Comedy sketch troupe, Not sure who to vote for? the Durham Revue, talk Check out the candidates’ about their experiences profiles to find out more Stage, i3
News Features, pages 8-9
Palatinate Durham’s student newspaper since 1948
Thursday 28th February 2013 | FREE
DSU commissions external body to establish cost of Durham living
that they can actually afford it. “The reason that the Students’ Union wanted to commission this research is to give the University as much information as they need to make informed decisions when determining student charges.” Some students have expressed concern over the lack of information regarding comparative accommodation prices. A second year student from University College asked: “How can the University not already have accommodation figures to justify their cost? “When students are paying so much, I’m astonished that an external body has had to be brought in to justify costs.” According to 2011/12 prices, the total budgeted cost of delivering accommodation was £21.8m - this excludes costs relating to welfare and pastoral support. The total budgeted cost of delivering catering for the 2011/12 year was £8.1m.
Jillian Ward Florence Snead Durham Students’ Union (DSU) has commissioned external market research to establish the cost of living as a student at Durham. There is currently very little information about how much it costs to live in respective areas of Durham, making comparisons between University accommodation and private accommodation difficult.
“We are using an external agency to make sure that the research is done as professionally as possible”
“Students get to have a college experience at student accommodation prices”
Archie Dallas, DSU President Archie Dallas, President of the DSU, told Palatinate: “We are using an external agency to make sure that the research is done as professionally as possible and will present independent representative findings.” The first part of the research will establish the actual cost of living in Durham and Stockton. The figures will include numbers that have only previously been guessed at such as the cost of food and heating. The second part will address the lack of information on the cost of student housing in Durham. The Union’s investigation will cover areas where students actually live, including outlying villages that are generally cheaper. Archie Dallas said: “If we are charging students huge amounts to live in college, we need to be sure
Graham Towl, Pro Vice Chancellor and Deputy Warden
How much does it cost to live in different areas of Durham? Photographs: Durham University
Graham Towl, Pro Vice Chancellor and Deputy Warden, told Palatinate: “Our students get a college experience at student accommodation prices. He added: “Pricing includes a consideration of a combination of our costs, competitor prices and, in recent years, rising utility and food costs in particular too.”
Editorial No news is good news? Every fortnight, Palatinate struggles to pull together a newspaper. Not because there is no news, and certainly not because we don’t try to investigate scandalous stories, but because we refuse to publish dull press releases and bow down to the University’s idea that we are a mouthpiece – a cog in the wheel of propaganda. When we can only get enough information to publish an article on enthralling university moves such as ‘improvements to the website of the Museum of Archaeology’, the student newspaper suddenly seems far less about what students are concerned with. The University by no means overtly forces us to publish this kind of news. Instead, by subtle means, either through blocking our enquiries (Freedom of Information requests - to which they have a legal requirement to answer) or providing unhelpful comments informing us that they do not deem it to be a story, thus not answering and we cannot publish the story. All too often, exciting prospects of a story slowly drain away and each one becomes
a fight – wasting the University’s time and money investigating an issue that they could have easily answered with an E-mail. It isn’t that we’re against publishing good news – student success at the Peace Awards, the Butler Bikes, are all, we think, worthy of our columns. But when there are wider problems within the institution that we are all paying thousands of pounds into, we believe that it is fair we get answers as to where all this money is going. This edition, whilst not bursting with the stories we’re dying to get the data on, evidences the problems of accessing information from the University. The accommodation story on the front page shows that sometimes even the University themselves don’t have answers to the most fundamental of questions. Inside, the Living Wage campaign highlights the problems that other organisations face when trying to get answers from our University. It isn’t just us that feel these problems: JCR Presidents and students have commented below,
www.palatinate.org.uk along with a former editor, about issues of student consultation. This student paper is a medium for explaining changes in the University, and could assist them in its consultation process by providing a platform for debate. Even if these issues are contentious, how can the University not involve students in the decision process? Durham University is bursting with matters for consultation and thus with news. We are well aware of many issues within the University that are in need of publication, but our hands are tied: we cannot write news without the evidence, and the University will not provide it. We could write a book on what is happening, but not a newspaper. Harriet Line
Thursday 28th February 2013| PALATINATE
Inside 749 News pages 3-7 News Features pages 8-9 Business pages 10-11 Careers page 12
Politics pages 13
Comment pages 14-16 Sport pages 17-20
Editorial page 2
Stage page 3 Features pages 4-5 Books pages 6 Fashion page 7
Visual Arts pages 8-9 Film & TV page 10-11
Music page 12 Travel page 13 Food & Drink page 14-15 The Last Word page 16
Student consultation and the University: your say
Palatinate talks to students, alumni and JCR Presidents about their views on student voice
“Having uncovered a legitimate story in the student interest about an issue the University were not prepared to publicise, I was called in for a ‘dressing-down’. University representatives forced me to publish a new article with the ‘official facts’. On more than one occasion whilst treading dangerously near to a scandalous story I was kindly informed to ‘back-off’. The University is a public institution in which students have an interest. Therefore they have the right to know exactly what they are paying for, the details of the University’s operations and the right to have a say in its decision making. The University’s unwillingness to disclose information results in the feeling that there are ominous issues that they do not want discussed publicly. At times, however, this can feel a lot like censorship.” Anonymous student journalist “For me, this issue is deeper than just a lack of student consultation, which is, incidentally, almost non-existent, particularly on the important issues. Talking to students after a decision has been made does not count as student consultation, something this university fails to recognise. It is about not being able to trust those in charge of running our university. These people don’t just not tell us things, at times they openly lie to us. When we are told that no decision had been made on admissions in October, and yet it transpires the decision had already been made over the Summer, how can we trust those in
charge? It is a shame that within this university there is a culture of fear. Debate is suppressed rather than welcomed. I have witnessed the Vice Chancellor shout at one of my students who dared to disagree with him. I have received the aggressive and patronising response from the Vice Chancellor to the petition which over half of the undergraduates at my college had signed. I hate to think how university staff are treated.” Tom Bishop (St Chad’s College Senior Man)
“The University holds and enforces a strict zero tolerance policy when it comes to alternative points of view, with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. In my two years at Palatinate, it has to be said this problem became increasingly acute, particularly with personnel changes in their communications team. You would end up in a situation where there was a story about the university - some controversy, even something relatively mild - and the response would be an absolute “no comment”. There can be times when this just makes it impossible to write about something, because it becomes completely unbalanced. Students’ have a right to be engaged with by their university, particularly considering how much they now pay in fees, and that includes the student newspaper. The Vice-Chancellor in particular appears to hold the view that Palatinate should avoid
overt criticism. Not only in this fundamentally in contradiction with the point of university (free speech, open learning, and all that), it would mean that the university can push unpopular policies through without much worry for the student response.” Daniel Johnson (Former Editor of Palatinate)
“This university is filled with bright and intelligent young people who have relevant and well informed opinions about everything from fees to college menus. The university management doesn’t maximise the opportunity they have to talk to an incredible focus group. The students here are incredibly proud of what Durham offers, and their expertise in what attracts so many talented people to Durham should be recognized. In my experience, student consultation always seems to come once a decisions has largely been made, constantly having to argue against, when really our input should have been there from the very start of the process. Jenny Dell (Senior Man of University College) We are in a unique position in the consumer market whereby, as consumers, we are locked into a contact, totally powerless to take our custom elsewhere when we are dissatisfied with the product. Impotency in this respect is being exploited by supposedly higher be-
ings who lock us out of consultation and shackle our voice.” Flic Burgess (Second year student from University College) The lack of student consultation within the University is absolutely a problem. From my experience as a JCR President it seems to manifest itself repeatedly through the organisation and is not simply evident in the University’s relationship with students. There lies a constant stream of examples where those most relevant and affected to be able to inform a decision are not even consulted even in a fact-finding capacity. Naturally any University, being in part publicly funded, as well as being a near-compulsory factor in many people’s lives, will have a political dimension. However, Durham University has become over-politicised to the point of ridicule by both students and the lower echelon’s of it’s staff. They sometimes undertake a very childish approach, when an important decision is made behind closed doors, it is eventually revealed (often through inappropriate channels) and rather than confront constructive criticism, the individuals involved use rhetoric to debate their way out of any blame. Harry Rylott (Collingwood College JCR President) The University was unable to comment on this matter.
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. Send letters to: Editor, Palatinate, Durham Students’ Union, Dunelm House, New Elvet, Durham, DH1 3AN. Alternatively, send an e-mail to email@example.com
Editorial Board Editors-in-Chief Harriet Line & Florence Snead firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy Editor Matt Lee email@example.com News Editors Jillian Ward & Sally Wardle firstname.lastname@example.org News Features Editor Joanna Thom email@example.com Deputy News Editors James Ablett, Natasha Tierney & Justin Villamil Business Editor Florence Childs firstname.lastname@example.org Careers Editor Amy Sandiford-Watts email@example.com Comment Editor David Siesage firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy Comment Editor Catherine Malpass Science & Technology Editor Jonathan Bowers email@example.com Deputy Science & Technology Editor Christopher Somers Sport Editors Kate Houghton & Rob Berkeley firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy Sport Editors Ben March & Daniel Hobbs Indigo Editors Robin Marshall & Justina Crabtree email@example.com Features Editor Sophia Chan firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy Features Editor Emily Woodhouse Food and Drink Editor Prudence Wade email@example.com Travel Editor Dan Hunt firstname.lastname@example.org Fashion Editors Cordelia Yeung & Lois Edmett email@example.com Deputy Fashion Editor Jess McGahan Film and Television Editor Alex Leadbeater firstname.lastname@example.org Stage Editor Victoria Ferguson email@example.com Deputy Stage Editor Gabriel Samuels Music Editors Patrick Bernard & Alex Denby firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy Music Editor Sophia Smith Galer Books Editor Stepahnie Stafford email@example.com Visual Arts Editor Lucy Edwardes Jones firstname.lastname@example.org Chief Sub-Editor Kelsey Tollady email@example.com Sub-Editors Tom Willshaw, Aurelien Hayman, Frances Teehan, Helen Tredget & Patrick Fletcher Online Editor Ben Hamer firstname.lastname@example.org Web Editor Rhiannon Mehta email@example.com Photography Editor Nicoletta Asciuto firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy Photography Editors Asher Haynes, Naomi Ellis, Rose Innes, Emma Werner and Samuel Spencer Illustrations Editor James Crosland-Mills email@example.com Palatinate TV Station Manager Livia Carron,firstname.lastname@example.org Blogs Editor Michelle Wray email@example.com Publicity Officer Tilly Barr firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Officer Natalie Carnachan email@example.com
PALATINATE | Thursday 28th February 2013
News in brief DURHAM UNIVERSITY NEWS
‘HARLEM SHAKE’ PERFORMED ON PALACE GREEN Durham students participated in their own version of the Youtube sensation ‘Harlem Shake’ last Saturday. The Durham rendition featured a dancing gorilla, a dinosaur, a blowup doll, a unicycle, and a throwback to ‘porting’. The Youtube video has over 8,000 views and has received mixed feedback. One student commented on the video on the Facebook group ‘Overheard at Durham University’ that the event was a “huge miss shake.” JACK WHITEHALL TO VISIT DURHAM WITH TRICYCLE The cast of Fresh Meat will arrive in Durham in aid of Comic Relief this Friday. Jack Whitehall and 114 other people will compete against each other for charity in front of the cathedral in teams of six. With an entry cost of £30 and fundraising target of £60, Durham students will also compete in what DUCK (the organisers) describe as: “what will go down in history as a tricycle race what was on the telly.” By all accounts, Whitehall and three other cast members of Fresh Meat are “dangerously in it to win it.” SIR JOHN MCKINNON TO VISIT DURHAM Former New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and exSecretary-General of the Commonwealth Sir John McKinnon is visiting Durham this Friday, 1st March. Sir Don is widely acknowledged as a top-tier diplomat. He will address students on ‘Soft Power Diplomacy’ at 19:00 in Elvet Riverside 140. YOUTH AMBASSADORS LAUNCH PEACE INITIATIVE Two Durham students, Enya Doyle and Lauren Sloan, have launched a peace initiative to address the ongoing troubles in Northern Ireland in conjunction with Kate Carroll. A speech at Josephine Butler College last Monday marked the beginning of the project, which will focus on education and reforming sentencing in Northern Ireland, an issue which is currently being debated in parliament. Enya and Lauren were the recipients of the Youth Ambassadors Award earlier this year.
News Editors: Jillian Ward & Sally Wardle
Living Wage campaign gains momentum Jillian Ward
This term has seen a renewed effort on the part of the Durham University Labour Club (DULC) to pressure the University into paying all employees the ‘Living Wage’. The Living Wage is currently set at £7.45 by the Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) at Loughborough University. It is calculated by looking at the basic cost of living, describing the minimum hourly wage necessary for an individual to meet daily needs. After a brief flurry of activism following the campaign’s launch in March of last year, pressure on the University to instigate the Living Wage diminished for some time. However, in an interview with Palatinate, DULC Living Wage Officer Stuart Armstrong said that the fight has picked up steam this term with the establishment of good relations between DULC, the DSU, and other unions. DULC has created an online petition calling for Durham University to implement the Living Wage, which has so far garnered over 300 signatures. On 14th February, the DULC, in conjunction with Unison union, sent Durham University Vice-Chancellor Chris Higgins a chocolate heart with the inscription ‘Have a Heart Pay the Living Wage’. Unison also submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the University on 21st February calling for the number of Durham University employees currently paid below the living wage. On 30th February, Stuart Armstrong and DSU Societies and Student Development Officer Jim Elliot
met with Mrs. Joanne Race, Deputy Director of Human Resources and Mrs. Susanne Bradley, Rewards Manager at Durham University, to discuss the implementation of the Living Wage. Officials from the trade union Unison have also written directly to the Vice-Chancellor in November 2012 and January 2013 calling for the implementation of the living wage. The letter urged the university to adopt the Living Wage as “people should not be expected to work for wages which condemn them and their families to a life of poverty.” The letter also argues the economic case for adopting the Living Wage, which “rather than destroying jobs [...] acts as a boost to the local economies.” Paul Riley, Local Organiser of Unison Northern, told Palatinate last week that the Vice-Chancellor had responded to the letters and the Valentine’s Day protest on 22nd February.
“Employees need to feel safe and have confidence in their employer to do the right thing.”
Paul Riley, Unison Northern Paul Riley commented that the Vice-Chancellor had written an email to Unison “thanking us for our letters and chocolates.” Despite these actions, the University has yet to reply to the FOI request and continues to reject pleas for the implementation of the Living Wage. In a statement to Palatinate, a University spokesperson said: “Adopting the Living Wage is simply not sustainable in the medium term as a pay
policy which helps to maintain job security for our staff. “The Living Wage campaign takes no account of other benefits which our staff enjoy, most notably a secure final salary pension scheme, into which the University makes a contribution of 12% of salary.” Paul Riley holds that the University’s argument for the dismissal of the Living Wage on the basis of pensions is a “red herring.” Paul argues that “experience tells us that lower-paid employees tend not to join the pension scheme because they feel they cannot afford the employee contribution. “Even those low paid employees who do pay into a pension scheme all their working lives only build up a relatively small pension on retirement. “This is especially true to those employees who only work part-time and term-time only, who are often women.” FOI figures published by Palatinate in 2011 demonstrate that more than one in eight members of staff at Durham University were paid less than the Living Wage that year. Lower-paid workers including cleaners, catering staff, and housekeepers are unlikely to speak negatively about the University, Paul Riley suggested. “In times of high unemployment and austerity employees can feel vulnerable and afraid of losing their jobs if they raise their heads and speak out on matters such as this campaign. “Perhaps the University management could put out a statement to reassure employees that they would not be subjected to any less favourable treatment if they exercised their rights to get involved in [...] the Living Wage Campaign. “Employees need to feel safe and
have confidence in their employer to do the right thing.” Stuart Armstrong added that many of those posting comments on the online petition are university staff. One such comment reads: “My bills are rising yearly but unfortunately my pay isn’t, giving yourself a £21,000 pay rise is a quick in the teeth to the lower paid workers (I don’t make that in a year). [sic] “I’d like to see the VC live on my wage for a year!” wrote the University staff member, in reference to the Vice-Chancellor’s pay rise, as reported by Palatinate earlier this term. Providing employees with the Living Wage is often argued as a good business practice as well as a moral responsibility. A CRSP briefing explains that employers that pay the Living Wage enjoy “improved morale, lower turnover of staff, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity and improved customer service.” Numerous other universities have adopted the Living Wage including Queen Mary, the University of Manchester, Surrey University, Kent University, and the LSE Student Union. When asked about the campaign’s future plans, Stuart Armstrong said that speaker events with representatives from charities are planned for next term. Stuart stated that “an objective of our petition is to create enough support for our campaign to force the University Council to direct Human Resources to find out the relevant statistics. “We plan to raise awareness about the campaign by distributing more information about why the Living Wage is needed, and what the benefits of implementation would be to employees and the employer.”
Durham fails to perform in sex services Natasha Tierney
Durham has been ranked 22nd out of the 24 Russell Group universities for its student sexual health services. The report card was compiled by the online health website Dr Ed. It rated the Russell group universities on eleven different categories to discover their overall ‘grade’. Durham performed so badly in the survey that it was placed in the bottom three of the table alongside Manchester and Cardiff. Durham was awarded D and F grades in all but two categories, scoring particularly badly for its facility opening hours, online sexual health information and sexual assault services. Durham was, however, awarded two A grades for its contraceptive access and special events and testing.
Durham got an A for contraception Photograph: Siri Minsaas When asked by Palatinate, several students affirmed that they were fairly unaware of the sexual health services offered by the university. They particularly noted never having seen any sexual health information on the university and college websites.
Nottingham University, placed first in the report, has a whole website dedicated to student health. Jenny James, Durham Students’ Union Education and Welfare Officer, defended Durham’s sexual health services, telling Palatinate: “Despite them saying that in the
majority of cases they spoke to the welfare officer at the institution and that this is how they found out a lot of their information, when I offered my help to them over a month ago I got no reply. “I think that the University’s services are excellent in this area [...] we have some incredibly dedicated NHS sexual health teams in both Durham and Stockton who do fantastic work for students.” The ‘Dr Ed Sexual Health Report Card’ hopes to become the first annual measure of sexual health facilities in UK universities. The website claims that the report came about as a response to the recent government cuts to sexual health services in the UK. The Guardian reports that Amit Khutti, a founder of Dr Ed, hopes that the project will have positive effects in improving the services available at UK universities.
News News in brief DURHAM UNIVERSITY NEWS
DURHAM DRAMA RETURNS
Durham’s 38th annual, week-long Drama Festival concluded on 23rd February. Events included ten performances, four workshops, nightly socials, and a community day, which allowed students from local schools to showcase their talents.
EIGHT DURHAM STUDENTS ENROLLED AS ‘SUGARBABIES’ A recent Palatinate investigation shows that eight female Durham students are currently registered as ‘Sugar Babies’ at seekingarrangement.com. The website describes itself as “the largest dating website for those seeking mutually beneficial arrangements,” helping “the rich and successful meet the young and beautiful.” PALACE GREEN LIBRARY CONFIRMED AS HOST OF LINDISFARNE GOSPELS
The Lindisfarne Gospels will be on display in the Palace Green Library for three months starting on 1st July. The arrangements for the display have taken more than half a decade. Soon after taking up his post in 2007, Vice-Chancellor Chris Higgins made transporting the seventh-century Northumbrian manuscript back to its “home” a personal goal. The Cathedral was unable to host the manuscript for security and conservation reasons.
WANTED: NEW BISHOP OF DURHAM WHO WILL “SPEAK UP” The process of choosing the next Bishop of Durham to succeed Justin Welby, who left to become Archbishop of Canterbury, began on 15th February. A public meeting called to discuss the appointment of the next Bishop of Durham occurred on 16th February. Archbishop Justin Welby called for someone who wants “to be challenged” and is “up for change.” The announcement of the new Bishop is expected this summer.
DURHAM AND DARLINGTON POLICE COMMISSIONER SET OUT CRIME PLAN
A five-year plan for policing County Durham and Darlington will be presented to the Police and Crime Panel on 5th March. The plan contains public opinion on top policing priorities for the following year of 2014. Public consultation for the plan ends on 8th March, next week.
Thursday 28th February 2013 | PALATINATE
Debate over college allocations continues Vice-Chancellor accused of showing a “lack of respect” for petition Sally Wardle
The ongoing debate over changes to the college allocation process has developed with University College and Chad’s taking direct action to voice their opposition. The changes implemented this academic year mean that each applicant is automatically allocated their first choice college. However, if a college is full for a particular subject quota, the remaining applicants will be randomly assigned to a college with spaces for their subject. Some students, such as Josephine Bulter College president Stuart Drayton, are in favour of the changes. Stuart feels that “new system will [...] iron out inconsistencies that potentially occur across the University.” However, both University College and Chad’s have sent petitions to Vice-Chancellor Christopher Higgins, voicing their opposition to the changes. The petition sent by Chad’s follows a recent poll, in which 172 people voted against the changes to the allocations system, with only 4 students voting in favour of them. In their survey, University College reported similar feelings with 333 students voting against the new policy. This figure equates to about half of the undergraduate community at the college. Chad’s petition, addressed to the Vice-Chancellor, outlined opposition to the changes and was signed by 182 signatories.
The petitions states, ‘whilst we acknowledge the necessity of a fair and transparent system… we do not believe that it is necessary or desirable to move to a system in which the chances of students being accepted into their first choice college are entirely random.’ The petition argues for the use of merit criteria, criticises the ‘minimal consultation with PresComm’ regarding the changes and argues ‘that a bond is formed between a college and a student when each has selected the other.’
Instead, the petition calls for a similar system to the one used on a departmental level, whereby evidence such as exam performance, skills and extra-curricular activities are considered when selecting students for a particular college. However, many students were shocked by the initial response of Christopher Higgins to the petition. Whilst the Vice-Chancellor acknowledged receipt of the letter and stated that he would reply after speaking with the Deputy Warden, he added: ‘While it is fresh in my mind I separately want to point out the University’s environmental policies… this
whole document could have been emailed rather than use up trees!’ He also criticised the format of the letter: ‘As an aside, I note your address is incomplete and does not include ‘Durham University’ – could you please add this as it must always be used as part of any University address for a series of reasons.’ Chad’s JCR defended the format of their petition in their reply to the Vice-Chancellor. With regards to complaints about the use of paper, Thomas Bishop stated ‘petitions tend to be delivered in paper form, we felt it formalised our position more than an e-mail would.’ In a statement to Palatinate, Thomas Bishop said that he was “disappointed that the Vice Chancellor wasn’t taking the genuine concerns of many students seriously”. However, the Vice-Chancellor defended himself against such claims, suggesting his initial response was simply “an immediate acknowledgement to Tom showing how seriously the JCR letter was taken.” Both Chad’s and University have since received formal replies to their respective petitions. In his reply, Christopher Higgins emphasised the importance of the Durham collegiate system: ‘Nobody could be as passionate about the University’s Colleges as I am, as both Warden and as former Postgraduate and Undergraduate student at Grey College.’ He added that the admissions strategy has had ‘extensive student input through your elected DSU representatives on Education Commit-
can’t tell who really wants a Durham experience and who has their heart set on another University. Admissions tutors often reject from their college students who really want to come here and accept students who end up elsewhere. The new process starts from several premises: it must be transparent and easy to understand; robust against unfairness or discrimination, and consider every applicant in exactly the same way, termed equal consideration. We should ensure our college communities remain diverse, and student choice should be prioritised. The process starts by considering the applicants’ choice of college. Each college has a certain number of spaces in each degree subject. This is multiplied by an ‘offer factor’ (the number of offers we make to guarantee filling a space). Each applicant is automatically allocated their first choice college,
providing there are enough spaces for that subject. If that college is full for a particular subject then remaining applicants pass to a re-allocation pool which randomly assigns them to a college with spaces for their subject. Because of the speed of processing, allocations can be performed late in the application cycle. Nearly all applicants are considered at the same time, resulting in equality of consideration. Because the system only considers choice and subject, it cannot discriminate against protected categories, and of course it can be explained easily. Since December, we have been running simulations of the process. The good news is that it works, it is accurate and it doesn’t miss out any applicants. We will now interrogate the results of these simulations to find out the type of community it generates. At the same time, we are discuss-
“We are confident that the changes will further improve the services we offer to our students.” Pro-Vice Chancellor, Graham Towl
Chris Higgins Photograph: Durham University tee.’ However, some JCR Presidents have suggested they were not made aware of the changes until an informal lunch in November. Referring to his letter in a statement to Palatinate, the VC commented that it was a “College’s Policy (although I and the University executive endorsed it) and the College Heads, rather than me, are the best source of information of the detail and reasoning.” He stated there will be a meeting “to have a general discussion of the issue with any interested students as soon as a date can be found.”
Professor Chris Hutchinson, Principal of the College of St Hild and St Bede, outlines the proposed changes to college allocations Chris Hutchinson
There has been much speculation about the new automated college allocations process, ranging from whether this matches applicants to colleges randomly; whether this will alter a college’s unique character; to the implications for staff. So, why do we need to change the current system? It is opaque, particularly to applicants, causes perceptions of unfairness and discrimination, does not always put student choice first and is cumbersome, the process starting in November and completing in March. The biggest problem is that it selects students who may not come to Durham, because we are competing with a small group of elite Universities for the best students. Many of these students may eventually choose one of our competitors. At the stage of college selection we
ing individual college branding, so applicants are better able to make informed choices. Am I worried that the process will create college ‘clones’? Actually, no, I am not. Van Mildert College, for example, builds its community on students who either do not state a preference for a college or who chose a different college. Still, it has one of the most distinct brands in Durham. What of the staff involved in the current process? The most important thing for Durham is to increase the number of students accepting our offer so we can reduce the number of offers that we have to make. This extremely important task will involve a lot of staff contact with both applicants and students. That will be time much better spent than sifting through applications where their choices can make only a marginal difference to the community.
PALATINATE | Thursday 28th February 2013
News in brief NATIONAL NEWS
GOVERNMENT POLICY TO CUT TUITION FEES LABELLED A FAILURE Nearly half of university places reallocated to lower-cost universities this year went unfilled, according to data released by THE. For 20122013, higher education providers in England with an average fee of £7,500 or less were allocated 20,000 places created by slicing a portion of places from other institutions. Of the 20,000 margin places, 7,000 went unfilled.
UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX STAGES SIT-IN PROTEST A sit-in protest at Sussex University, which began on 7th February, is still “going strong,” demonstrators have said. The sit-in followed a 300-person staff and student protest about proposals to outsource 235 campus jobs. The University is engaged in talks with unions and staff involved.
STUDENTS PAY £550,000 FINES IN A YEAR
Freedom of Information requests from the Guardian have shown that students were fined a total of £551,237.30 in the last academic year. Offences include smoking, drunkenness, and unauthorised parties. Other offences that resulted in disciplinary action at universities include keeping chickens, leaving food on window ledges, and stealing loaves of bread.
GEORGE GALLOWAY STAGES ‘RACIST’ WALKOUT IN OXFORD DEBATE MP George Galloway walked out on an Oxford debate after finding out that his opponent was an Israeli. The debate was on the topic “Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank.” The walkout caused a media firestorm, but Galloway defends his actions saying he was not told that he would be debating an Israeli citizen and that he does not recognize Israel as a state. OXFORD DISCRIMINATION ROW
A student has accused St Hughes College, Oxford of breaching his human rights when they refused his application for financial reasons. He will have to wait to hear the outcome of his case after a judge last week chose to reserve his decision until a later date. Damien Shannon said that an offer from the college to him was withdrawn because he could not prove that he could cover the £12,900 living costs. He is arguing that this rule breaches the Human Rights Act.
DUCK allocations opened Sally Wardle
Figures released by DUCK show that last year, Durham students and staff gave a total of £421,034.27 to charity. The statistics show the breakdown of the donations, revealing which charities benefited from the charity endeavours of members of the University. Events such as ‘Jailbreak’ and the bungee jump which took place on Palace Green in Easter term allow students to select a chosen charity as the recipient of their fundraising. As a result, in 2011-12, £16,235.88 was donated to charities chosen directly by participants. Other fundraisers, such as ‘Movember’ and DUCK expeditions, raise money for charities related to the event itself. Last year, a total of £380,704.58 was raised for events for specific local, national and international charities. DUCK’s Cambodia Expedition raised £11,880.23 for Burma Education Partnership, a charity which develops educational opportunities on the boarders of Thailand and Burma. Similarly, this year’s Cathedral Sleep-out raised over £10,000 for Moving on Durham, a local homeless charity. However, some events raise money specifically for ‘DUCK’. Events such as ‘Back 2 School’ and college-organised fundraisers generate money for the DUCK Allocations Fund. Last year, £24,093.50 was raised
for the central pot, which was then distributed to 52 charities who had applied for small grants. Some of the beneficiaries included ‘Kids for Kids’, ‘The Eating Stones Fund’, ‘Nightline’, and ‘Heel and Toe’, who received £600 to fund a chef to provide healthy meals and promote healthy cooking to children with cerebral palsy, dyspraxia and other motor diseases in the local area. ‘Heel and Toe’ also received a larger one-off grant of £9,000 this summer, which enabled them to put on a Christmas play, and will fund another performance at Easter.
Carmen O’Loughlin commented: “These are just some of the many examples of where £1 to DUCK might go. “So, next time you are considering entering Hold the Bar, going to a DUCK Formal or surrendering your dignity in the name of charity, remember just how much difference you could be making, and get stuck in!” Applications for DUCK’s 2013 Allocations Fund are now open! If you know of a charity that you think might be interested in applying, visit http://duck-do.es/fund2013.
‘Heel and Toe’ Christmas play Photograph: Heel and Toe
Student interests “overridden by market imperatives” of UCAS Harriet Line
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has decided to withhold application figures due to concerns about competition law, suggesting that student interests are being “overridden by market imperatives” according to the National Union of Students (NUS). The data was scheduled for release last month after the 15th January deadline for applications. However, UCAS has decided to withhold the data on application numbers by institution for 20132014 until the autumn, when the admissions cycle closes. This information would have shown the institutions most affected by higher tuition fees and changes to the funding system, which concerned UCAS over competition laws. UCAS feared that the data could be over-interpreted by institutions and applicants, affecting the market
unintentionally. In a statement to Palatinate, UCAS stated that: “The decision to change the publication schedule of UCAS January applications digest was taken based on competition law considerations.
“Publishing the applications digest within a cycle could potentially change institutional or application behaviour” UCAS representative
“As previously stated, we considered that publishing the applications digest within a cycle could potentially change institutional or applicant behaviour in a way that is not helpful in a fair and competitive application process. “Staff within institutions have not
been supplied with the full applications digest, they are only supplied with statistics relating to their own institution.” The NUS President, Liam Burns, commented that: “The government argued its funding changes would put more information at students’ disposal, rather than less. “It appears, however, that it is competition rather than the student interest which has been put at the heart of the system.” He added that, “Prospective applicants are now not allowed to know how the universities they are considering are faring on applications; flying in the face of assurances that student interests would not be overridden by market imperatives.” A fourth-year Geoscience student at University College argued that, “When I applied, application statistics did little to affect my choices and so the delay in releasing this information would have had little impact on any decisions I made.”
DSU President’s Column Archie Dallas There are two main areas that I want to tackle this week, two massive issues that we’ve been dealing with over the course of the last year. First and foremost, is something that has been dogging this student body for decades – the rising cost of living in college. For once, I am able to report some good news from the coal face of student politics. This week, the Students’ Union are commissioning a massive piece of research that will establish the real cost of living at this University. This research will determine how much it sets you back to live in Durham, whether it’s in a six person ‘party house’ in Hawthorn, a two-bed Granny flat in Stockton or a rented room in Bowburn. For too long residence charges have been calculated without a clear idea of whether student can actually afford the prices, which is clearly ridiculous. This research will give my successor, and the University, clear evidence that will allow them to stop the annual creep towards unaffordable accommodation. This, however, is part of a much wider problem, the sense that students aren’t involved as much as they should in the Universities decision making. This isn’t to say for a second that the University don’t care about students, far from it. However, when you look at the issues that crop up time and time again (38-week lets, Senior Tutors etc) it’s hard not to get the impression that there isn’t a breakdown in communication somewhere along the line. The one thing that I would say is that this is getting better and better every day. We, like a lot of institutions, are realising that students are at core of our university (and indeed provide the bulk of the funding) and so we should be at the heart of the decision making processes. Students aren’t consumers, we’re partners; but for partnership to work, we need to communicate. We’re heading in the right direction, but at times it feels like there is a hell of a long way to go.
News News in brief NATIONAL NEWS
OLDER PEOPLE SHOULD RETURN TO UNIVERSITY Universities minister David Willets has suggested that older people should consider returning to higher education to gain new skills to prolong their working life. He told reporters: “Higher education has an economic benefit in that if you stay up to date with knowledge and skills, you are more employable.” His comments follow the fairly recent changes in the government’s student loan policy for fees, which now has no age limit. Maintenance loans, however, are still restricted to the under-60s, something that the government would perhaps have to review were more older people to re-enter higher education. OXFORD BROOKES INTRODUCES GRADE-POINT AVERAGE
Oxford Brookes University has become the first UK university to adopt a US-style grade-point average (GPA) scheme alongside traditional classifications. From September, all new students will be awarded two grades: a single numerical mark showing the average of their degree and a traditional honours degree class. FRESHERS’ SURVEY PUBLISHED
Which? University, a guide to UK degree courses and universities, has done a survey of this year’s freshers’ to discover how their experiences of university have so far measured up to their expectations. Over half of the students questioned said they were enjoying their course more than they anticipated. However, almost four out of every ten freshers’ questioned did not agree that the fees they are paying offer good value for money. It also found that nearly a fifth of students are worried about being able to afford staying at university, with 19% already having gone into their overdraft. The full report can be found on the Which? University website. STUDENTS OFFERED COCAINE FOR SCIENTIFIC TRIAL
Students at King’s College London were offered the chance to take cocaine as part of a clinical trial examining the drug’s effects on the body. Potential participants will receive financial compensation for their time, effort and expenses put towards the study. The trial is only open to men aged 25-40 who are not normally users of recreational drugs.
Thursday 28th February 2013 | PALATINATE
“Butler Bikes” to hit Durham streets next term Anissa Alifandi Josephine Butler College will introduce the first bicycle rental scheme in Durham at the beginning of next term. Based on the famous “Boris bikes” in London, “Butler Bikes” will provide a bike hire facility for the college furthest from town. Butler students can sign up for the scheme through the JCR for £10 for year-long access to bike hire. In an interview with Palatinate, Josephine Butler’s College Green Committee Representative Lucy Astill and Vice President Will Kendall explained that the idea was born out of a passing comment made at the college’s Green Committee meeting. The idea was dismissed as “outlandish” until suggested to Katie Ridley of Greenspace, the University’s environment office, which has subsequently played a major role in the scheme’s development. The cycle hire will make use of the many bikes left at Josephine Butler by international students, as usually they cannot return home with them.
“Cycling is the most energy efficient mode of transport” Lucy Astill, Butler College Green Committee Representative
Butler Green Committee is preparing these bikes for use by both livers-in and livers-out. The ‘trial period’ will start with eight bikes available for hire and its progress will be closely monitored by Greenspace. If deemed successful, the rental system may well be rolled out across the University. Lucy Astill explained the environ-
Josephine Butler’s Green Committee is proud of its project Photograph: Nicoletta Asciuto mental benefits of the scheme: “We are reducing carbon emissions because cycling is the most energy efficient mode of transport, as well as recycling old bikes.” As Durham’s youngest college, Butler is proud of its green credentials, describing itself as “committed to minimising our environmental footprint and encouraging awareness of, and engagement with, environmental issues across the college.” Josephine Butler is one of the few colleges to be presented with the Green Tourism Gold Award, after being assessed on their fulfilment of certain criteria in categories such as energy efficiency, water use and waste management. Like Barclays, who sponsor the London cycle hire, those behind Butler Bikes are encouraging safety in prospective users.
As well as signing Health and Safety Declaration on registration, the Josephine Butler College Trust Fund enabled the purchase of lights and locks for the bikes and helmets for their riders. Helmet wear is not compulsory but is offered as part of the rental. Users are responsible for the bikes when they are hired but it is not yet clear how, if at all, insurance policies will cover any damages that could occur. The £10 fee is, however, reinvested into the project, allowing for the bikes to be maintained to a good standard and the scheme to eventually become self sufficient. During the trial period, the user is allowed up to 24 hours of bike rental, picking one up from the college itself which, for the moment, will host the only docking station.
If the scheme proves to be a success, hire time could be extended and a livers-out station could be introduced. Will Kendall, a key figure in the development of the idea, also commented on the benefits, stating: “it will enhance the student experience. “Being the furthest out college, we now have this to offer as well as the Howlands Park and Ride for people to get around.” Butler students seem to agree, with Chelsea Park telling Palatinate: “I would definitely consider using it, especially if I’m going to the Education department which is actually quite a long way from college.” Another Butler student, Ruth Townshend, pointed out: “Having to bring my own bike home on the train is a hassle so renting one here would be a lot easier.”
building’s Stockton Road facade, in their submission to the architectural planning application.
would impose an “unattractive and dank” pedestrian route on the pavement underneath. The University’s registrar, Paulina Lubacz, defended the design however, telling the Northern Echo: “The University takes great pride in its estate, which includes being custodians of some of Durham City’s most remarkable architecture and landscapes.” “The design of the Palatine Centre was informed by a two-year programme of consultation with students, staff, local residents and statutory bodies during which significant modifications were made to the design. “We are delighted with the outcome.”
Palatine Centre lacks ‘Durhamness’ Natasha Tierney
A leading Durham conservation group has labeled the university’s fifty million pound development of the library and Palatine Centre “a townscape disaster.” The City of Durham Trust, which aims to encourage the appreciation and conservation of Durham architecture, complained in their Spring Bulletin that the building “breaks all the basic rules of architecture and urban design,” adding: “To what does the Palatine Centre relate? “Where is there any hint of ‘Durhamness’ in its form or materials?
“Durham, as the Local Plan acknowledges, is characterised by brick or stone, simple robust shapes, vertical lines and a predominance of solid over void. “The Centre is predominantly wood and glass, with simplicity abandoned for a series of curves and flowing lines. “The large, alien structure has drawn a unanimous response from the Trust, English Heritage and architects of national or international standing, who have summarised it as overbearing, unduly intrusive, aggressive, monstrous. Truly, an opportunity lost.” The Trust were also particularly harsh in their criticism of the the
The Palatine centre is ‘unduly intrusive, aggressive, monstrous.’
Spring Bulletin of the City of Durham Trust They argue that this long stretch of the building “shows a lack of sensitivity to the scale and urban texture of the domestic buildings opposite.” They also voiced concerns that it
PALATINATE | Thursday 28th February 2013
News in brief INTERNATIONAL NEWS
SURGE IN STUDENTS STUDYING FOR UK DEGREES ABROAD The number of students studying for UK degrees in overseas countries increased by 13% last year. The increase is due to the efforts of international campuses of UK universities, partnerships with foreign institutions and online study. There are now more students on UK university courses abroad than there are international and EU students studying in the UK itself. GOVERNMENT “CHANGES TONE” TOWARDS INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
David Cameron embarked on a trade mission to India last week, where he stressed that there was no cap on the number of Indian students who could study in the UK. This change in stance is seen as significant due to the government’s recent pledge to reduce net migration. However, critics argue that the “change of tone” will not help falling student numbers as immigration policy remains unchanged. STANFORD UNIVERSITY RAISES MORE THAN $1BN IN A YEAR Stanford University has become the first American college to raise more than $1bn (£650m) in a year. The university ranked first in the 2012 Council for Aid to Education’s survey for the eighth year in a row. The report found that 3,500 US universities raised a total of $31bn, 2.3% more than the previous year. Stanford received donations from almost 79,000 donors, including $100 million from Silicon Valley investor Robert King and his wife Dorothy to establish the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies. However, the total amount raised by the university remains below the all-time record seen in 2008.
St. John’s college set to expand Justin Villamil Durham University and St. John’s College recently purchased two buildings at 16 South Bailey from Durham Cathedral as part of an expansion of St. John’s College. The buildings will be used to house the academic and administrative staff of Cranmer Hall and the Wesley Study Centre, and will be used as the hub of the national validation scheme currently in the works between St. John’s and the Church of England. The space will also be used to provide room for CODEC, a research initiative studying Christian communication in the digital environment. 16 South Bailey is a small building just across from St. John’s College, which Rev. Professor David Wilkinson, the Principal of St. John’s College, happily describes as “just a short walk for our staff.” Currently, the staff of both Cranmer Hall, which trains Anglican ministers, and the Wesley Study Centre, which is used for Methodist study, are housed in a long hallway in the main building. CODEC is currently using converted bedrooms within the college as a base of operations. The expansion of St. John’s College is partially due to the ongoing progress of a national validation programme for Anglican ministers currently being developed by the Church of England.
The validation programme, also referred to as the ‘Common Award’ programme, is a consolidation of education programs by the Church of England. Currently the Church uses education programmes in 23 locations around the UK. According to a press release from June of last summer, when the Durham validation scheme was announced, it was mostly to cut costs. “The new arrangements are intended to make validation simpler and more affordable for the sector. “The new provision will bring greater coherence to the training and education offered across the colleges, courses and dioceses,” said the press release. The final contracts are expected to be signed by the University and the Archbishop’s Council by the end of March. The scheme itself will begin in 2014. Durham Cathedral, an Anglican cathedral, sold St. John’s the lease for 16 South Bailey for a period of 120 years. “We have worked with the Cathedral on a number of things,” David Wilkinson told Palatinate. “The Cathedral is obviously very supportive of Cranmer Hall [...] and so part of buying the lease of 16 South Bailey was that the Cathedral saw the benefit not just for Durham but also for the church nationally.” The 16 South Bailey building itself is currently under extensive renovation.
The building was used in the past as the residence of Michael Ramsey, the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury, while acting as Bishop of Durham. Wilkinson told Palatinate that he intends to use a second building next to 16 South Bailey (also leased) for a new library, study space, and possibly additional seminar rooms. Construction should be finished by the summer, and John’s students can expect to regain some bedrooms by September of next year. But Wilkinson is quick to emphasize that there is more to be gained for John’s students than just space. “Particularly for those who are students within the college who are studying for Anglican ordination and Methodist ministry, they can expect two things: better facilities in terms of offices administration and seminar space. And secondly, to be right at the epicentre of developments in a ministry and theology for the whole country. “For others, this is a demonstration that colleges are not just halls of residence, but that we are research communities.” St. John’s is currently developing more web-based courses and a summer school for students from around the UK. The college is encouraged by developments with the Church of England. “For the Church of England to choose Durham as its national partner is a real vote of confidence for the university,” said Wilkinson.
US AIMS TO ENGAGE MUSLIM WORLD VIA HIGHER EDUCATION Meghan Curtis, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Programs at the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, announced at a higher education conference that “educational diplomacy” has arrived at the highest levels of American foreign policy. Ms Curtis argued that education would address a “big deficit” in mutual understanding between the US and the Middle East and North Africa.
Construction of the expansion should be finished by the summer Photograph: Justin Villamil
DUCK column: ‘Fresh meet’ Carmen O’Loughlin DUCK Officer Love and laughter are the two most important things in the world. As term’s getting tougher, deadlines are looming and everyone needs a bit of a lift, DUCK is here to make sure you take a break and have some fun. Firstly, this Friday Jack Whitehall and the cast of ‘Fresh Meat’ will be coming to Durham for a one-off tricycling extravaganza, as we recreate the 1967 Palace Green Tricycle race, with the 21st century addition of red noses to support Comic Relief. The cast are going to a total of seven universities, and will be arriving in Durham at 10am as part of their ‘Banter Bus’ UK tour. Make sure you get up to Palace Green before 9.30am, or you’ll miss out on the chance to meet Fresh Meat and watching an old Durham tradition come back to life. From recreating the old to ensuring that slightly newer Durham traditions continue, next week, on Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th March, DUCK Blind Date is back! With a 12% pull rate and an overall satisfaction rate of 75%, DUCK Blind Date is our way of contributing to the continuation of 80% of Durham graduates finding and marrying their partner from within our wonderfully cobbled city. If you want to get involved, simply fill out an application form by midnight this Friday, donate £5 to charity, and our team of DUCK love analysts will get working on setting you up with your perfect match. Then next week, we’ll introduce you to your date and leave you to do whatever you wish. We’ve also secured some great restaurant and drink deals just in case you’re low on funds at the moment! What more could you want? Go online for more information. So if it’s tricycle watching or finding new friends (or something slightly more...) this week DUCK has plenty to ensure the dark days of deadlines don’t get you down!
8 News Features Editor: Joanna Thom
Thursday 28th February 2013 | PALATINATE
DSU Elections: Meet your s
Palatinate finds out more about your potential new student officers so you can make an i Presidential Candidates
Academic Affairs Officer David Morris
Describe what you will do for Durham in 3 words: Unified student community. Most important bit of past experience you’ve had? I was the Senior DSU Rep for Collingwood during the move from Council to Assembly. If you could change one thing it would be…? Ideally I’d make Dunelm House look nicer. But I’m realistic, so I’d like to change the negative perceptions of the DSU by getting out there and talking to people. What made you decide to go for this role? The Students’ Union needs someone with a vision to keep taking it forward. What does Durham mean to you? It’s the people and the atmosphere that is so special. Best Durham moment? It has to be Fresher’s Week this year. We had Abandoman for the Thursday night and it was amazing. One thing you’d say to new students? Go to Klute! Choose 3 dinner guests alive or dead and describe the meal you’d serve to them? Edgar Allen Poe, Henry VIII and Tim Burton. I’d have to serve them my favourite dinner party food – chicken stuffed with Philadelphia
Describe what you will do for Durham students in 3 words? Listen to them. Most important bit of past experience you’ve had? I am currently Chair of the JCR President’s Committee. If you could change one thing it would be…? Increase the levels of student engagement. What made you decide to go for this role? The opportunity to represent 16,000 students was too good to miss. What does Durham mean to you? A chance to be better in anything you apply yourself to. Best Durham moment? Coxing my college’s men’s crew to victory at Durham Regatta. One thing you’d say to new students? Get involved in anything that you want to do and don’t wait for anyone. Choose 3 dinner guests alive or dead and describe the meal you’d serve to them? Brian May, Jose Mourinho and Rosa Parks. I’d take them out.
Describe what you will do for Durham students in 3 words? Protect your college. Most important bit of past experience you’ve had? Representing students nationally as one of the Prime Minister’s Global Fellows. If you could change one thing, it would be...? The university not listening to what students think and want What made you decide to go for this role? To help the students’ union do more to represent you - I’ve got a plan to make that happen. What does Durham mean to you? A pint in a college bar, a Sunday afternoon at MC, Lloyd’s on Wednesdays and spending the early hours in the library. Best Durham moment? Sprinting round Palace Green naked at midnight on Chad’s Day. One thing you’d say to new students? Do everything! Sign up to a new college sport, try a new society, and get out and experience Durham. Choose 3 dinner guests, alive or dead, and describe the meal you’d serve to them? I’d have both my Grandads, as I never got a chance to meet them and would like to get to know them. And Ricky Gervais, to break the ice.
Describe what you will do for Durham students in 3 words? Representation, Engagement, Accessibility. Most important bit of past experience you’ve had? Being MCR President and JCR postgraduate Vice-President at St. John’s College. If you could change one thing it would be…? Paint Dunelm House purple… What made you decide to go for this role? I really want to help the DSU become exciting. What does Durham mean to you? Amazing. Friends. German literature. Fun. Rowing. Life. Klute. Purple. Home. The best five years of my life. Best Durham moment? The overwhelming sense of achievement on walking out of Durham Cathedral after graduating. One thing you’d say to new students? Take every opportunity that is thrown at you. Choose 3 dinner guests alive or dead and describe the meal you’d serve to them? Sigmund Freud, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Jonny Wilkinson. I would serve mozzarella and tomatoes as a starter, some sort of posh pasta dish as a main, and Pavlova for dessert.
The position of Development Officer is new within the sabbatical system. The previous position of Societies and Student Development Officer role has now been split into separate Activities and Development officers.
Describe what you will do for Durham students in 3 words? Enhance existing opportunity. Most important bit of past experience you’ve had? Trevs DUCK rep 2011-12. If you could change one thing it would be...? Students willingly including skillbased training in any handover. What made you decide to go for this role? The capacity to help students get
more from their university experience. What does Durham mean to you? A land of opportunity, and an enabling and encouraging community. One thing you’d say to new students? Take every opportunity you can. No matter how small it seems, you don’t know how big it could become. Choose 3 dinner guests alive or dead and describe the meal you’d serve to them?
Describe what you will do for Durham students in 3 words? Represent students effectively. Most important bit of past experience you’ve had? I was JCR President at St Aidan’s last year. If you could change one thing it would be…? Getting academics to understand that student input regarding the structure and management of courses is valuable and necessary. What made you decide to go for this role? I want to be a part of making the organisation more effective. The higher education sector is something I’d like to continue working in. What does Durham mean to you? A top quality academic education, with unsurpassed opportunities for personal development and growth outside the classroom. One thing you’d say to new students? You’ll be shelling out a lot of money for a supposedly excellent education. If you feel that the education you are getting is not quite excellent, please speak up. Choose 3 dinner guests alive or dead and describe the meal you’d serve to them? John Mayer, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. I’d keep dinner quick (maybe a takeaway?) so they could all
Jeremy Gilley, Christopher McCandless & Aron Ralston. Steak, chips & pints, crucial ingredients for good conversation.
To vote online, go to www.dur. ac.uk/student. elections/dsu
PALATINATE | Thursday 28th February 2013
informed decision before voting closes at 17.00 on Friday 1st March Activities Officer
Krystina Warrington Describe what you will do for Durham students in 3 words? Increase Interaction & Efficiency Most important bit of past experience you’ve had? Being the DUCK Endurance Officer 2012/13. If you could change one thing it would be…?
Grace Abel Describe what you will do for Durham students in 3 words? Campaign, represent, welfare. Most important bit of past experience you’ve had? Having been on my Junior Common Room Executive Committee this year, I’ve been fortunate enough to learn how to problem solve and communicate effectively.
Awareness of societies, it is very hard to find out what events and activities a society is running and how to get involved in them. What made you decide to go for this role? I want to help improve the problems in each society that stem from the Students Union. I also want to ensure that DUCK is fully supported through this year of change. What does Durham mean to you? Durham is my home, my friends, my family and the best 3 years of my life. One thing you’d say to new students? Get involved, take advantage of every opportunity and get ready for the best three years of your life. Choose 3 dinner guests alive or dead and describe the meal you’d serve to them? Casper, Simba and Baloo. I’d feed then ‘prickly pears’. If you could change one thing it would be…? The vast amount of inequalities in our society and between different countries. What made you decide to go for this role? I have a passionate interest in society, community, equality and diversity. What does Durham mean to you? I think people make experiences though and the people I’ve met have been flipping awesome. One thing you’d say to new students? Get involved in everything university life has to offer. Choose 3 dinner guests alive or dead and describe the meal you’d serve to them? I’d serve a roast dinner with chocolate sponge pudding to Neil Armstrong, Enrique Iglesias and Jess Ennis Describe what you will do for Durham students in 3 words? Make DSU Relevant Most important bit of past experience you’ve had? Being a Senior DSU Rep for John’s. If you could change one thing it would be…? The way the central careers service spams everyone with the same emails. What made you decide to go for this role?
Mark Heads Describe what you will do for Durham students in 3 words? Engage more students Most important bit of past experience you’ve had? Since last March I’ve been Station Manager at Purple Radio, both a media outlet and society. If you could change one thing it
Mohammad Jamil Describe what you will do for Durham student s in 3 words? Diversify ideas and skills Most important bit of past experience you’ve had? I was one of the founding membersof BADHON-a self blood donor organisation in Bangladesh, President of Debating Society, Student Welfare Secretary, Ustinov GCR Exec If you could change one thing it I want to be able to give something back to the Durham Community that made me who I am today. What does Durham mean to you? Durham is very special to me, because as a community it’s really helped me grow as a person over the last three years. One thing you’d say to new students? Enjoy your time at Durham, because the three or four years you’ll spend here go by very quickly.
would be…? I want to make Durham Students’ Union a place for students. What made you decide to go for this role? I’ve worked in the Union over the past year as Station Manager at Purple Radio and seen the it progress I’m excited to hopefully be a part of this. What does Durham mean to you? Durham is all about the wide range of students and events. One thing you’d say to new students? Make sure you enjoy your time here. Don’t be scared to get involved. Choose 3 dinner guests alive or dead and describe the meal you’d serve to them? I can cook a mean stir-fry!! I would invite people who would make it an entertaining night: David Lamb (Come Dine With Me) for his pure sarcasm, Lee Mack and Stephen Fry! would be…? DSU- a place students would love to go by developing an “Umbrella Community” and Central Inter Cultural Forum What made you decide to go for this role? So far, in the history of Durham Students Union no International Students came forward for this position other than the UK National Students. So if I win I will make history. What does Durham mean to you? Diversity and opportunity One thing you’d say to new students? Welcome to your most exciting opportunity for living and learning Choose 3 dinner guests alive or dead and describe the meal you’d serve to them? To be honest I love to make dinner for anybody...
Choose 3 dinner guests alive or dead and describe the meal you’d serve to them? Jesus, Richard Dawkins, because I’d like to see him get knocked down a peg by Jesus, and Lord Denning, because as a Judge he was by far the most amusing and did by far the most interesting things to the law.
Position changes This months election will bring new change to the student officer roles. Most notably the role of DUCK officer has been taken off, with it expected to be divided up among some of the other positions. This position was responsible for leading student fundraising activities. The previous role of Academic and Student Welfare has been divided into two separate positions of Academic Affairs Officer, to promote academic support, and Community Officer, to promote health and wellbeing. Additionally the Societies and Student Development Officer has been taken away and there are now separate Activities and Development officers. The announcement of the new positions came late on, providing students with a limited amount of time in which to prepare manifestos for the new positions. Archie Dallas explained the reasons for the changes: “We changed the officer roles for two main reasons. Firstly, we had never considered all the roles as a group but rather had tinkered around with them on a year on year basis. By changing them together, we were able to match them up with the Union’s three year strategy. In the case of DUCK, the DUCK Officer was expected to suddenly be an expert in about 9 different areas which is unrealistic in an elected position. Many of the adminstrative duties of the DUCK Officer will be taken over by a staff role which will free the students up to do what they do best, organising events and mad fund raising schemes. Sadly, trying to put through a change like this, after the strategy, is a massively time consuming task. It’s incredibly annoying that we had to announce it so late, but it did give us a good run in for the Student Leadership Race. In an ideal world, we would have done it sooner but sometimes you’ve just got to compromise in order to get the job done.” Chris Pocock had planned on running as DUCK officer. However, he said the new role of Development Officer suits him better. Those considering running for positions were made aware of possible changes to the positions early on. However some felt that they did disrupt the election. Hannah Horton was unhappy about the late announcement: “The Senior DSU Reps should have been told earlier so that we could advise our Colleges appropriately.” Uj Nneji thinks the new positions will be beneficial: “Our officers will be able to focus more on one aspect of the Durham student experience.” Voting runs until the 1st of March.
Business Editor: Florence Childs
Thursday 28th February 2013 | PALATINATE
Delayed take-off: London airport expansion A Weekly
Round-up Florence Childs
Expansion at Heathrow? The Davies Commission is investigating the best option. Photography: Creative Commons Alistair Symes
he establishment of the Davies Commission, to investigate the best option for the future of London’s airports, has been a highly political move. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, declared the government’s decision a ‘fudge’. The Conservative Party, which promised in its 2010 manifesto to prevent the creation of a third runway at Heathrow, has successfully prolonged a decision until after the next election in 2015. By doing so, David Cameron has avoided a political U-turn on Heathrow during this
“The government realised it simply could not ignore the issue”
government. Given the state of Britain’s economy and the inadequacy of London’s current airport capacity, the government realised it could not simply ignore the issue. A recent report by Heathrow Airport argued that Britain is losing an estimated £14 billion a year in trade because of its airport capacity. Heathrow Airport, which operates at 99% capacity and has just two
runways, risks falling behind European rivals in Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt. Increasing demands to travel to new destinations in emerging markets are exposing the limits of Heathrow’s destinations. Heavy snowfall this winter has seen Heathrow struggle to cope with a backlog of flights, with up to a tenth of all flights per day cancelled. But the government’s decision to investigate potential options for airport expansion is costing the British economy valuable time. If the commission was to recommend a third runway at Heathrow, it could be at least ten years before it is actually built. Last week, a cross-party group of politicians wrote to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to urge the government to bring forward the Davies report to before the next general election. This would allow the electorate to know whether or not they were voting for a third runway at Heathrow in 2015. Boris Johnson had led calls for a new airport to be built in the Thames Estuary. This ambitious project would satisfy the 700,000 residents that currently live under the Heathrow flight path, and its four runways could provide an even larger capacity than a three-runway Heathrow. But the airport would cost an estimated £70 billion to build, and airlines such as British Airways would be forced to relocate across the capital. A report for the Commons Trans-
port Committee has warned that a ‘Boris Island’ airport would not be “commercially viable,” and would pose a huge risk to private sector investors. The project would rely on higher passenger numbers and more costly fares to help pay for it.
“The Davies Commission is also investigating the option of expanding both Gatwick and Stansted”
The Davies Commission is also investigating the option of expanding Gatwick and Stansted airports, which have more potential for growth. However a large amount of Heathrow’s revenue is taken from passengers using the airport as means to transit on to another destination. A third of people flying to Heathrow are connecting passengers, and expanding a rival airport would make flight connections more difficult. Cities such as Dubai have profited from having flights to all major routes connect in a ‘single hub’ airport. Expanding Heathrow would allow London to prosper from having a ‘single hub’, and would not create the same financial risk for investors as a new airport in the Thames Estuary.
Furthermore, noise pollution is being tackled by two major technological innovations in aircraft manufacture. Firstly, aircraft engines are being designed to be quieter, and airlines benefit from cheaper landing fees with quieter planes. Secondly, more reliable satellite navigation is allowing planes to fly closer together, which means more flights can be scheduled into daylight hours. If a third runway is given the green light, improvements in noise pollution may be visible by the time it is operational. But for now, politics has postponed a quick solution to airport capacity.
“For now, politics has postponed a quick solution to airport capacity”
The decision on the future of London’s airports has been taken away from the government, and given to the former head of the Financial Services Authority, Sir Howard Davies. It will be the responsibility of the next government to act on his conclusions.
For more, visit palatinate.org. uk
Cantor Fitzgerald has saved ailing financial institution Seymour Pierce from the depths of insolvency. The acquisition took place on Monday morning; just hours after administration was filed and bankruptcy assumed. The take over marks Cantor Fitzgerald’s expansion into Europe and highlights the strength of the firm on the global stage. Losing 70% of its workforce in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre, it seems the institution, led by Tom Forcier, has bounced back in tremendous fashion and reignited its quest for global dominance. The takeover will leave Cantor Fitzegerald with a larger European client base and expertise in the British financial sector. The Horsemeat Scandal is infecting more and more multinationals on a daily basis. Birdseye and Nestle are among the latest victims, removing various meat-based products from supermarkets across Europe. Reports suggest that the root cause is the ban of Horse/Truck combinations on Romanian roads and a subsequent surplus of the animals. The scandal, elucidating problems of fraud and mislabeling, highlights growing concerns with the meat industry’s ability to regulate itself. Calls by government officials and the Food Services Authority are suggesting new methods of meat monitoring and an emphasis on local produce.
Despite the impending launch of the Blackberry10, Blackberry withdrew marketing campaigns from Japanese Markets earlier this week. This move, described as a strategic effort by the firm’s CEO, is confusing for consumers and fuels speculations of the organisation’s dwindling reputation. Japanese markets, renowned for innovativity and technological superiority, have experienced a 40% increase in smartphone purchase. However, Blackberry is thought to have sold just 100,000 handsets in the last year. It seems that Blackberry has been superseded by the likes of Apple and Samsung, and the firms reputation and international strategy is very much reliant on the success of the latest model.
PALATINATE | Thursday 28th February 2013
Can Mark Carney teach the Old Lady new tricks?
Canadian born Mark Carney (left), head of the Bank of Canada, is set to take over the Bank of England (right) this summer Photographs: Creative Commons Marley Miller
aple leaf flags will be flown over the Bank of England this summer as Mark Carney takes the helm as its first ever foreign Governor. Canadian born Carney, who currently heads the Bank of Canada, has been brought in to show the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street how it’s done on the other side of the Atlantic and revamp some of the Bank’s stagnant policies. But the 47-year-old is playing his cards close to his chest. Facing a grilling by the Treasury Select Committee this week, he indicated a wish for a more transparent approach and an increased role in boosting the economy. Yet what his leadership means for monetary policy and the pound is still unclear. The former Goldman Sachs employee built his reputation as a central banker by steering Canada out of the financial crisis faster than any of its G7 peers. A combination of near-zero interest rates and clear communication meant that the Canadian economy practically dodged the global economic meltdown and his appointment as Chairman of the Basel-based Financial Stability Board (FSB) is testament to the respect he has garnered as a regulator. Arriving from a nation with a much stricter line on banks and chairing an organization at the forefront of the crackdown on the ‘too
big to fail’ mentality, it will be interesting to see what alterations are to come for British banking regulation. Even more so now that the Bank of England is seizing back its regulatory powers from the short-lived New Labour experiment, the FSA. Canadian banks came away from the crisis unscathed due to rulings against big domestic banks merging, where as the British solution was to merge them (Lloyds TSB and HBOS) – and we’re still picking up the bill!
“The former Goldman Sachs employee built his reputation as a central banker by steering Canada out of the financial crisis”
Maybe it was because of his sterling reputation (no pun intended) that his career ambitions came under the gun in Parliament this week? Or possibly, it was due to the fact that he only agreed to take up the job if the term was shortened to five years (rather than eight) inciting rumours of a plan to run for leadership of the Canadian Liberal Party. Either way, Carney clarified that the choice wasn’t part of a long-term career strategy: “I’m surprised it has been suggested that taking one of the most challenging jobs in central banking in
another country would be politically advantageous in my home country. If I had political ambitions, I would have pursued them in Canada and so I think this is revealed preference. I do not have political ambitions.” The questioning from MPs did, however, reveal some hints as to what could be some of the key differences between Carney and the outgoing Governor, Sir Mervyn King. Perhaps most important is the Canadian’s view on the role of a central bank in stimulating the economy. Unlike his predecessor, Carney believes that the Bank could play more of a part in boosting demand and should focus on both GDP growth rates and inflation rates rather than just inflation. Moreover, in times of crisis, the inflation target, the backbone of British central banking, may have to be chucked. And I know you’re wondering what they’ll name the Target 2.0 competition without a strict 2.0 target, but ‘flexible inflation targeting’ could be a step toward more dynamic policies. In times of waning economic growth, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) could provide solace by assuring investors that interest rates will remain low. Inflation could be unchained to boost growth. Even so, don’t hold your breath for a more radical approach. When it comes to delivering on his goals, Carney stated at the World Economic Forum in Davos that traditional monetary policy measures were not “maxed out.” He
agrees with King that the solution isn’t printing money to fund government spending or fuel demand. There will be no ‘helicopter money’.
“The arrival of Mark Carney is a sign of hope for a bank in need of a facelift”
The second difference lies in the incoming Governor’s views on leadership. Andrew Tyrie, Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, deemed the “centralised and hierarchical” governance structure of the Bank under Mervyn King a barrier to its effectiveness. Noting a desire to step away from such a model (and gain a more pleasant nickname than ‘Sun King’), Carney told the Committee that for his ideal managing style “It can’t be an emperor, it’s more a managing partner.” Thirdly, Carney’s faith in the quantitative easing (QE) programmes that were designed to cure the British economy of its recession blues might not be as unwavering as his predecessor. He has admitted that the returns from the asset purchasing schemes are diminishing (following a Bank of Canada report into the subject) and has said that, if more monetary stimulus were required, he would be willing to “explore alternatives.” But perhaps the greatest difference between the two bankers is
found by judging the book by its cover. And no, I’m not referring to the fact that King lags behind in the looks department in comparison to his “young, good looking and charismatic” counterpart (his words not mine!) but in how they want to communicate their policies. Carney has expressed an interest in following in the Fed’s footsteps and clearly explaining the relationship between output and inflation and what the Bank’s expectations are. He hopes that it will be this kind of honesty (along with a vast improvement in the Bank’s economic forecasts), which will reestablish the Bank’s credibility and confidence in the economy. He also talked of plans to “engage widely, using speeches and media interviews” and increase the Bank’s use of social media outlets in order to keep the public in the loop on decisions (and save a pound or two - or $1 million in the case of Canada on advertising). The arrival of Mark Carney is a sign of hope for a bank in need of a facelift. His openness to a debate on the inflation target is refreshing compared to Sir Mervyn’s by-the-book nature and an experienced regulator and well-respected international voice might be just what the Bank needs to get back on track. Sadly, as just one vote on a Monetary Policy Committee of nine people, it might be an uphill battle to make any significant changes to the world’s second oldest central bank.
Careers Editor: Amy Sandiford-Watts
Thursday 28th February 2013 | PALATINATE @PalatiCAREERS Palatinate
A day in the life: working at Deloitte Florence Ware
graduated from Hatfield in 2011 with a Psychology degree, fantastic friends and memories. Despite having racked up a few weeks of internships and work experience while I was at Durham, I had no solid career plans. I was attracted to apply for Management Consultancy after a friend started at Deloitte and raved about it, and on further research it seemed to be the ideal career for me. I was attracted by the variety of the job - the work you do and the teams you work with completely depend on the client you are working on, and this often changes numerous times throughout the year.
“The work you do completely depends on the client”
After a year of finding myself (which actually consisted of a lot of career research, job applications and some travelling), I started at Deloitte as an Analyst in Customer Consulting in September 2012. The first few weeks were spent being inducted in to the firm and included two weeks in the Cotswolds which was a bit like Freshers’ Week with quite a lot more work and a bit less fancy dress. We were taught core consulting skills and more competency specific skills (Consulting graduates choose to join one of Finance, Customer, Technology, Strategy, Operations or People & Programmes) as well as completing an intense case study. Deloitte places a huge emphasis on the importance of building one’s professional network, so there was also a lot of socialising and a great opportunity to make 280 new best friends and useful contacts for the rest of our careers. This induction was followed by three weeks of training for Chartered Institute of Management Accountant exams. The ability to gain a professional qualification within six weeks of starting work is something unique to Deloitte, and something which I know will stand me in good stead wherever my career leads me. I was worried that my lack of experience with Economics, Business and IT could be a hindrance to my con-
Florence graduated from Hatfield in 2011 and now works as a management consultant sulting progress, but in reality, new Deloitte analysts have done a whole variety of degrees and a lack of experience definitely is not a problem.
“At the moment I’m working for a client on Oxford Street which is incredibly convenient”
I was surprised at the number of people in my cohort who had done Masters or a few years of work experience after university; this results in a group a huge variety of skills and experiences which can be utilised across Deloitte’s extensive and prestigious client base. At the moment I’m working for a client on Oxford Street which is incredibly convenient. I get in to the office for 8:30, check my emails and catch up with the project team for updates on the different workstreams. I am part of a team of fifteen, as well as a group of developers based in India, which is implementing a Customer Relationship Management system
to allow the business to record, track and plan around its customers. My role mainly involves mediating between the developers and the business to define what the system needs to do and how we can best interpret, report on and build strategies around the information held by the business. On a day to day basis, this means creating slide decks in PowerPoint, managing the project Risk and Issue Log, some basic testing and meeting with key stakeholders in the business. One particular highlight so far has been the travel. Despite having being at Deloitte for less than four months, I have already been fortunate enough to travel to New York and Hong Kong with the project team to hold a series of workshops. I have friends who are based on projects around the UK and the world, ranging from Swindon and Glasgow to Chicago and Moscow – an openness to travel is a key attribute for a management consultant because on the whole you are based where the client is. On top of project work, everyone does a bit of internal work which ranges from graduate recruitment to internal newsletters and event organising. I have also got involved
in some community and fundraising work and there are a huge variety of sports teams and societies. I leave the office around seven but this is very flexible and can be earlier or later depending on the stage of the project and any approaching deadlines. Most weeks I’ll go out for drinks either with the project team or with friends from my Analyst intake. As mentioned earlier, Deloitte is big on networking and they keep us wined and dined well. For example on the first Friday of every month they organise drinks for all the first and second year Analysts which is a great opportunity to catch up with friends on different projects. My application process took around eight weeks in total but there can be as little as a three week gap from application to offer at less busy times of the year. The application form required relatively short answers which was a welcome change from some of the other companies I applied for, but it is important to remember that every word counts – you need to make yourself stand out! My first interview was competency based but my final Partner interview was much less daunting than I expected and more of a general chat.
Photograph: Florence Ware There are quite a few Durham graduates in my Analyst intake but when you think about it, this is of no surprise. Durham graduates tend to be driven and enthusiastic with full CVs of extra-curricular activities, attributes which are supported by the collegiate system and highly appreciated by Deloitte.
“Deloitte is big on networking.They keep us wined and dined well”
I can highly recommend Management Consultancy as a career, and can even more highly recommend Deloitte as an employer. The clients, networks, support, training and opportunities I have been exposed to since September far surpass those of any other graduate schemes which I am aware of. If you don’t know where you’re headed after graduation, just give the application a go, you never know where it might take you.
PALATINATE | Thursday 28th February 2013
Politics Editor: Francis Still
David Cameron’s India Tour
Deputy: Joe Mayes
Labour leader targets millionaire mansions in 10p tax rate pledge James Fryatt
Prime Minister David Cameron with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Photograph: The Prime Minister’s Office Anum Farhan
n the space of a few days, both the French President, Francois Hollande, and the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, have visited India in the hopes of securing better trade relations with a nation set to become one of this century’s major economies. Mr Cameron arrived in Mumbai for a three day trip with the biggest entourage of British business representatives ever taken on an overseas trip by a UK Prime Minister. Those represented include BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, the London Underground and the English Premier League. Mr Cameron has frequently stressed the value he places on working to improve the UK’s trade relationships overseas, but with recent corruption allegations surrounding the sale of luxury AgustaWestland helicopters to India, and the underlying historical grievances from India’s past, Cameron’s trip may expose mixed feelings from much of the population. For Cameron’s ambitions on becoming “the partner of choice” in a “more open, more flexible” Indian economy, his proclaimed promises left listeners feeling somewhat underwhelmed. £1 million has been promised to help fund a feasibility study into using British expertise to develop a ‘business corridor’ between Mumbai
and Bangalore – an amount so modest it may have even embarrassed his Indian counterparts. Similarly, Cameron offered a belated response to the reduction in Indian student numbers that has become a matter of concern in British universities by stating that there would be greater and easier visa access for students. While an initiative to introduce same-day visa services for Indian businesses may help the government in securing the £2.5 billion that was estimated to be generated from the economy post-Olympics, it is unlikely to influence increased attendance at conferences, exhibitions and events in Britain due to the limited categories of business visitors to which the new rules will apply. Genuine Indian economic concerns regarding British policy with respect to trade and investment rules and intellectual property rights are being overlooked by Cameron. Instead, he is following a strategy based on the continuation of an Indian economic policy that has lost its legitimacy within the country. Cameron’s proposals accentuate the growing inequalities of opportunity in India that are currently affecting education and resulting in a severe brain drain. Thus, if this trip to India is to be of any benefit to Britain’s economy, political unity is fundamental. Once this is achieved, trade and social relations with India will follow.
Ed Miliband’s announcement last week, that Labour would re-introduce the 10p tax rate, reveals a determination to prove that his party has a credible plan for a ‘new economy’. Miliband plans to pay for the return of the lower rate of tax by taking the ‘mansion tax’ pledge from the Liberal Democrats. His flagship economic policy, to tax the rich and give something back to working people, gives us a taste of the platform on which the Labour Party will fight the next election. In his announcement, Miliband conceded that the previous Labour government was wrong to scrap the tax, but believes that his party has now got its priorities in order. This will undoubtedly put pressure on the Chancellor to deliver an ambitious budget next month. Miliband argues that by taxing the rich and helping those on low incomes, he and his party are on the “side of working people,” and are “moving on from the past.” All of this is in an attempt to reinforce his ‘One Nation’ rhetoric and his vision for a fairer economy. The ‘mansion tax’ would be levied
on properties worth more than two million pounds which Miliband believes will help to redistribute wealth more fairly, benefiting around 25 million basic rate taxpayers. The Labour Party is keenly aware that it has failed to gain popular support, even in the midst of economic stagnation, and is just beginning to wake up to criticisms that it is a policy-free party. By reviving the 10p tax rate Labour hopes to reassert itself as the party of progress and social justice. The government on the other hand have been quick to criticise the announcement, once again emphasising Labour’s reputation for ‘economic incompetence’. Labour’s decision to scrap the 10p tax rate was highly controversial when it was announced in the 2007 budget. Critics argued that it left up to half a million people on low incomes worse off. Miliband has insisted that he disagreed with Gordon Brown’s decision to scrap the tax from the outset and is now putting things right. What many will ask is why it has taken two and half years for Labour to begin addressing its dire record on the economy.
The reality is that Miliband’s 10p tax rate pledge is a ploy aimed at antagonising the coalition. The shadow chancellor Ed Balls has even suggested talks with the Liberal Democrats. Many Liberal Democrats, including the business secretary Vince Cable, are still committed to the idea of the ‘mansion tax’, with Cable going as far as to praise Labour’s “change of heart.” While Labour has, up to now, remained sketchy about their own party policy, they have wasted no opportunity to repeat the claim that the coalition has punished the ‘squeezed middle’. The government however, maintains that it has helped ordinary people by increasing the amount that can be earned before tax, and continues to accuse Labour of lacking any credible plan. Whatever the case, Miliband still has far more work to do before the next election to convince the public that Labour can be trusted to handle the nation’s finances.
For more, visit palatinate.org. uk
Ed Miliband giving a speech to potential future voters Photograph: South Swindon Labour
Comment Editor: David Siesage
Deputy: Catherine Malpass
Thursday 28th February 2013 PALATINATE
Catholicism is no place for liberal values Liberals fighting for Catholic reform should remember the importance of scripture Nick Bradley
here has been an interesting response in the media to the Pope’s declaration that he intends to resign as head of the Roman Catholic Church and withdraw into a life of prayer. The most curious phenomenon has been the substantial section of the media which has emphasised the opportunity for the Catholic Church to modernise, liberalise and, in essence, swiftly move far away from the ‘conservatism’ of Pope Benedict. The Guardian responded to the Pope’s announcement by suggesting five issues that the next Pope needs to address. These are ‘Contraception and Aids’, ‘Sexual Abuse within the Church’, ‘Homosexuality and Same-sex Marriage’, ‘Abortion’ and ‘Women’.
Rome has clear and rigid rules on issues of morality
The article in question seems to have overlooked the fact that if the next Pope is inspired by the Guardian and decides to implement radical changes such as the ordination of women, the permission for homosexuality, and the encouragement of contraception, he will cease to be a Catholic. Rome has clear and rigid rules on the five issues highlighted by the Guardian. Who is a non-Catholic to tell the Catholic Church what to do and what to teach? Whilst the anachronistic and medieval traditions of the Roman Church, with its institutionalised sexual repression, are legitimate targets for both the media and anyone possessing a moral compass, it is nonsense for the Guardian to lobby for a ‘liberal’ Pope and essentially, a
rejection of Roman Catholicism by the Church’s own hierarchy. Benedict deserves respect for sticking to the doctrine of the Catholic Church during his time as Pope. He has not watered down his faith or somehow acknowledged the frailties, anachronisms and absolutism of his faith like the Church of England or other ‘liberal’ religious organisations have. This is reminiscent of the words of Cardinal Hume who reminded the world that members of the Catholic Church cannot adopt an a la carte approach to Catholicism. Ultimately, for those who value logic, freedom and progress, the religious organisations which cleverly evolve and disguise themselves as progressive pose the most dangerous and serious of threats to our society. Whilst Papal politics is an internal affair, the proselytising and missionary wing of the Roman Church remains a deeply troubling concern, and in contrast, must not be ignored. Its activities in the African continent have been widely documented. Hell-bent on monopoly, substantial portions of African Catholicism have been hijacked by religious militants. Have the now well-documented revelations about Mother Teresa taught the world nothing of the dangers of the Papal cult? Let the discourse surrounding the Pope’s resignation and the appointment of his successor be an opportunity, not to tell the Catholic Church how to run itself, but to highlight the irrelevance of organised religion as well as the fact that it has nothing whatsoever to do with virtuosity, morality and humanity. I invite the world to put aside the scriptures, put aside the creeds, and break their chains to the Church. Instead, why not remember a mortal man? A man whose humility, love, courage and heart-wrenching sacrifice will remain forever an inspiration to all corners of humanity. I suggest that the world remember in private the simple life of Jesus Christ, whose memory has the power of infinite possibilities. Forget the old man clad in gold and Gucci, and remember the carpenter’s son who loved his fellow man. The fictional aspects of the New Testament need not take away from the moving qualities of its main character, the greatest hero in literary history. Today, decadent and organised
Pope Benedict XVI will be the first pope to retire Photograph: Church of England and Wales religion is the enemy of humanity, and the humble figure of Jesus can provide a revolutionary basis for its universal rejection. The next step for those wishing to avoid the dangers of organised religion is to bring together other nonreligious elements of society who believe in morality, not due to any fear of divine retribution, but because of an inherent moral consciousness that makes the human race capable of such remarkable things as love, altruism, laughter, and humanistic brotherhood and sisterhood.
After the Pope retires on 28th February , there will be a traditional 15-20 day waiting period before Cardinals vote for his replacement. However, the process could start sooner than this, after the Rev. Federico Lombardi suggested that a proposal could be taken up by the cardinals to move forward the start of the conclave. Palatinate look at some of the candidates proposed to fill the vacancy (odds courtesy of Paddy Power): • Archbishop Angelo Scola (Italy) - 9/4
• • • • •
Cardinal Peter Turkson (Ghana) - 5/2 Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (Italy) - 5/1 Cardinal Marc Ouellet (Canada) - 11/2 Richard Dawkins (evolutionary biologist) - 666/1 Bono (U2) - 1000/1 Reverend Dougal McGuire (of Father Ted) - 1000/1
For more, visit palatinate.org. uk
PALATINATE | Thursday 28th February 2013
Slavery: a scarily modern phenomenon
The horsemeat scandal exposes the widespread exploitation in the food industry Catherine Malpass
ecently we’ve discovered that those comforting sell-by dates, brand names and ingredients lists mean nothing – that beef burger you just scoffed probably contained horsemeat. Yet whilst the world has been in uproar about this travesty, another issue in the food chain remains. This issue is modern-day slavery. It may seem extreme, shocking and an exaggerated term that goes against everything that you were ever taught about the abolition of slavery in 1807, yet this problem is very real. As we’ve recently tried to source what exactly it is we’ve been encountering at the bottom of our food chain, we’re in danger of neglecting the plight of the exploited, who may pick, process or cook our food. It has been estimated by activists, policymakers and scholars that there are between 10 and 30 million people in slavery across the globe. This extends far beyond the food industry, however. Migrant workers are being smuggled over to developed countries to work for free, controlled by gang-masters and in no position to escape. Women are being lured abroad by the promise of a better life only to fall victim to prostitution, imprisoned in brothels. In our modern, liberal and humane society, slavery is so shocking that surely it cannot exist? Yet
it seems that it is this very denial of such an evil allows it to take place. Just as we trusted in what was going into our food, we trust in the humaneness of its production and of our services in general. Although this trust is being stretched. Often we expect cheap products and services – but at what price? What sacrifices are being made to achieve this? In 2004, 21 Chinese cockle pickers died at Morecambe Bay. They were being forced to work by their gangmaster in adverse conditions until the tide took them to their death. This incident sparked some awareness in regard to anti-slavery. The Gangmasters Licensing Act and subsequent Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) were set up. However, such action clearly has not been enough. Recently, statistics have shown a rise in child sex trafficking into the UK, despite government efforts. In 2012, a gangmaster company whose teams of migrant workers supplied eggs to companies that pride themselves on achieving animal welfare - had its licence revoked for improper treatment of their workers. It is horrifying that whilst we are working to guarantee a humanitarian existence for animals, the same cannot be guaranteed for a human being, all in the name of profit. Fears of this exploitation are rapidly increasing around the world. Human rights organisations report that workers preparing for the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 have faced exploitation. Such concerns
Migrant workers are smuggled into the country to work for free Photograph: Daniel Foster are also extending into the next decade. Trade unionists have recently showed anxiety regarding the welfare of workers in the Qatar football World Cup of 2022. The problem of modern-day slavery lies in its detection. Exploitative actions are carried out in secret, on victims incapable to speak out in their subjugated position. They form a silent population. Yet if the horsemeat scandal has taught us anything it is that we have to look beyond what we are told and what we passively accept to be true. We’ve always really known that
some questionable ingredients go into the food we eat, so why should there be a difference in the practices that made that food, or any of our products for that matter? Modern-day slavery is something to be aware of and to be fought. We cannot shy away from its harsh realities, continue to turn a blind eye just because our clothes are cheap, our food organically sourced and our lives nowhere near the level of plight of those being exploited. President Barack Obama commented on the issue in an annual global forum last autumn: “I’m talking
about the injustice and the outrage of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name of modern slavery. I do not use that word ‘slavery’ lightly […] but around the world there is no denying the awful reality.” Hopefully, in using appropriate language to target the exploitation, there will no longer be any way to suppress it and glaze over the real issue. It is time to address the problem that is modern-day slavery.
The way the Sun covered the shooting of Reeva Steencamp was ‘seedy’ and ‘crass’, argues Sarah Giles on the Palatinate website. The tabloid ran the story of Reeva Steencamp’s shooting, allegedly by boyfriend and athlete Oscar Pistorius, on their front cover on 15th Februrary. However, the way in which it was depicted, with a large picture of Steencamp in a bikini, and a sensationalist headline, has caused much controversy. Giles acknolwedges that she is not alone in her outrage, describing the ‘hundreds of people [who] have aired their disgust on Twitter and Facebook, attacking not only the coverage of Reeva Steenkamp’s
death by the Sun but how women are perceived in the media as a whole’. Indeed, the Sun is under considerable scrutiny for its depiction of women, with the ‘No More Page Three’ campaign gaining support. Giles argues that the Sun’s ‘desire to turn her into a sexual commodity’ is abhorrent, and that their attempt to excuse it as simply depicting her doing her job is ridiculous, saying: ‘The fact that pictures of her in her bikini were taken of her as part of her job does not give the media the right to exploit them and turn them into, in the words of feminist Suzanne Moore, ‘lechery over a corpse’’. To read more, visit palatinate. org.uk, or find us on Twitter @PalatiComment.
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A murder, a model, and a tabloid: the Sun’s depiction of Steencamp was misogynistic
The Sun claims that it depicted Steenkamp’s profession Illustration: James Crosland-Mills
Thursday 28th February 2013 | PALATINATE
Power and gender are not interlinked
Women with power should no longer be confined to narrow gendered league tables Katie Shuff
he question of gender equality within the widely regarded male dominated world of work is still a pertinent issue today. Undoubtedly, the eagerly anticipated list of the most powerful women in Britain put together by Radio Four’s Women’s Hour goes some way to counteract this sexism and to celebrate the achievements of women over a wide range of professions. But who came out on top? It may come as a surprise, but the panel of judges, with the help of Women’s Hour listeners, voted the Queen as the most powerful women in Britain. The panel justified their decision by emphasising the potential power the Queen holds, dubbing this ‘soft power’. For Dame Jenni Murray, a copresenter on Women’s Hour, “power is everything the Queen stands for.” But surely every woman has the potential to be powerful? The list is a mixed one, with more
obvious choices such as Theresa May, Home Secretary, who came in at number two. Ana Botín, CEO of Santander UK (the first woman to run a major bank in the UK) and the Baroness Hale of Richmond, the first woman to sit in the British Supreme Court, placed third and fourth respectively.
Every woman has the potential to be powerful
Then there are some anomalies. I have no doubt that Adele is an inspiration to many, but is she the twentieth most powerful woman in Britain? Similarly, do the likes of Dawn French (41st) and Clare Balding (36th) actually yield any form of power other than entertaining an audience? By no means do I want to belittle their achievements, nor the fact that
these women have reached the top of their fields, but the power of some women on the list seems a little trivial, weakening its overall impact. Whilst reading the list I was struck by the deeper issues surrounding gender equality within the workplace. Most importantly, by publishing a list comprised solely of women are we thereby suggesting that women’s success should be kept separate from that of their male counterparts? By seeing the achievements of these women as an exception, are we admitting that we expect less of ourselves? And by publishing it, are the judges and listeners of Women’s Hour unwittingly reinforcing gender stereotypes by making an example of women in places of high power? Clearly there is a fine line. Alice Feinstein, editor on Women’s Hour, claims that the programme wanted to “start a conversation about women and their power in the UK, analysing how women are making their mark and identifying the areas where their voices are not being heard.” However, in her upcoming book, ‘Lean in: Women Work and the Will to Lead’, Sheryl Sandberg argues that women are “quietly checking out of their careers, years before they actually start a family.”
Futhermore, Emma Rowley wrote in The Telegraph that the perpetuation of inequality in the workplace was not due to a glass cieling, but rather to a ‘cliff’ – not at the top, but in the middle – which women consequently fall off when they decide they want to start a family.
Women exercising power should not be a surprise
This ‘cliff’ is highlighted in research which shows that even when men and women enter a company in equal proportions, the number of women drops the higher up the chain you go. Furthermore, despite Vince Cable boasting that only seven firms in the prestigious FTSE 100 index have all
male boards, just two of these one hundred corporations are led by women. Clearly women cannot be held solely accountable for this clear office sexism, but the female belief that we have to start planning for a family before we are even in a relationship is enabling men to maintain these stereotypes against working women, allowing such attitudes to thrive. Ultimately, we should not need separate power lists for men and women. It should not be shocking or an exception to see a woman running a corporation or acting as CEO of a major banking organisation, and the fact that only six women featured in Forbes’ Most Powerful People’s List is extremely worrying. Women exercising power should not be a surprise and more needs to be done to remove this detrimental stereotype. However, whilst compiling lists does to some extent draw attention to the power held by some women it does little to motivate others and unwittingly reinforces the stereotypes and uneasy feelings about women in power by marking them out as different.
History marred by educational reforms Our history is a global one: a narrow-minded approach has no place in classrooms Francesca Moll
very famous historical figure, whose name escapes me for the present, said that writers are the engineers of the human soul. The same could be said of teachers, and particularly history teachers. Like it or not, history shapes the assumptions we have and way we think about the world more than any other subject, which is why, as a history student, Michael Gove’s proposed history curriculum reforms get me reaching for the nearest 1066 and All That. If anyone finds it distasteful that I just quoted Stalin in connection with the proposed reforms, all I can say is that the offence was deliberate. For me, these reforms are an example of the worst kind of political intrusion into the sphere of education. Gove may not be Stalin, but he is clearly using this curriculum change to put across a very narrow, highly politicised view of what history should be, and that’s very disturbing.
I have absolutely nothing against people learning British history. Some of the most fun I’ve had learning history was studying Good King Richard, Bad King John and their father, Henry II.
An insular view doesn’t give you the bigger picture
The stories of Kings and Queens and famous commanders are all vital parts of our national history, and should not be neglected. It’s the exclusive focus on them that’s frankly unnecessary and entirely foolish. An insular view on our country’s history doesn’t give you the bigger picture. Looking at events in Britain divorced from a world stage will give you a skewed understanding.
Imagine analysing the failure of the Spanish Armada without looking at the Philip II’s government of Spain. And then there’s the fact that recent British history is so particularly worldwide: after all, at one point the sun never set on British domains, as I’m sure Gove would not have us forget. How then can you claim world history is irrelevant for British pupils? Then there’s the obsession with ‘national heroes’. Leaving aside the troubling fact that in the initial leak of these reforms important female and racial minority figures were specifically excluded, the focus placed on those of the wealthy, powerful elite such as Churchill, Wellington, and Cromwell, is what historians would call methodologically flawed. It is known as the “Great Man” approach and is very controversial among writers of serious history, as by using it, you run the risk of ignoring other factors and context in important events, and of veering into hagiography, or quasi hero-worship. By all means, wax lyrical about the great victory at Trafalgar, or the campaigns of the Third Crusade. But are you going to tell the kids about the way Nelson treated his wife, or how
Richard the Lionheart massacred 3000 defenceless prisoners at Acre? Didn’t think so. There seems to be a view among some (including Niall Ferguson, a professional historian) that these sorts of views are far too highbrow. For the purposes of classroom history, important dates and “hard facts” are key. Analysis of how and why things happened is far too airy-fairy and intellectual.
It is time to make these reforms history
This view is deeply disturbing. For one thing, it seems to deny the possibility of everyone, even at a basic level, thinking critically about history. More to the point, it is unspeakably boring. Facts and figures are something you can check up in a book.
Debate about how and why things happened, getting inside the mindset of the period, is what elevates history from the dusty and dead. If we move away from this, we risk creating a generation for whom history is a dull and uninspiring chore. On Friday, Ferguson attacked two of Gove’s critics, the Oxbridge professors Richard Evans and David Priestland, arguing that their views were “the kind of disingenuous misrepresentation of a document that [they] would denounce as professional misconduct if he were not the historian doing it.” In fact, if anyone is guilty of poor historical skills here, it’s Ferguson. The evidence he gives is anecdotal and subjective. He describes a situation “that so many teachers, parents and pupils agree is indefensible” yet does not once quote a teacher, pupil or parent. He doesn’t engage with the critiques of Evans and Priestland, and merely resorts to ad hominem insults (“You have to wonder when, if ever, these learned professors last set foot inside a school classroom”). I could go on. Gove’s critics are right: he must seriously reconsider.. It is high time to make these reforms history.
PALATINATE | Thursday 28th February 2013
Sport Editors: Kate Houghton & Rob Berkeley
www.palatinate.org.uk Deputy Editors: Ben March & Daniel Hobbs
DUCC find high gear early on University cyclists kick off the new season with a promising series of local crit race results
Durham put in a strong performance in the most recent Velo29 crit race. Here, Dan Bryant celebrates eluding the chasing pack Photographs: Ruari Grant & Andy Miles
The last couple of weeks have seen the start of what looks to be a promising season for Durham University Cycling Club (DUCC). At this time of year, most of the more seasoned campaigners bring out the ‘too early to start my season’ excuse, preferring to begin racing a little later on. However, the months of January and February are traditionally when local team Velo29 host a winter series of crit races on the Croft motor racing track near Darlington, and DUCC usually field a healthy showing of fine athletes. With racing categorised into different levels, it’s always a good chance for less experienced riders to gain some practice, either in the ‘GoRace’ or the ‘4th Cat’ race for riders with licences. The action kicked off on Saturday 2nd February, where the highlight was a close second place for women’s captain and Club President Kat
Broadbent in the women’s race. Unfortunately, she lost out in the end in a tactical battle with elite rider Iona Sewell of GB Cycles, but this looks to be the rivalry to watch out for over the coming season. One feels it’s only a matter of time before Broadbent gets that coveted win; her condition this season appears to be top notch already, despite slaving away for her finals.
DUCC riders placing in the top five in the ‘Go-Race’ Two weeks later, the turnout was even better. Palatinates were patrolling the peloton in all three races, so success was anticipated. First up was the Go-Race. Durham had quite a number of riders in this one, and the strength showed, as an exclusive DUCC breakaway formed, breaking up the race. However, it wasn’t to last, with the initiator of
the move Edward Nixon sacrificing his own chances to support his teammates with long spells in the wind. All those long winter training miles eventually paid off for the others though, with the team placing three riders in the top five. Chris Mulliner just lost out in a very tight sprint for the win, coming away with second place, having tactically chased wheels for the previous hour in an effort to save the legs for the finish. Alex Reid came fourth and Callum Stephen fifth, rounding off a very respectable event for the team. Then it was time for the 4th cat race. We had fewer riders in this event, but that wouldn’t matter. Dan Bryant is known in the team for his inability to sprint, so he was looking to avoid a sprint finish at all costs. With only a couple of laps completed, he made a daring move and managed to escape the bunch alone. Bryant wouldn’t look back, singlehandedly holding off the chasing pack to score his first win on the road, and with it the requisite ten points to move up a category - not
bad for the first race of the season. The Elite 1,2,3 race would be DUCC’s least successful of the day, not managing to place any riders in the top ten.
‘Bryant would not look back, single-handedly holding off the chasing pack’
Our best hope was veteran campaigner and former road captain Andy Miles. However, despite trying several times to form a breakaway, luck wasn’t going his way, and when the bunch sprint came round at the finish he found himself with no space to manoeuvre. Elsewhere, the team’s European contingent, led by Ruari Grant in Sicily, has had a slightly slower start to
the season. Racing in Italy tends to be more aggressive, and so the constant escape attempts can take some getting used to after experience of the sprint-dominated racing in the UK. However, after a third in category result in the season opener two weeks ago, the upcoming weekly races provide plenty of competition to build towards. The region’s first sizeable race of the season, the North East Trophy, was cancelled this weekend. The event usually attracts several fairly big names from the area – some of the more senior members of the team were looking to begin their season there, but it looks like they’ll have to hold off for another week or two until the snow clears. All told, this has been one of the most successful openings to a season DUCC has had in recent years, so all bodes well for upcoming weeks. With any luck, this promise will start bringing in more BUCS points - something essential to the club in its constant search for funding from Team Durham.
Thursday 28th February 2013 | PALATINATE
Steph Elliott: creating DUHC history Jack Miller talks to GB Hockey’s latest recruit who has recently returned from her debut senior international
Steph Elliott in action. Pictured battling rivals Australia and the Netherlands, Elliott appears determined and fully focused Jack Miller
he last twelve months have undoubtedly been a year to remember for Durham finalist Steph Elliott. After captaining the Durham University Hockey Club (DUHC) women’s firsts to BUCS Gold last year, representing England U21s, and being one of three Palatinates selected to carry the Olympic Torch last summer, Elliott has now become the first woman in DUHC history to be selected for the full England International squad whilst still a student. Elliott was called up for the Investec Challenge, a competition held in Cape Town between the 4th and 10th February 2013 that featured the four best sides in the world with Olympic Champions the Netherlands joining England, Australia and hosts South Africa. Getting significant pitch-time and invaluable experience against some of the best players in the world, Elliott came away from her first full international experience with a Bronze medal, and has since earned herself a
call-up to the GB squad in the buildup to the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Palatinate caught up with Elliott before the women’s firsts’ BUCS quarter-final against Manchester, to reflect on her experience and get her views on the rest of the season. Steph, how did it feel to pull on an England shirt for the first time? “To be honest I didn’t really believe it when I read the email, but obviously it was absolutely incredible. I’d never really been outside of Europe before so this opportunity was almost too much to even comprehend.
Nations took part in the Investec Challenge
Pulling on the shirt, getting on the pitch and singing the national anthem was really emotional actually, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
If anything it’s made me even hungrier to keep playing at that level.” How was the squad - are you happy with how you performed? “All the girls were so friendly and everyone really fitted in together. I thought I was going to be really intimidated by some of them, especially the ones coming out of the Olympics, but there was such a mixture of experience in the team that it worked really well. As the tournament progressed I definitely felt that I got up to the speed of the game a lot better, and it was really satisfying to see my progress through the trip on the video analysis.” Was it daunting playing against the best players in the world, especially the Netherlands - the Olympic Champions? “Yes! Of course! When you’re defending a corner with Paumen dragflicking it’s a little scary! But when we were doing the pregame briefings we just treated them like any other team. I tried to take each game as it came, and at the end of the day they are only human and make mistakes like anyone else.
Every team there was immense and it really was an honour to play against them.” Many congratulations for getting the call-up to the GB squad as well this morning! Looking forward, is Rio now a target for you?
“When you’re defending a corner with Paumen drag flicking it’s a little scary!” “The GB thing hasn’t really sunk in yet to be honest. But the squad now is the squad they are looking to develop going into Rio, so if I maintain the standard that they expect over the next three years and stay in the team than you never know what might happen! I just need to keep working hard.” Finally, how do you rate DUHC W1’s chances of winning BUCS Gold
Photographs: England Hockey again this year? “I believe we can definitely get a second Gold. I have so much confidence in this team, and I don’t think that any team that we can come up against now can beat us as long as we play our best. We just need to produce the goods, so I’m looking forward to today’s game and hopefully onwards to the finals. I think we can do the double and it’d be amazing to leave Durham with that.” Elliott’s story is nothing short of inspirational. Scouted while she was still at college and playing in a mixed tournament at Maiden Castle by former DUHC head coach Gavin Featherstone - incidentally the last Durham graduate to play for England - Steph was invited to train with the squad. She admits that at this point she had never even considered applying to Durham, and having had no other junior honours, her rise to the International setup is a testament to quality of the coaching here at Durham, as well as the hard work she has put in. Having been nurtured by Feath-
PALATINATE | Thursday 28th February 2013
19 @PalatinateUK Palatinate
in Cape Town
performance in the South African capital
Sporting snippets - updating you with the college action.
Women prepare for battle Photograph: Joanna Leyden
Van Mildert edge past Mary’s David Siesage Mary’s met Van Mildert in the quarter finals of the Rugby Floodlit Cup. Division 1 leaders Mary’s were underdogs, but arrived with confidence having beaten Premiership side Trev’s in the first round. The match was intensely physical with Mildert just managing to edge it 28-20, thanks to penetration in the back line and solid set pieces. Van Mildert meet Castle in the semi-finals. Castle dominates darts league
Freshers happy with results Photograph: Joanna Leyden Celebrating the bronze medal Photograph: England Hockey erstone, and this year by new coach Jacqui Benkenstein, Elliott is under no illusions and expressed her gratitude for how much their help has allowed her to be in the position she is. “Without them, I wouldn’t be here. It’s as simple as that,” she remarked.
“...backs up our claim to be the strongest hockey university in the country” Quentin Sloper, Head of Sport: Experience Durham
Team Durham former Assistant Director of Sport, Quentin Sloper, said: “Steph’s selection is fantastic news both for her and for Durham. “It is down to her hard work, as well as the people that have been around her the last few years like Gav,
Jacqui and the conditioning team. “It is amazing for us that Durham is able to contribute on that higher level, and backs up our claim to be the strongest hockey university in the country.” Now in the GB squad, Steph is a contracted athlete, and in an incredible position to be playing in the Olympics in three years’ time. Following this interview, the women’s firsts comfortably defeated Manchester 3-0 on Wednesday, to see them join the men’s team in the semi-finals of the BUCS knockout once again. With Elliott back and the team performing so well, ‘Operation Gold Rush’ is undoubtedly still on the cards for DUHC. Palatinate and DUHC would also like to offer their congratulations to Durham graduate Danny Coultas. Having left Durham last year and playing his hockey this season with National League side Cannock, Coultas has also earned a call-up to the full Great Britain Squad and is now a GB funded athlete.
Not your average souvenir... Photograph: Leeroy Fredericks
The men power through Photograph: Joanna Leyden
Solid performance from first-time freshers Joanna Thorn
Durham University Boat Club (DUBC) went to Boston, Lincolnshire on the 16th and 17th of February for a weekend of racing at BUCS head. With no competitors alongside, the rowers had to show mental as well as physical endurance. In the first big race for this year’s Fresher’s squad, both the girls and boys were rewarded for the hard work they had put in over the winter months. The girls’ squad got a clean slate with the first four and first eight winning gold in the morning and afternoon beginner divisions respectively. The top four particularly impressed by winning by a margin of 27 seconds. The boys also demonstrated the strength of their squad as, despite the loss of their boat in a pre-race paddle, their top eights managed a second, narrowly missing out to Cardiff by two seconds, and a fourth place finish over the two kilometre race. On the Sunday it was the seniors’ turn to race a longer, five kilometre course. South of the normally snow filled Durham, the event was brightened by the appearance of the sun.
Heather Nixon felt this presented a positive contribution to the weekend: “The sunshine on the start line really lifted everyone’s spirits. We attacked every race and these results show that our hard work over the winter term is starting to pay off.” Both divisions were littered with medals, with the women’s lightweight and championship quads and coxless 4s getting bronze. This was despite some late injuries forcing changes to their boats. The men were also able to pick up some silver, with the championship and intermediate 8s both getting silver along with the championship coxed 4. Both the intermediate eight and coxed four narrowly lost out to traditional rivals Newcastle however the championship eight were able to beat them into third place. Eve Newton, vice captain of the women’s squad was positive about Durham’s position: “We faced some tough competition from our old rivals Reading and Newcastle, but we gave them a run for their money and fought hard considering some last minute changes to the line-up.” The overall results of the weekend put Durham in 2nd position, just behind Imperial College. This summer will see DUBC attempt to achieve the Victor Ludorum trophy at BUCS regatta for a 10th year.
University College Darts Club members can be identified by the bright pink shirts they wear on match day. However, this season UCDC have proved to be more than just a friendly and light-hearted darts team. Unbeaten in the league and top of their cup group, UCDC look favourites to grab the double. With two matches left Castle’s pink warriors need only one win to secure the league title.
Collingwood B ease fear of drop Tom Sanders After a disappointing first term, a recent upturn in form for Collingwood B team has eased fears of relegation from the Premiership. A four-match streak, including victories over Grey and Hatfield, has increased their chances of preserving top tier status for another season and bodes well for the rest of the year as the squad looks to repeat last season’s cup success. Pool League nears crunch time Rob Berkeley The DUPL season continues apace. Favourites Collingwood A remain in control of the Premiership, having extended their unbeaten league run to twelve games. The action also builds in the Trophy, where the elimination of Collingwood A by Aidan’s A leaves the competition wide open. Durham has also just sent three teams to the BUCS-UPC Eight-ball Championships – look out for the event report online.
Eager to tell Durham about thrashing your college rivals? Send your snippet to sport@ palatinate.org.uk or tweet us @palatiSPORT
Thursday 28th February 2013 | PALATINATE
Elliott represents England DUHC star interviewed after debut, p.18
DUCC season begins brightly Cyclists lay down an early season marker, p.17
En garde! DUFC have had an impressive season yet will require a strong fresher intake to carry the success through to next year Photograph: Samuel Spencer
DUFC old guard leave big shoes to fill George Lane Fox Durham University Fencing Club (DUFC) started the 2012-13 season with a sense of quiet optimism. Starting our second season in the newlybuilt international standard fencing salle, we certainly had the right setting for success. Though we had lost fencers such as Great Britain’s Kira Roberts to that bane of all university sports teams – graduation – we also gained several promising talents including Great Britain’s Will Bettle and Jessica Medhurst. The men’s teams were coming off the back of a difficult season, with the first team avoiding relegation by beating Birmingham 107-105 in a needle match. The second team was unfortunately relegated to the Northern Conference to join the mid-table third team. Our women’s teams were in the opposite position, with the first team
coming off an unbeaten season and the seconds a mid-table finish. Unfortunately, however, three of the six women’s first team fencers graduated in 2012 and another was lost to injury. This added the problem of building a new team from scratch to the highly competitive Northern Premier league. Their third-placed league finish with this in mind was a truly great result. The second team also had to battle with the problem of graduation and did well to finish in midtable safety. The men’s firsts took advantage of their more extensive fresher intake to expel the memory of last season and finish second in the Northern Premier. The men’s second and third teams were in the interesting position of being in the same league. Needless to say, this was a division Durham dominated, with the teams finishing second and third respectively, both being narrowly beaten by a strong Newcastle outfit. As we came to the end of the league season, our seedings in the
cup draw were determined by our league finishing positions. The women’s teams thus had a tough task ahead and unfortunately were both knocked out early by Leeds Met and Cambridge respectively. The men’s sides began their cup competitions in a much better position. The second and third teams breezed through the Conference Cup competition to meet each other in the semi-final. As expected the seconds won, although credit must be given to an extremely competitive third team who put up a spirited fight. The men’s firsts, coming off the back of their extremely impressive runners-up finish were given a bye through to a home quarter-final against a formidable Oxford first team. This encounter was so close that, with the last two sabre bouts to fence, the teams were exactly level. At the crunch however, Durham rose to the challenge brilliantly, emerging 123-119 victors.
Thus, the two teams now left in cup competitions are the men’s first and second teams. Durham’s top side will face an unbeaten Cambridge first team on March 6th – an extremely formidable challenge – while the seconds will square off with a very strong Manchester second side the following week. Both will need to excel themselves to emerge victorious. We now near the end of our season and will be sad to lose some truly high class fencers. China’s Boya Wang has been in the men’s first team for six years now, while Great Britain’s Emily Todd has been a part of the women’s elite for four years and has also been this year’s team captain; Durham’s fencers will be sorry to see them leave. After the loss of such talented individuals, Durham fencing will surely require an impressive fresher intake this autumn to maintain such national success.
Durham University Fencing Club
Beginners’ Guide There are 3 weapons:
1. Foil: In this weapon the target area is just the torso and fencers may only score hits with the point of the sword. 2. Sabre: In this weapon the target area is everything above the waist, and fencers may score hits with either the point or the blade of the sword. 3. Epee: In this weapon the target area is the entire body and fencers may only score hits with the point of the sword. - A BUCS team is composed of nine fencers – three for each weapon. - A BUCS match is composed of the three weapons each fencing a relay up to 45. - Each weapon has nine threeminute ‘bouts’ up to five hits; each fencer will fence all three members of the opposing team once.