Durham’s independent student newspaper
Thursday 7th November 2013 | FREE
Cuth’s rugby apologises in face of scandal News: Finalists react to graduation dates
8 Mature students
call for recognition
SCSRFC play their first match since a game played at a social garnered national attention
National lecturers’ strike hits Durham Ben Williams
Business & Economics: UN Development Goals
Following a series of national ballots, staff across the University took part in a day’s strike last Thursday over their rate of pay. Faculty members across the three lecturers unions, Unite, Unison and the University and Colleges Union, abandoned their posts to take part in picket lines on Elvet Riverside and the Science Site.
proposed increase in pay
Sport: Rise in football fees causes debate
Photograph: Megan Liardet
The movement came in reaction to an offer of a 1% increase in pay, which in real terms would mean a 13% drop since the start of the academic year in 2008. The University has stated that it will be taking the “recommendation of the University and Colleges Employers Alliance (UCEA) to deduct a day’s pay from those taking part in the strike.”
Professor Chris Higgins, ViceChancellor and Warden of the University, also said that the pay increase “is only part of the overall staff benefit package we offer at Durham University.” This benefit package also “includes excellent conditions of service, defined benefit pensions, provision for incremental pay increases and relative job security.” The strike did not affect the internal running of any domestic college services, but did include administrative staff and technicians in academic faculties. One of the striking bodies, the University and Colleges Union (UCU), told Palatinate that should Thursday’s strike prove unsuccessful, they are be prepared to take further action. “The plan would be to move towards not returning marks (to students). This would lead to a real and damaging confrontation but if it comes to that, then that is what will happen.” UCU later added: “Nobody in the union wants this, but the history of unionism shows that ultimately
when faced with intransigent employers, serious action has to be taken.” The University and Colleges Employers Alliance (UCEA) has also said that they are prepared to withhold all salary for those who continue to take strike action.
“Nobody in the union wants this ... but serious action has to be taken”
University and Colleges Union Many students have reacted negatively to the strike. Ambrose Li, a St Mary’s second year told Palatinate: “Whilst I completely understand that lecturers should have the right to strike over pay just like anyone else, I just don’t understand why it needs to affect students at all.” A finalist from Josephine Butler College commented: “The idea that lecturers want to withhold marks from student in their most important year just to make a statement
seems outrageous.” Professor David Byrne, who heads Durham UCU, has claimed that the dispute over pay “has just as much significance for students, because when students enter the world of work they will suffer the effects of this erosion unless something is done about it now.” Others, however, remained quite indifferent, with one second year from St. Cuthbert’s Society adding: “The strike seemed, for me at least, to have a really limited impact. None of my lecturers took part and I wasn’t aware of the picket lines.” Instead it may be that the true impact of the strike will be felt in the weeks to come, as students and lecturers attempt to reschedule missed classes. The UCU added: “How teaching issues (such as the rescheduling of classes) are handled will vary depending on the actions of individual members. “We are issuing no instructions to them as to how they deal with this.”
A difficult time for Durham Vacancies November seems to be the month where the Durham bubble solidifies around us. The days are shorter and darker, deadlines loom around the corner, and the chilly weather acts as a reminder that the winter holidays are not far away. With this in mind, it is all too easy to get swept up in a repeating pattern of lectures, nights out, sports and societies. But every so often, something happens that disrupts this pattern, and the past few weeks have been no exception. The disappearance of Hatfield student Sope Peters last Tuesday has undoubtedly wrenched all of us from our comfortable routine. Palatinate writers have struggled to report the news in these difficult circumstances, both logistically and ethically. The edition you hold tackles some disconcerting news stories, including the UCU strike and the nationally condemned behaviour of Cuth’s rugby club.
Other writers have looked for positive sources of inspiration. Careers has interviews with a few Durham graduates who have successfully broken into business and the media, whilst Politics explores the experience of two student councilors and an intern at Conservative headquarters in Milibank Tower. National newspapers deal with contrasting stories on a daily basis. Here at Palatinate, we have learned that it is difficult to accomplish this balance when negative stories hit close to home. However, it is our duty to keep our readers informed, and we have endeavoured to do so in this edition. Jillian Ward
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Re: Spuds, glorious spuds
‘If coming to university has broadened your palate then I’m severely concerned for the state of health you arrived here with’ Krystina Emmanouilides Coming from a house-hold where a ready meal was quite common, I’m not surprised Miss Honnor has eased into ‘the Grey way’ of eating. As the phrase suggests, there exists no gastronomic excitement to grey college food, particularly Saturday brunch, which Miss Honnor seems to have only grown fond to, because let’s face it freshers, you’re all too hung over to bother complaining. As a postgraduate, however, I find myself discussing food in both a positive and negative manner over mealtimes.If you, unlike Miss Honnor, are a fan of anything vaguely nutritional, you’ll most probably have instantly associated college food with the latter. Meal times always start off the same. Hopeful. Then sets in the regret, not only of which defrosted delight you settled for, but of catered meals all together. Having completed a 4 year undergraduate degree completely self-catered, I find there will be no settling into the (insert college name) way of dining. In fact, I’d say dining glorifies the event as something more than just potato. Conversation then moves to the prospect of nutritious foods; something that seems to be as unwel-
come in the dining hall as nuts. Given the UK has nutrient based standards stipulating the minimum amounts of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, not to mention the maximum amounts of fats, salt and sugars that should be provided at lunch in catered schools, it seems bizarre that nutritional regulations be thrown out the door at such an influential time in an adolescents life; their first experience of food away from home.
“I find it hard to believe Miss Honnor’s positivity toward college meals is in fact truthful”
Not to mention the complete contradiction that arises with the turn from regulated healthy food to college potato free-for-alls. I find it hard to believe anybody would be motivated by the prospect of powdered eggs and various forms of ‘food’ previously originating from a tin, or a glass jar if you’re lucky. In fact, I find it hard to believe Miss Honnor’s positivity toward college meals is in fact truthful, given I could cut through all vaguely positive comments from her article. For starters, Sunday roast is
never accompanied by salad, but that’s ok, I’m sure we can replace any nutrients that occur in green foods with more potato…or Yorkshire pudding (probably the most authentic of all college foods given it at least came from a freezer in Yorkshire).
“Pasta based meals should ... be banned”
Pasta based meals should just be banned. What is one supposed to accompany their pasta with? More pasta? Oh wait, I forgot, there’s potato. Desert has most definitely always come from the freezer, and should definitely have stayed there given how many carbohydrates you’re eating every day, in fact you ought to check the cholesterol in that pizza isn’t making that hole in your heart any bigger. If coming to university has broadened your palate then I’m severely concerned for the state of health you arrived here with. When you leave your fresher year at college, probably the first time many of you have eaten away from home, a good dose of the Food Network would be beneficial so you don’t carry the horrible eating habits college instil in you throughout the rest of your degree, a time during which perhaps the university should consider the impact of nutrition on your starving brains.
Thursday 7th November 2013 | PALATINATE
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PALATINATE | Thursday 7th November 2013
News in brief UNIVERSITY NEWS
NOBEL PRIZE WINNER GIVES DURHAM LECTURE This Tuesday, Professor Peter Higgs gave the annual Collingwood lecture. The Nobel Prize winner spoke on electroweak symmetry breaking and the Higgs boson, the ground breaking research that led to his Nobel Prize. Professor Higgs said: “Durham is an important international centre for particle physics research. In fact the mathematics department at Durham was one of the first places I visited to explain my theory of spontaneous symmetry breaking. I am delighted to be delivering The Annual Collingwood Lecture.”
CUTH’S CELEBRATES 125 YEARS
St Cuthbert’s Society has celebrated the 125th anniversary of its foundation. Celebrations began in March and several events were planned to mark the occasion, including formals and drinks receptions. St Cuthbert’s Society was founded in 1888 and was originally intended as a non-residential alternative to the other colleges, mainly for students living locally and with family responsibilities.
UNIVERSITY IN ROW OVER UNPAID TEACHING POSTS
The University has been criticised for advertising for unpaid teaching positions. The Theology and Religion department has offered voluntary teaching jobs for PhD students who wish to gain “experience of designing and delivering“ a taught course. The complaints have come from the University and College Union (UCU), a union that represents university academics. Jon Bryan, a regional support official for UCU, said that “the fact that they are not being paid for doing that job for the University is shameful.”
Cuth’s Rugby social draws national attention SCSRFC sparked a major debate in the local and national media for the second year in a row after they played a controversial game at a social. Palatinate investigates to give you the full story.
St. Cuthbert’s Society Rugby Football Club has come under fire for playing a controversial game entitled “It’s not rape if…” whilst on a social on 17 October. The game, which is intended to be humorous, asks participants to suggest a scenario in which a sexual attack would not count as rape, such as, “It’s not rape if you shout surprise.” The club has come under strong criticism from individuals and groups across the University, including the Durham University Feminism Society (DUFemSoc), for trivialising sexual assault. The incident has also appeared in several national newspapers, following similar press attention received by the club this time last year after a social in which the team dressed up as Jimmy Savile and his victims generated widespread criticism. Members of DUFemSoc were also attending a social on the same night the incident occurred, leading to the issue being raised with the University by one of its members. The captain of SCSRFC has since apologised for the club’s actions in an email to Durham DUFemSoc, stating: ‘The ‘It’s not rape if…’ game is neither funny nor is it permissible and it is for this reason that I wholeheartedly apologise. ‘In spite of the game having been played, SCSRFC do in no way condone rape nor wish to belittle its victims. It was a slip of judgment on behalf of several of the club’s members and that there is no genuine belief in the comments made during the game. ‘It is with great regret that I am
even having to enter into this correspondence with you. By consequence I’d like to propose some means of assisting DUFemSoc in their cause by initiating a relationship between our two societies.’ On Saturday, members of the DUFemSoc executive committee were invited to attend SCSRFC’s match against Castle in view of the two societies creating a more amicable relationship. Professor Archibald as well as Cuth’s JCR President Serge Chapman were in attendance to discuss the issue with DUFemSoc members. After the match, SCSRFC players agreed to pose for photographs with FemSoc members before holding up a whiteboard reading, ‘It’s not rape if it’s between two consenting adults.’ Rachel Piper, equal opportunities officer at FemSoc, watched the match and expressed her wish for a greater understanding of feminist concerns amongst male rugby players, telling Palatinate: “We really want to open up a fruitful conversation between our societies, as opposed to merely chastising the rugby players for their behaviour. “As negative as the incident was for our cause, it can actually be seen as an opportunity to give greater voice to feminist issues in Durham. It is very important to challenge this ‘rugby lad’ culture wherever it is proving detrimental to gender equality. “Since the incident we have received plenty of messages of support and encouragement from people across Durham, which is a really positive thing. Now we need to build on this and get our message out there to a wider audience.” Meanwhile, publicity officer Flo Perry said: “We suspect that some of the rugby players who took part in
the game wouldn’t have been happy with its message and might have been influenced by the peer pressure of the group.” “We encourage any of the SCSRFC members who felt uncomfortable with these attitudes to help us in expanding our cause and fighting against prejudice wherever it is found.” DUFemSoc are said to be planning a series of reconciliation events with SCSRFC in order to further strengthen the relationship between the two societies.
“We really want to open up a fruitful conversation ... as opposed to merely chastising the rugby players for their behaviour”
Rachel Piper, DUFemSoc equal opportunities officer Earlier this year, an NUS report explicitly named Durham in a survey about university ‘lad culture,’ which exposed the fact that one in seven female students in the UK reported to have experienced physical or sexual assault. The report also highlighted socials as a place where sexist attitudes are encouraged. Serge Chapman, President of Cuth’s, expressed the need for both the rugby club and college in general to tackle the ‘lad culture’ issue, telling Palatinate: “We are going to participate in the
POSTGRADUATE STUDENT CLEARED OF VOYEURISM CHARGES
Daniel Steven John has walked free from court after being cleared of voyeurism charges. The postgraduate researcher was caught peering at women showering and on the toilet at the University library and blocks of Trevelyan and St Mary’s colleges. He was arrested when a woman who had seen him running through a shower block recognised him. He denied the charges on the basis that he wasn’t seeking sexual gratification, and told the Durham Crown Court that he was suffering from a mental breakdown at the time. The jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict on the third day of his trial.
Cuth’s Rugby Club have agreed to work alongside DU FemSoc Photograph: Megan Liardet
university wide lad culture campaign alongside the other JCRs later on in the year, but for the mean time I am happy to tell you the club themselves are doing their utmost to combat it themselves. “The most effective change will be from the bottom up. They are working with DuFemSoc which I think has really changed their attitude already and I am confident they are sincere in their desire to make the club a more welcoming and respectful group. “I have begun writing a commitment for all our sportsmen and women which they can choose to sign up to, which makes a statement that they wish their sport to be welcoming, respectful and open to all, and have further plans to organise talks in college where our JCR members can learn more about the difficulties of lad culture and the impact it has on college sport.” After last year’s Jimmy Saville social, the club was banned from playing rugby for the remainder of Michaelmas term, and were also fined £50 each, with the club captain and social secretary facing twenty hours of community service. The club also met with a child rape expert. However, the latest incident has led many to question the effectiveness of last year’s disciplinary action, as many of the members of the rugby club who participated in last year’s scandalous social remain on the team. Cuth’s JCR President Serge Chapman, however, is keen to highlight efforts at a real change in culture at the college, telling Palatinate: “The individuals in this team this year are making a very genuine and concerted effort to be good members of the Cuth’s community and have taken on board a lot of the criticism that has been leveled at them. “I can see and I believe that these individuals are doing all they can to challenge the worst parts of any damaging culture and behaviour. They wish to make the Men’s Rugby Club, a club that Cuth’s can be proud of and reflects the diverse, welcoming character of the college.” Principal of St Cuthbert’s Society Professor Elizabeth Archibald, who is taking part in the disciplinary proceedings, added: “We are aware of the alleged incident in St Cuthbert’s and we will be speaking to the students concerned. “The college has a diverse and international student body and students are well aware of the need to act appropriately and respectfully towards others.” The club must now wait to see what disciplinary action they will face, which is to be decided in accordance with the college’s rules on inappropriate behaviour.
News News in brief LOCAL NEWS
POLICE COMMISSIONER CALLS FOR “DRUG COMSUMPTION ROOMS” Ron Hogg, the Police and Crime Comissioner for County Durham and Darlington, has argued that providing addicts with a safe supply of heroine and cocaine would help keep drugs off the streets and reduce crime. His comments follow those made recently by Durham Chief Constable Mike Barton that called for the decriminalisation of drugs in order to reduce crime. ELVET BRIDGE DUG UP... AGAIN
Elvet Bridge in Durham city centre was reopened after resurfacing work done this summer, but it is due to be dug up again in January. This will be the third time in eighteen months. The work will be done by Northern Powergrid, who will be replacing 200 meters of underground electrical cable. A spokesman for the company was unable to say how long the work will take to complete. She said that the investment was needed in order to stop power cuts happening in the area. Paul Nicholson, design engineer at Northern Powergrid, said: “Every effort is being made to ensure the work is carried with the minimum of disruption.” TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE FOR DURHAM CITY CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL
Tickets are now on sale for the annual Durham City Christmas Festival on Palace Green. The festival runs from the 6th to 8th December and includes a craft and gift marquee with almost 200 stalls, a food produce market, a children’s lantern procession and carol services twice daily in the Cathedral. Tickets for entry to the marquee cost £2.50 on Friday and £3.50 at the weekend and are available at durhamchristmasfestival.com.
Decline in postgrads sparks worry Union Charlotte Bransgrove A recent study published by the 1994 Group has highlighted a disconcerting drop in the number of UK students continuing higher education beyond undergraduate level. In order to combat this and encourage home students to pursue postgraduate studies, the report calls for a national postgraduate loan scheme to forestall the crisis. The study, entitled Increasing Postgraduate Opportunities: Proposals for Funding, was carried out by the 1994 Group, a coalition of 11 smaller, research-led universities. Until 2012, Durham University too was part of this coalition, before leaving to join the larger Russell Group, along with other universities such as York and Exeter. Amanda Chetwynd, Chair of the 1994 Group Student Experience Committee and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the student experience at Lancaster University, stated: “There has been an unprecedented 12% drop over the last three years in the number of UK students entering postgraduate taught study.” The study partially attributes the problem to “the rise in the maximum annual tuition fee for undergraduate study to £9,000 from 2012, together with changes to the teaching grant funding.” According to the report, the implementation of a loan system specifically for postgraduates could help to directly target this drop. The research recommends that loans of up to £10,000 should be made available to students with first or upper second class undergraduate degrees, repayable at 9% on income between £15,000 and £21,000 per annum; with any outstanding debt written off thirty years after starting the course. Moreover, the report claims that
the cost to the government would be less than £50 million per year. It is feared without the introduction of a loan system, the number of UK taught postgraduates will continue to decrease. Postgraduate study in general has become increasingly popular over the last decade, with the number of students taking taught postgraduate courses rising by 42%, according to the study. The report notes, however, that this is mostly attributable to the rise in the number of overseas students coming to the UK for postgraduate courses, which is up by 90% in the last decade, compared the more modest increase of 23% for home students.
in the number of UK students entering taught postgraduate study over past three years
Furthermore, it highlights that since 2008, overseas students have outnumbered home students on taught postgraduate courses, and draws attention to the effect this may have on the country, commenting: “Since the majority of these students will eventually return to their home countries, taking their newly gained skills, knowledge and expertise with them, this trend has consequences for the UK’s global competitiveness.” Statistics for Durham University reveal a similar situation to the nationwide trend, with the total number of postgraduates almost doubling between 1999 and 2012. Close examination of the figures also reveals that for full-time taught postgraduate courses, the growth of overseas places by far exceeds the growth of places for home students. Indeed, between 1999 and 2012,
LINGERIE FLASH MOB HITS DURHAM TOWN CENTRE
Shoppers were surprised when a flash mob of twenty lingerie-wearing models descended on the streets of Durham town centre on 19th October. The stunt, orchestrated by Sorella Boutique and designer Annette Keelty to promote their new range of underwear, drew the admiring gazes of Durham townspeople as the girls paused for photos on Elvet Bridge. “We paraded girls in knickers on the bridge. It was not meant to be raunchy, it was just a celebration of underwear and was all in the best possible taste.” Annette Keelty said.
Thursday 7th November 2013 | PALATINATE
Ustinov College is postgrad-only
Photograph: Alex Peckham
the number of full-time taught UK postgraduates increased by 247, while the number of full time taught overseas postgraduates increased by a staggering 994. Professor Tim Clark, Dean of Undergraduate and Postgraduate Education, commented: “The University’s international profile has increased substantially in recent years as reflected in our international league table positions. This has led to an increased awareness and interest in studying at Durham. “Our postgraduate taught programmes have therefore proved popular and attract highly qualified and able students from around the world.” In alignment with the 1994 Group findings, statistics demonstrate that between 2010 and 2013, the number of full time taught UK postgraduates at the University dipped by 10.3%, in contrast to the number of overseas full time taught postgraduates which rose by 29.7%.
Clark acknowledged this issue, stating: “Overseas students are now a larger group than Home and EU students. We are taking some steps to address this, including actively reviewing our postgraduate offer. “We are also actively examining a number of innovative ways in which we might provide greater financial support for those undertaking postgraduate taught and postgraduate research study.” Although both internal and external funding opportunities are available for postgraduate applicants, many students still feel not enough is being done both within Durham and nationwide to address the problem of postgraduate fees and expenses. Rosie, a finalist from Collingwood, commented: “The lack of student loan available for studies beyond undergraduate level would put me off applying for a postgraduate degree. “I’d have to seriously consider my passion for my subject before investing that much of my own money upfront.” Some however, disagree with the necessity for a postgraduate loan system, such as one PhD student, who argued: “I think if the research is necessary it will get funded, and therefore there isn’t really any need for a loan.” Others believe that those with a passion for their subject and desire to continue studying should not be held back from doing so because of financial reasons. Cathy, a Hatfield student currently reading for a Master’s degree, commented: “Not having a postgraduate loan system is a serious setback. “I’m loaning money off my parents but I know lots of friends who aren’t pursuing further studies because they couldn’t afford it, which is a real shame.”
President’s Column Dan Slavin
As I write this I can confirm: 634 people were tested for chlamydia, Kingsgate was full of people enjoying a Treason Tea Party, and people sang with Opera Ensemble - all on the first day of Give it a Go Week. I know the week will continue to be a success, and a massive well done is deserved to all involved, especially Krystina, the Activities Officer and the Activities team in the Union. In other news, since the last issue of Palatinate, your student officers attended NUS Zone Conferences in Manchester. At these conferences the direction of the NUS’ policy on things like: fees, funding and welfare are decided. These opportunities allow for issues that affect Durham University’s students on a day to day basis to be highlighted on a national level. It also exposes me and the officers to the fact that we are not alone in some struggles, and can learn from other unions on how best to tackle them. It’s times like last week where I really value our membership of the NUS. Following on from that; I could not fail to mention the election of your Academic Affairs Officer, David Morris, to NUS’ Higher Education Zone Committee. As our Union progresses, day by day, so does our standing on a national scale. A great example is DUCK recently running a training session at Derby Students’ Union, helping them to improve their fundraising campaigns. I am still working out how best to use this column so this week it is a bit of a list of achievements. All of which are valid but if you want more from my 300 words then please let me know. Last plug: Assembly is on the 14th of November, which sets out the annual plans for all the committees of Union. Make sure you are there to set our political agenda for the coming year.
PALATINATE | Thursday 7th November 2013
News in brief NATIONAL NEWS RENT PRICES FORCE STUDENTS ONTO THE STREET The cost of student accommodation and insufficient available loans has caused several students in the University of the Arts London to become homeless. Demonstrating with placards that read ‘my loan 6k, my rent 8k’, they pleaded for emergency accommodation from their student union. Problems with student housing continue across the country, with freshers at the University of Lincoln having to live in portable cabins. A survey by York Vision newspaper showed that 85% of homes rented to students by private landlords had flaws, many of them serious.
VISA CRACKDOWN AFFECTS INTERNATIONAL APPLICATIONS A survey by Times Higher Education of 18 UK Universities has shown that the governments decision to crackdown on visa applications is having a negative impact on some international university applicants. The survey showed that Indian students have been particularly affected, and that postgraduate applications have dropped 30% due to new restrictions preventing international students from working and studying simultaneously. Although some countries have remained unaffected, with China seeing a 6% increase in applications.
STUDENT LOANS COMPANY FINES STUDENT £150 BY MISTAKE
The Student Loans Company has revealed that an unknown number of letters have been mistakenly sent to loan holders threatening them with a £150 fine. The letters stated that they would have 28 days to update their details or have to pay the charge. HMRC, who collects repayments on behalf of the SLC, has admitted that they do not know how many people have been affected and urges anyone whose circumstances have not changed that there is no need to respond.
SOAS RECEIVES £20 MILLION DONATION The School of Oriental and African studies in London has received one of the largest donations ever given to a UK university. The money is expected to go towards building upgrades, research and scholarships. A former graduate who now works with the Alphwood foundation granted them a £20 million donation which the university has described as ‘transformational’. 5 million is intended to go towards refurbishments and another £15 million to go towards research into South East Asian Art as well as improving links with the region.
Late graduation dates met with anger Natasha Tierney The decision to schedule this year’s graduation ceremonies at the start of July – a few days later than in recent years – has been met with anger by students. This year, the Congregation ceremonies are set to take place between the 1st and 4th of July, after the majority of tenancies have expired for those living both in and out of college. This means that finalists will have to make alternative arrangements for accommodation in order to attend their own graduations. Although 2014 will not be the first time that graduation has taken place in July, several students have expressed anger at the lack of warning given to finalists by the University. Harry Ogilbie, a third year student at Hatfield, told Palatinate: “The University made no attempt to draw attention to the fact that term dates – and therefore graduation – had moved. “Nor did they warn students that because of this they might need to check housing contracts to ensure they have accommodation.” Student letting agent JW Wood have already addressed the issue, stating in an email to their tenants that whilst they would consider requests to to extend tenancies, they could not guarantee anything: “Please note that we have asked your Landlords for their instructions and are awaiting their response[...] To reiterate at this stage we cannot guarantee any tenancy extension and therefore you should continue to make alternative arrangements for accommodation.”
Summer Congregation will take place later this year than previously Photograph: Durham University Meanwhile, colleges will be offering rooms to rent should finalists wish to, with a spokesperson for the colleges office stating:
“It seems unfair that we should have to pay to attend our own graduations” Cuth’s third year
“All colleges will, as always, be sympathetic to requests from finalists who live out to take up temporary residence to facilitate their congregating. This would be at the standard daily rate.”
Responding to questions regarding the decision to hold summer Congregation later than in the previous few years, Sam Dale, the deputy Academic Registrar, commented: “The date of summer Congregation has not changed. Congregation ceremonies are determined by University term dates with summer ceremonies always being held the week after the end of the Easter term. “As such, in some years the ceremonies are held in June and at other times in July. “University term dates are set by Senate and are in part determined by Easter, term dates are published at present up to June 2018. “The schedule of activities during the final term remains consistent with results being published during the final week preventing Congregation being held any earlier. “Students are given at least 12
months’ warning of the dates of Congregation week and nine months’ advance notice is given for the exact day of their graduation. “Those wanting to attend Congregation arrange their own accommodation, and students who live out in their final year are advised that rooms are available to rent in college.” However, Natasha Shepphard, a third year Cuth’s student, questioned the fact that finalists should be expected to spend money in order to be able to attend graduation, telling Palatinate: “I think the university should have worked around what they know to be the standard tenancy agreements which are made on the basis of university term dates. “It seems unfair that we should have to pay to attend our own graduations.”
ing ‘display until’ dates from fresh fruit and vegetables, using smaller cases in stores, and rearranging 600 in-store bakeries to reduce the amount of bread on display. “Other measures to tackle the problem would include providing simple tips to customers about storing fruit,” Tesco said. The supermarket said it would also share tips about how to use leftover bread, adding that it was
working with grape and banana suppliers to improve delivery times and conditions. Richard Swannell, director of Wrap, told The Independent: “We welcome Tesco’s approach to tackling food waste across their whole supply chain, and by identifying the hot spots they can tackle these areas effectively.”
Students make use of free food amidst waste campaign Ling Wenjia Supermarket giant Tesco has revealed it generated nearly 30,000 tonnes of food waste in the first six months of 2013. The study, conducted alongside the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WARP), showed that about 41% of this was classified as ‘bakery.’ with fruit and vegetables comprising the second-largest catergory. Tesco said that, where possible, if food could not be sold, it was either donated to the poverty charity FareShare, converted into animal feed for livestock, or recycled into renewable fuel. Matt Simister, Tesco Group Commercial Director, added: “Globally, it is a very big issue, the population at this moment is seven billion and is approaching 9 billion by 2050. We think there will be an increasing pressure for the food supply. This means two things, we need to be more pro-
ductive, and to this end we can waste less.” This food waste has led to many people in Durham – often students with a limited budget – to collect wasted food from the supermarket’s bins. One first year at Trevelyan commented: “‘Some food is just over the ‘best before’ date, but can still be eaten. Many people do this to save money. “A friend of mine collects food from the Tesco bins, she always gets chocolate and bakery goods from them. It is a huge waste of Tesco to throw away such large amounts of food.” Daniel, a postgraduate from Trevelyan College, added: “Some students are in a hard financial condition. They can only afford cheap food, and free food is better. Some food that is thrown away by Tesco is within the ‘use by date’, or even inside the ‘best before’ date.” Tesco said it is addressing the problem of waste by ending multibuys on large bags of salad, remov-
Tesco is attempting to tackle food waste Photograph:Joyce Uerpairojkit
News News in brief NATIONAL NEWS
OFQUAL CONFIRMS GCSE OVERHAUL The exams’ regulator, Ofqaul, has finalised its plans to change the GCSE grading system. The new system, which will use numbers instead of letters and scrap coursework for most subjects, will be implemented from 2017. The new GCSEs will see pupils receiving a number from 1 to 9, with 9 being the highest. Changes will only affect England, as Wales is planning its own revisions and Northern Ireland is not changing its system. So far it has received a mixed response from the teaching community, who are concerned about continued grade inflation.
RICH POOR EDUCATION GAP WIDENS According to Anna Vignoles, Professor of Education at the University of Cambridge, increasing the access to higer education has not been the “great social leveller” it was supposed to be. She noted that while there had been an increase in the proportion of poorer students going to university, the participation rates for rich students have increased by a greater extent. She added that while the changes made to the education system due to the 1963 Robbins report have increased participation, “It remains the case that the biggest single predictor of whether you’re likely to go to university is your family background.
LONDON TEENAGERS LEAD UNIVERSITY ATTENDACNCE STATISTICS London teenagers are 43% more likely to study at a university than their peers in the North-east, according to a report from the Higher Education Funding Council. According to the study, Londoners are 36% more likely to enter higher education now than they were ten years ago, compared with a 26% increase for the rest of the country. The percentage of young British people going to university currently stands at 49% according to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.
£10,000 fee per annum for new DUCK Durham Students’ Union website Chair’s Amal Vaidya The new Durham Students’ Union website, launched at the start of this academic year, shows the fresh face of the newly-branded student union and will cost the union £10,000 per year for the licensing fee. It comes as part of a three-year strategic plan that aims to improve transparency and efficiency within the union. However, the changes have, in the eyes of some society presidents, further damaged the relationship between societies and the Union. Currently, societies are required to use the website in order to collect membership fees and sell tickets to events. Many people using the website have experienced problems with bugs and organising ticket sales. Palatinate spoke to Adam Symonds, the Games and Hobbies representative to the Durham Students’ Union Societies Committee. He directly represents a number of societies, and while campaigning against the changes has been contacted by several others. Symonds stated that while the Union’s three-year plan was approved in general, societies had received no consultation about the website before it was brought into use, and the website itself had not been specifically approved. Problems were also experienced during the Freshers’ Fair at the beginning of October. One society president, speaking anonymously, commented that: “The society was not given any early notice about the new change in the membership registration system. “In addition, during the Freshers’
Fair, we were not allowed to take cheques or cash directly for membership payment, but instead were issued with QR codes from the Union.” The QR codes were a means to allow people to sign up and pay membership fees via the Union website; but due to delays societies were unable to access membership lists for several weeks. The inability to pay for membership on the spot also resulted in fewer people signing up in total. Another society president said that he “couldn’t stress enough” how important the delay had been for his society. He argued, “The fact that freshers tend to commit to societies early meant that by the time our mailing list was received and we could finally start advertising events, many of those initially interested were already busy.”
“I am disappointed with the execution of the new ideas and lack of communication with students” President of the Natural Sciences Society
There has been plenty of vocal opposition to the changes. At the second Durham Students’ Union societies forum this term, the societies in attendance unanimously deemed the website as being not fit for purpose. Symonds claimed that the Union had not acted on any of the feedback that they had received, and
MANCHESTER MET OPENS CENTRE FOR GOTHIC STUDIES
Manchester Metropolitan University have unveiled a Centre for Gothic Studies that brings together professors that all have “strong interests in the Gothic.” As well as offering an MA course, the centre will produce an open access journal. The Centre for Gothic Studies is the first of its kind to incoroporate a multi-disciplinary approach to the study and will incorporate studies across a range of visual and literary media.
Thursday 7th November 2013 | PALATINATE
feels these events show a telling “lack of democracy and transparency” from within the Union and notes that he “cannot register any more protest” through official Union channels. He also added: “Every society I have talked to is ignoring the website as much as possible,” and noted that many of the societies he’d spoken to had “half the number of members” sign up at the beginning of this year than were expected. There have also been complaints of a transaction charge that will potentially be levied on all societies. For this term, the Union is paying this charge, but from Epiphany societies may have to pay a 7% transaction fee. However, many of the problems experienced are due to unfamiliarity with the new system. Mr Symonds agrees that he approves of principles behind the change, as outlined in the strategy plan, but that implementation remains an issue. It is also unlikely that the teething problems experienced at the start of term will be repeated as experience of the system develops. Many complaints have focused on issues with the website’s functionality or delays in the system, which should improve with experience. Catherine Haslam, President of the Natural Sciences’ Society, stated: “I understand, and have respect for, the fact the Union are trying to improve and modernise their methods of operation.” Many other societies have also said that they “appreciate the motives of the Union” in bringing the new changes. Nevertheless, her society still opt to use their own social media: “I am disappointed with the execution of the new ideas, and lack of communication with students.” The Union acknowledges that the rebranding project is not fully completed and that there are new modules for the website still due to be rolled out. Commenting on the complaints of societies, the Union responded: “More than 6,700 students used the system in October and we have processed more than £60,000 worth of memberships for student groups. “In time, operating a more efficient service will allow us to spend our funds in a more effective way on other student activities and supports. Overall, we are very happy with progress to date.”
P Durham Students’ Union, Dunelm House Photograph: Tom Page
To see all the latest news visit palatinate.org. uk
Column Naz Atkinson Hi everyone! So we are now nearly a week into Movember season and starting to see some serious tash growth alongside some fantastic fundraising. Well done to all of you who have made it thus far – especially to those girls who have taken on the challenge of drawing one on for the month! Two years ago I was one of those girls, armed with eyeliner and trying to come up with a different design of tash for every day. We tried the pencil, the toothbrush, the walrus and, at one stage, a very fetching and oversized pair of handlebars. Whilst in Durham, Movember is well known and shouts of “legend” accompany you through the cobbled streets, on a casual weekend away in Sheffield it was a different story with several lovely gentlemen kindly informing me that I “needed a shave.” We’ve seen a number of girls don a moustache in the name of charity over the last few years and must be commended for their tremendous efforts. Special note must go to one in particular who ‘grew’ her moustache starting off far too big only to end up with the tash covering her entire face by the end of the month! Movember is predominantly an awareness campaign with the aim of getting both men and women chatting openly about men’s health and the risks that men face. Last year, the National Movember campaign raised over £22 million for programmes that support prostate and testicular cancer initiatives and we are trying to help them beat that this year! Alongside growing a tash for charity, why not come join us for some fun-filled Movember events? Wednesday 20th November will see a ping-pong table in various locations around Durham where you can come try your luck to win a year’s supply of popchips; the Saturday 30th is our Movember closing party in Studio! Watch out for more information and GET INVOLVED! Naz! firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thursday 7th November 2013 | PALATINATE
Mature Students’ Associati
A marginalised minority of Durham’s student population
Justin Villamil The Swan and Three Cygnets is a warm and busy place on a frigid Friday night. It is here, tucked away in a spacious room on the Swan’s lower level, that the Durham University Mature Students’ Association (DUMSA) meet every week for what could easily be a contender for the world’s most relaxed social. A handful of Durham’s mature students have come here, some for the company, some out of curiosity, and some to show support for a push that began in June of last year to raise the profile of mature students across Durham. DUMSA’s priorities
I met Rachel Kurtz, the 43-year-old president and founder of DUMSA, at the Durham Students’ Union cafe. After momentarily perching on a chair, however, Kurtz immediately whisked me to the beanbag chairs by the windows for my first beanbag-chair interview. When I stood up awkwardly after the interview – with my legs having fallen asleep some time ago – Kurtz informed me that she prefers sitting on the floor because children are put too early into chairs, and it interferes with hip development. Kurtz speaks softly and with a particular cadence unique to those accustomed to working with children. She told me that she is currently co-director of a company specializing in early years’ movement play.
“I went from being a secretary to being a university lecturer. My income and my job satisfaction have just skyrocketed” Sophie Ward
“That’s kind of creative dance, with an underpinning theory that comes from research on developmental movement. So basically, you get kids to play with stuff,” Kurtz told Palatinate. After the financial crisis, Kurtz said, she stepped down from her role in the company to go back into education. Currently she studies Education and Psychology, subjects which she calls “fascinating.” When asked about the university
Rachel Kurtz is the president and founder of the Durham University Mature Students Association Photograph: Emma Werner experience, however, the answer is much different. “Well, it’s much better this year,” she told Palatinate, with a pause. “Last year was terrible. Right from the start, I was bombarded by all sorts of information that was targeted towards an eighteen-year-old market, so there was nothing useful in any of the college information that came out.” Kurtz told Palatinate that her experience with her first year of undergraduate work was what prompted her to start DUMSA, which has recently made a push to put mature student issues on the University’s agenda. DUMSA’s list of priorities, released to Palatinate and developed in an open forum on the 23rd of October is ambitious. Among the highlighted concerns are quieter options during Fresher’s Week, improved information about college accommodation and renting accommodation locally, and a space for livers-out specifically to prepare for evening events. The last issue on that list is a common theme among mature students interviewed.
Lorraine Watkinson was a primary school teacher for 30 years. At Durham, she studies Archaeology at Masters level, having completed her undergraduate work in the same subject over a year ago.
“There was nothing useful in any of the college information that came out” Rachel Kurtz
For Watkinson, the focus on young livers-in is frustrating. “There are events on an evening to which you’d like to come, but if I’m here during the day, I’m not going to go all the way home, get spruced up, get changed, and come all the way back,” Watkinson told Palatinate. “There’s nowhere to shower, there’s nowhere to put a change of clothes or books in between your daytime work and an evening social. I think I went to one Archaeology evening social as an undergrad. I just don’t do it.”
Watkinson doesn’t believe that the marginalization of mature students is necessarily intended, but she does argue that it needs to be addressed. “They seem to presume that all students are a) young, and b) liversin. I don’t think it’s being brought to the University’s attention,” Watkinson said. Overall, Watkinson remains confident that after finishing her degree she will be able to continue working in an archaeological field. She tells me with no uncertainty that her decision to come back to university was one of the best things she has ever done. Speaking of her undergraduate degree, Watkinson told me: “The biggest sense of achievement in my whole life was getting that first.” First challenges
Dr Sophie Ward is a lecturer at Durham’s School of Education, but prior to completing her BA, MA, and PhD – all at Durham – she dropped out of university to attend college for train-
ing to work as a secretary. “It’s so life-transforming to go back into higher education. I was in my thirties when I came to Durham University, and it’s the best thing I ever did in my life,” Ward told Palatinate. For Ward, the challenges facing mature students coming to Durham come down to two things: fees and the feeling of simply being too old.
“The biggest sense of achievement in my whole life was getting that first” Lorraine Watkinson
“It wasn’t a big decision for me to come to university, because the fees at that time were very, very low just ten years ago. It enabled me, as a single parent, to look at the financial side of things: can I take care of my son, can I take care of myself and study? And the answer was yes,” Ward said. Ward noted that after the change
PALATINATE | Thursday 7th November 2013
ion pushes for recognition
n seeks a voice among a younger generation of scholars in university fees, the burden on families went up. “I think now it’s very difficult for mature students. If they have family commitment, a young child to support, to take on that level of debt it’s very, very difficult, because they have this duty to support their children, and they’re aware that each month a big chunk of their income is going to be taken out to pay back those fees.” “I went from being a secretary to being a university lecturer. My income and my job satisfaction have just skyrocketed. But I was in that very category that might be deterred from taking that leap into higher education from those fees.” After that first financial leap is made, however, Ward argued that it’s very hard for mature students to integrate themselves into a much younger student body. For details on this, I contacted Chris Donovan, DUMSA’s gregarious Social Support and Liaison Officer. An ocean of eighteen-year-olds
Donovan is one of those dangerous types of individuals who, reportedly, tries to speak to people on London’s Tube. He proudly showed me a list on his iPhone of twenty ways to say ‘I am stuck in the bathroom’ in different languages. This list, he told me, is one he has acquired in the course of his travels, and at the Swan during the DUMSA social he manages to add his 21st language: Haitian Creole. Donovan came to the University after brief stints in the army and contract work. Eventually, he said, he plans to work in the charity and volunteer sector, the ‘third sector.’ “Last year, I got here and within the first two months I just wanted to leave,” Donovan told Palatinate. “I’ve been a working man all my life, and you come here and you’re trying to relate with people who have just left college and might never have worked a job in their life, it’s tough.
What do you talk about? With a mate in a pub, you need something in common.” Donovan told me that at 28, he is well-placed to bridge the gap between the younger mature students and the older ones. The technical definition used by the University for a mature student is an undergraduate over 21, and a postgraduate over 26. According to Donovan, it is less that the younger student body will exclude a mature student, and more that there’s simply very little in common.
“All we want to do is send out one email this is what we’re about, this is how to sign up to an official mailing list, and if they do they do, if they don’t they don’t” Chris Donovan
When I raised this issue with Kurtz, she agreed. “They’re all lovely, but they’ve just left school and it’s really, really important for them to find their peers and their social group,” Kurtz told Palatinate. “They don’t want to be stuck there with me for ages, and I don’t want to act as their mother.” Ward told me that this is a common theme with mature students. Though there are, according to Ward, distinct benefits to having mature students in a classroom with younger ones, many will feel intimidated. “You just feel a bit old, maybe irrelevant, like your views are somewhat antiquated. And of course, as an educator, I don’t perceive these views to be like that at all. They’re really en-
riching and important in a seminar group, but I know from being a mature student that you just feel kind of silly sometimes.” As such, Donovan explained, one of DUMSA’s main aims is simply to organize things that will make mature students feel more comfortable overall. This is one of the reasons for the weekly meeting at the Swan. Social lives
Apart from weekly socials, Donovan also mentioned a buddy-up system for social events currently running as an online forum. Lorraine Watkinson spoke glowingly about this project. “Sometimes you see an event that you would like to go to, but you don’t necessarily feel like you can because you might be the only mature student going,” Watkinson told Palatinate. “So this is brilliant. If I see something I’d like to go to, I can just put up a message and someone might reply, and we can go together.” Donovan also has a long-term goal in mind for mature students who would like to connect with other students who are, in his words “of a mature persuasion.” “Although the parent scheme in the colleges right now is absolutely brilliant – and don’t get me wrong, it really is – if you’re mature it can be a bit redundant. So what I was thinking was to have mature parents on an opt-in basis. But we’re working on that.” The main problem, Donovan admitted, is that strategies like this, if not managed correctly, could be ageist. “We’re not here to be an exclusive club, only to be a support system,” Donovan told Palatinate. “For us, it’s really more about closing the gap between older and younger students. That’s it.” Some on the opposite side of the spectrum, however, appreciate DUMSA yet haven’t had any issues with their experience whatsoever. Abigail Brooks is a former nurseturned-lawyer, who at a point in her career even worked directly on the Leveson Inquiry. Though she is friendly and laughs constantly through our interview, I am left with the impression that Brooks would be just as supremely comfortable in a West Wing episode as she is in a Starbucks. When asked if she had faced any unique issues as a mature student, Brooks told Palatinate simply: “Nothing. Mature students are no different to young students. I haven’t personally had any issues, I found
everything out myself.” “My experiences with other universities is that they weren’t as welcoming for mature students. With Durham, it’s absolutely plain sailing.” However, Brooks freely admits that as a postgraduate student, she is in a better place than some undergraduates. She agrees with a proposal to allow undergraduate students to join college MCRs. “If I was an undergrad here, I’d want a foot in both camps. I’d want to be with the undergrads in my course, but also with the postgrads,” Brooks said. Brooks’ situation is not unique, but fairly uncommon. Brooks told me that she had made a successful life for herself as a lawyer, and worked very hard to get there. Now she studies history purely out of interest. “At this point, there’s something to be said for just going to do what you want to do,” Brooks said. For Brooks, the issue of integration is sometimes just a matter of confidence. “I’ve just done the Learn-to-Row course, and it’s really only for freshers at all levels, but it’s not exclusive at all.” “But then, I tend to muscle my way into anything I want to do,” Brooks said with a laugh. The rocky road ahead
Significant challenges still stand in the way of DUMSA as it tries to change things for mature students. Donovan lamented the problems in reaching out to mature students. Reportedly, the University has been moving slowly on making a mailing list available to DUMSA for outreach. “We’re not asking for names or details, all we’re asking for is a mailing list,” Donovan said. “All we want to do is send one email: this is what we’re about, this is how to sign up to an official mailing list, and if they do, they do, if they don’t, they don’t.”
Harry Lewendon-Evans, St Cuthbert’s Mature Students’ and Postgrad Rep, says that DUMSA faces a serious challenge if it wants services to extend to all colleges, because all of the Durham colleges can be vastly different. Lewendon-Evans specifically mentions the issue of automatic MCR membership for mature undergrads. “It’s an issue that relates to a bunch of other issues,” LewendonEvans told Palatinate. “We [St Cuthbert’s] don’t have an MCR at all, for example. But I’m looking to change that over the course of the year, and create a structure for mature students and postgrads to opt into.” Whatever the issues facing DUMSA over the coming year, however, the feedback from mature students has been impressive.
“[Other universities] weren’t as welcoming for mature students. With Durham, it’s absolutely plain sailing” Abigail Brooks
For lecturers like Dr Ward, a new support system is helpful in encouraging mature students to come to Durham. “I get really excited when we get [mature student] applications. But then, I’m a little bit worried about encouraging them to come, because I know that until we get this critical mass they’re going to feel a lot older than the people in the class and that can be intimidating,” Ward told Palatinate. “I just think what Rachel [Kurtz] is doing is wonderful and I really hope it gains momentum.”
PALATINATE | Thursday 7th November 2013
Nobel Peace Prize laureate addresses students on UN day Development economist talks about post-Millennium Development Goals Jisoo Kim
Benny Dembitzer, a former international development consultant and Nobel Peace Prize winner, was invited to Durham for United Nations day on 24th October. United Nations day is the anniversary of the UN Charter, and is devoted to raising public awareness and support for the aims and achievements of the UN. Durham University United Nations Society participated in the celebration. The exec members gave students a whiteboard and a marker pen, asking them to suggest what the world needs more of. The answers were very creative, varying from ‘Honest Politicians’, ‘Idealists’, to ‘Hungarian food’ and ‘Shakers & Movers.’ At the event, Dembitzer gave a speech on current development issues which should be high-priority inclusions in the post-Millennium Development Goals 2015 agenda. He specialises in the economics of developing countries especially in Africa, and at present is director of Ethical Events Ltd., which was founded to widen public understanding of the problems of the third world. He has experience working with key international organisations including Oxfam, the World Bank, and the UN’s Development Programme. Mr Dembitzer explained that there are several major forces causing an irrepressible threat to global food security. He believes that although the issue is far greater than expected, it is likely to go unnoticed. In today’s world, between 10,000 and 30,000 people die of starvation every day. 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 per day and lack crucial vitamins and nutrients. The growth of 1 in 3 under-five-year-olds in the southern hemisphere is stunted. Global climate change has caused the failure in maize in 17 southern America states this year. Russia and Kazakstan, global exporters of wheat, have also suffered from the effects of climate change. Furthermore, in 2013, the United Kingdom faced the warmest and wettest year since records began. Population growth deepens the food crisis. The global population has increased by over 130% since 1946, from just under 3 billion to 7.1 billion people. It is predicted to be 9.3 billion by 2050, with most of the growth occurring in the poorest
Durham Univeristy United Nations Society raised students’ awareness of the UN countries. Increasing amounts of food are used to feed animals for our consumption of meat. Surplus production of maize is used for bio-fuel rather than human sustenance; it is not even exported to other countries for higher returns.
The current situation of global food crisis
.30,000 Between 10,000 and people die of starvation every day
.on1.4lessbillion people live than $1.25 per day
.under-five-year-olds The growth of 1 in 3 in
the southern hemisphere is stunted.
This is largely due to the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive, which states that 10% of transport fuel needs to consist of bio-fuel by 2020. Dembitzer argues that other factors in the global food crisis include loss of arable land, historical increase in the cost of oil used for fertilisers, landgrab by overpopulated rich
countries or foreign companies, and a decrease in availability of water for farming. Furthermore, speculation by banks and other players on food commodities drives up the cost of food. For instance, Goldman Sachs in 2012 earned £251m from investing its clients’ money on a range of food commodities, from wheat and maize to coffee and sugar. Barclays likewise made an estimated £278m in 2012 through investment in food products. It ended its food speculation this year, yet plays a key role in encouraging other financial players – pension funds, for example – by developing products for betting on food prices. International aid has been decreasing every year. The social services offered by voluntary organisations are there only to relieve a probable “disaster” rather than stabilise long-term development, a reality condemned by Dembitzer. Whilst developing countries often have to fight for food, Tesco estimated that uneaten food costs families about £700 a year in Britain. Tesco revealed that it generated 28,500 tonnes of food waste in the first half of 2013. Its bakery had the largest share, with around 11,700 tonnes, 41% of total Tesco waste; fruit and vegetables made up around a fifth of the total.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reported that 1.3 billion tonnes of food was wasted worldwide every year. Its Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, said, “In addition to the environmental imperative, there is a moral one: we simply cannot allow onethird of all the food we produce to got waste, when 870 million people go hungry every day.”
“We simply cannot allow onethird of all the food we produce to got waste, when 870 million people go hungry every day” FAO director-general Jose Grazino de Silva
A Durham student has raised the question of microfinance schemes as a possible solution to this problem, and specifically targeted women. Microfinance is a banking service provided to unemployed or low-income individuals or
Photograph: DUUNS groups who have entrepreneurial initiatives. Its ultimate goal is to give these groups an opportunity to become self-sufficient. He described women as the most important agent of children, who in extreme villages must be a mother, cook, teacher, nurse and farmer all at the same time. In some countries of Africa, land is inherited from women to women; however, there is no official record of birth and death of women, which makes the inheritance uncertain. He called it a “wonderful initiative.” Yet interest rates can be horrendous, ranging from 42 to 44% per annum. Such rates seem incomprehensive, even after considering the relatively high inflation. In other words, financial institutions providing microfinance in fact ‘discriminate’ against the poor. They produce the ‘subpoor’, contributing to widening inequality. He said this system “only helps women who have ‘initiatives,” but not everyone has that “entrepreneur spirit.” He concluded his speech saying that decision-makers should take account of all these factors in a post-Millennium Development Goals 2015 agenda, in order to alleviate the “miserable existence” of those who are unheard.
PALATINATE | Thursday 7th October 2013
Debating Hinkley: a Point of contention?
A QUICK LOOK AT SCIENCE
DELL: URINE TROUBLE NOW
n today’s culture of advancing technology and increasingly powerful gadgets, the issue of energy consumption has been somewhat sidelined. However, energy was once again brought sharply back into focus with Ed Miliband’s promise of an energy price freeze and the government’s announcement of a new nuclear plant to be built at Hinkley Point C in Somerset – the first plant of its kind to be built since Sizewell B in 1995. Make no mistake, we are sleepwalking into an energy crisis. According to the government’s Digest of U.K. Energy Statistics, electricity generation fell by 1% in the period 20112012, whilst domestic consumption of electricity rose by 2.8%. The U.K. is also a net importer of electrical energy, contributing 3.2% to our needs. Clearly, this is not a sustainable solution, and I am happy something has been done to address this matter. There is no denying that energy prices have been rising rapidly over the past few years. The push for renewable energy sources and ‘green levies’ has not helped the matter. We need to act now in order to rectify this problem. The current situation in which we find ourselves in is not ideal. We need a source of electricity that will satisfy our needs without damaging the environment. This is where nuclear power comes in. Hinkley Point C has been designed to produce 3.2 Gigawatts of power – enough to satisfy 7% of the U.K.’s current electricity demands. As it is a nuclear reactor, it will not produce CO2 in its energy production and, according to some estimates, could reduce annual energy prices by £77. So what’s stopping us? Nuclear power is an expensive venture; Hinkley Point C will cost £16 billion, part of which will be backed up by Chinese investment.
Is it a new dawn for nuclear power? Or is the sun setting on this controversial industry? Photograph: Bob Franklin. EDF would be responsible for building the plant, which is expected to be operational for 60 years. It is also important to note safety issues that arise from nuclear power. Critics of nuclear power will point to Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima as examples of why nuclear power is not safe; however, these are the only three major reactor accidents in over 60 years of nuclear power generation. In this time only 56 direct fatalities from nuclear incidents have been reported, whereas coal emissions are suspected to be responsible for over six thousand deaths per year. Unfortunately, nuclear electricity generation is far from ideal. Nuclear waste products remain radioactive for thousands of years and need to be disposed of carefully. Sources such as solar and wind power are getting better all the time, but for now they remain even more expensive than nuclear power. I was told recently that economic arguments hold little weight. We should keep the initial cost of this new nuclear plant in the back of our mind, but not write off the reactor because of it. Hinkley Point C is a much needed first step in reducing our country’s energy shortfall and with any luck will lead to more investment in our energy infrastructure in the future.
he building of the new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point C is a disastrous move, but not for the reasons you might think. This is not going to be an article about the perceived risks of nuclear power or some sort of propagandabased piece discussing the risk of terrorist strikes or nuclear bombs. Instead, this article is going to focus on how the building of the new plant is a terrible move for all of those who use electricity on a regular basis: the consumers. On the face of it, this deal makes sense. Two-thirds of Britain’s electricity generating capacity is going offline in the next fifteen years, including eight out of nine of Britain’s nuclear power plants. Couple this with the fact that investors having been pulling out of Britain’s nuclear power industry fas,t and this new deal between the British Government and an EDF energy/ Chinese investment partnership could be a great move. There is one group of people for whom this plant makes absolutely no sense, and they are the most importantt: the consumers. Or, more precisely, the consumers’ wallet. Currently, the price of electricity is around £55 per Megawatt Hour but this has been steadily increasing over the last few years, hence the recent increase in bills reported in the media (and shortly hitting your door-
step in a friendly envelope from your power company) The British government has guaranteed a minimum price for the new nuclear power plant of £89.50 per megawatt hour. This could rise even higher if EDF decide not to go ahead with another plant in Sizewell, Suffolk. So, in effect the British government, by making this deal, is guaranteeing that electricity prices will almost double over the next 20 years as this new power plant is being built. To put this into perspective, 2.4 million households were in fuel poverty the end of 2011 according the report published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. If prices are allowed to increase to the levels agreed by the government for Hinkley C, this number can be expected to rise substantially. The result of more people being in fuel poverty means that the government welfare bill is going to be pressurised upwards at a time when spending already vastly outstrips income. This means that even if the price rises don’t push you into fuel poverty, they will push up the tax bill on your pay check every month. As former US Senator Barry Goldwater famously said: “The income tax created more criminals than any other single act of government.” Well, if the rising prices put more people in a position where they feel they have no options, this policy could come a close second to income tax.
Dell received a number of complaints from buyers of their latitude 6430u ultrabooks because they ‘smelt of cat urine’. The company conducted an internal investigation and have released a statement saying that they have resolved the issue, which was down to a manufacturing process. Dell insists that the odour was not down to any form of biological contamination, nor was it a health hazard. Some complaints described the problem as embarrassing, and several cats falsely received the blame!.
CAR CHASE COP-OUT
High-speed car chases could be a thing of the past as some US state police forces introduce the latest in crime fighting technology: GPS tracker bullets. In true Q branch style, the bullets are fired from a device fitted directly to a car and launched by the driver pressing a button. The estimated cost of installing the system is estimated to be around $5000, with each bullet costing $500. This high cost is justified by the potential savings from lack of repairs on vehicles as the police have he option to simply track offenders from a safe distance. HONEY, I’M LEAVING
Bees underwent a near extinction event at the K-T boundary, the period of time associated with the end of the dinosaurs. Researchers have long believed that this was the case, due to the extinction of many types of flowering plants, but the lack of fossilised bees made this hard to prove. New research focused on DNA evidence from living carpenter bees to shows that this was indeed the case.
Facebook allows users to ‘like’ videos depicting murder Leina Brown
The social media site Facebook has recently decided to revese a decision to ban a video that features the decapitation of a woman. The video was initially banned from publication because concerns were raised about the disturbing imagery and extreme violence it depicted on a site which permits users aged as young as thirteen. However, they have withdrawn the ban six months after instating it, in compliance with the “Graphic Content” section of their ‘Community Standards,’ which makes it permissi-
ble for graphic images to be shared if they do not ‘glorify violence’ but ‘share experiences’ that are ‘of public interest.’ They state that while users are obliged to carefully select ‘the audience for the content,’ the responsibility for censoring content and protecting other users ultimately rests with the company. Which leads me to question: what authority does Facebook have in determining the dissemination of information? For example, on what grounds can they justify the decision to forbid photographs of the naked breast whilst they are willing to publish vid-
eos of acts of extreme violence? Facebook claims that censorship is dependent on the “context” in which an image is being used and the intention for which it is being posted in the public domain. Although they do not allow images that ‘celebrate acts of violence,’ the same content may be permitted if it is intended to draw attention to issues that concern ‘human rights.’ On these grounds, any image could feasibly be published if it is deemed to have a positive social motive. However, this criteria does not take into account the factor of individual perception. Some people may find an image
perfectly acceptable that others find repugnant, distasteful or disturbing; should Facebook be responsible for protecting all of its users, at the expense of other’s rights to freedom of expression?
“What authority does Facebook have in determining the dissemination of information? ”
Whilst I think it is important to protect the more sensitive and vul-
nerable members of society – children in particular – I also believe that censorship is a contentious issue, that needs to be imposed with due caution. The screening of material limits the expression and communication of ideas and is effectively a violation of our right to information. This ultimately affects our knowledge and our ability to understand our reality. The vague, contradictory guidelines of their community handbook coupled with the controversy surrounding their indecision indicates to me that Facebook should not have the right to exercise this authority.
Thursday 7th November 2013 | PALATINATE
Labour’s new generation
Joe Mayes meets Councillors Thomas Nearney and Katie Corrigan
eet Thomas Nearney and Katie Corrigan, the fresh faces of the Labour Party in Durham. Elected to the County Council in May earlier this year, they are Durham’s youngest political representatives and are already hard at work serving the local community. Fresh from meetings at County Hall that day, we sit together drinking coffee in Chapters Tearoom as glorious autumnal sunshine bathes Elvet Bridge outside. We chat about politics and Thomas, who is a second year studying law at St Mary’s College, starts animatedly on his work as a councillor in his ward, Annfield Plain. “You never find yourself doing the same job twice,” he says, grinning, “which has its benefits and its drawbacks. “It is so varied but sometimes you have so many issues to deal with that you have to learn to delegate. It’s a skill you have to learn quickly.” Katie, who has just finished a degree in sociology and politics at Sunderland University, represents the Belmont ward and nods in agreement. “The work can be about anything,” she says, “ranging from pavements to potholes. There are lots of individual issues to deal with and each day can be completely different.” But what inspired them to go into politics in the first place? And why Labour? Katie needs no time to think. “I’m Labour because my family has always been Labour.
“I feel like if it hadn’t been for a Labour government investing in my school, a good school in the past but one that you could feel was improving because of the investment, then that wouldn’t have happened.” Working for Durham County Council puts Thomas and Katie at the heart of an organisation that has annual revenues of over £1 billion and employs around 18,500 people.
Yet they have come into power at a difficult financial time for the Council, a reality Thomas sees every day in his work. “The financial pressures we’re under now are enormous,” he explains. ”£200 million is being cut from the budget by 2015 due to the reduction in funding from central government. “This is the one big downside of our work. It’s fantastic to be able to make a difference in your community, but we also have to make savings whilst fulfilling our statutory duties. “When you’re looking at whether or not a vulnerable woman can have a home care service, that’s not nice. That’s not what I came into government to do.” Despite the difficult decisions they need to make, Thomas says he can still take heart from the actions of the Labour Party in County Durham. “We still manage to pay a living wage to all our employees and we have no zero hour contracts. Although we don’t have much money, we’re trying to set an example of how things should be done.” Our conversation turns to Labour on the national stage. What do they think of Ed Miliband? Katie’s response is qualified. “I think he’s good, but I think he could do with some work.” “I think he could be stronger in terms of how he presents himself. The public want to hear a strong voice and know that they’ve got someone who’s going to represent them.”
Locally, Labour will have control of the Council until 2017, but there’s certainly no mood of complacency in the party ranks. Katie and Thomas already have their eyes set on campaigning for the elections to the European Parliament next year and the general election in 2015. “Sometimes in the north-east people think, ‘It’s a Labour safe seat, there’s no point in campaigning there’, but I don’t think we take anything for granted,” Thomas says. “In 2010 the Liberal Democrats came close in Durham City,” Katie adds, “and were only a couple of thousand votes behind the Labour candidate, so everyone was quite worried. We’ll start campaigning for the general election soon.” Such campaigning will look to draw upon the energies of young people in Durham City. How politically engaged are the youth in this region? Katie is optimistic. “I think Durham has got good youth participation. I’m involved with County Durham Labour and we campaign everywhere.
From day one at CCHQ, I carried out an extensive role which ranged from the traditional leaflet folding to writing policy summaries. This experience was a great lesson in politics. To work for a party, even for only a week, I was able to see the passion and drive of the people working there. I was able to see the real politics that goes on behind the scenes. I was constantly bombarded by statistics, but one stayed in my mind throughout the week: the amount that had to be raised every hour to cover the cost of running the party. Without this funding, resources would get scarce, departments could be closed and ultimately people
would start losing jobs. It was a serious place. A more lighthearted memory from that week was watching Prime Minister’s Questions in the office. At noon on the Wednesday, the place suddenly went silent; all attention focused on the television screens around the office as PMQs began. The Prime Minister finished his response to his first question to applause from the office as Ed Milliband got up to deliver his typical condemnation, and within moments the banter started. I had never heard such quick and intelligent wit. Rebuffs and retorts that gave you the sense that these guys really knew their politics.
But in a flurry of blue leaflets and policy folders that week was over. Back in Westminster Palace, the heart of British democracy, I met with Baroness Crawley of Edgbaston, who treated me to a tour of our nation’s Parliament. At the time the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was on its way through the Lords. As the peers took their seats in the chamber, I took mine in the gallery. Anyone who believes the House of Lords needs to be reformed on account of its seemingly old and ineffective composition should definitely consider a visit to the chamber, if just to witness the quality of debate, the passion and the rhetoric, which
“My father was a miner so obviously I come from a strong Labour background. I’ve always been interested in politics and I wanted to get more involved in the community.” Thomas takes up the theme. “For me, my values are Labour values. I believe wholeheartedly in people working together and in fairness. “Once you step out of Durham city, which is a lovely place, there are some really tough areas that need help and need work to get better.” He also speaks passionately about the educational opportunities he feels he received as a result of his party’s work. “To be honest,” he confides, “I’m the first person in my family to go to university.” Katie nods too.
“It’s fantastic to be able to make a difference in your community” Cllr Thomas Nearney
Cllrs Thomas Nearney and Katie Corrigan Photograph: Joe Mayes
Interning in the thick of it
Marcus Natale The internship game is tough, and the political world allows only a few access points to experience democracy and party politics in action. This summer I was fortunate enough to find myself with the opportunity to do both, spending a week at Conservative Campaign Headquarters and in Parliament. My first week began with a short walk from the inspiring facades of Westminster Palace, past the great offices of state along the Thames, to the Millbank Tower, the home of the Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ).
“Durham University also has its own Labour club that is doing well. They’ve done a lot of work for the living wage.” With politics clearly in the blood, my final question is about longterm plans. Is this the career for them? The answers are mixed. “I don’t want to be a councillor forever,” Katie admits, “and I think I’d like to work in social research.” Thomas is different. “Up until 2017, because the people have put their faith in me, I’m obviously sticking with the council. I’ve got to work for them. They’re the people that matter. “But long-term, who knows? I’ve got to get the law degree out of the way, maybe train as a barrister, and then I’m always going to have an interest in politics. Whether I pursue that as an MP or stay with the Council, I don’t know.” Whatever they choose to do, Councillors Corrigan and Nearney clearly have bright political futures ahead of them and the constituents of County Durham are in safe hands. Watch this space.
has sadly all but vanished from the chamber down the corridor. Some members went on with great eloquence; others went on for what seemed like hours in Churchillian ramble loaded with convincing argument, other speeches levelled opinion criticising the act with the intent of ‘protecting’ the institution of marriage. This last point owed less to the perceived conservatism of the house and more to the opinions of individual members. But despite my own opinions, at the end of my fortnight in the capital, to walk out of the gates of Westminster and see a contingent of anti-gay marriage protesters, I was reminded of the virtues of democracy that anyone in Britain has the opportunity to participate in it, shape society and contribute to great debate.
PALATINATE | Thursday 7th November 2013
Church and state: from journalism to PR
Tim Burt, editor of Palatinate ‘84/5, discusses his career and transition from the Financial Times to founding partner at StockWell Ben Hamer
This feature marks the second in the series of interviews with ex-editors of Palatinate which took place over the 2013 summer vacation.
WhatdidyoudoafterleavingDurham? When I left Durham, I had spent all my time on Palatinate. I was doing Modern History and Politics, and as part of that degree then if you did Middle East Government and Politics you could spend time in an Islamic country, and I decided on Turkey. I went between my second and third years to the University of Istanbul. When I was there, I wrote for a magazine called Middle East International. That made me decide when I left Durham I didn’t want to go and work initially in the UK and ended up getting a job on the Mexico City News in 1986, the year after I graduated, on the basis that I was British and must know something about football. It
was the world cup finals against Mexico City in 1986. Following this, I went to Newcastle for a journal as a trainee under the Thomson Training Scheme and on to the Financial Times in 1988 right until 2005. I did everything from companies reporting to foreign correspondent. My last job before leaving the paper was Media Editor. I was looking after all of the technology, media, telecoms coverage. In 2005, I was ‘seduced’ out of the FT to go into corporate public relations.
How do you view the relationship between journalism and public relations? It is often seen as church vs state: one in pursuit of truth and the other trying to hide the truth. The reality is that whether journalism or public relations, we’re all in the information business, which is much more of like a production line. Most business coverage you read in the UK or the US has the involvement at some part of the incubation of a story some form of public relations.
One finds that in reality it is the same discipline as writing a story or editing a big feature if you are writing the speech for a chief executive of a big company or creating a set of strategic messages about a restructuring or a big acquisition or a company seeking a big stock market listing. It’s just in a different part of the food chain.
But PR is more behind-the-scenes? Yes, it’s absolutely behind-the-scenes. If you read an op-ed by a captain of industry in the Financial Times or the Wall Street Journal or another leading newspaper, it us probably written by someone like us. You’re deploying front-line journalistic skills simply hidden from view. It’s actually much more similar than different. We set up a new company in 2010 [the StockWell group] and started trading in 2011. We are an international strategic communications firm advising companies from Universal Music to Nissan, National Bank of Greece, and France Telecom. It’s all the same intellectual discipline,
whether you’re writing a feature for Palatinate or assembling a news briefing.
“whether journalism or public relations, we are all in the information business” Tim Burt
In PR, you are engaging with the media the whole time, trying to promote and protect the reputation of your clients. It’s fun because you never know which day is going to be the next crisis; and they come along with unerring regularity.
Would you recommend your career path to others? In spite of structural upheaval, journalism is still one of the best careers to go into. We were always told when
we ended up in newspapers – and still give the advice to those that get into it – is go and do a proper academic degree and work for Palatinate or Cherwell, or whatever your local newspaper is, and do as much as you can. In spite of all of these traumas and economic threats, people are demanding as more content than ever before. ‘Content is king’ is the key phrase. When a model can be found to monetise the distribution platforms, journalism will be healthy. If you want to have a career in journalism, you require complete digital fluency; the more languages the better, and you must build up a portfolio of work that would make you a more compelling employee candidate compared to someone who has come out of an NCTJ program. It can be brutal, but it’s worth it.
The remainder of this article can be read online at www.palatinate.org.uk
Seed Jobs: reversing traditional recruitment?
As you progress through your degree, the pressures of finding a job slowly become apparent. A new start-up company, Seed Jobs, is trying to relieve the pressure most graduates face when searching for a job by reversing the recruitment process. Co-founder of Seed Jobs, Quin Murray, is a Durham alumnus, former Palatinate Photography editor, and Challenges Officer for DUCK. During his recent visit to Durham, I was lucky enough to be able to catch up with him over coffee at Vennels. How did the idea of Seed Jobs come to be? “All of us had gone through the pains of finding a job,” he answered. He and his co-founders wanted to find a more sensible way for students to find a job that suited their skills and interests. Eighty percent of graduate job placements were never even advertised online, as this is expensive for employers, and much hiring still takes place through word of mouth. What makes Seed Jobs unique? “It takes the whole process of applying to jobs and turns it around, instead of searching for work, your perfect job finds you.” Seed gives employers a matching engine that displays suitable candidates for the position, then gives them a direct line to the candidate. This allows graduates and employers to have an open conversation, and through Seed they can ask candidates questions online, getting both written and video responses. For me, the most enticing element of Seed Jobs is that it presents an al-
ternative to the traditional Curriculum Vitae. Having studied Psychology, Quin said that his background is “people, and how they portray themselves.” With a large focus on work experience, CVs neglect what skills graduates have built up or what kind of person they are. Are they creative, or analytical, or good at problem solving? Having researched it over the last year, Seed built a profile that allows users to be matched with the right places for them to work.
“have as wide a view of Durham as you can”
Quin Murray I later brought up the fact that LinkedIn had a similar option of presenting an employee’s skills. Quin understood a similarity, but noted that LinkedIn is a social network, and a profile there is like an extended business card and misses out integral aspects of an individual. Seed is championing the video aspect of a profile, as it’s a very effective way of telling what a candidate is really like. When it came to advice for our students, Quin advocated a simple tip: trying to do something new everyday, “whether it is starting or joining a society, just do many extra-curriculars.” Considering himself as someone who gets bored of routine easily, he added that students should “meet as many people as you can. Don’t just stay within college ... have as wide a view of Durham as you can.” In terms of business, Quin sug-
gested the important thing is to “be prepared to make mistakes and learn from them.” While Quin commended solo business projects, he preferred the idea of finding a good co-founder when putting a business together. “That is a person you can share ideas with, bounce ideas off... You can be told when you’re being stupid.” Quin suggests finding someone with a different skillset, someone you can be blunt with, and someone you can chat through issues with. After that, “test your idea. Spend time checking out the competition or see where your idea might fall down. Be flexible, and work out what you need to make your idea a success.” Currently, Seed Jobs is building a bigger presence in Durham, having sponsored the DUCK Bungee Jump. Seed Jobs will soon start running events to help people build their skills and knowledge of what they want to do. For those who are interested in getting involved, there is the Guru Programme. Seed Jobs takes interesting, talented people and trains them up on marketing and business in order for them to be their ‘feet on the ground’ in Durham. If a student is struggling with the whole employment process, they can go to the Guru in their college for help. Seed Jobs aspires to be a full, personalized career service to help people. By monitoring what employers search for, they tell students what they need to get better over the course of their degree. “It’s helping people, making them more employable,” Quin said on a final note. “The whole point of Seed is to reduce un-
Seed Jobs’ launch in Durham last year Photograph: Seed Jobs employment and get graduates into jobs.” By the time they leave university, they’re more employable. Ultimately, the guru programme is getting all of that across. They help market events at university and create a visible impact on the lives of stu-
dents who are feeling the pressure of job-hunting. If you would like to learn more about the Seed Jobs Guru scheme discussed in the interview vist www.seeds.jobs The remainder of this article can be read online at www.palatinate.org.uk
Thursday 7th November 2013 | PALATINATE
Rihanna’s mosque snaps are a cultural triumph It is the West alone who should be embarrassed for their reaction to these photographs
Ellie de la Bedoyere
Once again, we’ve tried so hard not to step on people’s toes that we’ve tripped off the edge of common sense into a bland world of political correctness, which continuously becomes that little bit harder to climb our way back out of. On this occasion, we’ve tumbled over in our haste to apologise for Rihanna’s photo shoot in the most famous mosque in the Arab Emirates, the Sheikh Zayed Grand. But then again, why wouldn’t we hurry to apologise? According to America’s Daily News, Rihanna is responsible for “bringing a little more instability to the Middle East.” On the surface, this story doesn’t reflect well on her: these “racy photos” (Daily Mail) were taken at a place of worship without prior permission, and as a result she was asked to leave; her pictures did not fit in with the sanctity of the mosque. Af-
ter skimming these provocative articles, it seems only rational to dismiss Rihanna as a disrespectful, disgraceful, and immoral human being.
What you will find are several outrageously beautiful photographs of an elegant young woman respectfully dressed
However, before making your final judgements, take a look at the pictures themselves. What you will find are several outrageously beauti-
ful photographs of an elegant young woman respectfully dressed in a full black jumpsuit and headscarf only just outshone by the striking, impossibly white, and utterly majestic backdrop. It is hard to fit the Daily Mail’s description of “racy” with her poses, which are instead modest, tasteful and of a high-fashion calibre – not even vaguely provocative or sexy. In fact, she is dressed so appropriately that the Daily Mail can only resort to criticising her “red lipstick and crimson nail polish” – how very daring. You’d have thought we still lived in the age of Downton. And really, there’s not a lot you can do to avoid any hint of sexiness when such a gorgeous woman is placed amidst such arresting surroundings. The most contentious picture is the one of her lying on her back which she uploaded via Instagram with the caption ‘#notanlines’. Is this an offensive affront on Muslim belief or an antagonistic comment about Muslim women and their failure to seize their rights? Rather, is this not
The Sheikh Zayed Grand in Abu Dhabi. Photograph: Suwaif an amusing, subtle comment on cultural diversity?
Let’s not pretend she’s campaigning for more culture in popular media or attempting to educate the world
If you’ve managed to disentangle yourself from the PC frenzy, then perhaps you can recognise a little humour regardless of your religion. Rihanna can only be blamed for dar-
ing to be so bold as to even mention cultural differences in this ‘diplomatic’ age. Nevertheless, there is no denying that what Rihanna did was bold. By this, I mean she probably should have asked permission. Also, let’s not pretend she’s campaigning for more culture in popular media or attempting to educate the world on cultural diversity: all of these things are merely happy by-products. Of course, she’s exploiting this beautiful religious centre to create a beautiful picture. So what? Is it disturbing worship? Is it corrupting a place of holiness? Does it add to Islam’s unfortunate press? Is it really that inappropriate? Or is it actually very appropriate, a striking, strong woman dressed in hijab, embracing her beauty and independence in a Muslim way and giving the magnificence of Muslim culture its rightful recognition in the public sphere? The only ugliness in this picture is the Western reflex reaction of disgust.
PALATINATE | Thursday 7th November 2013
Budgeting is best; quick cash could be a regret Student spending can be a struggle, but no one need go as far as York’s student escorts Ellen Orange
Nowadays, being a student is incredibly expensive. Cultural jokes about living off ‘value’ beans and wearing four jumpers rather than putting the heating on have become a reality for most students in recent years. Understandably, many students now need to work, but since Nouse found evidence of up to thirty students in York working for escort agencies, we may wonder: ‘to what lengths are we prepared to go to fund our degrees?’ We’ve all heard the myths about so-and-so’s sister working in a strip club to fund ballet school, but withthese reports of student prostitutes in York, this urban legend has become a reality. Is this a reaction to the crippling increase in tuition fees? Or is it those students with ridiculous expenditure on extravagant lifestyles? Thanks to the coalition government, most students now face fees of £9,000 per year. Now that the fee rise is in its second year, are we seeing the effects? The answer to that is: no. The tuition fee rise has left much confusion in the public perception, but students know this is covered by the Student Loans Company. Although we end up in debt, we do not have to pay this back until we graduate and earn at least £21,000 per year. If the students in York working as escorts are doing so simply to
pay off their tuition fees, it is clearly unnecessary. If it is to take the pressure off future debt, this is more understandable; the figure of debt is looming in an uncertain future for everyone, and it is scary. But it is also something we all have to face currently, and at a low repayment rate of 9% and a write off after 30 years, some of us will never pay the full amount back.
NUS calculate that average rent outside of London is £4,834, which is above the basic maintenance loan
We all know a more pressing issue is the cost of living. In a perfect world, accommodation would cost less than our loan; we would do little work, spend the rest of our time shopping, going out and having fun, and at the end of the month we would have money for food, with a first on that essay. We wish. But NUS calculate that average rent outside of London is £4,834, which is above the basic maintenance loan. So we have to find the extra, never mind food, bills, books, and academic costs. And
that’s before we even think about leisure. As maintenance is predicted on parent’s household income for most people, the government expect that parents will provide the shortfall. But for many of us, this is not the case, or it is just not feasible. For a large number of students, the only choice is part-time work. But even this can be difficult. First, you have to find a job. Then, when you have one, you have to balance it with academic work. And let’s be fair, most part-time student jobs aren’t glamorous or pleasant. It’s understandable that students will want to look for jobs that pay a lot for little time or labour. When a student in York said she could earn £300-£600 a day as a prostitute and that she worked twice a week, we may see the attraction. Even at
the lowest end, that is more than I would earn working in a month at McDonalds. But, moral and ethical issues aside, we have to wonder if it is necessary. Students have a wide range of options in terms of part time work, including employment in their university in bars, butteries, cafés, libraries, along with local vacancies. These jobs provide valuable work experience, too, whereas ‘escort’ is unlikely to go on a CV. Alongside a student loan, earning £600 a week is going to give you a large amount of disposable income. This amount of money suggests a very extravagant lifestyle for a student. But moreover the idea of needing to spend this much to make the most of university isn’t even the case. For students in hardship or difficulty, there are always services to
Illustration: Leina Kay turn to within the Union or University, which provide loans, grants and support. Money issues are always tough for students, what with budgeting whilst balancing work and study. Sometimes it requires sacrifices, like giving up your weekend to serve Big Macs or swallowing your pride to serve your mates pints. But the actions of the York students are completely unnecessary. Learning how to budget and balance are important life skills, and as attractive as the ‘easy option’ or ‘quick fix’ is, it is important to think about the repercussions. There are always alternatives and help available. If you’re strapped for cash, draw up a CV or learn to cut back on your spending.
We should admire those teachers willing to work for free
The University should not be lambasted when it is the individual’s choice to take unpaid work Kenneth Chan
The University has been the subject of heavy criticism after the Theology and Religion department advertised for PhD students to give unpaid extracurricular seminars for undergraduate students. The University and College Union (UCU), which represents academics, said unpaid posts undermined the principles of equal
pay, exploited people able to work for free and discriminated against those who could not afford to do so. The controversial expectation, placed on graduates students and graduates, to work as unpaid interns is so great that an increasing number are willing to not only work for free, but pay to work, in order to build an impressive-sounding CV. Although much is made of the questions of exploitation and discrimination against the less wealthy, the truth remains that internships are valuable for practical learning and CV experience. Similarly, there are many paid
postgraduate teaching positions within the university (underpayment notwithstanding) but there will always be postgraduates who want to do more teaching for career development purposes, and who nonetheless the University are unable to hire. Is it not fair and, moreover, helpful of the University administration to provide a framework through which these postgraduates can carry out these activities? Would you work for free? It may be instinctive for you to reject this proposal, but that rejection is exactly what’s important: you have the
choice not to do so, but the choice of those who do choose to ‘work for free’ must also be safeguarded. The postgraduates designing and teaching these extracurricular seminars do so voluntarily. The seminars are not part of the department’s course structure, and may be attended by undergraduates on a voluntary basis. Just as it is easy to paint the University in a profit-maximising light, it is no stretch of the imagination to see this seminar series as something that all participating parties benefit from. Just as in the question of un-
paid internships, just because the less wealthy may be unable to afford to work for free should not preclude other aspirants who can. It certainly perpetuates inequalities, but labeling it discriminatory and exploitative is superficial.
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Thursday 7th November 2013 | PALATINATE
Should we buy into this Brand of revolution? Change needs to be brought about through the democratic system, not revolution James Kessell
For those of you who haven’t watched Russell Brand’s entertaining skirmish with Jeremy Paxman, allow me to summarise. Brand wants a revolution, but he doesn’t know how. He wants to replace government, but he doesn’t know what with. Maybe something like ‘admin-bods’. He has never voted, but isn’t apathetic. He’s worth £9 million, but thinks profit is a really bad thing. He speaks for the working man and says ‘ain’t’ and ‘innit’ a lot. Oh, and he likes Paxman’s beard. Praise has been heaped on Brand across Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds this week for speaking out against this evil ‘system’ that only serves a tiny proportion of people. Aren’t we all lucky to have such a genuine and insightful figurehead to lead this revolution against oppression? Hang on. Politics isn’t Star Wars. There isn’t some sort of evil force trying to screw everyone over. Our democratic system had been honed over centuries. It is the bulwark against oppression, the channel though which peaceful and rational change can be wrought in the interests of everyone. Brand argues that the burden of proof – the burden of justification for this revolution – isn’t on him, it’s on “the people with the power.” Well, let’s compare the proof for the ‘system’ that exists today against the realities of ‘Brand’s revolution’. There has arguably never been a better time or place to be living than in modern-day Britain. The ‘indifferent system’ provides us with education, welfare, free healthcare, security, democracy, justice... the list goes on. Every citi-
Brodie McGhie-Fraser discusses the importance of embracing diversity at an individual and institutional level Especially for studetns, issues of sexuality seem to be everywhere: in the newspapers we read, the politics we debate and the social media ‘feeds’ we ‘consume’. The UK is a country that has recently passed legislation for samesex marriage and, despite leading heteronormative oppression historically, is slowly recognising the existence, rights, and perhaps even benefits of sexual diversity. Some might even go as far to say that the UK is now a leading figure in the di-
zen has equal rights, freedom, and an equal share of the vote. Sure, there are flaws, but what would the alternative look like?
Brand wants a revolution, but he doesn’t know how
Revolution would be terrifying, leaving hundreds of thousands without food, shelter, and healthcare. It would be violent, it would be bloody, and, when we look at the socialist revolutions of the past, this egalitarian revolution would establish a dictatorial big man in the place of the democratic system which we ought to treasure. If people need any more persuasion away from grandiose revolutionary action without any rational idea of the system that they’re trying to establish, then they only have to look across to the potent current examples of Syria and Egypt. But, to be frank, a revolution is not on the cards. We will not be facing a bloody socialist revolution headed by a shaggy comedian wearing a £2000 outfit. What then is the significance of Brand’s trumpeted arguments? Is he simply a well-publicised, narcissistic jester who creates entertaining but nonsensical diversions when the questioning gets tough? The answer is yes, but the significance of his arguments broadcast across the globe is far greater than
versity movement. Then again, a recent Guardian article reports that more than threequarters of gay, lesbian, and bisexual victims of hate crime in the UK did not go to the police for fear they would not be taken seriously. This highlights not only the homophobia of individuals, but also the possibility of institutionalised discrimination of the police force. This news report addresses not just heterosexism in accepting crime reports, but also representation of non-heterosexual people in the system, both as the police and the policed must be considered. This leads us to address key values in the police force, and forms of training to ensure lack of discrimination. Police officers have great power; they are figures who have the means to challenge as well as support.
Jeremy Paxman heard Brand’s ideas for revolution on Newsnight Photograph: Duncan Hall their minimal intellectual clout. What is damaging is the effect that his superficial but emotive brand of passionate apathy may have upon those who are at the bottom of society, hard up and already disenchanted with ‘the system’. It gives them a quasi-intellectual justification for doing even less to improve their lot and engaging even less with the institutions that have the power to change things for them – education, jobcentres, and, on a greater scale, political elections. The last thing that those in what Brand calls the “underclass” need is to further distance themselves from the ‘system’ and the channels through which personal, regional and national change is wrought. If a certain section of society fail to exercise their hard-won democrat-
Moreover, the report suggests a degree of internalisation, where victims of hate crime feel like they cannot report it properly. Diversity in this instance is painted as a reality, but an oppressed one. Under the assumptions of equality (and a level playing field), of meritocracy, of liberal rights and multiculturalism, sexual diversity is still very much an underclass. More than this, the notion of not being taken seriously suggests that any attempt to call out or to speak up is undermined. The emperor is wearing no clothes, yet the victim is blamed. Sexuality is often negotiated later in life, and has no physical form. In other words, you can’t look at someone in the street and determine how they ‘swing’. Not unless you start conflating sexuality with other factors, anyway. Sexual op-
ic right to vote then it is inevitable that the ‘system’ will fail to represent their needs.
Democracy is the bulwark against oppression
What is needed is a greater engagement with the ‘system’ for
pression breeds invisibility. Such a need to conceal or ‘closet’ yourself in the most important areas of your life isolates and alienates, and in turn fuels the heterosexism we see so tangibly in this news report. Harassment, insults and intimidation were the most common hate crimes, reported by more than eight out of ten victims. We too often hide behind these liberal facades that bury and repress the real issues, and antagonise the people raising them. We’re making slow yet steady progress in terms of recognising sexual diversity, but why are overt forms of heterosexism and homophobia still common? Again, is this due to its invisibility? Like all forms of oppression, they might be social constructions, but the brutality they provoke is only too real. Interestingly, I find that social me-
those who feel disenfranchised, not less. The British status quo isn’t perfect, and Brand’s calls for change do have some fundamental validity. However the only effective and rational way to bring about this change is through our democratic system. For Brand to encourage an apathetic approach to voting is not only juvenile and ill-considered, but downright damaging for those most receptive to his arguments.
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dia is both a site of major oppression and resistance. It is a space of public opinion, and a reasonably accurate representation of modern zeitgeist. Even within my own friends, I might find media that ridicules, generalises, essentialises, challenges, disrupts and provokes. Some of these occur at the same time. It seems clear that exposure of diversity isn’t enough on its own. Indeed, another Guardian poll suggests that as much one in six non-heterosexuals has suffered hate crimes. ‘Coming out’ doesn’t seem to be attacking heteronormativity at its core. Therefore, we need to really think about what diversity means, analysing its processes and not just the differences. This applies just as much to an institution as big as the police force as much as it does to individuals.
PALATINATE | Thursday 7th November 2013
Men’s Hockey Premiership Round-up Castle clinch victory over Collingwood
Nothing to separate Hatfield and St Mary’s Emily Beech
Probably the most crucial match of the week for the Men’s Hockey Premiership saw top of the table Hatfield A take on second place St Mary’s A. The latter side, being only behind on their goal tally, were keen to take away this lead from the Bailey side. However, with the match ending in a 2-2 draw, the teams remain as close as ever. It was a thrilling encounter with missed chances, diving shots, and ultimately little to separate the two sides in the first half. The scrappy nature of the game was probably born from the two teams being so evenly matched and fiercely competitive. Hatfield’s number 25, for instance, was so defiant in defence that the oncoming Mary’s player ran into and flopped over the top of the firmly-rooted 25. At the half time whistle, however, Mary’s were the happier side, after a cooly-taken penalty flick put them in front. The second half began with plenty of Hatfield pressure. However, a goals were always deined by the resilient Mary’s, who positioned themselves well to block any through balls. Perhaps Hatfield, for all their possession, were guilty of attacking too much down the weaker left side and not looking up before passing the ball. These mistakes were eventually punished as Mary’s sprang into a counter attack down the right and made it 2-0. The goal came from an excellent clearance up to a Mary’s forward. Showing some skill, the right winger
then took the ball neatly round the Hatfield defender and fired the ball straight into the D. The recipient fluffed his shot but the ball heading for the goal still needed to be dealt with. A Mary’s player quickly arrived at the back post to slot home the ball, but a Hatfield stick got there first. Unfortunately for him, his block only served to ricochet the ball into his own goal. However, Hatfield were not in the mood to be beaten. It wasn’t long until a Mary’s defender failed to get across to a long searching ball up front. The Hatfield right winger pounced and upon picking up the ball drove into the D, drawing the Mary’s keeper forward. An unselfish left square pass dealt with the oncoming goalie and allowed his team mate to send the ball into an open goal. Minutes later, Hatfield got their second. A poor Mary’s clearance allowed Hatfield to launch an attack down the left. The ball was fired back into the middle across the face of the goal, where the Hatfield strikers, showing a greater desire to get to back post, squeezed the ball into the corner. Although no more goals were scored, there were close chances for both sides. Mary’s narrowly missed a shot from a diving player arriving at the post, whereas Hatfield were awarded a short corner which forced a fine save from the keeper off an equally impressive flick. Overall, 2-2 was a fair reflection on an evenly contested and exciting match. It will be interesting to see when the teams next meet who has learnt from the lessons of this fixture.
Women’s Netball Premiership
Van Mildert A remain the ones to beat Emily Beech 18-5 is no doubt an unflattering score line for Castle, who competed rather well for the majority of the game. It’s fair to say Castle missed the appearance of their regular shooter as chance after chance went begging for the Bailey side. However, this is not to undermine what was an impressive victory for the newly-promoted yet top-of-theleague Van Mildert, who created the better play of the two sides. The opening quarter was a fairly cagey affair, with only five goals making it 4-1 in Mildert’s favour. The second quarter was a similar tale, as Mildert’s GS and GA were almost unplayable as they combined their height with excellent movement and
communication in the D. However, the possibility of a Castle comeback remained as Mildert only extended their goal advantage by one, leaving it 8-3 at half time. This cannot be said of the third quarter; Mildert added eight goals and pulled away from their opponents. Even more impressively, the Mildert defence put in a sterling effort and prevented Castle scoring for the whole quarter. Castle were perhaps guilty of a few too many passes in and out of the D to get closer to the net, though this low confidence probably derived from the poor run of shooting form at the beginning of the match. Realistically, the goal difference was now too large for a comeback. Castle too understood the ask and decided to relax and enjoy their final
Photograph: Emily Beech
Elsewhere in Men’s Hockey Elsewhere in the Men’s Hockey Premiership, St. Aidan’s A faced Van Mildert A; two teams struggling at the bottom of the table. It was good news for Van Mildert as they brought home a 3-0 victory. According to Aidan’s Captain Mark Barratt: “it was overall a highly contest match (despite what to some might seem a clear Van Mildert victory).” Mildert managed to dominate possession in the first half yet Barratt believes “Aidan’s upped their game in the second half with a surplus of offenses especially from our Man of the Match Ali Hills. If only we’d been given a short corner - I feel one of Hills’ signature drag flicks may have turned the match around!”
quarter in a more light hearted manner in comparison to their serious and competitive opening. As Castle faded, Mildert were clinical in seeing out the game to a 18-5 victory. Laura Harris, the Mildert Captain, thought the quick pace of her team and skilful defence were enough to see them victorious. Castle captain Georgina Griggs believed Mildert’s victory was deserved despite a misleading score line, and much of Mildert’s victory could be attributed to their GA who played particularly well.
Elsewhere in Women’s Netball
Elsewhere in the Premier League St. Aidan’s A said they were disappointed to draw 12-12 against fellow Hill College St. Mary’s A . Trevelyan A were pleased to beat Hatfield A 13-5, thanks to some excellent shooting and a good performance from Flo Gregson at GD. Away at Queen’s Campus, Grey A were unable to bring home a victory, losing 21-28 to John Snow.
A close battle between Castle A and Collingwood A ended in a 2-1 win for the Bailey College. Despite Castle playing the opening seven minutes without a keeper, Collingwood were unable to capitalise even with their opening period of sustained possession. Ironically, when the goalie stepped onto the pitch, Collingwood got their deserved goal through a wayward and unnecessary aerial pass which handed the ball back to the Hill College. From this gift of possession, Collingwood forced a short corner. The ball was played out to Richard Hay at the top of the D, who then expertly flicked the ball at pace, leaving the Castle goalie helpless. After the opening goal, the match settled into a fairly even contest, with possession and pressure oscillating between either side continuously.
Both had further chances, including a wasted and uncontrolled short corner by Castle. Likewise, a Collingwood strike whose intention must have been to deflect a shot away to the keeper’s side ended instead as a good defensive block. Eventually, Castle managed to find the equaliser in the form of Adam Hedges. However, soldiering on, Collingwood continued to threaten the Castle defence by forcing another short corner yet this time fizzing it just wide of the post. They were quickly made to pay for such a small margin of error as Castle won their own short corner and capitalised. A decent flick was met with an even better one-handed save by the keeper, who then quickly closed the angle at the post to deny the follow up shot. However, the Castle forwards showed a greater thirst for the ball; Laurens Broken eventually scrambled the ball home, leaving it 2-1 at the final whistle.
Photograph: Emily Beech
Collingwood defeat John’s 18-10 Emily Beech Scrappy, frantic and close are three words to describe the opening to St. John’s and Collingwood’s fixture in windy conditions that troubled the players all afternoon at Maiden Castle. The opening goals alternated between either side until Collingwood gradually gained some foothold in the game and finished the quarter 6-3 in front. However, John’s came back fighting with a strong second quarter performance by netting four goals to Collingwood’s disappointing two. There were plenty of vocalisations from the Collingwood substitutes, and it can be questioned whether voicing such frustrations only added to the further panic of the Collingwood team, who felt they were playing below par.
The Collingwood Captain’s fierce competitive attitude was heard during the half time team talk as she prophesised her team losing if they didn’t “find something imbedded within. Some sort of fire”. Whether spurred on by the Captain’s words or not, Collingwood did begin to slowly build momentum until they completely dominated play by the end of the match. John’s declined and allowed a quick bombardment of six Collingwood goals in the closing minutes to award them a more convincing victory than what would have been expected in the beginning. On reflection, one John’s player believed her team were not motivated enough and too tired. Their lack of aggression here is seen to have cost them, though credit must be given to Collingwood who managed to improve as the match went on.
Sport Sport Sport in Brief SQUASH: The Women’s 1st team continue their dominance at the top of the Northern 1A division after their third 4-0 win of the season, this time against Leeds 2nd. Number one, Jemma Ockwell, started things off in impressive fashion, winning 11-0 11-0 11-3, followed by wins from Amelia Stead (115 11-3 11-0), Lara Small (11-3 11-1 11-3), and Hannah Blythe (11-2 11-4 11-2) to complete the rout within an hour. The side have now won 12 sets out of 13 played, and look set to be strong contenders this season. The Women’s 2nd team also sit top of their division after a 3-1 win over York 1st to make it two wins out of two. In their opening game of the season, the Women’s 3rd team lost 3-1 against Sheffield 2nd. The Men’s 1st team beat Manchester Metropolitan 3-2, and now face top of the table Leeds 1st this week. The Men’s 2nd team’s disappointing start to the season continues, a 3-2 loss the Manchester 2nd meaning the side have now lost three in a row. It’s a similar story for the Men’s 3rd, who have also lost their opening three games after a 3-0 defeat to Leeds 2nd. It was more positive news from the Men’s 4th team, who managed their first win of the season after a 2-1 victory over Northumbria 3rd. The side looked set for a giant cup upset this week as they took on the much fancied York 1st team. TENNIS: It was another dominant display by the Tennis Club this week. There were 12-0 whitewash wins for the Men’s 1st team (agaisnt Manchester), the Men’s 3rd team (against Sheffield Hallam), and the Women’s 3rd team (against Northumbria 1st). The Men’s 2nd recorded their third draw in a row, after an impressive performance saw them hold Leeds Metropolitan 1st 6-6 and the Men’s 4th team remain unbeaten after a 6-6 result against Northumbria 1st. The Women’s 1st secured a 10-2 win against Leeds Metropolitan to top the Premier North division, while the Women’s 2nd currently lie second behind their teammates after a 10-2 win over Nottingham 1st. The Women’s 3rd team top the Northern 2B division after making it three wins out of three, with a 12-0 demolition of Northumbria 1st. Finally the Women’s 4th put in an impressive display to hold Leeds Metropolitan to a 6-6 draw. TABLE TENNIS: The Men’s 1st team continued their dominant start to the season, after an 11-6 win over Northumbria 2nd at Hild Bede last week. This followed a 16-1 demolition of Durham’s 2nd team, which sees them second in their division. VOLLEYBALL: The Men’s 1st team suffered their first defeat of the season last week against Sheffield Hallam, going down 3-0. The Women’s 1st enjoyed success again against Liverpool this week, winning comfortably 3-0. This was their second win by that score in a row, putting them second in their division. The Women’s 2nd team, meanwhile, continued their inconsistent start to the season, after losing a tight game 2-3 to Bradford 1st.
Thursday 7th November 2013 | PALATINATE
Rise in football fees sparks anger Maddy Sears The college football season is well underway, with 948 students representing their college in the University’s biggest league. However, the start of the season has been overshadowed by confusion surrounding the extra costs for College football teams this year. The development of the new Rubber Crumb at Maiden Castle has meant that virtually every Men’s Premiership game – and numerous others around the leagues – has taken place on one of two artificial surfaces.
£207.80 the expected cost per Football team for facility hire this year
This has, however, come at a cost. It is estimated that each college football team will now pay an average of £207.80 for the use of the facilities, which with a squad of fourteen players would work out at just under £15 per player. This change has left several colleges in uproar, with one explaining how they have had to support their football club in order for it to remain in existence; despite increasing subscriptions by 187% (£15 to £28) they still have not managed to cover their costs. “We do not feel that it is acceptable for sports team members to have to pay more than £30 in subs at college level…I think that Team Durham are forgetting one key factor – that we are students” said one College Sports Officer. “The costs are a deterrent, especially to those who have come to university and want to try out new sport… they make it unfeasible for many students to play more than one sport as they simply cannot afford it.” Another College Sports Officer said: “The increases in college sport costs have caused us to re-think the aspects of how we pay for sport. “From Team Durham’s perspective, this is not good. They will lose their high participation rate of which they are rightly proud, and it will impact negatively on them in general.” Harry Stokoe, Club Captain of Van Mildert AFC, admitted that the costs would impact his players, saying “our club will have to increase subs taken from each member to cover a portion of the increase in cost.” “The JCR say they will cover some of the increased cost but still need us to massively increase our subs to pay the bill… we are yet to charge subs so will not see the impact on membership until this is done. However, from general opinions, people aren’t happy about the increase.
“Obviously we would all rather play on the Rubber Crumb as opposed to grass pitches as it is a far better service and scheduled games are rarely called off.” Despite the costs, the new facility does promise one thing: that the college football programme will be finished on schedule for the first time in years. Last year, most college teams had to continue to play fixtures into the exam season due to cancellations because of bad weather in the winter months. College Sports manager, Tom Newman, highlighted this as one of the main positives about the new facility. “It means a lot less frustration, it means that games will be completed before exams and before third term. “Every team will get the chance to play on that surface, and it’s just about making sure that we can have as many people participating as possible.” This season, Premiership teams play on the Rubber Crumb every week, with Division 1 (70% of fixtures), Division 2 (50%), and Division 3 (30%) sides also having multiple opportunities to play on the surface. At £31 per hour, the price for playing on the artificial surfaces is highly reduced for students playing college fixtures compared to the hire charge for external users. Those from outside the University are charged £72 per hour. Team Durham have recommended that, to make subscriptions fairer in light of the time spent on the facility, student memberships should be tiered according to leagues; however, this is not implemented in every college, as JCRs decide the way its members pay for college sport. Subscriptions are also not new to college sport, with many college teams already charging membership. “We are now switching football to high-class facilities… there are always going to be teething problems when new things happen” said Newman, who was appointed after the decision to build the Rubber Crumb.
“One of the things we would love is if were to get to a place where students didn’t have to pay...” Quentin Sloper
“It’s just about making sure that the JCRs know about the cost far enough in advance, and I can’t apologise enough for the suddenness of it but I wanted to be upfront from the start.” Quentin Sloper, Head of Team
Photograph: Emma Werner
Durham, told Palatinate: “one of the things we would love is if we were to get to a place where students didn’t have to pay for the AstroTurf facilities or the Rubber Crumb. “The reality is that we have to generate income to sustain the quality of the facilities… everyone can be assured that our only objective is to ensure that we break even. “The hire cost for a college match has risen by £6 per hour in five years, which I doubt many people would say is unfair. The fact is we are now able to allocate 60% of ‘peak time’ across the two Rubber Crumbs to College Sport, which simply means that colleges are playing more often.
“It means a lot less frustration, it means that games will be completed before exams and before third term” Tom Newman
“We can’t continue to grow, or even sustain, the College Sport programme without using all of the facilities at our disposal. Perhaps it’s a long term debate which needs to be had. “But, in the short term, what it does mean is that we actually have the opportunity to finish college football and rugby, which is something that is always a real challenge. If colleges don’t want to play on the crumb, no one is making them. I guess there is a little bit of you can’t have it every way.” The true value of the second Rubber Crumb facility will no doubt be seen over the coming weeks as poor weather begins to threaten some matches. The debate of improving facilities versus the cost to college teams will no doubt go on. From a University perspective, however, new facilities are essential if Durham are to continue performing at such a high level.
President’s column Last week, Durham climbed to the top of the BUCS table, a very historic moment and an incredible place to be so early in the season. This position emphasises the positive results from tough preseason training schedules. With this in mind, I would like to recognise the work of our Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Jon Kantor, who has played a pivotal role in the Palatinates’ success over the last 5 years and leaves us to work with the GB Paralympic swimming team. We look forward to following Jon’s progress on the road to Rio. Wednesday 30 th October was the most successful day ever recorded in Palatinate’s history, breaking through our all-time number of victories, a total of 40! Highlights were the Men’s 1 st Hockey, who showed up Loughborough on their home turf with a 3-2 victory. On the rugby pitch, it was tense for the Men’s 1 st who were down 9-16 at half time to Newcastle. Luckily, the boys pulled it back to continue their unbeaten run with a 20-16 win. Women’s Lacrosse had a tremendous day, with all 4 teams going unbeaten. Most notably, the new addition this season, the 4 th team, recorded their first win, thrashing York 2 nd 11-4. A group of Club Captains were entertained at Clifford Chance in London on Thursday evening as part of the Experience Durham Alumni Mentor Programme. It was a wonderful evening sharing experiences between past and present students.
Hannah Lowther, Team Durham President
PALATINATE | Thursday 7th November 2013
DURFC maintain strong start Dominic Thurlow-Wood Maddy Sears Durham University’s Rugby teams have capitalised on their momentum from last season by starting the year with a string of victories. Wins for all four Men’s teams on Wednesday underlined the strength in depth in the club. Four wins from their first four games have seen the 1st XV rise to the top of the Premier North division, amassing an impressive goal difference of +68. After thrashing Nottingham 44-13 on the opening day, the side reinforced their position at the top of the table with an important victory over Leeds Metropolitan University and a tight game against Newcastle last week, which saw the Palatinates scarpe a 20-16 win. Most impressive of all, however, was the fact that this was the 40th win for Durham in BUCS competition that day – a new record for the University. It was also a 40th unbeaten game in a row for the 1st XV, who had a shaky first half, going into the break 16-9 down after scoring three penalties
and conceding two three-pointers and a converted try. A try in the second half from Murray Galbraith-Lowe out wide got the Palatinates back in the game. It was then a lack of discipline that cost Newcastle the match, with repeated infringements meaning two men were sent to the bin, and Durham knocked over two further penalties to secure a narrow yet key victory. However, not to be outdone, the 2nd Team recorded a landslide victory by 50 points to 17, against Sheffield Hallam University’s 1st XV. The 2nd XV currently sit in second place in the division, with their only defeat coming against table topping Birmingham earlier in the season. The team will be looking to continue their good run of form heading into the first round of the Knockout Cup away at Stirling on Wednesday. The same can be said of Durham’s 3rd XV who have made an excellent start to the season with 3 wins from their first 3 matches, including hefty wins over Newcastle (22-3) and York (82-5). Durham’s 4th XV have continued the winning theme, with four wins
from their opening four games and a goal difference of +88. The latest win was a 48-3 thrashing of Sheffield 3rd XV. Undoubtedly, the fixture against the currently unbeaten Leeds Metropolitan University 3rd XV on the 13th November will be massively important in the Palatinates’ battle for first place. Yesterday saw the 1st XV return home to face Northumbria 1st, while the other three sides were involved
difference of +40. Yesterday, the 1st team took on their nearest rivals, Nottingham, at Maiden Castle in a bid to remain top of the division. The Women’s 2nd team managed an equally impressive win at Maiden Castle last week, beating Sheffield 1st 17-3. Top scorer was Alice Goodinge (7), with Katie Marsh and Lizzie Apthorp both grabbing two of their own. The side now lie second after winning their opening two games with a goal difference of +36. Their next game away to Leeds 1st, who sit at the top of the division, will probably be their biggest of the season. Lying mid-table in the same division are the Women’s 3rd team managing their first win of the year last week against Liverpool, 25-1. Yesterday, they faced Sheffield 1st, who were looking for revenge after being so easily beaten by the Palatinates’ 2nd team last time around. In their first year of existence, the Women’s 4th team won their first match of the season, with a 10-4 away win against York 2nd. Having previously lost two tough fixtures against Newcastle 2nd and York 1st, they will look to rebuild on their success against Leeds in two weeks’ time.
in cup ties. The Women’s 1st XV have had a fortnight to forget about; after missing out narrowly against Loughborough, 15-17, the Palatinates could not find a win against an impressive Leeds Metropolitan side. In the end, Durham went down 37-0 after a disappointing performance away from home. The side looked to get back to winning ways yesterday, when they welcomed Nottingham.
Men’s 3rd back track in their win against York
Photograph: Emma Werner
Women’s Lax Mixed fortunes reign supreme for Hockey Club Maddy Sears After adding a 4th team at the beginning of this season, the Women’s Lacrosse club won four out of four games for the first time in their history last week. Leading from the front were the 1st team who went top of the Premier North division after beating Manchester 21-3. Jenny Hobbiss opened up the scoring, and other goals soon followed from Loulou Rowlands (2), Annabel Edwards (3), Louise Jeffrey (3), Izzie Clifton-Brown (4), Carrie Gamper, Anna Featherstone (3), Claudia Bertolotti, Gabi Flibotte (2) and Addie Godfrey. After the match, captain Loulou Rowlands said: “It was clear that the whole team was utilized both on the attacking and defensive end. “The Manchester girls put up a real fight and they definitely had a home field advantage with their fans and experience with AstroTurf. “This was our first game after two very mentally and emotionally tough games so our focus was to remind ourselves why we love this sport and always working together.” The win extends the side’s unbeaten start to the season to three games, with an impressive goal
Over the past two weeks, Durham University Hockey Club have experienced mixed success. Two weeks ago, the Men’s 1st XI drew 1-1 against last year’s league winners, Sheffield Hallam’s 1st XI, despite playing well and dominating most of the second half. The first half was closely fought, with a majority of play being in the middle of the pitch leaving few chances for either side. It was during the second half when the match opened up and Durham took the lead from a well-worked attack down the right to eventually set up Jack Curd to score. Despite numerous chances and ten short corners, Durham failed to increase their tally. Sheffield Hallam then punished Durham by grabbing an equaliser late in the game. Charlie Stubbings was voted Man of the Match in a fixture where Durham were robbed of a victory. Elsewhere that week, the Men’s 2nd XI lost 2-1 to Leeds Metropolitan 1st XI despite an impressive display from Mark Foster. In a Durham-onDurham clash, the Men’s 3rd XI beat the Men’s 4th XI, although only by 1-0. Some excellent saves earned goalkeeper Alex Rust the Man of the Match award here. As for the women, the 1st XI lost 2-1 to Manchester 1st XI, with Dur-
ham’s only goal scored by Millie McWhirter. The rest of the Women’s teams brought home victories, the most convincing being from the 2nd XI. They beat Manchester 2nd XI 10-0 thanks to a hat-trick from Catlin Williams. The Women’s 3rd XI won 1-0 against Northumbria 1st XI, with goalkeeper Polly North putting in a solid performance. Finally the Women’s 4th XI were also successful, showing resilience by coming from behind to beat Sheffield 2nd XI 3-2. Georgia Nokes and Steph Smith (2) were the goal-scorers in that match. The following week, the club fared better, winning six of their seven games. In particular, the Women’s 1st XI were back on song after a 3-1 win at home to Nottingham, while the Men’s 1st XI secured a fantastic win away to Loughborough 2-3 with goals from Batch, Driver, and Murphy. The Men’s 2nd XI had a resounding 5-2 win over Newcastle 1st XI, as did the Men’s 3rd over York 1st XI beating them 4-1. The Women’s 2nd facing Nottingham 1st XI and the 3rd XI Newcastle 1st XI were not to be outdone as both beat their opposition 3-1. Finally, the biggest score margin of the week was left to the Women’s 4th XI, who secured a 5-0 trouncing over Manchester 2nd XI. No doubt DUHC will be looking to build on this success and keep the good form going as they progress through the season.
Sport Sport in Brief BASKETBALL: The Men’s 1st team made it three wins in a row last Wednesday, with a 99-85 away win against Leeds Metropolitan. The Wildcats now sit three points clear at the top of the Northern Premier division. In contrast, the Men’s 2nd team continued their miserable start to the season, losing their third game on the trot 69-61 against Huddersfield. The Women’s 1st team also sit top of the Northern Premier division, winning 74-52 against Leeds Metropolitan to make it three wins out of three. The Women’s 2nd team were also victorious last week, winning their first game of the season 63-33 against York 1st. FOOTBALL: The Women’s 1st XI sit top of the Premier North division after a 1-1 away draw against Leeds Metropolitan last Wednesday. The Women’s 2nd XI lie second in the Northern 3B division after a securing a second consecutive win last week. The side came through a difficult away tie against Leeds Metropolitan 3rd 4-3. GOLF: The first game of the season for the Mixed 1st team ended in a 3-3 draw against Central Lancashire 3rd. The side looked to go one better yesterday away to Leeds Metropolitan 2nd. The Mixed 2nd team enjoyed a comfortable 5-1 win over Newcastle 2nd to maintain their 100% start to the season. LACROSSE: The Men’s 1st team have now won their opening three games on the bounce after another comfortable victory, this time against Leeds Metropolitan. The Palatinates lie top of the Premier North division after the 17-7 win, which leaves them with a remarkable goal difference of +56. Next up for the side is Sheffield, who have been inconsistent so far this season. The Men’s 2nd team took on the Men’s 3rd team in an all-Palatinate fixture last week at Maiden Castle. As expected, the 2nd team were victorious, pulling no punches in a 25-1 win. The Men’s 3rd team, however, will not be disheartened by their two losses so far, as they have come up against perhaps the two best teams in the division. NETBALL: Another fantastic week for the Netball club saw the Palatinates win three out of four. The 1st team remain unbeaten after defeating Northumbria 2nd 53-35 at Maiden Castle. The 2nd team also enjoyed success last Wednesday, beating Newcastle 3rd 53-39, while the 3rd team suffered a narrow defeat, 30-35, against Northumbria 4th. The 4th team made it three wins in a row after a 47-13 win at Maiden Castle over York St John 2nd. RUGBY LEAGUE: Durham lie at the bottom of their division after a defeat away to York St John. The Palatinates lost out 72-6 in a one-sided game which was their second straight defeat this season. Durham took a break from BUCS competition this week and hope to bounce back against Hull 2nd at Maiden Castle next Wednesday.
For all the latest BUCS results visit www.palatinate.org.uk
Thursday 7th November 2013| PALATINATE
University sport round-up All the latest news and results, p. 18-19
The latest from college sport
Men’s hockey and women’s netball , p. 17
The college football cost debate Palatinate investigates the issue, p. 18
Bright start for DUBadC Lawrence Holmes
A Durham player holds onto possession against Loughborough 1st XI
Photograph: Megan Liardet
DUAFC power past Loughborough Tom DiMaio DUAFC made history with an incredible win against football giants Loughborough when the two met at Maiden Castle recently. The result has been part of a steady start to the season for the 1st XI who now find themselves in mid-table in their division after the first three games. This season the 1st XI are at the top of the BUCS ladder, competing in the Northern Premier division. After finding themselves on the end of a 3-0 defeat on the first day of the season against the University of Stirling, they performed the unthinkable by dishing out a 3-0 victory of their own against Loughborough, arguably the best side in the country. Man of the match Joe Barwick opened the scoring for Durham; from then on, the team never looked back. Johnny Giles and Ray Hackett added to the scoreline, securing the three points on perhaps the best day DUAFC has ever experienced. Loughborough’s dominance of University sport in general has gained them a high level of notorie-
ty, and their football team is certainly one of the jewels in their crown. As a result, this victory can be seen as an important scalp in Durham’s quest to rise up the university rankings. Following up this victory with a point away from home in a closely contested 0-0 draw against Nottingham University, the Palatinates lie fourth in the division, just two points away from the leaders.
The 1st XI’s margin of victory against Loughborough.
DUAFC can also take the positives from some excellent defending which has provided a platform for two successive cleansheets, a statistic that bodes well for the upcoming matches. Not wanting to be shown up by their 1st team counterparts, the Men’s 2nd XI team have started the season in impressive fashion, remaining unbeaten in the Northern 4B division so far. After a 3-3 draw against Bishop Burton College in the first game of the season, Durham have gone on
to record two very satisfying results. The first of these, arrived in the form of a 7-3 demolition of the Northumbria University 3rd XI. A disappointing first half performance saw the game in the balance at 2-2. After the break, Durham conceded a third goal and it was clear that the Palatinates would have to produce a special second half to come away with three points. It was from this moment that Durham proceeded to turn on the style and dominate the game, with excellent hat-tricks from David Green and Will Bates, and a further goal from Matt Green securing the victory for the team. The second win of the season last Wednesday may have been even sweeter for the players as it came against close rivals Newcastle University. Goals from David Green and Carl Hodges ensured a 2-0 home victory despite the blustery conditions which made life difficult for players on both teams. This impressive string of results leaves Durham third in the table, two points off the leaders Sheffield who play Durham on the 13th November in an important fixture for the battle for top spot. Should Durham manage to win in what promises to be a
tricky fixture, they will be in with an excellent chance of winning the title at the end of the season. The club will no doubt be pleased with their start to the season with both sides maintaining solid positions in their respective divisions. On Wednesday the Palatinates will aim to continue their good form with the 1st XI playing host to Sheffield Hallam at Maiden Castle, while the 2nd XI will take on Newcastle 1st XI in a home cup tie.
Men’s 1st XI vs Sheffield Hallam (Home) - 6th November Men’s 1st XI vs Northumbria (Away) - 13th November
Men’s 2nd XI vs Newcastle (Home) - 6th November Men’s 2nd XI vs Sheffield (Away) - 13th November
To view all the latest results go to www.palatinate.org. uk.
The men’s badminton teams continued their great start to the season last week with wins against York. The men’s 1st team went into their match against York’s 1st team without first-team regular Ben Birks, who missed out through injury. Durham’s first singles matches were won with ease. Mike Roe, Durham’s number one singles player, beat Jay Lee with ease, 21-2, 21-2 before Phil Pereira beat Micky Hurtagh 21-11, 21-15. In the doubles, Clemen Chay and Josh Males beat York’s pairing of Oli Hoult and James Southwell by a margin of 21-5, 21-10, largely thanks to Chay’s domination of the net. Martin Woodhall and James Prior also put in a strong performance against Andy Henderson and Hazrul Muhammad but ultimately lost 1821, 14-21. Durham secured overall victory by winning the reverse singles matches. Roe beat Hurtagh 2114, 21-7, and Pereira beat Lee 2114, 21-14. The contest ended with an overall victory of 6-2 for Durham Men’s 1st team. The men’s 2nd team travelled to York to play York’s 2nds. Kieran Purvis and Luke Tonks played the first two singles matches and Tonks gave Durham a flying start, winning his first match 14-21, 21-18, 21-19. In his second match, Tonks, cheered on by the crowd, played an array of superb shots to defeat his opponent 21-19, 15-21, 21-14 and earn himself man of the match. Purvis struggled against York’s number one and was narrowly defeated 19-21, 21-16, 19-21, but won his second match 21-19, 21-17. Both doubles teams secured fantastic victories in their matches. Matt Hall, Luke Murray, Tommy Pallet and Ed Moss performed consistently, earning Durham a 7-1 overall win. The women’s teams have found their early season matches more hard-going. Having lost to Birmingham’s 1st team in their first game, the women’s 1sts were beaten 8-0 by Loughborough’s 1st team. Next week’s match against Leeds provides the perfect platform for the women to kick-start their season.