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Palatinate Officially the North’s Best Student Publication, 2017

Thursday 8th March 2018 | No. 805

Professor Stuart Corbidge

Palatinate question the University’s Vice-Chancellor on the strikes, accommodation fees and Durham’s expansion

www.palatinate.org.uk | FREE

indigo celebrates International Women’s Day

▲ The ‘Beast from the East’ brought Durham to a halt last week as several classes were cancelled due to safety concerns across the City (Caitlin Allard)

Over 5,000 Durham students demand compensation for strike disruption Online petition gathers support but senior University official tells SU President he is not “paying attention to it yet” Tom Mitchell Deputy News Editor More than 5,000 Durham students who have had lectures cancelled due to academic strikes are demanding compensation for lost contact hours. The industrial dispute between university bosses and the University and College Union (UCU), which centres on changes to academics’ pensions system, has resulted in walkouts at 64 UK institutions over the past fortnight. Increasing numbers of students are dissatisfied the strikes are disrupting their education and impacting the value for money of

their annual £9,000 investment. A petition organised by Durham students urges the University to “resolve its dispute with its staff either by resuming national negotiations with UCU or by other means to avoid affecting its students. “We feel it fair and just that we are compensated for the loss of 14 days of our education.” The petition, which replicates similar appeals at other universities calling for reimbursement, had received 5,331 signatures at the time of going to press. Comments from signatories included that of one international student, which read: “I’m an

overseas student and losing [the equivalent of] £1,900 to £2,800 is just unacceptable. “My parents are (quite ironically) lecturers paying for this out of my dad’s pension and I can’t accept their hard-earned money just going towards nothing.” Another supporter of the petition criticised the University: “You cannot charge us obscene amounts per lecture yet not compensate us for the contact hours we will miss.” Conrad White, who first initiated calls for remuneration at the University of York before a similar petition was created at Durham, said: “The university wants

it both ways: they want to take the tuition fees money and behave like a business in that way, but then not offer students consumer rights.” In an interview with Palatinate, he said: “Universities need to take students’ needs into account when it comes to situations where our education isn’t being provided”. Although the petition has been signed by approximately 30% of Durham’s 18,000-strong population, Durham SU President Megan Croll claims Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) Alan Houston told her in a meeting he “wasn’t paying attention to it yet”. Education Minister Sam Gyimah voiced his support for students on

25th February, arguing: “Students are rightly concerned about compensation during University and College Union strikes. “I expect all universities affected to make clear that any money not paid to lecturers – as a consequence of strike action – will go towards student benefit including compensation.” Durham University has previously confirmed all money not paid to its striking members of staff will be donated to the Student Hardship Fund. Meanwhile, further talks between the UCU and Universities UK (UUK) have been agreed to try... Continued on page 5


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Thursday 8th March 2018 | PALATINATE

Editorial Remember the “good old days”? You’re probably still living them

I

wish,” sighs a rueful Andy Bernard in the series finale of The Office (U.S.), “there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” Bruce Springsteen’s bombastic 1984 ballad ‘Glory Days’, a highlight of my current summative soundtrack, makes a similar point. Whether it’s those golden years of school athletic dominance, the free-and-easy summer holidays of your youth, or, in the case of The Office, seasons two to seven, you just don’t know what’s worth being nostalgic about until you’re far enough into the future to put on the rose-tinted glasses. It’s easy to overlook that for many of us, plugging away at what frequently seem to be insurmountably tortuous degrees, those glory days are almost certainly the ones we’re living now. A tad depressing as it may sound, this is the fun bit before we all end up unemployed – or worse, working in consultancy. We haven’t even started paying back our £50,000 debt. We have the time and energy to go to all of the college bars, Klute and Paddy’s, all in one night. And [insert something unconvincing about “the joy of learning” here]. If you’re wondering what has brought on this bout of sentimentality, suffice to say there comes a time in every Palatinate editor’s tenure when they get to write an

intolerably introspective farewell editorial. I will almost certainly look back on my time reading, writing for, and editing this newspaper as among the best of my university days – and not just because the rest of them have been spent binging on instant coffee on Level 4 of the library at 3 a.m. amid a singular failure to account for the rise of Islamic neo-revivalism in the second half of the 20th century. It’s been a while – I first started on the paper in September 2016. Obama was still president, the Tories had a majority, and Freddos were something like 2p. In the intervening 19 months, it has been an absolute joy to be immersed in the very best student writing Durham has to offer. Standout stories include my co-editor Sophie’s razor-sharp exposé of the understaffing of the University’s Counselling Service (issue #800); a fascinating interview by Tomas Hill Lopez-Menchero with George Courtney, who swapped refereeing at the 1986 World Cup with helming college matches at Maiden Castle (issue #801); and a heartfelt contribution for our 800th edition from former Palatinate editor Jeremy Vine on why we should all “seize love”. I should also like to namecheck our unbelievably talented team of illustrators, headed now by Katie Butler and previously by Faye Chua, who have never failed to fill these pages with the

most astonishing artwork, from a nightmare-inducing rendition of the clown from It (issue #797) to the marvellous montage marking International Women’s Day on this edition’s Indigo front cover. Elsewhere in this issue, our News team have an exclusive interview with Durham’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart Corbridge (p6-7), and the questions range from the University’s handling of the academic strikes, to Corbridge’s own high salary, and the implications Brexit might have for Durham. Meanwhile, Sport’s two interviews, with Durham WAFC’s Annabel Johnson and Team GB’s Rabah Yousif, are equally fascinating, and in the case of Yousif, genuinely inspiring (p17-19). Durham SU President-elect George Walker is put under the Profile microscope on p11. Editorials are usually signed off with a reference to the next edition – it’ll be with you at the start of next term. But for now, it remains only to say this is the last time this page will feature the below byline and thumb-shaped head with which it corresponds. Eugene Smith

Inside 805 News pages 4-7 Comment pages 8-10 Profile page 11 Politics pages 13-15 SciTech page 16 Sport pages 17-20

indigo Editorial page 2 Features page 3 Food & Drink pages 4-5 Fashion page 6 Visual Arts page 7 Film & TV pages 8-9 Music page 10 Travel pages 11 Creative Writing p12-13 Stage page 14 Books page 15

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COMMENT: We’re asking the wrong questions about mental health at University

SPORT: What does Scotland’s historic win against England mean?

VISUAL ARTS: Made You Look – Fenwick Lawson’s ‘The Journey’

STAGE: The Comedy of Errors review: “portrays emotions felt by us all”

Durham SU Welfare & Liberation Officer Rosa Tallack seeks to hold the University to account on mental health provisions.

“Scotland cannot rest on this victory for too long and cannot let the hype get to their heads,” says James Beringer.

In the latest in this series looking at Durham artwork, Caitlin Allard explores the meaning of the statue you may walk past every night.

Susannah Bradley argues this adaptation “made me realise I was in error in assuming all Shakespearan plays are boring”.

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

Editorial Board Editors-in-Chief Eugene Smith & Sophie Gregory editor@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Editors Anna Tatham & Caitlin Allard deputy.editor@palatinate.org.uk News Editors Tania Chakraborti & Cameron McIntosh news@palatinate.org.uk Deputy News Editors Clara Gaspar, Natasha Livingstone & Tom Mitchell deputy.news@palatinate.org.uk Comment Editor Zoë Boothby comment@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Comment Editors Hana Kapetanovic & Danny Walker Profile Editor Isabelle Ardron profile@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Profile Editor Holly Adams Science & Technology Editors Martha Bözic & Jack Eardley scitech@palatinate.org.uk Politics Editors Rhodri Sheldrake-Davies & Julia Atherley politics@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Politics Editors Jack Parker & Tom Walsh Sport Editor Tomas Hill Lopez-Menchero sport@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Sport Editors Will Jennings, Ella Jerman & Louis Gibbon Indigo Editor Tamsin Bracher indigo@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Indigo Editor Adele Cooke deputy.indigo@palatinate.org.uk Features Editor Rosie Dowsing features@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Features Editor Katie Anderson Food & Drink Editor Emma Taylor food@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Food & Drink Editor Sapphire Demirsöz Travel Editor Harriet Willis travel@palatinate.org.uk Fashion Editor Anna Gibbs fashion@palatinate.org.uk Film & Television Editor Imogen Kaufman film@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Film & Television Editor Alexander Priston Stage Editor Helena Snider stage@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Stage Editor Helen Chatterton Music Editor Ashleigh Goodall & Tom Watling music@palatinate.org.uk Creative Writing Editor Chloe Scaling creative.writing@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Creative Writing Editor Kleopatra Olympiou Books Editors Tanvi Pahwa & Alex Leggatt books@palatinate.org.uk Visual Arts Editor Madeleine Cater visual.arts@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Visual Arts Editor Anna Thomas Chief Sub-Editor Yongchang Chin Sub-Editors Inka Kärnä, Aoife Clements, Mint Paribatra, Zuzanna Gwadera & Angelos Sofocleous Photography Editor Madeleine Flisher photography@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Photography Editors Claire Cortese and Yangjia Lin Illustrations Editor Katie Butler illustration@palatinate.org.uk Deputy Illustrations Editors Charlotte Way, Akansha Naraindas & Holly Murphy Social Media Officer Helen Paton Website Administrator Alex Stuckey Advertising Officer Alex Hewitt advertising@palatinate.org.uk


PALATINATE | Thursday 8th March 2018

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#fakenews

State of Emergency declared as student leaves headphones at home

The Prime Minister expects the State of Emergency to be lifted upon the student’s safe return home this evening – at which point they are expected to realise they left their charger behind in the Billy B.

Edward Foans Our colleges are our homes. Colleges are shaped by the efforts, successes and shared communities created by students: our ownership of our college experience is what makes Durham unique. So with a 17th college in the process of being built, we thought it was only fair that students had a say in naming it. Last term a policy was passed by Assembly suggesting how students would like the new college to be named. This represented a unique opportunity for us. How great would it be for Durham’s 17th college to be named after a woman of the North East or a pioneering person of colour? But the University has not been supportive of our input. Initially, the name for the new college was to be voted on in a Town Hall meeting, where staff and students could have their say. Since then, the University has recognised the opportunity to raise money by naming the college after a donor and is refraining from specifically naming the college before one is found. Realistically, this decision means the college will not be named with any thought for increasing diversity, something clearly lacking when you realise 13 out of the 16 colleges are named after men. It’s also one thing to name a learning building after a donor, but naming students’ homes is something else, and something that I fundamentally oppose shutting students out of, especially in a University that has in theory committed to a culture of student consultation. So if this is an issue you feel strongly about too, please write to me and we’ll make sure the University listens to us. Megan Croll

Theresa May declared a national State of Emergency this morning, as reports flooded in a Durham library-goer had left their headphones on their bedside table despite having a full day of silent studying ahead.

The student was “shocked and appalled” at their selfsabotage The student, who out of embarrassment asked not to be named, said they were “shocked and appalled” at their act of self-sabotage. “I’m disgusted with myself,” they said. “How could I have

▲ A giggle from the Level 2 communal area carries through the air to irritate a

headphone-less man on Level 1, just out of shot (Durham University)

been so stupid? Now my only soundtrack will be the beeping of the lift, other people coughing,

and the blood-boiling giggles of that happy-looking couple in the corner. Goodbye, 2:1.”

Now my only soundtrack will be other people coughing and the giggles of that couple in the corner

NO MAGIC MONEY TREE: Liver-out slammed for “turning heating on”

the Romans had central heating… and they lived in Italy.” “It’s a despicable display A Gilesgate student lodger of opulence,” one househas been condemned by mate told this newspaper. housemates as “living in a fantasy land of bourgeois luxury” after turning the The unrepentant gasheating on for an hour on a guzzler was wearing chilly Tuesday morning. a mere four layers at The student, who was wearing a mere four layers the time of the alleged of clothing at the time of offence the alleged offence, has not apologised. Another housemate was “It’s literally minus five even more perturbed: “I outside, give me a break,” wouldn’t be surprised if the unrepentant gas-guzzler next thing we know she’s said on the house group- been having hot showers all chat, the correspondence year.” of which having since been leaked to Palatinate. “Even Photograph: Peter Swan

Espirit Eco 24 Boiler Correspondent

POLL: 18,031 of Durham’s 18,031 students want 17th college named Collegey McCollegeface

Dear Zodiac Zoëllo...

Palatinate’s resident Agony Aunt solves the biggest problems of Durham student life Dear Zodiac Zoëllo... I’m very behind on my dissertation, and I’m concerned that I won’t have time to prep for my obligatory Instagram hand-in pic. Do you have any time-saving self-care tips? Ah, a woman after my own heart. We all know how important that hand-in is, as, yes, a large chunk of your degree, but also as an announcement of the resuscitation of your previously deceased social life. And so, here are my tips to

make sure you look fabulous without cutting into that all-important referencing time. 1) Nails must be on point. Give yourself a fresh lick of paint the night before. 2) Use lots of concealer to hide those dry, sleep-deprived eyes. 3) If all else fails and you find yourself running right to the deadline, at the very least make sure you brush your hair for the first time in four weeks. Dear Zodiac Zoëllo... I have a Tinder date this week and I’m nerv-

ous about meeting him IRL. What are Durham’s best dating spots? Good date spots in Durham are few and far between. Go to the Swan and bump into that regrettable one night stand from first year. Go to Bar 33 and bump into the serial dater that took you out last month. If you want to go for a pint, try somewhere like Head of Steam. For coffee, try Leonard’s. Or, if you really want to get to know them, Jimmy’s any night of the week.


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Thursday 8th March 2018 | PALATINATE

News

Voter turnout just 15.2% in Durham SU elections Clara Gaspar Deputy News Editor This year’s Students’ Union Officers and Trustee elections saw a decline in turnout from last year’s 24.7% to just 15%. A mere 3,205 votes were cast out of a possible 21,139 from across the University’s undergraduate and postgraduate population. Students of Josephine Butler had the highest turnout of all the colleges at 34.7%. Trevelyan College had the second highest, with 31.6%. With only 4.5%, Stephenson College had the lowest turnout of all of the colleges. Durham SU President, Megan Croll, expressed her disappointment at the low number of students that voted, saying: “While we have been pleased with the number of candidates and the quality of the campaigns at this years’ Student Officer and Trustee elections, our turn-out in Officer Elections was a decrease on last years’ turnout.”

SU President Megan Croll cited the UCU strikes, bad weather and a shorter campaign period However, Croll cited potential reasons for the low number of vot-

ers: “There were a few unusual circumstances to contend with this year – the UCU strike, poor weather on the first day of voting (the day which showed the greatest change in turn-out from previous years), and changes to the election itself – running it in conjunction with the trustee elections, reducing campaigning by one day (for reasons of candidate wellbeing) etc. “I think there’s definitely work for us to do in future years to understand how we can work with College Election Coordinators and support candidates to be able to campaign as effectively as possible within our collegiate system. “This, among other factors will be things we’ll be looking to unpick in our elections review, which will take in consideration voter turn-out, student feedback and website and social media engagement statistics to help us understand what changes are needed for next year.” The results saw George Walker elected Durham Students’ Union’s President for the coming year, securing 1,494 votes against a quota of 1,378, after the round one elimination of Re-Open Nominations. Walker has been an active member of the #RippedOff campaign, which protests rising accommodation fees. He has also resolved to adopt a

zero-tolerance approach to sexual violence and harassment on campus, as well as making the opportunities that the University offers to students from less affluent backgrounds more accessible. Reflecting on the low turnout, Walker told Palatinate: “Whilst I was delighted to win the recent election with such a large proportion of the votes cast, the low turnout in the elections is very disappointing. “It shows that the Students’ Union has a lot of work to do moving forward to engage a larger number of students and that is something I will be sure to make a priority in my role as President next year.”

not reached in the first round and RON was eliminated. In the second round, David Evans gained 1,224 votes to Spencer Payne’s 1,230. Saul Cahill was voted in as Undergraduate Academic Officer in first round with 1,368 votes. 940 people voted for Mary Wohrle, with 260 voting for RON. Meg Haskins was elected Welfare and Liberation Officer, receiv-

ing 1,866 votes while 622 people voted for Amelia Mcloughlin.

Walker says he will also focus on accessibility and sexual violence Sam Johnson-Audini, Kate McIntosh, Ben Zealley and Estia Ryan were elected as Student Trustees.

George Walker, SU Presidentelect, says he will make student engagement a priority His opponents, Joshua Butterworth and Joshua Cavendish achieved 531 and 731 votes respectively by the second round of votes. Charlie Walker was re-elected Opportunities Officer, achieving 1,631 votes to Maciej Matuszewski’s 725. RON received 236 votes. In a closely contested election, David Evans was elected Postgraduate Academic Officer. Quota was

▲ Students’ Union President-elect Geroge Walker (George Walker)

Record number of Durham University subjects ranked in World Top 50 Natasha Livingstone Deputy News Editor Durham University has recorded its highest ever number of subjects in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2018 for the second year running. 16 subjects are have achieved a place in the World Top 100 of the prestigious international table, an increase from 14 subjects last year. Three departments have main-

tained their position in the World Top 10, with Theology & Religion being ranked 3rd place, Archeology 5th and Geography achieving 6th place.

16 subjects have achieved a place in the World Top 100 Nine Durham University departments now appear in the World Top 50, compared to eight last year. Durham University is ranked 25th globally for Classics,

while Earth Sciences, Anthropology, English, History and Law, feature in the Top 50. A further seven subjects – Chemistry, Languages, Philosophy, Physics, Politics, Psychology and Social Policy – are listed in the World Top 100. Across broad subject areas, Arts and Humanities reached 31st place, rising 14 places from 2017. Natural Sciences has also improved its ranking, rising 13 places to 59th position. Social Sciences and Management’s place in the league table improved the most, increasing by 20 places to reach 72nd place. Despite Durham University as an institution falling four places to 78th, the University is consistently ranked highly in other league tables.

The University has dropped four places to 78th

Photograph: Durham University

Nationally, Durham is one of the UK’s top performing universities and is ranked fourth in the Guardian’s University Guide 2018, fifth in The Times and The Sunday Times’ Good University Guide 2018, and

sixth in The Complete University Guide 2018.

Three departments remain in the Top 10: Theology, Archeology and Geography The University also has the highest rate of employment and further study in the UK for undergraduates completing their first degree, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency 2017/18. In response to the league table, Professor Stuart Corbridge, ViceChancellor of Durham University, said: “To surpass our achievements in this respected international ranking is wonderful and testimony to the truly world class research and education we provide at Durham. “Our students are taught by some of the world’s leading researchers as part of a rounded educational experience that enables them to develop both their knowledge of their chosen degrees and their skills and talents, whether that is in drama, music, sport or volunteering. Our students are

rightly in great demand by employers around the world. “Everyone at the University can be rightly proud of these rankings and their contributions to Durham’s continuing success.” Universities are ranked on criteria including academic and employer reputation, research citations and the productivity and impact of the work published by academics.

Everyone at the University can feel rightly proud of these rankings and their contributions to Durham’s success


PALATINATE | Thursday 8th March 2018

5

News

Durham has ninth highest number of sexual violence reports, ITV finds Natasha Livingstone Deputy News Editor Durham University has the ninth highest rate of reported rape, sexual assault and harassment at UK universities, according to a recent ITV investigation. The investigation revealed that there were 26 reports of sexual misconduct in the last five years at Durham University, Durham and Stockton-on-Tees, the 9th highest number out of the 150 British institutions examined.

There were 26 reports of sexual misconduct in the last five years The findings are part of a national study exposing the shocking scale of sexual violence at British universities, conducted by campaign group Revolt Sexual Assault and The Student Room. Just under 5,000 current or past students, both male and female, from more than 150 British institutions, were contacted for the investigation. According to their survey, 62% of those surveyed had suffered sexual assault or harassment while at university, with 70% of females and 26% of males reportedly experiencing sexual violence. The study also exposed that just 6% of those who experienced sexual violence reported it to their university, and just 10% took it to the police. When outlining the reasons for not reporting their experiences, 50% of people said they did not feel it was serious enough to report and 35% said they felt ashamed of what had happened. Only 2% of those who experienced sexual assault or harassment both reported it to their university and were satisfied with the process.

ITV’s report is not the first time that Durham has come under scrutiny for its high levels of sexual violence. As previously reported by Palatinate, the Durham was scrutinised for the prevalence of sexual harassment at the University in a Buzzfeed investigation last year. This article denounced Durham for its “vile culture of sexual violence”. In the two years preceding the Buzzfeed investigation, 36 attacks had been reported at Durham, making it one of the highest ranking universities for cases of sexual assault. In order to counteract sexual violence, groups such as It’s Not OK have begun campaigning in Durham. Such campaign groups , through consent workshops and peer support groups, are working to eradicate sexual misconduct on campus.

These findings are “really disgusting... not enough has been done to tackle sexual violence” In response to the new findings by Revolt Sexual Assault, representatives of Durham’s It’s Not OK group told Palatinate that the findings are “really disgusting especially as it shows not enough has been done in order to tackle sexual violence and harassment on campus and in colleges. “We should review how we tailor campaigns and work to link the work done within colleges and develop a university wide campaign to address this together, whilst ensuring survivors do not feel they have been left behind or forgotten.” They continued:“Figures for reporting are much lower than expected or desired. Some of the main issues sur-

rounding sexual assault are the negative views around reporting misconduct instances for fear of the backlash.

62% of students have experienced sexual assault or harassment while at university “Durham University is improving in its appointment of Clarissa, the Sexual Misconduct Officer, and training staff to be able to deal with disclosures rather than pointing victims straight to the police, however it will take a while for the newly-initiated schemes to be recognised and used more readily by students. “We need to build on the progress that’s been made in building closer links with the incredible work that is being done within Colleges including but not limited to Consent Campaigns, as well as Clarissa as the University Student Support and Training officer and the SU research into providing better support with Colleges and Associations.” In a previous statement to Palatinate on the subject of sexual violence, Owen Adams, Pro ViceChancellor (Colleges and Student Experience) said: “Sexual violence and misconduct will not be tolerated at Durham University and if a member of our community experiences this, they will be supported. “Sexual violence and misconduct is a matter of international concern.

“Sexual violence will not be tolerated at Durham” “The University is taking major steps to create a community where survivors are supported while striving to eliminate sexual violence.”

Durham Vice-Chancellor: further review of pensions scheme needed Continued from front page ...and end the strike action. Both sides agreed to further talks mediated by the conciliation service Acas, beginning on Monday, 5th March.

UCU “have listened not just to our members, but also to many university leaders” UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “We are pleased the employers have agreed to more talks. UCU tabled proposals which provide the basis for settling this damaging dispute. “We have listened not just to our members, but also to the

I expect all universities to make clear money not paid to lecturers goes toward student benefit

many university leaders who have contributed ideas.” Durham Vice-Chancellor Stuart Corbridge commented: “As regards the dispute, I am of the view that a further independent valuation of the Scheme’s assets is now required and I continue to advocate for further discussions between UCU and UUK.” Despite the agreement to further negotiations, the industrial action remains on, with the next planned walkout running from Monday 12th to Friday 16th March. Photograph: Durham Student-Staff Solidarity


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Thursday 8th March 2018 | PALATINATE

News

www.palatinate.org.uk

Vice-Chancellor Interview

Corbridge: the strikes “can only be solved in London –

Palatinate question the Vice-Chancellor on resolving lecturers’ industrial action, Durh

Cameron McIntosh and Tania Chakraborti News Editors

T

he 2017/18 academic year has not been an easy one for Vice-Chancellors at British universities. University bosses’ high salaries have come under fire from students and the national media alike since last summer, and the unprecedented industrial action sweeping across 64 UK institutions in recent weeks has seen higher education executives come under further scrutiny. In an exclusive interview with Palatinate, Durham University’s Vice-Chancellor and Warden Professor Stuart Corbridge spoke candidly about the challenges facing the University. Corbridge previously sought an end to the ongoing academic staff pensions dispute by offering to increase contributions from 18 to 20%, but this was not matched by others around the country. “I’ve supported calls for further talks between the two sides and they’re now going to go ahead next week I understand, at Acast, so I’m pleased about that. “I’ve also said publicly … I think a further evaluation of schemes of assets would be something I would like to see, because there’s concern about that amongst some of our faculty members. “So those are two starting points, but in terms of what we can do about it, I think people need to recognise that it can only be solved between the UUK and UCU. That’s going to happen down in London. “No individual university can sort this out on its own, there’s a lot of misunderstanding about that, understandably.” In response to how he felt Durham University had succeeded in

The danger of Brexit is the discourse on immigration – I don’t believe that knowledge has boundaries

Corbridge has been Vice-Chancellor since 2015

fulfilling its promise to “minimise disruption to students” caused by the strikes, Professor Corbridge said: “I believe the University has communicated on this. I think Alan [Houston, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education] has led it very well there.

“It’s an expensive enterprise, university,” he says “I get a sense, because quite a lot of people write to me, there’s a lot of traffic last week as we approach the strike, and I’ve had some traffic since it’s started, but with the the exception of one or two subjects – [there’s not been] not too much, which makes me think that we’re doing a good job of communicating with our students.” Pressing him further on the “one or two subjects” he cited, we asked him to clarify the confusion about what constitutes taught material for exams, after the Maths department was singled out for ambiguity in this regard: “Alan has been talking to the Head of Maths and I think we are now on the same page, so I think we can give that assurance [that students won’t be disadvantaged ahead of assessment].” Corbridge told Palatinate in a December 2016 profile that Durham “offers very good value for money”. But college fees have since been raised by 3.5%, and with costs topping £8,000 in some colleges for the first time, many students have called this into

question. A recent survey conducted by Palatinate found just 12.4% of 553 respondents agreed the University offers good value for money. Asked to justify his previous comments in light of these findings, Corbridge, who has been in his post since 2015, said: “I stand by the remarks. So I’d start by saying that the national debate about fees has become quite confused.” He continued: “I think we should be talking about a university fee first of all rather than just a tuition fee. And then I would say that universities like Durham, or Oxford and Cambridge, I talk more about a college fee and a residential fee. “So if you take the two components, the university fee is not just that you’re getting individual lectures or seminars or lab classes or whatever, it’s access to the library, it’s the wider educational experience that you get in a world-class research intensive university, so I think that’s generally what you’re getting on the educational side. “I do strongly believe that at a collegiate university like Durham, the wider student experience I think is unsurpassed, I genuinely think that’s right and it’s for you guys to say whether you think it is. “Now, does it surprise me that some students disagree with that? No, and of course we should be working on providing value for money as best we can.” In the same survey, just one in 10 Durham students agreed college accommodation was good

Photograph: Durham University

value for money and 79.5% of respondents called for a fee decrease. There were also a number of student-led protests last term against the rise in accommodation fees, which saw the price of a standard single room rise from £7,171 to £7,422. Asked how he responds to the claim the University is not listening to its students on this issue, the Vice-Chancellor said: “Accommodation costs are clearly going to be a concern for students, legitimately so. “It’s a very expensive enterprise, university. It’s different to whether it’s good value, it is an expensive enterprise. Obviously, it’s very different to when I went to university.” He added: “Since I’ve been here we’ve actually capped the annual rise to a level significantly lower than the rent rises in the three or four years before 2015, when there was obviously a period of catch up for the University.”

Corbridge insists “it’s for others to judge whether I’m overpaid” Corbridge also discussed the University’s consideration of more differential pricing for college accommodation, to account for varying standards across the University. “It is something that’s being looked at. I think there’s a working group that [Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Colleges and Student Experi-

ence] Owen Adams leads, with strong student representation on it. But I don’t know where we are with that and whether we’re going to press it too far.” Professor Corbridge, who earns an annual £231,000, was one executive caught up in last summer’s media storm over Vice-Chancellor salaries exceeding that of the Prime Minister at a time when students are accumulating increasing levels of debt. In an interview with Palatinate last September, NUS President Shakira Martin confirmed she thought Corbridge was “definitely” overpaid. “Well, I’m not going to respond directly to that criticism,” Corbridge said. “I think it’s for others to judge whether I’m overpaid or anybody else is overpaid. “I’m never involved in the determination of my own pay – there is a confusion about this. I’m no longer on Remuneration Committee, but even when I was, of course you leave the room when you’re being discussed. “The public debate on that has moved in a good direction, it’s given greater clarity to all of us. In terms of what I’m worth, that’s entirely a matter for Remuneration Committee.” In January, the University announced its commitment to increasing the number of students to a maximum of 21,500. Concerns have been raised by members of the student body, and of the local community, that the influx of students from Stockton to Durham city campus may place even greater strain on resources within the city. Asked how the University could ensure stability amid the upcoming changes, the Vice-Chancellor replied: “You have to understand that the city itself is ambitious. “There’s the new developments of Aykley Heads and Salvus House. I think the city sees that we might have more of a high tech future. There are some concerns about student growth, we know that... so we need to be seen to be not just an ambitious university but a listening university. “I think it’s very important for me as Vice-Chancellor to point out all [that] the staff and students do for the city with local people, so whether it’s volunteering, making Maiden Castle available, all those sorts of things.” Last month the Durham University community was left bereft when one of its valued members, Olivia Burt, tragically died in a


PALATINATE | Thursday 8th March 2018

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News

www.palatinate.org.uk

Vice-Chancellor Interview

– no individual university can sort this out on its own”

ham’s post-Brexit future, and why he maintains the University offers value for money crushing incident outside Missoula nightclub. The matter is currently under police investigation, but the Vice-Chancellor spoke of the University’s responsibility in ensuring safety in the city.

He arrived amid the 2015 spate of student river deaths: safety is a “fundamental responsibility” “The University is always concerned about student safety matters. Just before I arrived there was a bad year in terms of river deaths. There are student-led campaigns to make sure people are always getting home safely. So that’s always going to be a fundamental responsibility for the University.” Durham regularly stands accused of elitism, and remains ranked amongst the lowest univer-

sities for state school intake, which comprised 62.9% of 2016/17 admissions. The most recent UCAS data reveals just 5.8% of Durham’s intake come from the fifth most disadvantaged regions in the UK. In light of these statistics, Corbridge stressed: “We are trying to address this issue as a priority. “If you look at people from different minority backgrounds, or Afro-Caribbean backgrounds for example, you will probably see fewer people at Durham University than at some universities in big cities or the south. You might argue in the North-East white working-class males is a particular issue in terms of access to higher education more generally. “I think actually in terms of this year’s intake we did exceed our targets, which are given to us still by OFFA (Office for Fair Access), although that will change when we

get the Office for Students (OfS), for people from Acorn 4/5 backgrounds and Low Participation neighbourhood backgrounds, so I think we’re making progress.” Though discussions are only at a preliminary stage and no location has been decided, the ViceChancellor spoke of the possibility of Durham opening a sixth-form centre in Maths and Further Maths as one way to improve accessibility. There’s already one at King’s College London and one at Exeter, so a number of Russell Group Universities have been approached about this. We would very much want to connect that to Widening Participation (WP).” Prior to conducting the interview, Palatinate asked its readers to provide questions they would like to ask the Vice-Chancellor. One reader, Valentin John, President of the Young European Movement

Durham, sought assurances from Corbridge that Durham would continue to fund the Erasmus programme, should the government not replace the funds after Brexit. Corbridge said: “I think we can offer an assurance that we want to be very active in that space of getting more students to have experiences overseas. My default at the moment is we will stay in the version of Erasmus plus. If that was to go, we would certainly be active as Durham University in making sure there’s something at least as good for our students. That would be our commitment.” Following this, Corbridge was asked to assess the wider significance of Brexit for the University. Although expressing some reservations, he responded positively: “I think on international students, we do feel that we’ve made some progress over the last 18 months.

“The danger of Brexit, and the discourse around immigration more generally, is that it can both appear and be more difficult for more international students and international staff to come to UK universities.

The University is “doing a good job of communicating” on the strikes, he says “That would not have been a good result for British universities because, first of all, we’re an outstanding system, but secondly I don’t believe that knowledge has boundaries. “I think you want the meeting of minds that you get with really exciting individuals, both staff and students, coming to a University like Durham... through the Erasmus scheme.”

New university watchdog “biggest shake up to higher education in 25 years” into higher education than there has been in the past. “That’s dealing with the first instinct of greater competition and market entry.”

Cameron McIntosh News Editor Durham University will face greater government scrutiny over Vice-Chancellors’ pay, grade inflation and accessibility for disadvantaged students, according to the newly published regulatory framework of the Office for Students (OfS). At a launch conference in Westminster on the 28th February, the government initiative to establish a more comprehensive regulatory system in higher education officially presented its administrative framework. The independent regulator, described by Universities Minister Sam Gyimah as “the biggest shake up to higher education in 25 years”, will take effect from April this year.

This is a new age, says Universities Minister Sam Gyimah – “the age of the student” Within its newly established remit includes powers to monitor funding responsibilities, teaching standards, fair access and also close supervision of free speech on University campuses. Media scrutiny of value for money in the higher education sector has placed universities in-

The minister says the sector’s “annus horribilis” is “not a blip” – things have to change

Universities Minister Sam Gyimah (Policy Exchange via Flickr)

creasingly under the spotlight. The majority of undergraduates pay fees of £9,250, a threefold increase on fees charged just a decade ago, and independent calculations suggest many will be unable to pay back debts accrued at university. Furthermore, Vice-Chancellors’ pay has been a controversial issue, with average salaries of £268,000 for university chiefs nationwide, and 13 earning at least £400,000. Upon assuming legal authority the OfS will subsume the responsibilities currently vested in the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) and will combine these with many of the functions of the current regulator – the Higher Education Fund-

ing Council for England (HEFCE). Durham’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart Corbridge, expressed mixed feelings about the new governing body, set to challenge some of the independence currently granted to British universities. Corbridge told Palatinate: “What’s being proposed now is clearly a very different regulatory landscape. “There’s a number of things that you can’t object to, and I don’t think should object to. “So, if you’re looking at what’s happening in UK higher education generally, I am a supporter of creating a broader ecology of higher education. “So there will be more entrance

He continued by outlining the elements of the new framework he agreed with: “You can’t really object to a value for money agenda. “Students are paying a lot of money to go to university. We’ll have to see what the new university tuition fee regime is. “The area that would give me pause for thought is the idea that students are unequivocally consumers. So in one sense they are, we understand that. “But there’s a difference between buying a university education and buying a car. I think we need to work through the implications of that within the UK.” At the launch conference, Sam Gyimah detailed his vision for the future of the UK’s higher education industry: “In almost every international league table, we are a global superpower in HE, second only to the US. “The brightest and the best from around the world are queuing up to study here. “And yet, it cannot have escaped

anyone’s notice that in recent months our universities have found themselves in the full glare of public scrutiny.” He continued: “Some in the sector see this as a sort of annus horribilis for higher education, a storm to be weathered in the hope of calmer times ahead. “I think this is a mistaken reading. This is not a blip. “Gone are the days when students venerated institutions and were thankful to be admitted. We are in a new age – the age of the student.” The OfS was first introduced in January 2018 by the then Universities Minister Jo Johnson, amid controversy surrounding the appointment of right-wing columnist Toby Young to its 15-person board.

Stuart Corbridge stresses the “difference between buying a university education and buying a car” Mr Young has since resigned his position after a petition to have him removed, following the uncovering of offensive tweets he had made in the past. The OfS will officially assume legal authority from April 2018. Have a story? Let us know by emailing news@palatinate.org.uk


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Thursday 8th March 2018 | PALATINATE

‘Oxsham’ and voluntourism Page 10

Comment

Reflecting on #MeToo, #TimesUp, and women in 2018 Jess Lord Thinking back to March 8th 2017, it is difficult to imagine a world without #MeToo and #TimesUp. In response to the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal, a dialogue about sexual assault and harassment was initiated. Following disclosures from several high profile actresses, the American press reported that Weinstein, over the course of his career, used his power to sexually assault over fifty women. Allegations continue to be investigated. In response to these horrific revelations, many women chose to share their stories of sexual violence in solidarity. Prior to #MeToo, the hashtags #MyHarveyWeinstein, #YouOkSis, #WhatWereYouWearing, and #SurvivorPrivilege also circulated online, spearheaded by many prominent female personalities. Stories of sexual abuse and harassment flooded the internet at an unprecedented rate. This initiated a conversation about a problem that had previously been too unpalatable for the general

public. Although tragic that such a conversation is necessary, it is refreshing that this issue is no longer being stifled by embarrassment and shame.

Time acknowledged how important it was to celebrate these women’s bravery In December 2017, Time named their ‘Person of the Year’ as the ‘Silence Breakers’, in recognition of all the women who have spoken out about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault. These women were revolutionary. Time, in featuring these women, acknowledged how important it was to celebrate their power, bravery, and influence. However, society is in a very sorry state if we let the time between March 8th last year and this year be defined by sexual assault, by #MeToo, by pain. It is wrong and it is heart breaking. I have more respect than words can do justice for all the women who have come forward and shared their stories. It angers me that this is a problem that is not only endemic, but institutionalised. Yet, we cannot let it define

the past year. Whilst remaining inspired by the grace and courage of these women, the prevalence of sexual assault within our society should not cast a shadow over the other impressive, awe-inspiring and fantastic things women of all ages have achieved over the last twelve months. In the 12 months from March 2017, a record-breaking number of women were elected to the Houses of Parliament; in September, a royal decree lifted the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia; this summer, Maria de Jesús Patricio Martínez, a Nahua indigenous woman, will make history by running for President in Mexico. In January 2018, over 250 marches and rallies took place across the globe, under the umbrella of the ‘Women’s March’. Jeanette Epps is set to be the first African-American female

space-state crew member, whose mission heads for the stars in May 2018. In April 2017, Cressida Dick assumed office as the first female police commissioner in Scotland Yard’s 188-year history. In the same month, Katherine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, did it again, 50 years after her first attempt. She is 70. In July 2017, the BBC cast Jodie Whittaker as the 13th incarnation of the Doctor. The ‘HeForShe’ movement continues to grow, even here in Durham, with the launch of our own HeForShe Society in October 2017. The most searched word of 2017? Feminism.

Feminism means we. It means us But what now? We need to keep fighting, learning, and speaking out. I say we because, as those who Googled ‘Feminism’ throughout 2017 will know, feminism means we. It means us. It means both men and women. It means the unequivocal equality of the sexes. It is hard to decide exactly where to go from here. Sexual crime is a huge issue, casual sexism and ‘lad culture’ are on the rise, and recent

figures have revealed the true extent of the gender pay gap. The change needed is so extensive it is almost overwhelming – almost. But 2018 is the time to tackle these issues.

It is time to rebalance authority and influence One thing that is key to confronting these problems is changing the distribution of power. As a concept: simple. As a practical pursuit: complicated. Put simply, those with power have the authority to influence and exploit others. But, most importantly, those who have power have the tools to make a change. It is time to rebalance authority and influence. Women need to climb to the highest levels within business, industry, government, sport, television, and at home. Be this via funding, training or consciousness raising, distributions of power within the upper echelons of society need to change. Let’s smash that glass ceiling. Let’s rebalance the power. 2018 is our time. Happy International Women’s Day, and remember, #WeHaveThePower.

Comment asks: Who is your ‘Woman of the Year’?

It’s been quite a 12 months for women, so Comment thought to ask three of its writers who would be their Woman of the Year. Sophie Wroblewski I never thought I would vouch for Ariana Grande to be a Woman of the Year, but, following the Manchester Arena terror attack, I now consider her an inspiration. At 5’3”, Grande is not a towering figure, but on stage at One Love Manchester her presence was overwhelming, a beacon of hope and resilience. Grande has always had a passion for activism. Aged ten she cofounded a youth singing group, and in recent years she has performed at charity concerts and supported the Black Lives Matter movement. However, it was her response to the awful terrorist attack at her Manchester concert in May last year, at which 22 of her fans were killed and 500 injured, that cemented my admiration. She could have backed out of the public eye and grieved privately. Instead, she visited victims in hospital and organised a benefit concert, just two weeks after the

tragic incident. Proceeds went to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund which raised £20 million for those affected. Grande did not ask or intend to be a public figure against terrorism, but she handled her newfound position with poise and ease. It is inspirational to see such courage in the wake of tragedy. Though it affected her as well, she carried on for her fans. The display of unity sent a message: terror will not win out. She shut down critics and showed herself to be an admirable young woman who is truly worthy of role model and Woman of the Year status. Clara Gaspar Last year, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie published ‘Dear Ijeawele, Or A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions’. Despite being only 63 doublespaced pages, it manages to grasp the heart of contemporary gender politics. She writes that the most important lesson to teach our daughters is simply, “I matter. I matter equally.” This captures Adiche’s concise, witty and honest attitude towards social and gender

equality. Adichie’s brilliance stems from her refusal to see the self and cultures as separate entities. As a Nigerian woman, Adichie knows all too well that to make this mistake propogates negative stereotypes and cultural misunderstanding. We are all multi-faceted beings; we cannot be reduced to a ‘single story’. And she certainly lives her life by this premise. I can’t think of a woman as fiercely talented in as many different spheres as Adichie. Her achievements are copious. Adichie won the MacArthur Genius Grant in 2008. Not only is her written voice profound (her novels have all received wide critical acclaim), but Adichie is one of today’s most compelling speakers. She is also a fashion lover and a mother. Her message of a simple but unconditional gender equality is filtering into the mainstream. Adichie’s TED talk ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ was featured in Beyonce’s hit ‘Flawless’. Its title is printed on Dior t-shirts. She is the face of No7 makeup. The most impressive part of these achievements? They are all

compatible with Adichie’s status as a feminist. She welcomes popular culture’s embrace of her ideas: ‘The goal of feminism is to make itself redundant, and to get there it needs to be a mass movement.’ Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie uses the word feminism as we all should. Fearlessly, and without the concern of criticism. Her message is absolute and unpretentious: ‘A feminist is a man or a woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it.’ It is simple, accessible, and, for that reason, incredibly powerful. Tessa Counsell Meryl Streep is a heavyweight. With more Academy Award nominations than any other actor, no one denies her capabilities. Her career has opened doors. From her role as spokesperson for the National Woman’s History Museum, her support of the 2015 Equal Rights Amendment, or her decision to bring Ai-jen Poo, co-director of Caring Across Generations, as her guest to the 2018 Golden Globe Awards, Streep shines a light on the issues that matter. Her message is one of inclusivity.

Shattering about as many glass ceilings as is possible, Streep remains as prolific in Hollywood as she ever did – despite being a 68 year old woman. It’s not as if her route to success has been a smooth one. Recounting being told at 27 that she was ‘too ugly’ for King Kong, Streep reminds us of the power of self-belief. For Viola Davis, Streep makes her ‘feel that what I have in me — my body, my face, my age — is enough.’ In 2017, once again, Meryl made her mark. Whilst accepting another Golden Globe Award, Streep’s criticism of Trump’s insensitive impersonation of a disabled reporter was an impassioned moment in television history. It was, too, an important reminder: a reminder of the need for freedom, for sensitivity and, most importantly, for empathy. She implores her audience to walk in others’ shoes (exactly as she does when she acts). This behest could hardly be more relevant. Topical stuff for a world that is currently unveiling historically entrenched inequality, racism, and abuse. Illustrations: Katie Butler


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PALATINATE | Thursday 8th March 2018

Comment

Varying fees for different subjects is not the solution Isobel Clarke Durham is on strike! The protesters are calling for staff and student solidarity. Regardless of which side of the debate you stand on, is there a legitimate argument in favour of refunds for contact hours lost over the strike period? The students at Brighton University, amongst others, seem to think so, as they been furiously signing a petition to that effect. But are they right to demand compensation? After all, we all know that tuition fees are certainly not dependent on the number of contact hours you receive, which can be a real frustration for Arts and Humanities students (even though I’m yet to hear one moan about a lie-in).

I’ve yet to hear an Arts and Humanities student complain about a lie-in So how are fees calculated? Can universities really justify the hefty £9,250 a year they charge? Is that amount of student debt even sustainable for whoever accrues it? Is it fair that Humanities

students appear to be subsidising Science students? The review that Theresa May commissioned last month into the costs of higher education suggests that the Government, at present, has few answers.

As a physics student, I have my own personal grievances with the policy Those who think critically about the issue can see the flaws in what politicians say about this subject, regardless of their party affiliation. Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary, has called for variation in fees. In simple terms, this would mean that students who receive more contact hours would pay more for their course. As a Physics student, I have my personal grievances with such a policy; but I shall remain objective for a moment. Politicians often neglect to consider the unintended consequences of their polices and it would seem our Education Secretary is no exception. If Science students are charged more to study their courses, this will create a deterrent to taking STEM subjects, which seems ludicrous given Britain’s current skills shortage in these fields. In

contrast, PGCE students can be granted bursaries – extra funding – for teacher training in a science subject. With a shortage of Science teachers, the bursary acts as an incentive. Surely Hinds can see the contradiction between these two policies? The obverse of varying fees by subject would be scaled fees depending on which university you attend. For Durham students this would be bad news. Durham is objectively one of the country’s leading universities in most rankings, so its students would have to pay a premium for that advantage. The ‘logic’ behind this idea is skewed. Graduates from the leading universities are, on average, the highest long-term earners. Hinds seems to suggest that they can therefore ‘afford’ to be in more debt.

Durham students would have to pay a premium to study at a leading university As a Durham Physicist, this is not looking good for me! Is it fair that a student who is exceptionally bright, but financially constrained, might feel pressured to choose a university with an entry standard below their A-level achievements?

Surely it is detrimental to our country to have lost that student from one of our top institutions? So far the debate has focused upon redistributing the fees that we currently pay to make the system ‘fairer’. But perhaps the problem simply lies within the fees themselves? Labour certainly seems to think so. Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner has claimed that, “Labour will abolish tuition fees, bring back maintenance grants and provide free, lifelong education in further education colleges”.

Repayment of fees as a percentage of future income seems fair This is a crowd-pleasing position, certainly, but it has its drawbacks. Theresa May makes a fair point when she says that making university free would force higher education to compete for government funding with hospitals, schools and other essential public services. May’s point is indicative of the fact that politicians have a sharp eye for the flaws in others’ policies, but that their vision is somewhat blurred when it comes to reviewing their own.

Photograph: Michael Fleshman via Flickr

So is May’s one year review the key to solving the dilemma? It seems unlikely. In fact, I’m not convinced the perfect solution exists. Repayment of fees as a percentage of future income seems fair. Far more controversial is the seemingly random figure of £9,250 a year, regardless of the actual cost of the respective course. The differences in course contact hours and course quality would become less controversial if students no longer felt genuinely outraged at the extortionate level of fees. The theory behind introducing a maximum level of £9,000 per year was that competition between universities would prevail. Instead we have an oligopolistic situation, where despite there being multiple providers, there is an ubiquitous price for the service. That price suits all of the providers, but none of the consumers.

Academia isn’t the be-all and end-all of university Catherine Meyer-Funnell As I put pen to paper, I am juggling summatives, revision, and filling my C.V. with enough shiny extracurricular activities that might persuade someone, someday, to give me a job. I can practically feel my brain whirring with thoughts every second of every day, and my skin, sleep pattern and sanity have all been affected in various ways. Stress is of course something we expect to face at some point during our university careers – I would be concerned, even disturbed, if a fellow student had managed to remain perpetually chilled through the duration of their degree. While stress may be normal, however, surely it cannot be healthy for young people to study under such intense conditions? This question appears especially important when we consider the extent of mental health problems observed amongst students, many of which emanate from stress and the pressure to succeed academically. According to YouGov,

63% of students claim that their stress levels interfere with their everyday lives, while a worrying one in five say they have a fear of failure, potentially leading to problems with procrastination, anxiety and depression.

Is academic success worth the academic stress? Some might argue that pressure is a positive motivator for students, encouraging us to strive for achievement, with the ever-more competitive graduate job market looming inevitably on the horizon. But can universities, particularly those as prestigious as Durham, congratulate themselves on cultivating such successful, wellrounded and dynamic individuals at such a high price? There are supposedly official mechanisms in place to counteract this problem. The puppy room held in the SU for a precious few days is a popular choice in Easter term, when exam stress levels hit an alltime high. Counselling sessions are available for those who are really struggling, but there is still a severe lack of provisions for people who just need some help balancing

Photograph: Zoë Boothby

it all and some reassurance that, actually, it is all going to be ok. Moreover, these pressures are not exclusive to Durham. Our whole generation is constantly reminded of the need to do more, go further, improve on what has gone before. We have technology, possibilities and prospects at our fingertips that could never have been dreamt of previously.

Long-term mental wellbeing is far more precious than academic achievement As incredible as this can be, it also puts an enormous amount of pressure on us. We are expected to simultaneously obtain outstanding grades, apply for every internship going, and contribute to all forms of extra-curricular life, just to make

us even remotely employable. Such an insurmountable task is naturally going to make us just a tad stressed. Thankfully, there are many individual approaches which can also work wonders. It is vital that students take time out for themselves and remember that their mental wellbeing is in the long-term far more precious than academic achievement. Learning to relax and wind down, even for just a few minutes each day, is a skill that should not be neglected in favour of a do-everything-youpossibly-can-until-you-collapse approach. Something I can personally attest to are the benefits of fresh air and exercise. Clearly this is advantageous to your physical health, but it can also help to clear your mind, relax your body, and allow you to focus on something other than the deadlines that have been festering in your consciousness for several weeks. Perhaps a compulsory departmental fun-run would be a step too far, but physical activity during exam-season is certainly a move in the right direction. My final and most significant point is this: university can herald

some of the most interesting and challenging years of your life, but it doesn’t have to be the be-all and end-all.

What we really take from university are the friendships and the opportunities Rather than trying to convince themselves that their module is the only thing that matters, tutors should reflect on what are really the most memorable aspects of university life: the friendships we make; the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities; the development of life skills such as confidence and independence. If we’re honest, these are the things which we take with us rather than the contents of that last summative we wrote, forgotten as soon as it drops into the hand-in pile. University has the potential to be a truly unique and pivotal moment in our lives. However, if it is to remain that way, we must ensure that the flipsides, like stress and the pressure of work, are recognised and dealt with appropriately, before they become as synonymous with student life as partying and puppy rooms.


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Comment

#NeverAgain? Gun control will be an arduous battle Elizabeth Mohr

Although the media today tends to portray young people as addicted to social media and detached from current events, the mass action taken by students across the United States in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida school shooting goes to show that this generation is far from apathetic. In the words of 17-year old Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the shooting that killed 17 students and staff, “we are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks, because […] we are going to be the last mass shooting”. Throughout the country, students have come together to advocate for stricter gun regulation and a ban on assault-style rifles. They have flooded social media with the slogan #NeverAgain, met with lawmakers to discuss gun regulation and organised a march in Washington on gun control scheduled for March 24th. The solidarity demonstrated by students alongside their intense push for stricter gun control raises the question of whether these young people will perhaps be the ones to finally bring about the change that

is desperately needed in the USA. In The Guardian, Gary Younge draws an interesting analogy between a protest against segregation led by black children in Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement and the current students’ movement, inferring that young people played a central role in the success of the Civil Rights movement and will hopefully do so in the gun control movement now.

Action taken by students has shown that this generation is not apathetic With approximately 77% of Americans agreeing that Congress is not doing enough to prevent mass shootings, according to a CNN poll in February, there may be hope that the pressure exerted by students will ignite the spark needed to finally bring progress to the gun control debate. However, no matter how immense the efforts of students, the reality of the situation is that the decisions regarding gun regulation lie in the hands of lawmakers. According to a study by Everytown for Gun Safety, the Parkland, Florida school shooting is the 290th school shooting since Sandy Hook

in 2012. While mass shootings in places like Australia resulted in stricter gun legislation and a major decrease in gun-related deaths, lawmakers in the USA have yet to implement direly needed legislative change. There is widespread agreement that the recurring horror of such events must come to an end – so why do efforts to strengthen gun control continue to fail? A central complication in the attempt to toughen gun control is the National Rifle Association (NRA). Claiming a grassroots membership of 5 million, the NRA is a powerful and politically active lobby, which is responsible for most of the contributions received by lawmakers from gun lobbyists, most of whom are Republican. The influence of the NRA was exemplified in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting during which they strongly opposed the attempt to pass a bill that would involve uniPhotograph: Bob Dass via Flickr

versal background checks for commercial gun purchasers. Ultimately, the bill did not gain enough support in Congress and thus failed to be enacted.

Mass shootings in Australia led to stricter gun legislation and fewer deaths If the deaths of 26 children in 2012 didn’t lead to change, why should there be hope now? President Trump himself has close ties to the NRA, which is why he focuses on proposals like arming school teachers instead of imposing stricter gun laws. This idea would likely do little to counteract further school shootings, rather, it would only create an environment of heightened fear in schools. At the same time, there seems to be an increase in bipartisan support for a reconsideration of gun laws. This is as a result of the growing youth movement and its pressure on lawmakers to resist the NRA and think of the lives at risk because of weak gun legislation. On February 22nd, Oregon passed the first change in gun legislature since the school shooting: a bill that bans people who have been convicted of stalking, domestic vio-

lence or who are under restraining orders from buying or owning firearms and ammunition. Florida’s Republican governor and supporter of the NRA, Rick Scott, has voiced his endorsement of the proposal to raise the legal age of gun buyers to 21. Despite these developments, it does not seem that the fight for gun control will be over any time soon. Vermont’s Republican governor, Phil Scott, who initially promised to maintain the state’s weak gun laws, has now stated that, “If we can’t [...] send our kids to school without being able to guarantee their safety, who are we?”. As debates on gun control continue, America will have the opportunity to demonstrate their answer to this question. Although it is discouraging, it seems unlikely that the current Republican-controlled Congress would risk negatively impacting an industry with yearly revenues of $17 billion, even if increasing regulation would reduce the danger to America’s school children. HAVE A DIFFERENT OPINION?

Tell us what you think by emailing us at comment@palatinate.org. uk.

‘Oxsham’: is foreign aid as righteous as we believe? Anna Ley From Oxfam to the Red Cross, the surge in reported sexual misconduct scandals across charitable organisations has shaken the way the public perceives foreign aid. In the wake of such events, our confidence in the morality, integrity and overall purity of such companies is wavering. Swelling beneath the seemingly wonderful work of the gap-year gallivants and NGOs in underdeveloped communities is a darker colonial current. The exploitative transactions between vulnerable populations and incoming foreign aid workers that have recently come to international attention are reminiscent of the civilising missions of colonialism that we thought were buried with history. Hailing themselves as saviours, relief workers acting upon what they perceive as their mission resonates hauntingly with the age-old power relationship between civilised and uncivilised, a relationship resurfacing in the abuse of power

critical to the current sex scandals. In 2012, US-based Nigerian Author Teju Cole described this ‘White Saviour Complex’: “A nobody from America or Europe can go to Africa and become a godlike saviour, or at the very least, have his or her emotional needs satisfied”. When encountering the altruism of foreign aid, recipients are becoming the pawns of our national and personal pride.

I struggled with the pervading sense of privelege whilst volunteering in Tanzania Parading social media accounts through non-consensual images, the privacy of the aid recipient is being poached for our own egotistical pleasures. The ‘Barbie Saviour’ Instagram account satirised this behaviour with snapshots of the Barbie doll strutting across the soil of Africa, maintaining her everglamourous appearance, and posing at the pool side of a multi-story hotel captioned, “Even amongst this devastation and poverty, amongst so much need…A girl’s gotta relax

from time to time!” This pervading sense of privilege is something I struggled with while volunteering in Tanzania. Scooped up from the community at the end of a day’s work into our company’s flashy four-wheelers , we would be whisked back to our camp that, while rightly basic and well-blended into the environment, was closely guarded, safely and securely partitioned from the very people we were helping. The knowledge that my privilege purchased me a level of security that the community itself lived without beckoned an overwhelming sense of guilt and a nauseating superiority that, so blatant to me, must have been intolerable for the people of the Boma Subutini community. This residual colonial attitude rightly rouses patronised and belittled feelings in the recipients of relief aid and a certain resentment ran throughout the community I was working in. But who can blame them? In light of recent scandals, The Guardian columnist Afua Hirsch suggested that some relief companies “prop up local developing

economies through prostitution”. supporting communities through an unequal power balance. This image reverberates with White Saviourism and the infantilising approach much of the West assumes when travelling to volunteer that crafts the fraudulent belief that we – the foundations – are here to fix and without us, the community would fall apart. Yet this also signifies the frighteningly counter-productive side to such a child-parent dependency in which recipients may internalise the idea that only through contact with the ‘civilised’ outside can their country be cured. This is a deeply damaging and dehumanising attitude for international organisations to encourage that will only widen the power relations between native and foreigner.

Photograph: Howard Lake via Flickr

were encouraged to prove the value and worth of our work; to build relationships that would counteract mistrust of our presence. Through this, I see a solution, regulating the industry to engage in long-term, sustainable projects in which the organisation can build faithful relationships. But with the revelations of how these relationships were exploited, this may not be enough. ‘Voluntourism’ companies need to combat this saviourist attitude directly. The Managing Director of ‘African Impact’, an international volunteering organisation, has said ‘Voluntourism’ companies he will use ‘Barbie Saviour’s’ imagneedtocombatthissaviourist es in his volunteer inductions. This attitude directly could break down the exploiterexploited relationship, and make When working in Tanzania, we it clear that volunteers are supwere alerted to the strain of sus- porting locals and not saving the picion within the community and country. Only then can we start to


PALATINATE | Thursday 8th March 2018

11

Profile

“Making sure the positive Durham experience is there for all students” Profile talks to Durham SU President-Elect George Walker about his aims for the coming year Holly Adams Deputy Profile Editor

G

eorge Walker, a third year Politics student from Van Mildert College, was recently elected as next year’s president of the Durham Students’ Union (SU). In a year where Durham students are polarised about the lecturer strikes, increasingly concerned about the impending ‘Masterplan’ to move 1,000 new students to Durham City, and generally disengaged with the SU, we asked Walker his views on Durham’s most contentious issues. “I do support the strikes,” Walker says. “I think the changes to pensions are unfair and it is going to have a detrimental impact on new people going into academia.” But the President-Elect’s real concern is how the UCU strikes will affect the student body he has been elected to represent.

“As students,” he says, “we have the right to a high quality education”

“The strikes are causing a lot of anxiety for students and, as a students’ union, we need to be there to answer any questions and make clear what students’ rights are.” Walker believes that, as students, we have the right to a high quality education. For him, the axing of lecturer pensions will impinge this right. “When lecturers are living under uncertainty and pressure we cannot expect them to deliver the same standard of education,” Walker argues. During his time at Durham, Walker has been part of a number of campaigns. Perhaps most notably, he has invested time and energy into the #RippedOff campaign, which aims to draw attention to Durham’s affordability. During his presidency, Walker hopes to “keep up the momentum” of this campaign tackling the extortionate prices of Durham student accommodation. When talking about the issue of accommodation, Walker draws attention to Palatinate’s recent housing survey, published in the last edition. The results of the survey highlighted the broad consensus among students that accommodation in Durham is poor value for money. Seeing this survey, Walker emphasises how important it is to reach out to as many students as possible, getting them involved in

George Walker on election night in SU, and (inset) out campaigning in the city (Durham Students’ Union)

an active dialogue about housing. He places particular emphasis on engaging people on a college level. George plans to take a similar line of approach when tackling sexual harassment. As SU President, he pledges to “lead from the front”, believing it is his duty to be “the face of the University saying this is wrong”. Using Collingwood as an example, Walker stresses the importance of engaging students at a college level, praising the college’s attempts to tackle sexual harassment through training. Walker hopes that during his presidency he will to be able to provide more training to student groups.

“We need to create a culture where we call people out for inappropriate behaviour”

The President-Elect aims to eventually create peer-led training in colleges so that everyone is aware of the duty to make the Durham community a safe place. Walker calls for students to engage with both #RippedOff and the Consent Matters campaigns. He draws attention to what students can do on an individual basis. It is important to become active bystanders and, in turn,

create a culture that has zero tolerance for sexual harassment. “We need to create a culture where if you see someone behaving inappropriately that you either tell someone about it or you call it out,” voices Walker. It is difficult to argue with Walker’s policies. During the elections, however, attention was drawn from away from individual policies and towards the political affiliations of each of the candidates. Walker, for example, is known for his active involvement with Durham University Labour Club. He rejects the idea, however, that this will inhibit his Presidency, stating: “I do not think it will affect my ability to represent the whole student body.” George maintains that his political choices are completely isolated from his role as DSU president. His priorities, he reasons, are based on the daily issues of Durham students, not political loyalties. Walker believes that by “looking at more engaging ways to interact with students”, he can be a President for everyone. So by the end of his presidency what does Walker hope to have achieved? The President-Elect draws attention to his campaign when

answering this question. He explains that his over arching aim, as he emphasised during his campaign, is to inspire trust in the Durham Students’ Union and make students feel as though “they have a union that is fighting for them on key issues”. Although this is the broad vision, he goes on to pinpoint the need to make Durham more accessible and affordable.

Walker is “unsure” whether Durham University offers adequate levels of support for mental health

Reflecting on his own three years at Durham, George believes it has been an overwhelmingly “positive experience”, but recognises that there are areas in which Durham can do better. One of these elements is the cost of the university experience. From student housing to extra-curricular activities, Walker emphasises that financial pressures can be a real strain, especially for those from lower income families. To rectify this, Walker hopes to have created a landlord database by the end of the year. George also addresses the nation-wide concern of student mental health and the question

of whether Durham University always deals with mental health issues in the best way. The answer is up for debate but Walker is “unsure” about the adequacy of support offered to students suffering from mental health. Drawing attention to the Estates Masterplan, Walker hopes to be a “strong voice” in the upcoming developments, which lead to an increase of 1,000 students beginning their studies at Durham University in October. Walker promises to provide the student body with a representative voice when it comes to negotiations about how the city and University is going to cope with the influx of new students. The Masterplan is a source of increasing concern for Durham students, who already joke about a variety of issues, such as the lack of available study space in the Bill Bryson Library. However, the humour of this joke is fast dwindling as the reality of 1,000 new students, sharing these limited facilities, dawns on the Durham student population. Walker hopes to be the voice of these concerns and ensure “a smooth transition” during the University’s Masterplan. A further issue he plans to address is that of physical accessibility. Walker points out that the structure of some colleges, and indeed the DSU, prevents students with disabilities from engaging with Durham as much as they could, and may even prevent students from attending the University at all. Drawing our interview to a close, the President-Elect outlines his primary aim of “making sure the positive Durham experience is there for all students”, through tackling sexual violence, accessibility and housing, among other priorities.

Walker’s overarching aim is to inspire trust in the SU so students feel they have a union fighting for them


PALATINATE | Thursday 8th February 2018

13

Politics

This Week in Politics: News in Brief Netenyahu - Iran drone

Jonny Cattermole Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu gave a fiery speech at the Munich Security Conference amid escalating tensions in the region. Brandishing part of an Iranian drone shot down in Israeli airspace, Netanyahu warned Iran: “Do not test Israel’s resolve”. The PM told delegates of the need to counter Iran’s growing presence in the region and threatened direct action against Iran if deemed necessary. Netanyahu said the nuclear deal was responsible for emboldening Tehran and drew comparisons with the appeasement that only emboldened Hitler. The Iranian Foreign Minister dismissed Netuyanah’s presentation as a “cartoonish circus which does not even deserve a response”.

David Seaton via Flickr

Votes for Expats

Bradley’s Apology tweet

Patrick Williamson

Sanya Mathur A bill that would allow UK expats to give votes for life has moved closer to realisation. The Overseas Electoral Bill has finally passed to committee stage. The campaign led by war veteran, Harry Shindler was in opposition to the pre-set 15-year voting limit. The Minister for the Constitution, Chloe Smith stated – “[Following] the British people’s decision to leave the EU, we need to strengthen ties with countries around the world and show the UK is an outward-facing nation. Our expat community has an important role to play in helping Britain expand international trade, especially given two-thirds of expats live outside the EU.” UK in Spain via Flickr

Conservative MP Ben Bradley has apologised after posting a tweet in which he accused Jeremy Corbyn of disclosing “British secrets” to communist Czechoslovak “spies”. Bradley’s accusations, which he admitted were “wholly untrue and false” prompted charges from defence secretary Gavin Williamson, who attacked Corbyn for having “betrayed” Britain. Bradley has agreed to pay Corbyn’s legal costs and donate an undisclosed amount of money to a charity of the Labour leader’s choice. Labour sources called such Bradley’s accusations “absurd” but are “pleased” about the donations offered by the Mansfield MP. However, he will retain his position, Conservative sources say.

Garry Knight via Flickr

Russia/NK

Labour Chair steps down

Charlotte Alt

Eloise Allan On 17th January, Donald Trump directed allegations at Russia of being in violation of international sanctions on North Korea. According to Western security sources, Russian tankers have been delivering fuel, desperately needed by the hermit state, to Korean recipients out at sea. Russia denies any wrongdoing. The US is anxious to suppress North Korea economically and debilitate its nuclear proliferation programme. Russia agreed on further sanctions provided they were relaxed. The activity highlights the recurring issues involved in UN Security Council decisions, that they are futile if member states are willing to turn a blind eye to their infringement.

DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Ian McNiol, former Labour General Secretary, resigned last week to “pursue new challenges” within the party. This marks another step in Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt to tighten control on the party structure. McNiol is largely credited with restoring the Party’s finances, but has recently been criticised for his involvement in a row over rules during the 2016 leadership race. He is expected to be replaced by the left-wing Jenny Formby, but will remain in office until a successor has been decided upon. This is seen as favourable for Corbyn’s agenda, as he continues to fill senior party positions with his supporters. Parti Socialiste via Flickr

Italian election results in hung parliament Kate McIntosh Instability is the hallmark of Italy’s Third Republic. Instability and Silvio Berlusconi, whose first big win in 1994 bookends the era, and whose recent return to politics has dominated international coverage of Italy’s General Election, which took place yesterday. It’s important to note that hung

parliaments are common in Italian politics, and that is exactly the result we currently have. Most of the work to form a government happens after the votes have been cast.

Three electoral blocs battle to win the largest number of seats in the Chamber of Deputies

This time around, three electoral blocs, the centre-right, centreleft and the populists, all made up of one or more individual parties battle to win the largest number of seats in the Chamber of Deputies. That gives them the power to attempt to form a government, which could be made up of one or more coalitional blocs, or several parties from different blocs working together.

It’s important to note that hung parliaments are common in Italian politics

Stephanie Rogers via Flickr

Huge electoral success for Italy’s insurgent Movimento 5 Stelle, or Five Star Movement, has solidified many regional gains since the 2014 election. When the party emerged as the third pole of the Italian party system in 2014, they refused to go into coalitional government, which is the norm in Italy, in order to protect their antiestablishment image. Now, however, with a projected 30% of the vote, they have publicly declared that they will be part of the next government. Berlusconi’s success is limited. Forza Italia, the party typified by the Berlusconi brand, has won around 14% of votes. The preelectoral coalition of centre-right

parties, symbolically lead by Berlusconi, will almost definitely be the biggest bloc in the Chamber of Deputies. However, Forza Italia currently trails coalition partner Lega Nord, the ‘Northern League’, in projected vote share, meaning Berlusconi may not even be the most powerful man in his own coalition. His prevalence is testament to the transience of Italian’s political parties, and the fact that in Italy personalities often last longer than parties. Berlusconi dominated headlines despite his fraud convictions preventing him even standing as a candidate.

In Italy personalities often last longer than parties

One personality at risk today is Matteo Renzi, the leader of the Partito Democratico and centreleft bloc, who have slipped to a mere 20% of the vote. Renzi’s party have been in government, and have faced dwindling popularity in recent years as the electorate vacate the centre ground in favour of the ideologically-vacant populists of Five Star and the nativists of Lega Nord. Renzi himself resigned after defeat in an electoral law referendum in 2016, which he took as a litmus test for his own popularity. Given there’s only a small chance

of centre-left government, and a high chance of a future political comeback, Renzi may very well take the opportunity to resign for the second time.

Like most things in Italy, forming a new government will take a lot of discussion

And, what happens now? Like most things in Italy, forming a government will take a lot of discussion and procedure. The Five Star Movement will want to wait and assess the strength of the CentreRight bloc before forming alliances. This is their first time in government, and the friends that they make now could be their downfall in the future if they act too hastily. If they choose to govern with the rightist Lega Nord, Italy’s future in the EU will be uncertain. Both Forza Italia and Lega Nord advocate a flat-tax rate and antiimmigrant legislature, so it’s likely that a right-wing coalition will force Five Star to commit ideologically. Because of that they’re likely to lose left-leaning voters, which will help rebuild Partito Democratico’s voter base. Not unusually, uncertainty prevails as Italians await the election’s final results.


Thursday 8th March 2018 | PALATINATE

14

Politics

Shocking abuses linked to charities revealed

Sarina Rivlin-Sanders The International Red Cross: “A betrayal of the people and communities we are there to serve.” Plan International UK: “The painful but important truth to acknowledge is that sometimes things can go wrong.” Heads of 22 charities: “There can be no tolerance for the abuse of power.”

Gifts from donors may have been directly funding these horrendous abuses of power Contrast these words with those of some of the people who lost everything in the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti. “After the earthquake you would see [foreign aid workers] asking for sex in exchange for supplies. I never did it, but I saw some people who did.” Or another woman driven to desperation by her need to protect her young child. “I cry a lot and I pray.” Even more horrifying than these abuses of power are allegations that some of the people involved in sexual acts, which may have occurred in property owned by or

paid for by the charities, were underage. The prevalence of these outrageous acts is evidence that some charities are endangering the lives of those they ought to be helping. It also also suggests that gifts from well-intentioned donors, transferred to charity employees, may have been directly funding these horrendous abuses of power. In their investigation into Oxfam’s actions in Haiti, which triggered this wave of revelations about the charity sector, The Times claimed there was a “culture of impunity” in Haiti - a damning statement.

Oxfam has lost over 7,000 reoccuring donations The uncomfortable reality of human nature is that power corrupts and that some people, out of tens of thousands of aid workers, may act morally reprehensibly. However, if there was wider complicity, if the charitable organisations involved worked not to expose the abuses of power, as they might in another government, but rather to hide them, then that suggests an even more serious institu-

In response to this, the Haitian government has announced a twomonth suspension of Oxfam Great Britain’s permission to operate in the country, pending further investigation into the “serious crimes” committed. Their statement decried Oxfam’s actions and said the Government is “shocked at the highest level”. It seems that shock in fact affects every level. Since The Times published the allegations of the cover up, Oxfam has lost over 7,000 recurring donations. 1% of charities command over half of donations in the UK and it is many of these who have come under fire. While some people may have simply redirected their donation to a more reputable source there is a concern that donations overall may fall. Hence the charities renewed commitment to safeguarding.

Predicting the demise of UKIP over recent years has been like trying to predict that of the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The party is still trudging on, despite only winning 2% of the vote (a figure which has not increased much since) at the last general election, after which they had no representation in the House of Commons. The recent buzz surrounding UKIP focuses on last month’s EGM, which voted by 63% to remove leader Henry Bolton, who has since quit the party, after it emerged he

was persisting in his relationship with model Jo Marney, who had sent offensive private messages about Meghan Markle and survivors of the Grenfell tragedy. The result is the party’s fourth leadership election since the EU referendum.

The Bolton controversy masks longer-term problems The Bolton controversy masks longer-term problems for the party. The EU referendum, for which it was not the official ‘leave’ campaign, removed its raison d’être. UKIP have been largely absent from

We must be certain that charities have made real change to en-

Amy Nelson via Flickr

Labour set to triumph in local elections

and irrelevant in the subsequent national Brexit debate.

Henry Bird

UKIP have been largely absent and irrelvant

With the 2018 UK local elections looming into view, many are wondering what the political map will look like come the 3rd May. Elections will be held within England, with all 32 London boroughs, 34 metropolitan boroughs, 68 district and borough councils, 17 unitary authorities and 5 mayoralties up for grabs. The polling expert Sir John Curtice has predicted major Labour triumphs in the capital, with the traditionally Conservative Barnet, Wandsworth and Westminster set to be seized, and with the Liberal Democrats creeping up the polls in Greater London. Metropolitan boroughs across England such as Birmingham and Manchester are on offer, with the remaining voting taking place mainly in the southeast and north-west. In 2017’s local elections, the Conservatives enjoyed significant gains at Labour’s expense while the Lib Dems and UKIP suffered significant losses. However, another year into the Brexit process, there are no certainties; although these are local elections, national issues have potential to swing the results, lending weight to the notion of a Lib Dem resur-

The lack of a coherent platform going forward has created further problems: the party lost its only council, Thanet, after its councillors resigned over the issue of a disused local airfield. UKIP’s prospects for this year’s local elections, whose seats were last contested in 2014, when the party triumphed in the European parliamentary poll, look bleak. They won just one seat last year. Defections have eroded the UKIP delegation to Brussels, which should be gone by next March’s Brexit date, leaving the party without national political officeholders and their staffing allowances, worsening its financial difficulties.

Defections have eroded the UKIP delegation to Brussels

Derek Bennet via Flickr

should not necessarily be disregarded and we need to find a way for charities to actively engage in these countries while overcoming this legacy of abuse.

We must be certain that charities have made a real change

Entrenched issues will lead to UKIP’s demise Jonty Bayliss

sure that not only a cover up, but the abuses that power that necessitated it, will in future be stopped before they can begin. The help that charities can bring however

UKIP may continue, if its members have the will, but lacking momentum or cohesion, its days on the leaders’ debate stage are over. The next question is how other parties will fill that space.

Chatham House via Flickr and Creative Commons

gence. Many are wondering whether Labour will be punished for lack of stance over Brexit, while Theresa May hopes that her more recent and frank Brexit speech will serve to tempt back disenfranchised Conservative voters, amid disillusionment and continuing policy shift on both sides of the political spectrum.

Barnet, Wandsworth and Westminster are set to turn red, says John Curtice


PALATINATE | Thursday 8th March 2018

15

Labour supports customs union defending ‘a’ instead of ‘the’ current customs union.

Fears of a Northern Irish hard border have also prompted the policy change

Lara Santos Ayllón Labour’s position on the single market has been difficult to pinpoint, mainly due to the contrasting opinions comprising the party. Ideologically left-wing, Labour is in a sticky situation, balancing progressive policies and perspectives on community and integration whilst supposedly also representing a working class that voted Brexit to block the influx of immigration supposedly taking British jobs. Corbyn’s original stance against the free market, equating the EU to belonging to the single market was no doubt more symbolic than anything else. Now that negotiations are underway the lines

have blurred, and taking a drastic ‘strong’ Brexit stance is less advisable. The extensive links between Britain and the EU, coupled with the direct impact on individual lives, means that the negotiation process is extremely dynamic. Brexit cannot be a zero-sum game, because there is simply too much to lose.

Corbyn is defending ‘a’ instead of ‘the’ customs union Nonetheless, it will be hard to avoid alienating the large minority of Labour supporters who voted to cut ties with EU markets and regulations, thus Corbyn is specifically

The fear of a hard border with Northern Ireland has also contributed to this policy ‘evolution’, to avoid potentially disrupting peace enshrined in the Good Friday agreement, a win in Labour’s historical manifesto. Further, this danger of alienation means Corbyn must have a strategic move in mind. His repeated reference to a “bespoke relationship” with the single market to ensure “EU law does not obstruct a future Labour government”, coupled with an increasing perception of May’s lack of leadership suggests that a power struggle is at play, and No. 10 is firmly on Corbyn’s radar. A strategic move to support a permanent customs union, siding with Tory rebels destabilise and undermine May’s position. Nonetheless, this could also result in continuous gridlock over Brexit negotiations. And this would be good for no one. Duncan Hull via Flickr

Politics

Britain’s homelessness crisis worsens Simon Green A report released by the Government has shown that the number of people sleeping on Britain’s streets has risen by 73% since 2010, with 4,571 people a night recorded as sleeping rough in autumn 2017.

The anti-homelessness task force has not met once since its inception The homeless charity Crisis believes that a further 9,000 people sleep in tents, on trains or other forms of public transport. Labour have labelled the fig-

ures as “shameful” and a “national scandal”. This anger was only exacerbated by the Government admitting that an anti-homelessness taskforce set up last year has not met once since its inception. Philip Hammond announced the a taskforce in his Autumn Statement in 2017, with the aim of halving homelessness within 5 years and eradicating it within a decade. This admission has been interpreted by critics as Mrs May’s government not understanding the scale of the issue.

The crisis could turn into catastrophe This political anger could turn to outrage. Particularly with current freezing weather condition, death is real possibility for the homeless population. While pledges and targets to end homelessness are welcomed by all parties, if such tragedies do occur, political and public pressure would reach unprecedented levels. The homelessness crisis could be about to become a catastrophe.

Kid Clutch via Flickr

US shootings: The need for comprehensive policy Samrat Pasriccha Michigan Central University, Parkland, Las Vegas, Orlando, Sandy Hook... With every shooting, the list becomes longer, and the names of victims blurred, but the scars left on the families remain. The USA remains divided on gun control. The Democrats support gun reform legislation that will ban the use of assault and semi-assault weapons, close the gun-show loophole and the online-loophole, advocate for stronger background checks, and raise the legal age to purchase firearms.

gun-related violence is astounding, with more than 21 deaths occurring in 2018 alone. No other developed nation even comes close to America in the statistics on gun shootings. The Washington Post reported that just last year there were 307 mass shootings, which averages at seven shootings a week.

Not all countries have been so hesitant to introduce tough legislation. After a mass shooting in Port Arthur, Australia, in 1996, left 35 dead, the country enforced an extensive project to eradicate gun violence. However, the USA has not seen any reform or action on the issue.

Young people are making their voices heard on social media The question that remains to be answered is will change finally come about? Many would be pessimistic about the chances of a significant gun reform legislation getting through Republican controlled Congress, Senate and White House. This concern is compounded by the Non Partisan Centre for Responsive Politics’ estimate that during the 201 election “the NRA and its affiliates spent a record $54m to secure Republican control of the White House and Congress, including at least $30.3m to help elect Donald Trump”. Ben Kalb, a writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live, called out lawmakers for offering their thoughts and prayers for the victims whilst taking millions in campaign donations from pro-gun lobbies. However, there is still room for

The USA remains divided on gun control On the other side, the Republican party supports the National Rifle Association (NRA) and their endeavour to preserve the second amendment of the American Constitution. This states “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. The second amendment has been a constant source of debate in American politics. The data on mass shootings and

After the recent shootings in Florida, a new student-led movement is surging throughout America, where the young people are making their voices heard on social media, using the hashtag #NeverAgain.

Ingolf via Flickr

hope. President Trump recently came out in support of a bi-partisan legislation on gun control, stronger background checks and increasing the federal age restrictions on buying firearms in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting. Senator Lindsey Graham also supported the need to look into gun control, saying “most Americans believe we should solve problems that Americans are facing, like gun violence and school safety problems”. These have been encouraging signs that have dominated the current political climate. What can be said for sure, is that gun reform is going to be a major point of conversation and could potentially sway the votes in the lead up to the 2018 polls. Obama, whose leadership was fraught with issues surrounding gun violence, maintained that he was “restricted by a system that our founders put in place”.` The Second Amendment is claiming lives; a law written in 1791 is having an adverse effect on lives in the 21st century; there is a need for a serious legislative reform. Is change possible? Certainly, is it finally about to come? Let’s wait and see.


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Thursday 8th March 2018 | PALATINATE

SciTech

Study challenges our conceptions about Neanderthals Hannah Drew Researchers have found the first conclusive evidence that Neanderthals, rather than modern humans, were the artists of the world’s oldest cave paintings. The international study involving archaeologists from Durham University is the most persuasive example yet of sophisticated Neanderthal behaviour. The team of archaeologists discovered that paintings in three Spanish caves were crafted more than 64,000 years ago. This means that they could only have been created by Neanderthals, Europe’s sole inhabitants at the time.

Until now, cave art has solely been attributed to Homo sapiens

Joint lead author of the paper, Dr Chris Standish, an archaeologist from the University of Southampton, said: “this is an incredibly exciting discovery which suggests Neanderthals were much more sophisticated than is popularly believed.”

Reader’s Scigest

Until now, cave art has solely been attributed to Homo sapiens. Any challenges to this assumption were hindered by imprecise dating techniques. Most cave paintings lack organic residues that can be dated by the decay of carbon isotopes, often resulting in unreliable age estimates. The study, published in Science, describes how scientists used a state-of-the-art technique called uranium-thorium dating to find the age of the parietal art. The method is based on testing the thin layer of calcite that forms when groundwater seeps across a wall painting over millennia. This water contains a uranium isotope that decays into thorium. Measuring the ratio of uranium and thorium isotopes can give the age of the calcite, revealing the age of the painting beneath.. Researchers from the UK, Germany, Spain and France analysed over 60 samples from three cave sites across Spain: Ardales, La Pasiega, and Maltravieso. All three caves contained ochre or black paintings of geometric signs, hand prints, engravings and abstract animal depictions found to be over 64,000

Lucy Williams

Science perseveres despite the freezing weather this week. Astronomers detected radio signals from the first stars that appeared in the Universe. These stars appeared 180 million years after the big bang, providing the first light in the ‘cosmic dawn’ period.

Durham research published last week demonstrates how human ‘echolocators’ can detect objects in a similar manor to bats, providing insights that could help teach more blind individuals the skills needed to improve their spatial awareness. Echolocation is the ability to detect objects in the surrounding environment by sending out a biological sonar and interpreting the echos. Famously present in bats, a similar skill has been independently developed by several blind individuals.

After a recent discovery that there is a large amount of water present on the moon, researchers this week announced that this is much more widespread than previously thought, boding well for future moon colonisation missions. Finally, gene editing was used to lower heart disease risk in mice; a penguin supercolony was discovered in Antarctica; and two clones of Barbra Streisand’s deceased dog were produced using its cells.

The results indicate that Neanderthals exhibited sophisticated behaviour

Until now European symbolic material culture, such as cave art and decorated bone tools, has only been attributed to our own species. These artefacts are widely accepted as being created by pioneer populations of Homo sapiens migrating from Africa and the Levant.

Any evidence of Neanderthal symbolic culture, such as decorative perforated bones, was previously thought to be inspired by these newly arrived humans. Researchers must now accept these artefacts as examples of sophisticated Neanderthal innovation developed 20,000 years before we even entered Europe. The study challenges the common misconception of Neanderthals as intellectually

inferior, brute cavemen. João Zilhão of the University of Barcelona, an author of the paper, has spent years arguing that Neanderthals were the “mental equals” of modern humans. Just like us, the extinct hominids utilised their natural resources to create paintings – vehicles for symbolic expression – for purposes we can only begin to imagine.

the participants, all eight of them detected it after just one or two quiet clicks, whereas ten to twelve much lounder clicks were needed to identify the object when it was placed slightly behind them. Just like bats, human echolocators adjust their method based on the situation.

use of guide dogs or canes to aid mobility, by improving spatial awareness and helping to avoid collisions at head or chest height. This new insight into how echolocation is performed could provide the knowledge needed to allow the skill to be taught on large scale, equipping blind individuals with tools to help explore new places and increase their independence. The future sounds good.

(image copyright CD Standish, AWG, Pike, DL Hoffmann)

Echolocation: the sound of the future?

Ewan Jones

Gene editing was used to lower heart disease risk in mice

years old. The results indicate that Neanderthals exhibited sophisticated behaviour. Shannon McPherron of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, whose work has challenged common conceptions about Neanderthals said: “the findings have shattered my model of Neanderthal behaviour.” The artefacts demonstrate that Neanderthals possessed cognitive capacities and technical abilities similar to our own. To the shock of many researchers, the species developed these without influence from Homo sapiens.

Echolocation is the ability to detect objects in the surrounding environment

Human experts are able to identify objects by sending out a series of sharp mouth clicks, loud enough to penetrate background noise, and listening for the resulting echos. With enough experience, the nature of the echos allow them to gain insight into

their surroundings. Public awareness of the technique spread when Daniel Kish, an American expert in human echolocation who has been blind since the age of one, demonstrated and discussed his ability in a TEDx talk in 2015. Although previous studies have established the accuracy of human echolocation and how it could be taught to blind children, the scientific basis around exactly how it is performed remained largely unknown. Published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B last week by a team of psychologists from Durham University, the new study is the first to show that human echolocators instinctively adjust the intensity and number of clicks they make depending on the location of the target object. The team, led by Dr Lore Thaler, asked eight blind expert echolocators to detect a 17.5 cm disk reflector placed a metre from them at varying angles. When the disk was placed directly in front of

Echolocation could provide a complimentary method to the use of guide dogs or canes

Echolocation could provide a complimentary method to the

(image from WAFTB2016 via Wikimedia Commons)


PALATINATE | Thursday 8th March 2018

17

Sport

“I wanted to compete for Britain from day one”

Rabah Yousif arrived in Britain as a 14-year-old unable to speak English; now he is about to make his Commonwealth Games debut. He tells Tomas Hill Lopez-Menchero about his remarkable journey. Tomas Hill Lopez-Menchero Sport Editor

R

abah Yousif pauses for a second. I have just asked him whether he was ever frightened during a journey which has taken him from Sudan to Britain, from a 14-year-old unable to speak English to a 31-year-old British athlete about to make his Commonwealth Games debut on Australia’s Gold Coast. “It was always scary”, the 400m runner says. “When I arrived here I was 14 years old, and it’s definitely scary. But where I come from there are some scarier things. “There are things that happen where I come from that you don’t see, or you can’t see that type of thing at all, it doesn’t exist over here. I stayed here for a few months and then you feel the sense of security and everything.”

Yousif had to work hard to achieve that sense of security. Born to a track and field family in Khartoum, his father was a former Sudanese sprint champion and his two uncles also competed in various events. It was during a stopover with the Sudanese junior athletics team in Sheffield that he took a decision which would change his life. The team were taking part in a training camp ahead of the 2002 World Junior Championships, but instead of returning to his country of birth he fled and claimed asylum. He says the ruthless nature of athletics in Sudan persuaded him to stay in Britain. “With us in Sudan, it was a bit complicated. It was cut-throat, straightforward. It’s rather that you’re going to have to do it, or [there’s] going to be so many consequences – you’re dropped off the team, not being considered at all – things like that, those types

▲ Yousif claimed asylum after escaping from a training camp with the Sudanese youth athletics team and represents Britain after obtaining citizenship in 2013 (@rabahyousif_r via Twitter)

of games. “Over here, it’s cut-throat as well, but it’s cut-throat in a way that I really need to perform. It’s not even about British Athletics, it’s about me, I need to go out there and perform.” He lived with other asylumseekers in Wolverhampton,

It was always scary, but where I come from there are scarier things

Walsall and finally Middlesbrough, until a series of lies about his age meant he came close to being deported. Thanks to marrying a Middlesbrough local and gaining a spouse’s visa in 2008, however, he was able to stay in the country. He still lives in Teesside with his wife and two kids. “I was a bit lucky,” Yousif admits. “All the way from day one until now, I always managed to meet up with people who really are helpful and supportive towards me and my career and my journey. It was a struggle, it wasn’t easy, but sometimes if you really want something, you’re going to have to keep trying until you get what you want.” His coach, Carol Williams, was particularly supportive. Yousif describes her as a “wonderful woman” and a “very strong and very good coach” whose advice he still relies on today. It is clear from speaking to him that she continues to have a big impact on Yousif. “We started together, she told me that I could make it far. At the time, if you asked me that question I would have never, ever thought I would be standing here talking to you today regarding me going to take part in these championships. “But I had the drive, I had nothing to lose, I didn’t have anything anyway to lose. So it was a case of just listening to her instructions and guidance, and she is really good on that.” Was it not hard to focus on running while the threat of deportation loomed in the background? “It’s difficult”, he explains. “To achieve big things, you need to

have a clear mind, no problems whatsoever. Whatever problems you’ve got in life, you need to keep it in the locker until the finish. “[Carol] sat me down and she explained things to me and she’s like: ‘No, listen, that’s how it’s going to be. Whatever we can change and have got power in our hands to do it, we’re going to do it. “But other things which we don’t have control over, there’s nothing we can do about it so we’re just going to have to sit and wait and see how things go.’ “I put this in mind from day one, and I’m still using it. I always deal with things I have control over; other things which I have no control over, I just leave it.” Without the possibility of representing Britain, he competed for Sudan, reaching the semi-finals of the 2009 World Championships and the London Olympics. Yousif underlines how important competing was for him, whatever the circumstances. “My aim in life was that I wanted to compete. For Sudan, for whatever country, I wanted to compete. I needed to show whatever I’ve got in me and show it to the world, that’s how people make it to become great athletes and top individuals. “I wanted to do it for Britain from day one. Since I stepped foot here, that’s been one of my goals – I wanted to represent Great Britain.” His wish came true when he obtained British citizenship in 2013. Speaking to Yousif, you can still hear the excitement in his voice when he talks about it now. “It was a very good feeling, that finally I’m doing something that I’ve been working most of my time in Britain towards. It actually gave me more drive to achieve bigger things, because I felt like I’d done the hard bit and now this is the easiest bit, which is to compete and make the most of this opportunity.” With a clear mind, he was finally able to concentrate on running. He competed for his adopted country for the first time at the 2014 European Championships and reached the final of the 2015 World Championships, breaking the 45-second mark for the first time in his career. Last year he returned to the London Stadium for the World Championships and won bronze with the 4x400m relay team.

He says the atmosphere was “absolutely amazing” and tells me that “you wouldn’t even feel that this race is finished.” Even so, he says he was not wholly satisfied. “I still feel like I have underachieved last season, for whatever reason. Honestly the past couple of years, since I’ve made my World Championship final, since that year until last year, I’ve just been haunted by injuries.” Those injuries meant he missed out on Rio 2016 despite travelling with the squad to Brazil. He describes it as a “big setback” but also acknowledges it is “a part of the business”. The next test is the Commonwealth Games in Australia, where Yousif will hope to compete for England in both the 400m and the 4x400m relay. He says it is an “unusual” competition as the season has yet to start. “The body is going to feel different, but I have to adjust”, he tells me. “My goal is to just go out there and make that final, that’s the main thing. Go out there and make the finals first, and then when you’re in the final the odds are 7-1, which is better than 26-1.” It has been some 16 years since Yousif first arrived in Britain

I’m so proud of myself, because I came here as a teenager and I’m a grown man now

armed with only a will to compete. How does he feel when he looks back at his journey now? “Nothing is impossible. You could dream, and dreams do come to reality. It only needs some patience and to just keep doing the same thing. It actually made me a better man. “I’m so proud of myself as a man, because I walked into this country as a 14-year-old, called myself a teenager or a boy, and I’m 31 now, so I’m a grown man. And my life turning from zero to more or less a hero, which is a good thing. I’m just enjoying every bit of it.”


Thursday 8th March 2018 | PALATINATE

18

Sport

Annabel Johnson: Durham’s very own Women’s Ella Jerman Deputy Sport Editor

C

ombining a Masters degree with semi-professional football was once a distant dream for aspiring female footballers in the UK, but nowadays such opportunities are in abundance and have given promising young talents like Annabel Johnson – who joined Durham University on a postgraduate scholarship in association with Durham Women’s F.C. in 2016 – the platform to flourish.

The 24-year-old made 38 appearances for Leicester City Ladies, 2010-2012 She tells me an early influence spurring her interest in football was her dad. “I started to get into the sport when I was really young because we would wake up early on a Sunday to watch Match of the Day together, but I didn’t start playing properly until I was 10, for a boys’ team.” Since then, Johnson has fought her way through the ranks. The 24-year old defender made 38 appearances for Leicester City Ladies between 2010 and 2012, scoring two goals. She then transferred to Coventry United Ladies, before captaining Loughborough University Women’s 1st team during her undergraduate degree.

The versatile defender joined Durham Women F.C. in 2016 on Durham University’s scholarship scheme, meaning she is also eligible to play for DUWAFC in BUCS competitions. “I was working a full-time job after finishing university in Loughborough and felt that my development as a player had come to a standstill. I saw a tweet advertising the opportunity to study a Masters at Durham University and play Women’s Super League football and I thought it would be a great opportunity to develop myself on and off the field.” 2017 was a particularly successful year for Johnson. She established herself as a regular in the Wildcats’ starting XI while also enjoying success with DU-

“ I don’t think I’ve

ever been in a team which has celebrated like we did after winning the BUCS final

WAFC in BUCS, lifting the National Championship with the first team. But the road to success is never

▲ Johnson is combining a master’s degree with playing for Durham Women in the WSL 2 (Durham Women’s FC) easy. “When I was 19 I ruptured two ligaments in the ankle,” she says. “I was in a cast for six weeks and out of football for a year. It was difficult and I would say it was an important year for my development as a player.” Now, as a Masters student playing football at a high standard for two clubs, she knows the struggle of juggling sporting and academic commitments all too well. “Physically it’s very tiring on the legs, you have to make sure you look after yourself and not burn the

candles at both ends.” Johnson trains three times a week in Durham, with two sessions focusing on strength and conditioning. “My schedule fills up quickly. I’ll also have two matches in the week if there are BUCS and WSL fixtures. It gets really tricky if we also have to fit futsal in on a Saturday!” She continues: “The pace was much faster moving into the WSL. I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of having to improve my game and

I love a battle every week in the league.” Durham Women FC currently sit fourth in the Women’s Super League 2, but Johnson insists that their promotion hopes are still very much alive. “We’ve made it difficult in the past couple of weeks, but it’s not over until the final whistle is blown. The girls and I have a lot of belief we can have a very good second half of the season which will boost our chances.” Picking the most memorable

in the FA WSL 2. Durham will be determined to improve on last season’s points total of 33 – the highest ever achieved by the club – in order to boost their promotion chances. While the Wildcats are not mathematically out of contention for a top two finish, wins in their upcoming fixtures against London Bees and Oxford United will be vital if they want to keep their promotion hopes alive. Durham Women FC have come a long way since the club was founded in 2013 as a collaboration between South Durham and Cestria Girls and Durham University. Despite having never competed at the top level of women’s football, Durham were one of ten successful applicants to enter the second tier of the Women’s Super League back when it was introduced in 2014. Since then, the Wildcats have improved on their points total year

after year and were even awarded the FA WSL 2 Club of the Year Award at the 2017 FA Women’s Football awards for their club record-breaking 2016/17 season finish. More recently, a number of Durham players have enjoyed individual success by receiving international call-ups. Striker Zoe Ness recently met up with the Scotland senior squad in Spain to prepare for their double-header against New Zealand, whilst Sarah Robson and Ellis Dalgliesh received callups to the Northern Ireland and Scotland U19 squad respectively. The club’s official Twitter account (@DurhamWFC) will be providing live minute-by-minute updates on the quarter-final against Everton. Or you could head down to New Ferens Park on Sunday 18th to cheer the girls on to the semifinals!

Durham Women march on to FA Cup quarter-finals Ella Jerman Deputy Sport Editor Durham Women’s FA cup dream goes on after reaching the quarterfinals of the competition for the first time in the club’s history. They will host FA Women’s Super League 1 side Everton Ladies in the last eight of the competition on Sunday 18th March in what will be a historic afternoon for the County Durham club. The Wildcats secured their place in the quarter-finals with a hard-fought 5-2 win against Leicester City Ladies in the fifth round. Durham looked the more assured outfit from the offset and took a deserved early lead through Zoe Ness. Ellie Christon doubled the host’s lead after 25 minutes, but these early setbacks weren’t enough to deter Leicester from putting up a fight. Leigh Dugmore and Sophie

Domingo netted to put the visitors back in contention on the brink of half-time, but Durham reacted quickly and Abi Cottam’s spectacular first-time volley sent her side into the break 3-2 up. A second from Cottam and a late strike from Emily Roberts put the match to bed in the closing stages of the game and sealed Durham’s progression into the quarterfinals of the most prestigious cup competition in women’s football. The match was something of a reunion for Durham defender Annabel Johnson as she faced one of her former sides. The left-back came close to getting on the scoresheet herself in the first-half but saw her header come flying back off the upright. Goalscorer Abi Cottam and captain Beth Hepple were named in The Times’ Women’s FA Cup Team of the Week alongside the likes of England’s Fran Kirby for their impressive performances against the third-tier side.

Durham will be looking to build on the positives from this win ahead of what will be a tricky tie against top tier side Everton next weekend. Currently sitting fourth in the FA WSL 2, Durham have enjoyed a strong first half to their league campaign.

The Wildcats have come a long way since the club were founded in 2013, winning the FA WSL 2 Club of the Year Award at the 2017 FA awards The Wildcats got their season off to a good start with a 2-1 win against Tottenham Hotspur Ladies at New Ferens Park back in September and have only been bested on home turf once since then. With nine league fixtures remaining, all is still to play for


PALATINATE | Thursday 8th March 2018

19

s Super League star Women’s lacrosse secure moment from her successful spell in Durham is far from an easy choice, but she says it “has to be the BUCS final” with DUWAFC last year.

Channel 4’s coverage of Euro 2017 means women’s football is getting its due “It was hard work but I don’t think I’ve ever been in a team which has celebrated like that after scoring the winning goal in the 97th minute. It was brilliant, and I’m sure a couple of players were shedding a few tears.” It is every footballer’s dream to play for their country. In 2011, Johnson received a call-up to the England women’s under-19 squad for friendlies against France and Holland. Although she has not represented England since youth level, she has still had the opportunity to impress on an international stage. Last summer, she was selected as one of the best young female football talents to represent Great Britain at the biennial World University Games, which is widely recognised as the second largest multisport games in the world after the Olympics. Although Great Britain did not make it past the group stage of the tournament, Johnson was proud to represent her country and looks back fondly at her time in Taipei: “It was my best footballing experience, I would advise anyone and everyone who has the opportunity to go. You are treated like an Olympic athlete and it is great.” Whilst she is yet to find the net for Durham, she got herself on the scoresheet for Team GB in their 7-1 win against Colombia. “I don’t score many goals as a left-back, so that moment was particularly enjoyable”, she adds. Ask any young British footballer about their home-grown idol and you would probably hear names like Beckham, Owen and Gerrard as well as those of current young stars like Kane, Sterling and Rashford. But Johnson’s response to the question does not quite fit the stereotypical mould. “As a full back, it would be great to have the attributes of Lucy Bronze” – England’s first-choice right-back. Currently playing for Women’s Champions League holders Lyon, Bronze has 51 senior international appearances and a 2014 PFA Women’s Players’ Player of the Year award under her belt – a set of remarkable achievements many players would aspire to.

Although the predominance of male sporting role models is still felt, aspiring female footballers are not short of female role models anymore. The growing popularity of the women’s game and increased coverage of the Lionesses’ recent successes have allowed young girls to look up to footballers like Bronze, rather than only try to identify with male ones. When I ask Johnson what she made of England’s recent performances at Euro 2017, she acknowledges the national side had a lot to live up to. “I think after their excellent World Cup performances in 2015 they had high expectations”, she says. England’s 2015 campaign ended in heart-breaking fashion – a 2-1 semi-final defeat by Japan. Similarly, in 2017, the Lionesses were sent crashing out of the Euros at the semi-final stage, losing 3-0 to the hosts, the Netherlands. In spite of their string of impressive performances, Johnson adds: “going one stage further than the World Cup would have been a good achievement.” Nevertheless, the Lionesses have certainly raised the bar for women’s football in recent years, and the game has profited from the increased media coverage that their success has generated. Thanks to Channel 4’s live coverage of Euro 2017, women’s football is finally getting its fair due. More eyes are on women’s sport than ever before, and the BBC’s decision to stream Super League One games has demonstrated enthusiasm for the women’s game is not short-lived.

Johnson scored for Team GB in a 7-1 win over Colombia at the World University Games Johnson agrees the growing interest in women’s football has revealed more opportunities than ever before for women to play the sport – both at a grassroots and professional level. “Yes, there are professional contracts, education and coaching opportunities. I have managed to travel playing football, gain a Masters and coach in America. Football has given me a lot of great experiences.” You can follow Annabel on Twitter at @Annabel2010, or catch her in action for Durham Women FC in the club’s FA Cup quarter-final against Everton Ladies on Sunday 18th March at New Ferens Park.

Sport

historic win against Germany Louis Gibbon Deputy Sport Editor The historic England-Germany footballing rivalry dates as far back as 1930 and has provided memorable moments over the years: the infamous 1966 win, Michael Owen’s hat-trick in Munich, Frank Lampard’s ‘ghost goal’ in England’s 2010 World Cup departure. But last month a new chapter in the England-Germany rivalry was written, this time in the field of women’s lacrosse. Except this was not England Lacrosse facing the German national side, it was in fact Durham 1s, who set out on the seemingly impossible task of travelling to Hamburg to take on the 2018 World Cup semi-finalists.

Knowing the high standard of lacrosse in Durham, Germany head coach Shelby Davis got in touch about the possibility of a training match How does such a fixture come about, one may ask? It was all thanks to Shelby Davis, a US postgraduate in 2015-16 who now lives in Germany, recently appointed head coach of the national side. Knowing the high standard of lacrosse in Durham, she got in contact with current captains Freya Savage and Iona Dryden to organise a training match for her national squad. Understandably, they bit her hand off at such a great opportunity, with Savage describing it as “a great opportunity for team bonding and preparation before the BUCS knock out rounds”. The second question that comes to mind is how Durham would fare against a country with the largest lacrosse league in mainland Europe. The answer was very well. Durham had a dream start, scoring twice within the first five minutes, and competed well with Germany, who Savage described as “a very physical team, challenging us on our 1vs1 defending”. This alongside the torrid weather condition posed a problem for Durham, but she added that the “attack dealt very well with the icy conditions, although at times we had a little trouble with shots”. The game was even, but it was Durham who ran out eventual winners, securing a historic 11-8 victory.

The man of the match on the day was Menna Rose, but Dryden believes that with such great squad depth to their team, any player can step up and make the difference. The squad has been bolstered this year through the addition of both postgraduates and freshers, leaving the reigning BUCS champions in an even stronger position than last year. Dryden heaped praise on the squad: “Often university teams boast a couple of outstanding players for you to watch out for, but for us I really think anyone is a huge threat and that make it really exciting to watch.” This was not only a great occasion for Durham’s lacrosse side, but also a great learning experience going into some crucial fixtures. Savage summarised the match in Hamburg: “Overall it was a great team effort and an amazing opportunity to play a national side, especially coming away with the win.” The ‘Beast from the East’ prevented Durham continuing their good form against Bristol in the BUCS quarter-final, but Dryden, who missed the trip to Germany, remains confident of

winning the rearranged fixture and maintaining Durham’s unbeaten streak. Her and four other third years have enjoyed remarkable success since joining in 2015, not losing a game and securing three BUCS Championships. But she stated that they “are still just taking it a game and practice at a time”.

“Overall it was a great team effort and an amazing opportunity,” said captain Freya Savage However, she couldn’t help but look ahead to a potential semifinal against their biggest rivals Birmingham. Dryden believes the match “will definitely be tense and a grudge match for them”, stating that “it will feel like a final, with everything to lose, so we will need to come out locked in and ready to be challenged”. Should they win that, it’ll come down to the Big BUCS Wednesday in Nottingham, where they’ll hope to secure yet another golden medal. Given their track record, you certainly wouldn’t bet against it.

▲ Durham won 11-8 against the Germany side (Freya Savage)


Sport

Thursday 8th March 2018 | PALATINATE

Durham Women FC on the rise Ella Jerman looks at the club’s run to the FA Cup quarter-finals and speaks to Masters student and Wildcats defender Annabel Johnson (page18-19)

“They think it’s all over... it is now!” How did Durham’s women’s lacrosse side beat the German national team? We speak to a few of the team’s key figures (page 19)

York reclaim College Varsity after disappointing Durham display Tomas Hill Lopez-Menchero Sport Editor

▲ Durham MCCU will play Sussex CCC as well as a selection of university sides if the trip to South Africa takes place (Durham University Cricket Club via Facebook)

MCCU side set sights on South Africa as they gear up for new season Will Jennings Deputy Sport Editor Given the ‘Beast from the East’ and the recent conditions that have blighted the country, it seems ridiculous to even contemplate the notion of cricket in Durham’s snowy circles at this moment in time. However, March is upon us and the long-awaited cricket season is fast approaching, with enthusiasts across the University training and gearing up for what promises to be another summer of fervent competition. Durham’s MCCU team are relishing the challenges that lie ahead. Indeed, the advent of their 2018 season is imminent, beginning in just a matter of weeks as they prepare to face the first-class counties of Durham,

Warwickshire and 2017 County Championship Division One champions Middlesex. The side have much to look forward to over the coming weeks. While the first-class fixtures of April await, the group are set to travel to South Africa at the end of March to prepare for what appears to be a testing start to their season, visiting Cape Town for a series of warm-up matches. Although the trip is still yet to be confirmed owing to the city’s acute water crisis, the side will be hoping that the weathering gods exchange some of the UK’s snowier precipitation for some long-overdue Cape Town rainfall in order to facilitate their visit. If the trip takes place, the MCCU team will play Sussex CCC as well as a selection of university

sides in the shadow of Table Mountain. With games against four county sides in the pipeline before the competitive season gets underway next term, the schedule appears the perfect way to prepare for what is set to be a challenging season. The side have been boosted by the return of first-class talent Charlie Macdonell, a player who was absent last year after signing a professional contract at Derbyshire CCC. Will Fraine has inherited the captaincy from Joe Cooke and will be accompanied by Jason Marshall at the top of the order, while Ben Graves will look to build on his impressive form last season at number five. The team’s bowling attack will seek to demonstrate potency in the opening fixtures, with

seamers Alex McGrath and Mungo Russell supported by dynamic allrounder Freddie Ruffell, who looks set to bat at six. Spinner Abhiraj Singh will look to be as effective as possible on some early-season pitches that may not be so conducive to turn. With the season looming, optimism is in abundance, with captain Fraine confident that his side should be capable of challenging for silverware. The team possess strength in depth, with considerable competition emerging for a number of places. Should the trip to Cape Town go ahead, it will provide them with the perfect form of preparation for the games that lie ahead. The snow may be falling in Durham, but the cricket season is just around the corner.

York have reclaimed the College Varsity trophy on home soil after a disappointing display from Durham’s travelling colleges. The hosts won with a comfortable 73-55 scoreline, earning a second Varsity title and reversing last year’s thumping 94-31 victory for the Palatinates at Maiden Castle. Durham will look back on the result with a great deal of frustration. The visitors were hoping to capitalise on the whitewash in the last edition of the competition, but once again the home advantage proved crucial, with four of the past five Varsities having been won by the home side. The news that St Cuthbert’s had forfeited their men’s B football match against Halifax set the tone for the rest of the competition. York took an early 6-0 lead thanks to that result and Derwent’s 3-1 win against St Chad’s in the lacrosse B game, putting Durham on the back foot instantly. A crushing 31-10 victory for University College against Hes East gave Durham hope, and York’s lead was slashed to three points. But the tide shifted irreversibly in the men’s rugby A match between Derwent and Hatfield. Watched on by a huge home contingent, there was little to separate the two sides throughout the match. Derwent struck first but a penalty try to Hatfield meant the game was finely poised at 7-7. It seemed as if both sides would cancel each other out, but in the dying stages the referee awarded a penalty kick to Derwent. The home side converted to make it 10-7, and the crowd went wild. York secured the title during the badminton, with all but two of their six teams victorious. By the time the darts B match started, victory had long since been confirmed for the hosts. Derwent’s darts players dispatched St Mary’s with ease, and the trophy was York’s again.

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