps make up a bag with practical things, such as blankets, toiletries and non-perishable foods. This really depends on demand however, so do get in touch with Sanctuary 21 or homeless charities in your local area and see whether they could use more donations. But as the homeless charity Thames Reach, quoted in the Metro, advises (2nd March, 2016), you can always just buy some “food or a cup of tea” for those who are living on the streets. We have a Durham food bank that everyone can donate to ( https://durham.foodbank.org.uk/ for locations), and the wonderful charity Food Cycle that prepares a meal for homeless people in Durham every week, is always on the lookout for volunteers. They collect surplus food from cafes and the market to cook with, in order to reduce food waste. See http://foodcycle.org.uk/location/durham/ for more details.

Food Cycle in Durham is always on the lookout for volunteers

who shelter in doorways, bus shelters and alleyways. But this figure is misleading. To be homeless is not just to sleep on the street, but to couch-surf, to live in temporary accommodation, and temporary shelters. To this end, 120,000 children are expected to be in temporary accommodation this Christmas (See The Guardian page on homelessness). The average life expectancy of a homeless person in the UK is now 47 years, according to the government. That’s 34 years lower

There are other simple ways in which people can help. Julie Wearmouth, the Housing Team leader of Durham County Council recom-

The number of people sleeping rough has increased 30%

mends contacting StreetLink if you think someone is sleeping rough. They’ll then pass the information on to the local authority or council, who will work out how they can best help. Julie continues that “StreetLink allows the local community to be part of the solution to homelessness and provide a more effective response to rough sleeping.” They can be contacted on 0300 500 0914 or via their website at www.streetlink.org.uk. I rang them up a couple of weeks ago to bring to their attention a man sleeping rough on North Road. It doesn’t take any time at all and it has the potential to have a large impact on someone’s life. StreetLink operate all over the country, so you can ring them if you see anyone sleeping homeless wherever you are. There are many things we should not be a bystander to. Homelessness is one of them. Whether this be at Christmas or any other time of the year. Now of course the government should be doing more, but we should too. If we have time to complain about the cold, (as we all do), then we have time to ring StreetLink. My existential crisis had been thrown somewhat into perspective.

P Illustration by Faye Chua

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The Christian Union must improve its image this Christmas Durham’s Christian Union is failing to present an inclusive image

Chris Akka Let me begin this article by stating, from the outset, that I am a ChristianI go to church, I pray, but I’m not part of DICCU, although I find much of their work admirable. I believe that the CU should aim to incorporate everyone who identifies as a Christian, as opposed to focussing on certain practices. Creating an environment where, despite their best efforts to ‘make anyone welcome’, Christians such as myself feel uncomfortable, seems to be going against Jesus’ teachings on love and inclusion—something key to our faith. But this is not where my concern lies. No - my concern is found in what some perceive to be the emphasis of their mission to non-believers. Speaking to friends from all different backgrounds, it quickly became apparent that many had similar issues with the CU. One felt he was told that he would “go to hell” if he didn’t convert. Now I understand that this may well have been hyperbolic on his part, but I can see his issue. Having been to several CU events, such as the majority of their STORY mission week (which on the whole, I found

both fascinating and extremely wellorganised, prompting interesting and important discussions), it seemed that the speakers were using ‘scaretactics’ in order to spread their message. When asked if a young girl— brought up in IS controlled Syria and killed in an air strike—would receive

I believe that the CU should aim to incorporate all Christians

eternal life, one speaker answered that if she did not accept Jesus, then no, she wouldn’t, before seemingly changing topic to how we, ourselves now have the chance to convert, and so this issue should not affect us. Not only did I personally believe this to be wrong (the girl likely would never

have even heard of Jesus), but I was shocked by his answer. This is not a religious truth. It is an opinion. What he should have said is that no one knows. Yes, the Bible contains verses that suggest this, but just as many can be found that suggest otherwise. It is not our place to voice our own personal opinions as the general consensus of Christianity, as he seemed to be doing. In fact, student CU members around the country represent only around 10% of all student Christians. A similar story can be found at the CU Carol Service last academic year, with the take home message seeming to be that if one did not convert, one would be eternally punished. The same speaker more recently gave a talk that even my friends in the CU were angry about, stating that they were happy that none of their friends had come on that particular night— the wrong message was coming across. Even the UCCF (the CU governing body) doctrinal basis contains negative language: the word “sin” appears seven times in 11 points, with point 8 stating that “The Holy Spirit alone makes the work of Christ effective to individual sinners, enabling them to turn to God from their sin and to trust in Jesus Christ.” This instantly brands

non-believers as sinners—a word that many such people would find both offensive and uninviting. There is little mention of the love that Jesus focussed on in his teachings. Similarly, where is a mention of the unity of Christians that this body seemingly represents? The very fact that every member who wants to achieve an executive position in the CU has to sign this creed gives an almost exclusivist tone, appearing to force a set of beliefs on students as the ‘true’ Christianity.

It seemed that the speakers were using “scare-tactics”

These are just a few examples of what I see to be a negative impres-

sion put forward by the otherwise admirable CU. It is also not the Christianity that I know. Yes, Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-20 to “go and make disciples of all nations”, but nothing is said about how to do this. As our very own Bishop Butler stated in a recent sermon, it “does not work to force religion down people’s throats”. Surely then, it would make much more sense to present Christianity positively. For me, Christianity isn’t scary, and I’m not in constant fear of God. I see it as a relationship with someone who loves me, and no healthy relationship starts out in fear. Since becoming a Christian, my life has changed, and on the whole I’m much happier. You could say this is a coincidence, yes, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s your opinion and I’m not here to argue. As Luther famously wrote, we are justified by our faith, and not our works - I try and live the life of a good Christian, and if people want to approach me about it then that’s great. It seems fitting now more than ever, at Christmas, that this idea of love and inclusion should be presented. The Bible shows Jesus as coming into this world to save us and not to scare us, to include and not to exclude. Surely this would be a far more beneficial image for DICCU to put across?

Photograph by Anders Adermark via Flickr and Creative Commons


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PALATINATE | Thursday 1st December 2016

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Sexual harassment reporting at university: a closed case? Ella Burrows A 2015 survey by Yousight found that 34% of female university students and 1/8 of male university students had experienced sexual assault or abuse at university. The statistics for other genders are unclear. In a situation where a large number of students will experience sexual harassment at university, why is the process for reporting these assaults so opaque? When asked to write an article about the facilities for reporting sexual violence at Durham, one thing became immediately obvious: I had no clue what those facilities were. Like many other Durham students, I attended the talks during my freshers’ week in which I vaguely remember reporting crimes to the police being mentioned. But the question of reporting to the university seemed to be another matter entirely. My first thought (and, as I found out in an en-

tirely unreliable survey, the first thought of many of my friends) was that a student should speak to college welfare. However, if they felt more comfortable speaking to a lecturer, or a member of the student support staff, would the staff have adequate training to help them? Would speaking to one member of the university team be enough, or would the student be forced to go through a series of different procedures? It seemed the more I thought about it, the more questions arose. Unsurprisingly, it seems the system of reporting at Durham is as complicated as it is unspecific. An internet search of ‘Durham University Sexual Harassment Policy’ led me to a number of other pages. As it turns out, the university does not have a sexual harassment policy, but a generic ‘Respect at Study’ policy, which covers all forms of bullying and harassment. The statistics make it startlingly clear that harassment is a common feature of university life, so to lump the policy in with a generic procedure for bullying seems ridiculous. This

policy is difficult to understand, references various other lengthy codes of practice and seems intent on confusing a prospective complainant into saying nothing at all. It outlines a series of procedures that someone would have to follow before registering a formal complaint against someone else in the Durham community, and overall seems to be an incredibly complicated process. It also suggests that the university has harassment contacts in every college, but these contacts are impossible to find on the university webpages. With such a dense policy, you would imagine that Durham University is doing as little as most other institutions in the country to address sexual harassment. However, there seems to be one method by which the university are changing. The Sexual Violence Task Force (SVTD), launched in Durham in July 2015, presented recommendations a year later about what Durham University could do to tackle the problem of sexual harassment. Among these recommendations, the SVTD suggested that the university created

‘specialist policies and practices’ to address sexual harassment and had ‘student leader and staff training on working with those who disclose sexual violence’. Along

Another solution is to tackle the culture of normalised harassment within Durham

with this, the SVTD launched a new organisation, the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Operations Group (SVMOG), to implement these issues. Bizarrely, I struggled to find evidence of this group’s existence online aside from an ar-

ticle in our very own Palatinate. So, other than wishing and hoping that the mysterious SVMOG miraculously solve all the problems surrounding sexual harassment and reporting within Durham, what can we actually do as a community to simplify the process? Firstly, it seems odd that the documents online are not in a more obvious place – signposting and simplifying the policy on sexual harassment would make the general student body aware of how to report it. Another solution (which again, the SVMOG are supposedly addressing) is to tackle the culture of normalised harassment within Durham, so that the policy of sexual harassment is not something Durham students ever need to consider. Despite the progress we have made so far, both the student community and Durham University itself need to do more to show that we do not tolerate sexual harassment. If you would like any confidential advice regarding this subject, you can contact SupportLine: 01708765200 or email info@supportline.org.uk

Is Samaritan’s Purse using money to convert? Imogen Kaufman Samaritan’s Purse International is a registered charity that runs Operation Christmas Child. It’s delivered charity to more than 124 million children in over 150 countries. These statistics, at face value, are surely incredible. As a child, I delighted in making up these shoeboxes at Christmas at school. But as an eleven-year-old girl I had no idea what I was really playing a part in and many in the UK still don’t. The reality of Operation Christmas Child is not a pretty one, nor really a charitable one. The main controversy is the issue of conversion. Their own website clearly states that they have never put any Christian literature into shoeboxes. But they do, however, hand out Christian literature alongside them. The most used piece is their Christian booklet The Greatest Gift. They claim it is not actively converting children as it is not put within the box itself, but it’s still handed to the child who will al-

most always read it. The children are also invited to enrol on the The Greatest Journey programme which has been in place since 2008 and has had 2.8 million enrolments so far. The Christian agenda is evident and undeniable. The children these boxes get sent to are usually in vulnerable situations and many perceive this ‘conversion drive’ as taking advantage. And not only that, it makes the whole operation disingenuous. The company admits that the operation is advertised differently in the UK to places like the US. In the UK the religious rhetoric is purposefully toned down as to not alienate people. When I was a child I had no idea that the charity even had a religious agenda (I would like to point out that I went to a Secular school). Now conversion is a legitimate part of dogma for many Christian institutions, the issue is when proselytising takes priority over the aid itself. The children are being seen as Christian projects, not people in need. After the hurricane in Nicaragua in 1999, Samaritan’s Purse organised a religious festival. Ac-

cording to the president of Operation USA (an international relief organisation) the charity pressured local churches into sending thousands of children to a stadium in Managua to hear the leader of the charity, Rev. Franklin Graham, preach. These children were in desperate need of

The main controversy is the issue of conversion

aid and yet Samaritan’s Purse’s priority was proselytising. They wasted money that was needed elsewhere and this is not a local-

ised event. Similar situations can be observed in Haiti in 2010 and in 2008 in Iraq where they distributed Arabic bibles and sent hundreds of volunteers to attempt to convert Muslims following the tsunami in Banda Aceh. Samaritan’s Purse appear to take advantage of the vulnerable. When the opportunity of conversion is brought with vital aid and resources it is not simply charity. It’s arguably manipulation. Rev Franklin Graham, the head the charity, described Islam as “evil.” He also said that Donald Trump was his preferred candidate in the recent election and has questioned Barack Obama’s Christianity. And yet hundreds of schools in the UK associate with him every year. Dr Giles Fraser, a Church of England priest wrote a piece for the Guardian where he appropriately used the term ‘gift wrapping Islamophobia.’ And Samaritan’s Purse is not just Islamophobic. The charity gave significant financial support to the campaign against marriage equality in the USA and Graham has openly supported Vladimir Putin for his homo-

phobic stance on homosexuality. The issue with this charity isn’t just its mission of conversion. Samaritan’s Purse advocates discrimination. And children and schools are still getting involved with this kind of agenda today. In 2002 over a million boxes were collected from UK schools, churches and businesses. And whilst charity should be encouraged, supporting this sort of charity surely endorses what it stands for? Samaritan’s Purse appears to prioritise conversion before aid and its leader represents a dangerous form of conservative Christianity. It is not good enough that British institutions might be ignorant of these realities. Part of a school’s role is to be aware of the charity it’s partaking in, and thus its children are too. Many Christian groups condone Samaritan’s Purse and positive alternatives to Operation Christmas child are less popular. The issue goes beyond the uncomfortable link between charity and conversion, but also the indirect condoning of discrimination and hate speech through the charities which we associate ourselves with.


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Thursday 1st December 2016 | PALATINATE

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Tim Farron: Liberal Democrats, Brexit and everything in between The Lib Dem leader provides his insight into Brexit and the battle for the centre ground

Jack Reed Profile Editor Like a boxer up against the ropes, the Liberal Democrats were on the edge of being knocked out as a political party following the 2015 election. They had only 8 MPs, were without a leader and confronted by a spell in the political wilderness. It would have been easy for the Lib Dems to accept their failures and the blame they had been assigned for the coalition government, rightly or wrongly, and sink into political obscurity. But, instead of throwing in the towel, Tim Farron emerged from the corner of the ring, somebody with energy and direction for the future, and somebody ready to take the inevitable punches that would be thrown at him. Farron won the Liberal Democrat leadership election with 56.5% of the vote and has since made significant strides towards rebuilding the reputation of the party, perhaps most notably with the campaigning he put in for the Remain vote in the EU referendum. Despite the result of the referendum, Farron maintains Britain should vote again on whether to trigger Article 50: “whether Article 50 should not be triggered is one that should be decided by Parliament. I believe however that the terms of the deal that is negotiated with the EU should be put to the British people in a referendum. We trusted the people with deciding on whether to depart, why should we not trust them on deciding the destination?” The referendum was ultimately a unique event in the history of British politics, one which Farron describes as “a bitter and divisive campaign, with both sides being guilty of divisive politics.” Nevertheless, Farron maintains the most important issue

While it would be fantastic to do a Trudeau and come from behind to win, I would settle for doing an Ashdown.

Farron was the one of the most prominent voices in the Remain campaign

at hand is not to quibble over what has happened and focus on achieving the best Brexit deal. “I believe that the UK remaining a member of the single market is vital for the UK’s economy as so many of our businesses rely on their trade with Europe and small businesses would suffer outside of the European market.” It is clear to see Farron’s passion for remaining in the EU. While he is a big supporter of the free movement between countries, he argues Britain must prioritise staying in the single market but believes other countries, “who believe in freedom of movement will allow Britain such favourable terms to stay in the single market.” It is a deal of so many possibilities and such favourable terms to stay in the single market.” It is a deal of so many possibilities and ultimately one with no right answer. The Liberal Democrats have made it very clear that they intend to keep Britain in the EU ahead of the 2020 election, though Farron stresses that this isn’t their only significant policy. They aim to launch a number of new measures, which look to overturn the policies the Conservatives have and plan to implement over the next four years. This is evident in his thoughts about grammar schools and belief that “such an archaic system would let down our children.”

Rather than establish a new set of grammars, Farron hopes to “continue upon some of our success in government,” relating directly to providing free school meals to all children and introducing “a curriculum for life including financial literacy, first aid skills and age-appropriate sex and relationship education.” As well as education, Farron also hopes for greater changes in healthcare, wanting its transformation into “a service truly capable of looking after the nation’s health.” He plans to create a National Health and Social Care service and has no qualms about how much this may cost, willing to “look into the feasibility of a NHS tax if this is what is required.” Farron wants the best for British people and will invest money to ensure this happens. When Palatinate first interviewed Farron in June 2015, he was preparing for a leadership election that he would go on to win. Back then, he spoke about the growing support for the Liberal Democrats despite their poor showing in the election. He has repeated that message once again, reiterating Nick Clegg’s resignation speech was one “that thousands of liberals around the country responded to.” His humility shines through when he claims the new level of support cannot be credited to him. However

he also maintains that if “his commitment to local campaigning has been responsible for our new level of support and energy, then I am proud to have helped the Lib Dem fightback.” Without doubt, the Lib Dems are on their way forward rather than backwards and, while Farron may not admit it, one must admire the dedication he has shown to the role and the party as a whole in dragging them out of the corner and back into the political fight. During the build-up to the leadership election last year, Farron refused to focus solely on winning the election, but more on how to develop the party further and help it recover from the disappointments of the election. He acknowledges that “rebuilding the party’s local support and ensuring our voices are heard” is the biggest challenge he faces as leader, especially since this local support “is needed for the media to listen to a party with only 8 seats in the Commons.” The hard work Farron and his colleagues have been putting in on the ground seems to be producing results, what with the growth in membership the Lib Dems have experienced and in by-elections across the country, where Farron believes the Lib Dems “have shown that we are here and fighting back, by win-

Photograph: Tim Farron

ning seat after seat.” He will hope this trend continues into 2020 and beyond. Farron’s work is targeted towards the election in 2020 and trying to rebuild the influence of the Lib Dems in Parliament. While the ambition is of course to see Lib Dems back in government, Farron sees this more as a dream rather than a realistic expectation for the forthcoming election. He comments “the next election however I have slightly lower aims. While it would be fantastic to do a Trudeau and come from behind to win, I would settle for doing an Ashdown.” Clearly, he is somebody who has core principles driven by ideological beliefs rather than those of purely election victory. Furthermore, there is a traditional approach to politics that is both refreshing and productive in its results: as he advises all young people hoping to go into politics “even after a defeat, you need to get back up and get back out there to campaign for what you believe in.” Farron is a fighter and, instead of throwing the towel in, will throw the punches back at his opponents until the Lib Dems return to the forefront of the political arena.


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PALATINATE | Thursday 1st December 2016

Politics

www.palatinate.org.uk

Opinion Poll: Corbyn is ‘Durham’s Favourite Politician’ point in their lives. But traditional party alignment did not prevail in Durham, where almost half - 48% - named a party other than Labour or the Conservatives as the party closest to their own political beliefs. The Liberal Democrats and Greens won substantial support, with Farron’s eight-MP-strong party winning 17% of our votes. The

82% of respondents voted in the EU Referendum

Four times as many people had no favourite politician than chose Jeremy Corbyn.

sponded to the poll most were male and 89% were white. The most popular home region was the South East and London - 30% of respondents - but areas of the North East were well represented, as were international students. . In terms of political participation, 1 in 3 are a member of a political party, and 1 in 5 have campaigned for their party at some

Women are 12% more likely to vote than men because of 2016.

along party lines, there were some clear differences in political priorities between the genders. For example, 37% of male respondent cited the economy as a priority, whilst only 11% of female respondents agreed. Similarly, 12% male respondents favoured equality, compared to 20% females. So, has the past year changed perceptions of politics in Durham? On the whole, we seem to be pessimistic about the events of 2016. Brexit garnered a negative reaction from 70% of the people who responded, only narrowly losing out to Trump’s victory which provoked a negative response from 74%. These results

72% of people said they found British politics ‘engaging’

for Corbyn. Nigel Farage came out ahead in the competition for Durham’s least favourite politician, with an impressive 32% of the vote. Other contenders for the Farage’s title included fellow Brexiteer Boris Johnson, Prime Minister Theresa May, and Corbyn himself. But with 47% female respondents picking Farage as their least favourite politician, he actually proved to be the most unifying person mentioned in the poll. In a year that has seen seismic changes in the political landscape on both sides of the Atlantic, Palatinate Politics took the chance to assess how much student attitudes have changed in the past year. Whilst youth turnout across Britain remains low, 82% of Durham students voted in the EU referendum, and 58% in last year’s general election. An impressive 72% said they found British politics engaging. Of the 611 people who re-

Jeremy Corbyn on the mic Photograph: RevolutionBahrainMC via Wikimedia

apparent popularity of the Liberals, despite failings in 2015, might see them to victory in the Richmond Park by-election. Despite the majority of students claiming an interest in politics, 12% felt that no party sufficiently represents their views, mirroring the 17% who could not name

welfare also scored highly among the student body. The party political divide was also expressed; 58% of those who identify with Conservative policies prioritise the economy, while only 15% who chose Labour put economic concerns first. As well as ideological divides

Which political party (if any) would you say represents your views?

show only marginal change in attitudes to the EU since the 23rd June; in our poll of EU voting attention conducted in June, 67% said they would vote to remain in the European Union. This pessimism has not necessarily had a negative effect on our willingness to vote, however. Only 2.6% of those who responded said the year in politics had made them less likely to vote. The majority - 55% - claim they are no more or likely to vote than before, with women 12% more likely to vote than men post-2016.

The pessimism of 2016 has not had a negative effect on our willingness to vote.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been voted Durham’s favourite politician, according to Palatinate’s recent poll of Durham students. Of those who responded, 5% named the veteran left winger as their top choice. But even among students who said they identify with Labour politics, more said they had no favourite politician than opted

a favourite politician. The helps explain the 13% of respondents who said they have never voted in a UK political election. When it comes to political priorities - like the environment and healthcare - there’s not much uniformity. Economic concerns seem to be most important to Durham students, with 28% vouching for the economy. But the remainder of the vote was divided, with education and equality both on 15%. Human rights and

Mason Boycott-Owen & Kate McIntosh Politics Editor & Deputy Politics Editor

Durham’s Favourite Politicians 1) Jeremy Corbyn 2) Theresa May 3) Jacob Rees-Mogg 4) Boris Johnson & Nick Clegg

Durham’s Least Favourite Politicians 1) Nigel Farage 2) Boris Johnson 3) Jeremy Corbyn 4) Michael Gove 5) Theresa May

Durham’s Top Five Political Priorities 1) Economy 2) Equality 3) Education 4) Human Rights 5) Welfare

Favourite Responses “Andy Burnham - he is a good man.” “I would fight Nigel Farage.” “Miliband? More like MiliBLAND!” “Michael Gove. Incredible slimeball of a man.” “I like Nicola Sturgeon even though she’s Scottish.” “Anyone other than Corbyn.” “Theresa Bae.”


14

Thursday 1st December 2016 | PALATINATE

Politics

www.palatinate.org.uk

The Durham Bubble: Politics News in Brief Lord Farage of Brexit

Georgina Edwards

Booing the Vice President

Kate McIntosh Deputy Politics Editor

International Men’s Day

Snooper’s Charter Mark II

Jo Cox’s Murder Trial

Tom Walsh

Alisa Anwar

Josie Williams

In a country that advocates key democratic notions such as liberty, the passage of the Investigatory Powers Act, also known as the ‘Snooper’s Charter,’ earlier this month leads many to question whether our private lives can remain private. The Act, which will become law later this year, legitimises phone, app and Internet companies to store 12 months’ worth of data which they can provide to the Government if requested. The intrusive nature of this surveillance has sparked fears amongst some state officials regarding increased security risks, and overall, the morals of our country and Government.

Neo-Nazi Thomas Mair, 53, was sentenced on Wednesday to life in prison for the murder of politician Jo Cox. Mair pleaded not guilty to all charges, including murder and grievous bodily harm, but the jury took only ninety minutes to return a unanimous guilty verdict. After hearing how Mair shot and stabbed Ms Cox outside her constituency surgery on June 16th, while allegedly shouting “Britain first, keep Britain independent, this is for Britain”, the presiding judge addressed him at the sentencing, saying “You are no patriot…. You have betrayed the quintessence of our country: its adherence to parliamentary democracy”.

Though Kerry Katona would be a more reliable candidate for US ambassador, Nigel Farage would be a good addition to the House of Lords. As pre-meltdown UKIP was just short of a personality cult, in 2015 Farage essentially got 4,000,000 votes. So as those opposing the appointment because of his small-C conservatism are usually the same people calling for democratization of the Lords, this is a suggestion they should welcome. Imagine the Guardian headlines that could be generated by the face of British anti-establishment feeling being ennobled as ‘Lord Farage of something-Shire’. I don’t think he’ll be wearing his robes down the pub.

Trump’s mission to disregard all constitutional precedents relating to political accountability started in dramatic fashion last week, as he attacked the cast of sell out musical ‘Hamilton’. Trump’s condemnation followed Vice-President Elect Mike Pence’s attendance of the performance, which celebrates the war for independence and early struggles of the American Republic. Members of the cast – one of the most racially diverse in Broadway history - addressed Pence, asking that he remember the musical’s message in office. The audience booed as he left, provoking outrage. Trump later took to twitter to demanding that the theatre remain a ‘safe space’.

It’s perfectly excusable to be sceptical of the intentions of ‘men’s day’. Those words immediately blast anti-feminist rhetoric into your brain. Admittedly, explanation of the debate in the Commons as embodying a “growing acceptance and recognition of issues of inequality affecting men and boys’” is a bit rich. Inequality, of oppressed men is fairly hard to justify. Nevertheless, the issues brought to the House by Phillip Davies are ones of genuine concern, namely the rates of male suicide. We already have a whole month dedicated to the questionable brown slugs appearing under people’s noses. So why would we need a day?

Photograph: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Photograph: Travis Wise via Flickr

Photograph: Henry Lawford via Flickr

Photograph: Kaml Phuc via Flickr

Photograph: thierry ehrmann via Flickr

Women in Politics: Cat Boyd Saudi Weapon Sales: An Immoral Trade? Cat Boyd is the rising star of Scottish politics. Socialist, feminist, and wholly anarchical, she campaigned strongly in favour of Scotland leaving the UK in 2014, and has grown her political profile since. In 2016, this feisty, young politician stood for election in Glasgow representing RISE, a socialist, pro independence party, and in spite of her defeat has not been fazed. Writing for ‘The National’ in the days following the election, Boyd reaffirmed herself as the champion of working class people, confirming a devotion to opening up the stage for socialism in mainstream politics. But it is her alternative feminism that has shot Boyd to political superstardom. Controversially rejecting the current trend of women defining the political agenda, she is not exalting at the election of May, nor has she joined the throngs calling for Michelle Obama to stand for president following Clinton’s defeat to the sullied businessman Trump. Boyd insists that female politicians are only symbolic devotees of the feminist cause who in reality priori-

tise gender equality no more than men. Her answer to this puzzle of feminism is anarchy. Feminism, she proclaims, is about provoking an all out revolution against oppressive forces in order to reawaken a debatably dormant ‘spirit of opposition’ as opposed to simply reshuffling the existing order. But her waters are muddied. Boyd expostulates madly and can rally a crowd, but her calls to revolution lack basis and clout. While her principles need no criticism,

The rising star of Scottish politics.

Claudia Mulholland

Boyd has not proven herself to be the leader that feminism needs. Sermonising against Brexit but failing to vote, only to excuse herself as ‘out of the country’, the divergence between her projected, committed activist image and reality is perplexing. Boyd criticises female leaders as concerned only with their own advancement, but has she proven herself to be any different?

Sebastian Sanchez-Schilling The basic moral test for a government’s foreign policy should be the following: will you facilitate war crimes? This litmus test is one the Conservative government decisively fails. Not only that, it actively attempts to whitewash said war crimes. In March 2015, Saudi Arabia entered the Yemeni Civil War and has since orchestrated a ruthless bombing campaign with almost no regard for human life. War crimes by the Saudis have been widely reported, with one UN report finding that 60% of civilian deaths documented in a oneyear period resulted from Saudi airstrikes on weddings, markets, schools, and hospitals – including those supported by international institutions such as Médecins Sans Frontières. One would think an absolute monarchy which commits war crimes would receive scrutiny rather than aid, however UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia were worth £5.6bn under Cameron and have continued under May. Wikileaks revealed that in 2013 the UK helped elect Saudi Arabia to the United Nations’ hu-

man rights council. Limiting human rights abuses to the domestic sphere at that time, this action was rightfully condemned. Transitioning to committing human rights abuses abroad as well, however, has done nothing to change the government’s mind, with ministers in July refusing to rule out doing so again. In response to criticisms Boris Johnson, foreign secretary and apologist for colonialism, claimed that there had been no “clear breach” of humanitarian law in Yemen. He came to this conclusion due to an investigation of

British weapons are used by Saudi army

Saudi Arabia by... Saudi Arabia. Johnson then brazenly blocked a European Union attempt to launch an independent inquiry The UK government could easily not be an accomplice to war crimes by halting arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and thereby preventing British-made planes from incinerating children, but has opted for the route of shamelessly defending Saudi Arabia instead. This is testament to how hollow and morally barren the government is, and should be causing doubts for any “compassionate” Conservative.

Photograph: Geoff Moore via Flickr


15

PALATINATE | Thursday 1st December 2016

Politics

www.palatinate.org.uk

Grandest Designs: £370 Million Bill for Liz and Phil Helen Paton Whether you’ve been watching The Crown series on Netflix, or you just enjoy taking selfies outside Buckingham Palace. You might of heard about our own British crown controversy of the month, this is, how government approved a sovereign grant of 369 million pounds; yes millions, to restore the Queen’s palace in London. Buckingham is the biggest landmark of Britain and it brings millions of tourists each year to contemplate the history behind the crown of Britain. Those big numbers come from a 10-year refurbishment to the 775 rooms, replacement of electric wires, water pipes and the heating system, these were last replaced after the second world war. The big cost of this is due mainly to the continuous postposing of reparations in the palace because of the millions of visitors who come every year and the birth of the two young princes. This huge amount of money comes from the UK- treasury, approved by Theresa May’s royal

committee, which means this sovereign grant is increased by 66% and it’s possible because of tax, the tax a UK resident pays every month. It’s extremely controversial that the UK legal residents are paying huge amounts of tax every month to potentially sustain the country, and instead, this money is to be used to modernize a palace, which we will never be able to enter. In a moment of political and economic austerity after the referendum, many would question what’s the role of the crown. The British monarchy is without a doubt the most influential in the world, which potentially increases our UK Treasury by millions each year. This does not justify this monstrous inversion to the palace, why should we pay for this massive and unnecessary refurbishment, when we have people struggling to get food and a roof? This is why the monarchy is always under question by many, we cannot be incoherent to our values, however, this refurbishment is necessary, but the budget should be reviewed, those number would help our NHS or the families currently struggling, why spend more

in the monarchy that has more than enough? Should the monarchy stay after brexit? As we go out from being a member of the European Union, it’s key to comprehend our history as a country,

what would that be without a monarch in it? Every history book that says Britain on it talks about Queen Victoria or how Henry Vlll caused a revolution in religion. We must be proud of how are

The Queen’s residence in the capital is looking a little worse for where

country has stayed strong and carried on with it’s traditions through time, in these moments of instability it’s important to have an identity that unites us.

Photograph: dconvertini via Flickr

A Nightmare Year for Pollsters Louis Gibbon

As if only the polls were right, Britain would be staying in the European Union and Donald Trump wouldn’t be the leader of the free world. But sadly, yet again they got it horribly wrong. In the days leading up to the U.S. Election virtually every poll had Clinton ahead, Reuters, an international news agency, predicted a colossal 90 per cent chance of victory. So what went so horribly wrong? Many attribute it to ‘closet’ Trump and Brexit supporters, the idea that people aren’t honest with the pollsters and say one thing to them and do the opposite on polling day. Or alternatively people change their minds, potentially based on debates or news stories closer to the election. However I think the fatal mistake of the pollsters was ignoring those who haven’t voted in the past, massive underestimation of those white voters without degrees led to such mis estimations. Some argue that these points don’t address the big issue, which is that polling is innately flawed, they don’t access enough voters, and just take stabs in the dark like you or I. I mean have you ever been polled? Do you know

anyone that has? Presumably not. They’ve got it wrong time and time again and now lack credibility. in the era of mocking the experts polling seems to provide yet another reason. In modern day society people are increasingly reluctant to respond to surveys. Twenty years ago, polling firms got about one-third of respondents on the phone.That number has been in decline to low single digits as many no longer use landlines and are now harder to contact. This, coupled with the fact voters are now increasingly volatile as they become detached from parties they traditionally supported means 2016 could well and truly signal the death of the political poll.

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16

SciTech

www.palatinate.org.uk

Thursday 1st December 2016 | PALATINATE

Durham Sustainability

Durham University ‘miles off

Sustainability League Table

Luke Andrews SciTech Editor The University failed to reach its sustainability target in 2014, and is likely to miss it again in 2020. Across the University efforts have been made to reduce emissions through the installation of low and zero carbon technologies, but this has been inadequate in meeting the targets. Durham is currently ranked 67th out of 150 universities and 16th out of the 24 Russell Group universities by the latest People & Planet sustainable universities index. For the period 2013-2014, Durham University missed its target by just under 19%. The target was a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions against a 2008/09 baseline. It achieved 11% reduction for Scope 1 and 2, which includes emissions produced directly and indirectly by university activity, and a 5-6% reduction for scope 3 which is mostly not included in the target. For the period 2014 - 2020, the University aims for a 43% re-

duction in CO2 emissions against a 2005/06 baseline according to the Carbon Management Plan produced by Durham University Greenspace. These targets are set by Hefce, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, although there is no legal requirement to adhere to them. However, when asked about this, the University said “The University’s Carbon Management Plan 2 [is] currently under review.” There are currently questions over how the current Carbon Management plan while respond to the Estates Management Plan, which threatens to increase the University’s carbon emissions through plans to increase student numbers by 4,000 by 2026/27, Durham University’s 67th place in the sustainability meant that the University was beaten by most Russell Group Universities including Oxford(46th), Exeter(16th) and Newcastle University (8th). The top 3 universities in the index were Nottingham Trent University (1st), University of Brighton (2nd) and Manchester Metropolitan Uni-

versity (3rd). Durham’s failure to meet carbon reduction targets is a trend amongst UK universities. “University commitment to meeting the climate challenge is dwindling” said People & Planet in a press release. When asked why targets are not being met, Durham University commented: “This was due to a number of reasons, including an increase in the number of buildings on the University estate.” This is in direct contradiction to the Carbon Management Plan report produced by Greenspace which states, “absolute targets must be met irrespective of any growth in the University estate.” In answer to why Durham is not meeting its energy targets, an internal report stated: “This seems slow progress but it must be borne in mind that there is a difference between successfully completing a project and seeing success on the bottom line.” The University’s shrinking commitment is highlighted further by the failure of the Carbon Management team the group responsible

, the group responsible for ensuring the University meets its targets, to meet since 2015, according to the University website. The last meeting ended with no time set for the next. When asked about this, the University said “The University’s Carbon Management Team continues to meet regularly”. “We’re not doing very well”, said Paul Riddlesden, Energy Manager at Durham University, when asked about the University’s progress. He feels the University’s failure is partly down to a lack of student pressure. “I am surprised at the lack of student influence” he said with reference to carbon emission reduction plans endorsed by the University. Some low and zero carbon technologies have been installed onsite, but not enough to meet the carbon reduction targets. Voltage Power Optimisation Technology was in 5 buildings on the Science Site as of 2010. It works by increasing the efficiency of energy use within a building. In the Arthur Holmes Building,

made sustainability one of its four core values, and installed 893 solar panels, which will reduce its carbon footprint by over 100 tonnes a year according to The Guardian. Our own buildings aren’t doing so well, with the Calman Learning Centre only just in band D of the energy efficiency charts and the Maths department dangerously close to the lowest band, G. However, there has been success with the new Physics building. It is expected to receive an ‘A energy performance certificate’ according to Modern Build Serve as it will have solar panels, rainwater recycling, ground-source heat pumps and LED lighting. Sounds good, but its unusual shape will make air-tightness and insulation challenging. In addition to sustainable building design, People & Planet say that renewable energy, sustainable waste disposal, use of locally produced food, green transport and awareness events are important factors in environmental sustainability. “None of the Bailey houses in Cuths have recycling because the council don’t collect it, and the uni doesn’t have room for any more big recycling bins,” says Pj

Cameron, the environmental rep for St Cuthbert’s. Whilst trying to set up a small recycling scheme within the college, she has experienced problems because recycling would violate the waste contract that the college has. She says that many University policies prevent students from making changes for the better. There are some areas we’re doing well in, and the university has won a number of environmental awards in the last few years. Recently, Durham was highly commended in the 2016 environment rewards for the new data centre, and won the Green Gown Award in 2015 for continuous improvement in the Greeenspace branding. The catering department has been awarded three stars for commitment to sustainable food provision and the university has won many awards for sustainable tourism, though it’s a bit of a mystery why we’re a tourist attraction. There are also University-wide awareness events, from pub quizzes to move-out schemes at the end of the year, but you could be forgiven for not noticing these amongst the long list of events also on those emails. Competitions between colleges mean that due to our ‘college

pride’, lots of people get involved, but there are few unified campaigns. A lot of the responsibility is passed on to the college environment reps, who can do as much or as little as they want. It is possible for Durham to ‘clean-up’ its act. UCL once languished low down the tables but has since risen by 32 places due to the introduction of campus-wide programmes such as ‘The Big Easter Switch Off’. The campaign encouraged everyone to turn off all their electrical items over the Easter holidays. At the University of Lancashire, there is an annual green week to raise awareness. With new, government-required carbon reduction targets now coming into place, maybe now is the perfect time for Durham to pull its (thermal) socks up, and start to work its way up the energy efficiency ladder.

How does Durham compare to other universities?

Elizabeth Hopper

Source: People and Planet University League Table.

You might know Durham as a UK top 10 university, but some people think differently. In the People & Planet UK university league tables released on Tuesday, Durham came 67th, in what the survey calls its ‘2:2 class’. So, what are we doing wrong? On the rankings, we do badly in recycling, ethical investment, education for sustainable development, carbon management and reduction, and water use reduction. While other universities have taken steps to divest from fossil fuels, Durham has only recently reached the consultation stage, which invites students to submit evidence and opinions for and against divestment by email. Meanwhile, this year Nottingham Trent opened its first carbonnegative building, securing it the top place on the People & Planet rankings. It is working on building the first carbon-neutral laboratory in the UK, as well as other low carbon buildings. Brighton University came in second, having


17

PALATINATE | Thursday 1st December 2016

SciTech

www.palatinate.org.uk

Durham Sustainability

ff’ Carbon Reduction Targets it has reduced electricity use by 11.7%, and saved the University £21,060 annually. Combined Heat and Power systems were installed in 8 buildings as of March 2016, including in Collingwood and St Aiden’s College. The system is a low carbon alternative, using natural gas to fuel electrical generation. In a review carried out by the University, the technology was shown to save £56,529 annually, meaning it took under 4 years for the University to save money on the installation. However, as the price of this technology recently rose by 20% these figures are now outdated. Zero carbon technologies have also been added to the University’s estate. They include photovoltic panels which had been installed on 10 University buildings by March 2016. Zero carbon technologies are now responsible or supplying 3% of the total energy needed by the University. The University has also begun seriously. This is a world leading sustainability assessment method. It evaluates the procurement,

to take BREEAM certification seriously. This is a world leading sustainability assessment method. It evaluates the procurement, design, construction and operation of a new build against targets that are based on performance benchmarks. The Palatine centre achieved a BREEAM rating of excellent, for its inclusion of sedum roofing, solar thermal modules, solar PV panels, air source heat pumps, solar shading, and rainwater harvesting. Greenspace was founded to headline all environmental activities. It is responsible for the 10 different green icons that can be seen on campus and sends weekly emails to students to encourage carbon saving behaviour. These efforts have won Durham various awards. It won the category for continuous improve institutional change at the National Green Gown awards, and a silver in the North-East England Tourism awards. For the Green Gown award, the judges commented that they were “impressed by the brand

on how much CO2 these efforts have saved. In the Carbon Reduction Category of the Green Gown awards, Durham was outflanked by Dundee and Angus College in Scotland. Despite not being a world leading institution, its carbon emissions were reduced by 43% against its initial 2010 footprint. Although Durham performed well winning the silver award for sustainable tourism, some have placed emphasis on the point that Durham is first and foremost an academic institution, not a hotel. The University has made a good start with green technology, but there is much still to be done. Investments in low and zero carbon technologies have been made, but not at the scale needed to reach the targets. I would argue that if Durham sets such high targets, it should pursue them. Find out more about the University’s Carbon Masterplan at htps://www.dur.ac.uk/greenspace/cmp/plan/

The Ogden Building

Photograph: Luke Andrews

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18

Thursday 1st December 2016 | PALATINATE

Sport Sport

www.palatinate.org.uk

“People pay to watch a great product”

With the PDC World Championships just around the corner, Nick Friend speaks to Wayne ‘Hawaii 501’ Mardle on the phenomenal rise of darts as a spectator sport and who he’s tipping to come out on top at Ally Pally Nick Friend Sport Editor With Andy Murray’s phenomenal career signed and sealed in the last fortnight, first with his ascent to the top of the ATP rankings, and then in dismantling Novak Djokovic at the season-ending World Tour Finals, the question has inevitably been raised as to whether he now stands out as Britain’s greatest ever sportsman. While Murray’s credentials are clear: two Wimbledon crowns, two Olympic gold medals, a US Open title, a Davis Cup victory, a host of other Grand Slam final appearances, two Sports Personality of the Year awards (with surely another on the way) and the cherry on the cake coming in the form of the number one ranking; Wayne Mardle offers up a popular alternative as we look forward to the upcoming PDC World Championships. “God, if it wasn’t for Phil [Taylor], the sport might not have been on TV”, he admits. Not only is darts now very much a televised sport, it is thriving on multiple platforms. Over two million people viewed Sky Sports’ digital content during the 2015 World Championships and last year, remarkably, only football racked up more television viewers over the course of the year. This year alone, Sky have shown the Betway Premier League, World Cup

of Darts, BetVictor World Matchplay, the World Grand Prix and the SINGHA Beer Grand Slam of Darts, even before Sky Sports dedicate a specific channel to the sport ahead of the year-ending main event. ITV have the rights to a further ten events, while BBC couldn’t resist a piece of this increasingly lucrative product, holding the inaugural Champions League of Darts. For Mardle, who joined the PDC as a professional in 2002, what his sport has achieved since has been well beyond even his wildest dreams. “Not even Barry Hearn and Sky Sports could have envisaged such a boom. It’s been a joint effort from all concerned.” As he mentions, Taylor’s influence in all this cannot be underestimated. No British sportsman has ever dominated his peers in the same way that The Power has done since making his BDO debut 29 years ago. His longevity has been at the forefront of his success and eighty-one premier event titles since 1987 place him in a league of one, streets ahead of anyone to have ever picked up a dart. As a 56 year-old, he remains the world’s fourth best player, according to the PDC Order of Merit. Many argue that his time is up on the biggest of stages, that he lacks the stamina to keep up with the younger generation in the set-based format that the World Championship entails. Michael van Gerwen, the undisputed best player in the world, has

Hawaii 501 who first started throwing as a 10 year-old with his father, winning his first tournament aged just 13 Photograph: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Mardle was a semi-finalist on four occasions at the PDC World Championships Photograph: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

won 24 tournaments in this year alone. Even the Dutchman, however, when he spoke to Palatinate in 2014, was effusive in his praise of Taylor’s part in the sport’s staggering rise. “Phil is the best there ever. In future years when he has retired, people will say it is easier to be number one so I am so happy to achieve that when he is still playing at his best. He has done everything for darts and we all owe him a lot.” So too, does the sport owe a debt to Barry Hearn and those who’ve taken darts from its deepest depths in 1989 when funding was cut and money in the sport at an all-time low. The transformation from pub game to arena filler has been astounding, confounding many critics who believed the sport’s rising popularity to be a flash in the pan. “Every element is structured towards being as perfect and professional as possible”, Mardle explains. “Money changes everything. The prize money is high, that means there is responsibility from all concerned. The fans want to watch a great product. Without people paying to watch, the sport would struggle.” In Mardle’s mind, this is the pinnacle. The Olympics, as has been mooted by some who see the knockout format as ideal for the Games, is a non-starter. “If it just carries on and stays as big as it is right now, that’ll be fine.” Carrying on in the same vein would mean the continued split be-

tween PDC and BDO. For Mardle, this is something that he cannot see changing. “No [the two cannot work together].” He does, though, dispel one myth about the relationship between the organisations. “There is no rivalry. Seriously, there isn’t.” Mardle himself, though a fourtime PDC World Championship semi-finalist and now the lead pundit on Sky Sports’ coverage, was, like many of his PDC peers, a member of the BDO for a long period before making the profitable move. Though he paints a picture of calm cooperation between the two boards, the same has not always been the case. The Tomlin Order was set up in 1997 to prevent the PDC from, in effect, poaching the BDO’s top talent. And a decade later, Dutchmen Raymond van Barneveld and Jelle Klaasen caused controversy by contravening the settlement by moving across. Recent years, however, have seen something of a thaw in the tension, leading to Martin Wolfie Adams, the three-time BDO world champion and long-time defender of the organisation, competing in the predominantly PDC Grand Slam of Darts. Despite these strides, the upcoming World Championships at London’s Alexandra Palace will remain a PDC affair. For Mardle, it is the zenith of the sport. “The World Championship means more than the others”, he explains. The tournament saw some of his greatest moments, as well as

some of his lowest. His epic quarter-final victory over Phil Taylor in 2008 was the only time in the entire decade that Taylor didn’t reach the showpiece tournament’s final. Yet, the victory is marred by a semi-final defeat to little-known 21-year-old qualifier Kirk Shepherd. Mardle’s response, however, is exactly what you’d expect from the persona of Hawaii 501 – a nickname coined by the legendary Bobby George. A loss of form in 2009 saw Mardle fall away from the upper reaches of the sport – a fall from which he never fully recovered when it came to challenging for titles. “Regret is a wasted emotion”, he says. “Some have their time at the top, mine was from 1999 to 2010. It wasn’t a case of ‘dartitus’, where you literally can’t release the dart. I still play exhibitions today.” Come this year’s tournament, in his role with Sky Sports as lead pundit, he will be running the rule over this year’s hopefuls at Ally Pally, with Van Gerwen, Taylor, Gary Anderson, Peter Wright and Adrian Lewis all fancying their chances of glory. Though he ranks MVG as the best around, he’s tipping Lewis to triumph on 2nd January and claim his third world title. Whatever happens though, it is sure to be entertaining and if Taylor can claim an unlikely seventeenth title, the argument surrounding Britain’s greatest will take yet another twist.


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PALATINATE | Thursday 1st December 2016

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DURHAM 12-1 LOUGHBOROUGH RUGBY: DURHAM 21 LOUGHBOROUGH 20 Ollie Godden

In a game dubbed as the biggest of the season thus far, it took a dramatic late penalty kick from debutant Ben Cook to see the Palatinates defeat arch-rivals Loughborough for the first time in three years. The game, played at DurhamCity Rugby Club, was played under lights, and in greasy conditions with the BUCS cameras present, the nerve of both sides was tested in a tight affair. It all started poorly for the home side, conceding a try just two minutes in. A missed tackle deep in Loughborough’s half was opportunistically capitalised upon by the away side through an impressive display of support work. Hooker Callum Lynch scythed through the midfield, before popping off to Beckett. The winger stretched his legs and and found Keunen in support to open the scoring. The try was duly converted by in-form Loughborough full back Will Kaye. After the fast start, the moisture in the air made running rugby hard for both sides, and despite a Durham penalty after thirteen minutes, both sides struggle to assert any authority. Durham managed to quell a couple of threatening Loughborough attacks with fantastic line speed and excellent defensive organisation, a pleasing sight for head coach Alex Keay, who called for accuracy and

FOOTBALL: DURHAM 0 LOUGHBOROUGH 2 Tomas Hill Lopez-Menchero

As the game between Durham and Loughborough approached its final stages, captain Mike King surged forward through the opposition ranks, desperate to create an equaliser. Durham were 1-0 down and the crowd was starting to get nervous. King took it past one, two, three, four players before being hauled to the ground, and a free-kick was awarded. He placed the ball down, took a few steps back, and sent in a swerving, powerful delivery with his left foot. The ball cannoned back off the crossbar, and the opportunity was gone. It was a moment that encapsulated the Palatinates’ frustration in a match crucial to their hopes of

discipline before the game. In the latter stages of the first half, Durham were the ones to make a much needed breakthrough. A smart run from Ethan Harrison into Loughborough’s 22 saw him beat his opposite man on the blindside, before finding full-back Ali Neden who burst onto the ball and outpaced two Loughborough players to dive under the posts for Durham’s first try and send the crowd wild. Ben Cook added the extras and the home side were poised for a lead heading into half-time, before ill-discipline from the kick off saw Durham dive off their feet and give away a penalty with minutes left and finish the half 10-10, courtesy of Kaye’s boot. Durham needed a big 10 minutes after the half to assert themselves in what was set to be another scintillating half of rugby. This is exactly what they got. Just minutes after the restart, a strong carry from prop Nat Opedo set up strong field position, before the second phase saw winger Rob Stevenson run a wonderful line to dissect the Loughborough centers and go over for his 5th try of the season. A poorly executed conversion attempt meant that Durham were still only 5 points up, with most of the second half yet to play. Game management became a vital element for Durham, and in the proceeding twenty minutes, a ploy to play territory became the obvious plan. Some excellent scramble defense from Durham denied any danger of a try from the visitors, and good discipline saw only one kickable penalty conceded by both teams, both of which were scored. With twenty minutes to go, a mo-

mentary lapse of concentration by Durham proved fateful, however, as a penalty conceded just inside Loughborough’s half was taken quickly by Loughborough scrum-half George Di Cothi. With Durham’s forwards caught unaware, Di Cothi fended off the tackle of Cook and offloaded to Mark Dixon, whose converted try put the away side two points up. Unsurprisingly, ten minutes of tight play ensued, with Loughborough attempting to keep the ball within the forwards and afford Durham no opportunities to score. However, with 74 minutes gone, Durham were afforded an opportunity, albeit a difficult one. 35 meters out, 10 meters in from the touch line, Ben Cook had the chance to put last year’s semi-finalists one point up with little time left. Silence and tension ensued before the debutant slotted the ball through the uprights, sending the partisan crowd into raptures. Loughborough spent the last couple of minutes piling pressure on the home side, but a couple of errors saw any chances blown. Durham were able to hold on to record a famous victory, one that injured captain Buchan Richardson will no doubt be proud of. Centre Tom McClean was full of praise for Durham’s dogged defensive effort after the game, telling the BUCS cameras “A few weeks ago we went down to Loughborough and got pumped, they played well and they’re a strong team. We knew if we got off the line well and made our hits then the rest would come. I’m so proud of the boys. This is our year”.

VARSITY RESULTS:

defending the Premier North title. They had gone into this game confidently in first place following a 2-1 win against Northumbria and a fourmatch winning streak, but in-form Loughborough were just a point behind. It was a fast-paced game from the start, with tackles flying in from both sides. The first opportunity fell to the Loughborough number 9, whose fierce strike from distance flew past Pat Ulrich’s left post, but chances were limited as the two sides cancelled each other out to begin with. All that changed as a defensive mistake by Durham let in one of Loughborough’s wingers, who darted into the area, sending a curling right-footed finish past Ulrich’s grasp and into the top corner. It was a goal worthy of breaking the deadlock. After withstanding a period of heavy Loughborough pressure, the hosts tried to stamp their mark on the game. Left-back Tom Gilbey got forward well and fizzed in a cross for Billy Hodgkinson, whose deft flick

forced the opposition keeper into a fine stop, tipping the shot over the crossbar. Minutes later the Loughborough No.1 was in action again, making a sprawling save from Joe Wykes after the winger had been sent through on goal by Hodgkinson. But Hodgkinson was isolated up front, while the midfield were unable to control the tempo of the game. The visitors’ pressing was relentless and left the Palatinates little time to breathe. It could have been 2-0 just before half-time had it not been for Ulrich’s reflexes in repelling a shot from Loughborough’s number 10 with a strong left hand, before pouncing on the rebound. The start of the second half brought a fresh wave of Loughborough attacks, but the central defensive pairing of Ollie Beauchamp and Dan Field held firm. It was then Durham’s chance to go on the offensive. King and Hargreaves were pushed forward to support Hodgkinson, while a switch to three at the back meant that Gil-

bey and Byerley were effectively playing as wing-backs. Loughborough seemed to retreat further and further into their own half, committing cynical challenges to try and stop King and co. The series of fouls on the captain was a case in point, but soon after Tom Isola was also scythed down as he tried to dribble his way through the opposition. The midfielder displayed a few moments of skill, but was afforded little time on the ball in an increasingly frantic match. King’s free-kick was the first sign that this would not be Durham’s night, but they refused to give up. The Loughborough keeper impressed again as Hargreaves turned a defender with ease and unleashed a shot, and Wykes’ effort from the ensuing corner was cleared off the line. Isola put in an inch-perfect free kick which was headed just wide, and then had a thunderous shot from distance blocked. The home side were exasperated. As the match drew to a close, the Palatinates were forced to resort

BADMINTON: 6-2 (W) BASKETBALL: 86-81 (W) MEN’S FOOTBALL: 0-2 (L) WOMEN’S FOOTBALL: 2-1 (W) GOLF: 4.5-1.5 (W) MEN’S LACROSSE: 22-6 (W) WOMEN’S 11-3 (W)

LACROSSE:

MEN’S RUGBY: 21-20 (W) WOMEN’S RUGBY: 27-5 (W) MEN’S TENNIS: 12-0 (W) WOMEN’S TENNIS: 12-0 (W) MEN’S WATER POLO: 20-6 (W) WOMEN’S WATER POLO: 16-8 (W)

For more Varsity coverage, visit “Palatinate Sport”

Thoughts from the President Will Legg Team Durham President The Durham vs Loughborough BUCS Varsity was a remarkable success. Durham emerged as winners in twelve of the thirteen fixtures played. Such an emphatic margin of victory reaffirms Durham’s standing as the best team sport university in the country. The day started in the morning for with a 4.5-1.5 win for DUGC at Brancepeth Castle Golf Club, and was rounded off in the evening with an outstanding 21-20 victory for the Palatinates at Durham City Rugby Club. It pleased me to see so many students engaging with University sport by turning out to support all of our teams throughout the day. Throughout my experience of playing sport at Durham, I have always been bemused that a Floodlit Cup game can draw hundreds of supporters from college, yet a top University fixture may only be watched by a player’s grandparents and their dog. I hope to that our success in the BUCS Varsity will stimulate continued interest in future fixtures. Approaching the holidays, we are almost certain to go into the Christmas break in second place in the BUCS points table behind Loughborough. Although we dominated the BUCS Varsity, Loughborough have recorded a huge haul of points at the individual competitions throughout the term, especially in the pool, and will remain ahead as a consequence. At the end of another successful term of sport, I would like to wish everyone a relaxing holiday. Merry Christmas! to Jack Dancey’s raking kicks from the back, but still there was no way through the well-drilled Loughborough defence. The knockout blow came as the away side broke through on the counterattack in the dying minutes. No.15 sprinted into the box, and Field brought him down. The referee blew his whistle and signalled for a penalty. The attacker coolly dispatched his shot past Ulrich, sending the keeper the wrong way and making it 2-0. It was game over.


Sport

Thursday 1st December 2016 | PALATINATE

Wayne Mardle Interview Palatinate speak to former Darts World No.4 Wayne Mardle ahead of the PDC World Championships (p.18)

BUCS Varsity Roundup A look back as Durham crush Loughborough on historic day for Team Durham (p.19)

Durham gymnasts claim bronze in Birmingham Harrison Minter Jaz Metcalfe

The last-gasp victory over Loughborough in BUCS Super Rugby rounded off a remarkable Varsity success for Team Durham Photograph: Max Halcox

Durham racers defy conditions to qualify James Martland Deputy Sport Editor The qualifiers for the British Universities Karting Championships (BUKC) at Whitton Hill Kart Raceway saw Durham come agonisingly close to making the main BUKC Championship. Nevertheless, the team will have to settle for the rookie competition, starting in February. But although disappointed, they can still be pleased with a strong showing on the day against drivers with much greater experience. A team of Bradley Appleton, Jamie Nuttall, Dan Burnett and Jake Welsby meant that the latter was the only member with actual competitive karting experience, with Burnett being a complete rookie on the BUKC circuit. Durham were also handicapped in this format due to the inferior funding that karting receives compared to other universities. Many other teams had the option of test-

ing days and of improving their performance in advance, whereas Durham had no such opportunity. Further difficulty was added to the day due to the weather conditions, which perhaps played into the hands of the most experienced teams and drivers. Heavy showers at the start, followed by persistent drizzle, meant that only the last two races of the day were dry, resulting in a challenge for all involved. Qualification for the races resulted in a mixed bag for the Durham competitors, with Welsby finishing as high as eighth out of thirty-five competitors, but Burnett down in twenty seventh. Nevertheless, given his relative inexperience, this can be seen as a positive result. The races started well for the team. Jake Welsby demonstrated his ability to compete with the best around, finishing eighth in his first race. When comparing best lap times, this was demoted into fourteenth, but as captain Bradley Appleton pointed out afterwards, it was nice

to see that Welsby’s racing ability allowed him to finish higher than his individual lap pace would suggest. From there, however, some misfortune set in. In both of Bradley Appleton’s outings, he experienced some kind of trouble, which saw him fall below his qualifying position of sixteenth. In both the captain’s races, he was spun out by another driver and did well to finish twenty-second and twenty-eighth respectively. Burnett’s two races also saw good racing performances and signs of improvement throughout the day, but with no reward, with the driver finishing thirty fourth. Jamie Nuttall put on a strong showing, finishing nineteenth in his first race, also higher than his individual lap pace, once again highlighting his driving ability and a personal high finish of eleventh in the second. Nuttall’s two races took place in completely contrasting conditions, with his first being perhaps the wettest race of the day and his second being almost completely dry, showing an impressive ability to adapt.

Overall, Durham finished twentyninth out of forty-five university teams, just behind UCL A and Nottingham C. As the top twenty-seven teams qualify for the main championship, the Durham team may well have qualified. However, qualification to the second tier could be a blessing in disguise. In this competition, Durham will be expected to perform well and will hopefully get on the podium, whether it be for gold, silver or bronze. This is a similar story to last year, where the side collected three podium positions in these rookie championships. The team will now prepare themselves to go again in February and April, having taken away valuable experience from their day at Whitton Hill.

P

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On 19th November, DUGTC made its way all the way down to Birmingham to compete in the prestigious Birmingham University Open Gymnastics competition. Hattie Freeman got the club off to a great start for the day. This was followed up by some fabulous performances from a five-strong women’s squad in the intermediate category. A polished and highly consistent display saw all five women place in the top 30 out of a massive 65 competitors. Notable successes were Yolande Baker, who came second in the vault, Aoife Moran and Hebe Grout, whose first competition for the club saw them place encouragingly in 28th and 30th respectively. Finishing for the women was Women’s Gymnastics Captain Billie Mackenzie, who performed a show-stopping routine on beam to take home the gold in the advanced women category. Henry Gould got the men off to a solid start, a calm and precise routine, which gave no hints that it was his competition debut for the club. The intermediate men’s category saw club president Harrison Minter, Men’s Gymnastics captain Jaz Metcalfe, and trampoline captain Matthew Griffiths perform. Given that it was Metcalfe’s first competition on the high bar, narrowly missing out on a medal in fourth can be deemed a heartening success. Likewise, Minter’s competition debut on the rings resulted in a solid sixth position finish; both men putting aside nerves to rack up respectable scores on each piece. An outstanding display from Matthew Griffiths saw him take gold in both floor and vault exercises, leaving all three men sitting comfortably in the top 15 out of 25 competitors. Both teams came third for overall team score in what was a consistently excellent display for the Team Durham Gymnastics squad.

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