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FREE WEEKLY 31.01.2011 Official newspaper of the Students’ Union
Analysis: Is sexism still rife in sport?
Interview: Jonathan Safran Foer
Students’ Union society members exhibited their talents at Sussex Live earlier this month, including Voom Ka (above) in central Brighton. Photo: Polina Belehhova
Page 15 >>
Staff bullying claims fail to be fully investigated The university investigates 11 percent of all staff-reported cases and upholds zero percent Raziye Akkoc Inês Klinesmith News editors A new report has found that the University of Sussex has fared badly in their response to incidents of staff bullying. According to the most recent findings of AcademicFOI.com, only four out of a total of 36 requests for support or advice were investigated at the University of Sussex. AcademicFOI.com is a project made up of a small group of volunteers who investigate higher education
institutions in the UK using the Freedom of Information Act. Their recent report looks at workplace bullying and harassment at UK universities, across the period between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2009. Each of the four members of staff who asked for support and advice identified their perpetrators as being their superior, but not a member of the senior executive team. The report found that 123 out of over 2,200 members of staff at the University of Sussex have attended workshops or awareness-raising
sessions. Topics covered included bullying and harassment, amongst other issues.The University of Sussex commented on the findings explaining that “the University has a clear and detailed policy to prevent harassment and bullying at work. “That makes clear that Sussex is fully committed to the principles of equal opportunities in the workplace and regards personal harassment as a discriminatory and unacceptable form of behaviour. “The policy makes clear that if staff experience harassment at work they will be given the full support of the
University in putting a stop to that harassment. “Staff have a number of options to enable them to deal with harassment, ranging from simply indicating that the behaviour is unacceptable to making a formal complaint through the established Grievance Procedure.” AcademicFOI found that no staff at the university left citing bullying or harassment. The Freedom of Information request shows that only 11 percent of bullying and harassment claims at the university are followed up with
formal investigations. Across universities in the UK, the average figure is 51 percent. For cases upheld, the average figure is 23 percent, while there is a lower figure of 19 percent within the 1994 Group of which Sussex is a member. At the University of Sussex, zero percent of cases are upheld. The University of Sussex said: “The 36 cases referred to in the FOI represent the number staff over three years who “mentioned harassment and/ or bullying” to staff welfare. Continued on page 3 >>
Come to The Badger open writers’ meeting on Fridays, 1.30pm, Falmer House, room 126
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This week in pictures: Sussex Live On 20-21 January the Studentsâ€™ Union showcased societies at the Corn Exchange, Brighton
Above left: The Big Band. Top Right: The Voomka Society. Bottom Right: Joseph Sean Bernard Gavin of SMUTS.
Review and interview page 15 >>
Top Left: The comperes Carl Salton- Cox (left) and Kit Bradshaw. Bottom Left: The Show Choir. Right: The Breakdance Society Photos: Polina Belehhova
Editors-in-chief Juliet Conway Eleanor Griggs firstname.lastname@example.org
News editors Raziye Akkoc Jamie Askew Inês Klinesmith
Features editors Kieran Burn Joe Jamieson email@example.com
Comment editor Marcelle Augarde
Letters editor Rosie Pearce
Arts editor-in-chief Olivia Wilson firstname.lastname@example.org
Visual arts editor Joseph Preston email@example.com
Music editor Louise Ronnestad firstname.lastname@example.org
Film editors Lucy Atkinson Lily Rae email@example.com
Performance editor Wanjiru Kariuki firstname.lastname@example.org
Science editors Natasha Agabalyan Thomas Lessware email@example.com
Photo editors Anna Evans Polina Belehhova
Listings editor Olivia James
Sports editor Matt Stroud Ben Denton
Sub-editors Luke Guiness Sydney Sims Barnaby Suttle
Students’ Union Communications Officer
Sol Schonfield firstname.lastname@example.org The Badger holds weekly open
writers’ meetings: Fridays, 1.30pm Falmer House, room 126
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£38k settlement paid to staff before hearing << Continued from page 1 That does not mean this was their primary or sole concern in contacting staff welfare, nor does it indicate that 36 instances of bullying or harassment had occurred. “The four investigations represent the number of staff over those four years who ultimately made a complaint through the grievance procedure, as set out in the policy. Where staff wished to make a complaint we would have undertaken appropriate steps under the policy.” In addition to the bullying and harassment findings, AcademicFOI.com also looked at employment tribunal claims and gagging clauses from the last three years at UK universities. They found that five current or former staff at the University of Sussex submitted claims to the employment tribunal service. The five claims were settled before the hearing date of each and a total figure of £38,000 has been paid out in the settlements. With regards to legal costs, the university said: “During the period in question the university did not account for legal fees in such a specific way; instead all fees were charged to a single central code. The breakdown of the sum that was
requested in the FOI is therefore not held.” The university added: “The information in the FOI suggests that, compared to other universities, Sussex has had a relatively small number of claims - with 5 submitted to the employment tribunal service over 3 years - and that it has taken reasonable and appropriate steps to manage those claims.
FOI.com commented on the use of NDAs: “The main justification for using NDAs in resolving employment disputes is that both individuals and universities can put disputes behind them and move on with their reputations intact. Frequent reference is made by universities to this being standard practice both within and outside higher education. There have however been 64 instances over
Only 11 percent of bullying and harassment claims are followed up by the university Claims settled before they reach court are done so without any admission of liability.” All of the cases included a nondisclosure - commonly referred to as ‘gagging’ - clause in the terms of the settlement. A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is an agreement that restricts both the individual and the university involved from discussing a certain matter in public. A spokesperson for Academic-
the last 3 years where settlements have not included NDAs so whilst the practice is common, it is by no means universal.” Over the past three years 12 current or former staff have signed one of these agreements in relation to confidentiality of research activities. AcademicFOI added that: “In research work the rationale for NDAs is to preserve the commercial confidentiality of the research client or the commercial confi-
dentiality of the university itself in securing that research project.” The report estimates that across the UK, 1,957 staff members asked for support or advice due to bullying and harassment between 2007 and 2009. From this number, only 998 formal investigations were made into formal complaints. However, only 234 investigations were upheld with 764 concluding that no bullying or harassment had taken place. Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College London, the top three in the Times Higher Education World Rankings, had a high number of complaints upheld with 54 percent. Forty-one institutions had a zero percentage rate for complaints upheld including the universities of Brighton, Bristol and Westminster. In the process to complete the report, which took over eight months, more than one university threatened the group with criminal prosecution and breach of copyright proceedings. Three universities, Stranmillis UC, Goldsmiths and Coventry, failed to respond to the group. Thirteen universities of the 132 universities and higher education institutions did not respond in full to the questionnaire including City, Nottingham, Glasgow and Bristol.
Students to ‘finally’ get back past exam papers Anna Gross The Students’ Union (SU) has finally won an appeal to have exam papers returned to students. The concession was made by a senior official of the university after several years of contention between the university and SU on the subject. During these years several full-time officers have brought proposals to the university asking them to change their policy, but until now it had never been considered a possibility. Lita Wallis, the Students’ Union Education Officer, and Jo Goodman, the Students’ Union Welfare Officer, lobbied for student access to these papers early last week after pressure was put on them by Ubah Dirie and Ben May. After prolonged discussion with Professor Clare Mackie, the Pro Vice Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, the decision was made that the change would be beneficial for students wishing to review their work and improve their writing technique. Lita Wallis has commented that students “will finally be able to use their exam papers as an educational tool rather than a cul-de-sac.” She
also commended the students for their activity, saying the change “is a really good example of how positive action can be led by students keeping in touch with the elected officers.” This new measure will provide students with access to marked papers from all courses with the examiner’s feedback written on it. This will enable to students to identify the particular aspects of their work which the external marker felt were strong and those which needed improvement. Under the previous system the papers were archived for seven years and then shredded for legal purposes; students were not granted access to them and were unable to review the examiner’s criticisms. Sophie Moonshine, a first year English Literature student, commented that, “the old system prevented people from learning from their mistakes. It seems counter-productive to have feedback sitting there which can’t be accessed by the person who would really benefit from it.” Concerns have been raised amongst staff that the change will require them to give more detailed
Photo: University of Sussex feedback on the exam papers. However, the formal proposal suggests that the scheme has been adopted simply to enable students to review what they have written and subsequently take the papers to their tutors if they wish for greater feedback. The new scheme is yet to be formerly adopted by the university and, once it has, it will take time to filter down to the earlier undergraduate years.
The exam papers are set to start being returned to final-year students at the end of this month and the measure will be effectuated for all years in the ensuing months. Students will then be able to request their papers after the 21-day potential appeal period has elapsed. The university were asked to comment on the new system but declined to do so.
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More universities demand applicants with A* A-levels Raziye Akkoc News editor More universities are asking for the A* grade at A-Level including the University of Sussex. Students wanting to study for an MPhys in Physics with a research placement will need to have an A* A-level qualification, and two A grades. Students applying should have studied Maths and Physics, one of which will need to be an A*. Previously, the typical offer was AAA. The University of Sussex said that the course “is for a small number of academic high fliers who already know they want to pursue a research career. “This is the only Sussex degree programme for which we ask an A*. For all other programmes, we don’t require an A*. “However, most offers for places at Sussex are now AAA, AAB or ABB. For offers at AAA and AAB we normally offer applicants alternative
conditions that allow the inclusion of an A* (i.e. we’ll ask them to get AAB or A*BB, which both score the same number of total points). “In other words, we use the A* not in a restrictive way but as a means of recognizing exceptional achievement.” However the university is not the only higher education institution asking for the A* grade for the first time. Bristol and Exeter will also ask applicants for the A* grade this year. Those wishing to study maths and economics at Bristol will require an A*. Similarly, Exeter’s entry requirements for economics include one A*. Imperial College London, University of Warwick and University College London (UCL) have chosen to ask for more A*s from their applicants. At the University ofWarwick, applicants hoping to study maths; maths and physics; politics, philosophy and economics will need an A* grade in one subject at least.
For those hoping to study psychology at UCL, they will need an A* in a science-based subject or maths whilst applicants for Imperial will require A*s in maths and further maths to study maths. The University of Oxford said that the entry requirements for 15 courses would request an A*. Labour MP for Scunthorpe, Nic Dakin, was apprehensive: “Universities will have to be very careful about
fear is that this will further exacerbate this.” The A* grade was introduced last year after the previous year returned A grades for a quarter of all A-levels. It is hoped that the new grade will help admissions tutors decide on the best candidates for courses. But headteacher of King EdwardVI comprehensive in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, said: “It would have been better if universities had waited three
We use the A* as a means of recognising exceptional achievement the way it is used. There is already a bias in the system against pupils from comprehensive schools. My
years or so before asking for the A*. We don’t yet know how it works. We are running away with ourselves.”
To get an A*, students must get 90 percent or more in their overall mark. Last year, only one in 12 entries got the top grade. Critics of the new grade say that it is unfair for those in state schools as their private school counterparts received more A*s. Only 5.8 percent of pupils at comprehensive schools got the new A* grade whilst over 17 percent received the A* at private schools. One EU national undergraduate said: “These changes make no sense as there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between an A and an A*. The expectations of universities nowadays are too high; focus seems to be more on how well a person does in an exam rather than how much they know about the topic they wish to study at university.” The news comes after Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) reported a surge in applicants. Over 8,000 more students than the previous year applied via UCAS, marking an increase of 2.5 percent.
Union fights against likely rent increase on campus Camilla Davies
The University of Sussex Students’ Union is pushing for a three-year rent freeze across campus after figures show that the new Northfield residence will increase average weekly rent to over £100. The addition of Northfield student accommodation will increase average weekly rent from £99.03 to £103.03, whilst the removal of East Slope would further raise this to £106.84. Northfield is situated behind Lewes Court and will open this September, at the start of the new academic year. The University of Sussex explained that the “highest-quality rooms are significantly oversubscribed – and Northfield will help to cope with that demand.” The 777-bed en-suite housing unit is expected to be priced at a similar weekly rent to Swanborough, which is currently the most expensive accommodation on campus. The union aim to combat price rises by pushing for a rent freeze across campus, maintaining current rent for the foreseeable future. The University of Sussex commented on the rent increases: “Rents for all other residences will increase broadly in line with the rate of inflation, which the Bank of England (as of December 2010) says is between 3.7 percent (CPI) and 4.8 percent (RPI). “In terms of specific figures, Park Village rents will increase by 3.35 percent for 2011-12 and rents for all other residences will increase by 4 percent.
“Rent levels are reviewed annually and are always discussed with the Students’ Union.” A decision is yet to be made concerning the future of East Slope accommodation, which is in need of rejuvenation and risks demolition or reconstruction in the 2012-13 phase of housing strategy. The union want the university to build new accommodation without en-suite and “to occupy the position that East Slope does currently at the bottom of the price range.” They have argued strongly that there should be lower priced housing accessible to students with restricted budgets. The union added that they “are in the process of building a report on students’ experiences of living in East Slope in order that future considerations of the future of accommodation at Sussex are informed by real students’ perspectives. “To ensure that a Sussex education remains accessible to students from all backgrounds, it is essential that there is a commitment to widening participation on the part of the institution. “This ranges beyond rent prices to issues like scholarship and bursary provision and active outreach to students from lower income backgrounds.” According to NatWest’s seventh Student Living Index, Brighton is no longer the country’s most cost-effective city. The city fell by 18 places to 19 out of a total of 25 cities. The annual survey conducted last year, found that students in Brighton pay the most for rent and costs for
travel appear to be higher than other major UK university cities. London, a new entry, is the most cost-effective city. Next year’s rent levels have already been set and will be published online and in the University Housing Guide 2011-12, but the union seeks student support in urging the university to provide “as much emphasis on the affordable end of the market as the top.” The university said: “We recognise the need to provide a range of accommodation to ensure affordability for all students and for 2011-12 have reduced in real terms the rents in Park Village in order to offer lower cost housing.” However within Park Village nine of the houses have been complained about frequently by its student occupants, as they have bare stairs, dated kitchens and unreliable shower units. Currently paying the same rent as those in the modernised houses, one disgruntled undergraduate commented: “We’ve been wondering all year why our rates are not reduced considering our facilities are not that different to East Slope – though they at least get a table!” If students want to be involved in the campaign for a rent freeze for three years, or have any comments about the campus accommodation situation, contact Cameron Tait, Students’ Union President via e-mail at email@example.com or Jo Goodman, Students’ Union Welfare Officer via e-mail at welfare@ussu. sussex.ac.uk.
The future of East Slope is yet to be decided. Photo: sussex.ac.uk
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Student suspected of living in URF office Aiden Aitken A student at the University of Sussex has reportedly been sleeping in the University Radio Falmer (URF) office, in Norwich House, breaking university rules and bringing into serious review the security of on-campus residences. Suspicions were first raised last year in December when members of URF found empty food tins, books, post, and clothes in the radio workspace, which is next door to their studio. While they believe to know the identity of the student, the URF team decided to withhold the name for privacy reasons. Kit Bradshaw, URF Chair, said: “The office is used by URF members throughout the week to hold meetings and plan their shows. “[It] has a combination lock and the code is known only by members. The possibility that someone was using these facilities for another purpose was concerning. “The personal items were handed in to the porter, and amongst them were a number of items of post which featured the name of a student.
“This is the student that we suspect of sleeping/living in the URF office. However we have nothing more than circumstantial evidence and the student was never actually caught in the office.” Rooms such as those used by the URF team are classified by the uni-
fied of the circumstances and the locks are now being changed on the studio and office doors. One concerned student commented: “Whilst this student has clearly broken university rulesthe incident raises more worrying issues.
The possibility that someone was using these facilities for another purpose was concerning versity as ‘recreational’, and such areas are not permitted to be used as personal living spaces. Bradshaw added: “URF takes any breach of these guidelines very seriously and we are doing everything we can to improve the security of our facilities and ensure the safety of all those living in Norwich House.” The building manager of Park Houses, Tina Watts, has been noti-
“Surely the student had an unsatisfactory enough experience in their allocated housing to want to move. The reason for this could be personal problems, or could it be due to housing arrangements that the University of Sussex has failed to meet?” URF has been the University of Sussex’s radio station since 1976, and can be listened to worldwide at www.urfonline.com.
Campus reduces carbon footprint in campaign
Results of the switch off campaingn on campus’ halls Photo: sussex.ac.uk
John Pettersson Make half a million cups of tea, keep a light bulb going for over a century, or fly the London-Manchester route 178 times. These are just some of the tasks that could be done using the energy University of Sussex students have saved as part of the Student Switchoff campaign. Eight percent of students in halls of residence have signed up for Student Switch-off, a national campaign which encourages participants to perform small energy-saving measures such as switching off appliances and putting lids on pans. So far student efforts have reduced carbon emissions by eight tons. “I’ve been really impressed by
the enthusiasm that University of Sussex students have shown in getting involved”, said Danni Paffard, the campaign spokesperson. He added: “Students from the University of Sussex are contributing to a national campaign making significant environmental and financial savings across the UK, and playing an important part in the fight against climate change.” With half the year gone, Park Village and Park Houses (including, Kent House, Lancaster House and York House) lead the way in the campaign. University of Sussex Students’ Union Operations officer Biz Bliss is cautiously optimistic: “The aims behind the scheme are great, but in trying to engage a broad range of people, the seriousness of the issue
of climate change can sometimes get lost. I hope that over the coming year, the right cord can be struck, in which many students get involved in the campaign, and ultimately change their behaviour.” The national switch off campaign started in October and is running is 37 different universities. Many students have already submitted their pictures onto the ‘University of Sussex Student Switch Off ’ Facebook group and have been awarded with gift and NUS extra cards. One first year student living on campus accommodation reacted to these findings: “I cannot believe that we were able to save eight tons! “That is shocking but so good to hear. I didn’t think we would be able to do so much in such a short time, it just makes you realise that a little bit of effort can go really far. “Me and my housemates had loads of fun, thinking up small simple ways to save energy on campus including making dinner together so we didn’t waste any gas or making tea for everyone so the kettle was used once instead of four or five times. “It may sound cheesy but I am really proud of everyone involved. I hope that people will see our efforts and see that if we all make one change in our lives, that one change can have a big impact on the world. After all, we can’t go on as we are in terms of the climate, not just the economy and spending.”
New breakfast show for URF Benjamin Steele The Universty of Sussex’s own radio station, University Radio Falmer (URF), has recently announced that it will be launching a whole new breakfast show in week five. The show will run from 10am until 12pm every weekday, and will feature music, competitions, guests, features and news updates. This will be the first time in years that URF has aired a breakfast show and they will pick their most experienced presenters from their other shows. There will also be a team of producers working behind the scenes, something which URF has never done before. The chair of the station, Kit Bradshaw, said that “everyone at URF is
really excited about coming together to produce this brand-new show that we can be proud of. “I hope the Breakfast Show will increase the prominence of URF across campus.” Bradshaw also mentioned that the radio station is open to any students who wish to present, produce shows, interview bands or report on news stories. Second-year psychology student Hannah Mendoza-Wolfson commented: “I think it’s great that a wider range of material can be aired, hopefully this will reach a broader selection of people. “It’s a shame the station isn’t better advertised.” The show is accessible online at www.urfonline.com.
Brighton bar is forced to close Raziye Akkoc News editor A popular bar in the centre of Brighton has been ordered to close for a month, after 31 thefts occurred in under a year. Vavoom bar, in Old Steine, was forced to shut after a long line of incidents including children on site, cocaine found in the toilets, and staff under the influence of alcohol. Brighton and Hove City Council also ordered a shake-up of its staff, after several complaints from Sussex Police and the council’s environment protection team. The bar, hailed as gay-friendly, closed at midnight on Sunday 23 January and will reopen in February without its former 24-hour licence. Chair of the panel, Councillor Dee Simson said: “We were satisfied that the premises licence holder had been cooperating with the police and agreed
to make a fresh start with new management. “A break of four weeks will enable the necessary measures to be put in place. “The panel did not think it was appropriate for this premises to continue with the 24 hour licence and restricted the hours for sale of alcohol from 10am to 11:30pm Sunday to Thursday and 10am to 1:30am Friday and Saturday.” Another member of the panel, Green Councillor Pete West, criticised the bar and added that: “Vavoom’s license was reviewed by the panel in light of its appalling record on all counts. “Bad management led to persistent and shocking problems, including assaults, unchallenged thefts, underage drinkers and alleged drug abuse on site. “The crime and disorder arising from the bar meant that the police wanted to see this place closed down.”
Sussex alumnus at UC Berkeley Ellen Willis Former University of Sussex student John Wilton has been appointed Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance at the prestigious Berkeley campus of the University of California. The university, amidst California’s economic crisis, is facing extensive financial cuts. Wilton, who studied economics and statistics at the University of Sussex, has been employed to manage UC Berkeley’s $1.8 billion budget, and will oversee almost 2,400 employees when he commences work on 1 February this year. Wilton studied a PhD course in economics at the University of Cambridge, but left in 1982 to begin work
for the World Bank, where he stayed for 25 years. The World Bank assists developing countries, funding projects that help to stabilise economies and decrease poverty. In 2010 it provided $46.9 billion for 303 projects, for which Wilton was chief financial officer. UC Berkeley, currently rated 8th in The Times higher education world university rankings, will be challenged by restrictions on its resources this year, and has employed Wilton on account of his vast experience in financial stabilisation. It is with confidence in his knowledge of finance, economics and the managing of large, complex organizations, that the university has appointed him Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration.
Mind the socio-economic gap While fee increases in higher education institutions fuel discussion on an emergent two-tier education system, what is to become of the already limited access for those less privileged? Amy-Rose King As Sussex students mull over fair trade coffee and participate in heated debates, evaluate radical ideas, moan about reading lists and workloads, at times questioning the likelihood of graduate employment and contesting the marketisation of education, just opposite our university on the other side of the A27, lies an entirely different struggle with education. A school has been forcefully turned into an academy, after struggling with what the government would have us believe were ‘underachieving’ students. Statistically in Britain, parental wealth is the biggest determinate in how well a young person will perform in education, as highlighted by Teach First, an independent charity set up in 2002 to try and combat educational disadvantage. This polarity can be seen on our very own doorstep. Ironically sandwiched between two university campuses, Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA) – formally Falmer High School until September last year – was a casualty of the National Challenge programme, a controversial process of naming and shaming failing schools (defined as less than 30 percent of students achieving five A*-Cs in GCSEs). Somewhat regardless of the socio-economic circumstances of their public intake, the majority of schools that fall victim to the National Challenge scheme are in deprived areas. This, however, is not an isolated example of an educational struggle taking place in a demographically sparse region. A study undertaken by the Sutton Trust in January 2010 noted that 80 percent of disadvantaged young people – those from low Higher Education (HE) participation neighbourhoods – live in the vicinity of a highly-selective university, but only one in 25 of these disadvantaged young people attend such a university, comparedtooneinfourfromthehighest HE participation neighbourhoods.The Sussex branch of Aimhigher, a national scheme set up by the former Labour Government to widen participation in Higher Education, works with BACA,
Students protest the recent EMA cut proposal only to be ignored. Photo: www.saveema.co.uk of the pupils would otherwise not be able to do. The majority of the schools that Aimhigher has worked with, in and around Brighton, have seen a rise in GCSE results. Set up to raise awareness and to highlight and promote university life, Aimhigher is one of the many participation widening schemes to be axed by the coalition government, and will come to an end in July this year. This, coupled with the recent scrapping of Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) will have a massively detrimental effect on students in such circumstances who may want to go on to Higher Education. The Sutton Trust (2010) has highlighted that social mobility has been more or less static since 2002-3, after some initial progress in the late 1990s. Any scope for social mobility, largely reliant on access to education, is being crushed under the coalition government’s exacerbation of such a layered society. This eventuality may be realised in what has been discussed as the creation of a two-tier university system, with ‘lesser’ institutions charging £6,000 annually, and top institutions charging £9,000 annually. Under one proposed scheme, any student eligible for free school meals that is accepted for a place at university, would have one year’s uni fees paid by the state. Universities that
Does a private education offer an advantage to prospective students? Photo: www.education.icnetwork.co.uk and many other National Challenge schools in the Brighton and Hove area. The scheme allows students to receive help and encouragement with their GCSE studies, enabling them to come into contact with university students, something which some
choose to charge more than £6,000 a year in fees will be required to fund a further year’s tuition for these students, and will have to demonstrate involvement in initiatives such as the £150m National Scholarship Programme. However, in early January
this year the BBC reported that the first year fee waiver may be dropped. Additionally, the ‘Million+’ group, which represents new universities, has highlighted that the £150m pot would not be enough to fund a year’s tuition for all the students who previously received free school meals last year. Most of these measures proposed to safeguard access to education for underprivilegedstudentsseemunclear, while the doubling of fees is concrete, along with the axing of participation widening schemes. It seems that the Government’s priorities lie with those
Does educational disadvantage need to be addressed from the bottom up, as opposed to the top down, in order for underprivileged pupils to be able to reach their full potential? Those on the margins, particularly in under-performing schools have had additional peer pressure to contend with. In a Leitch Review on skills in 2009 UKCES, one in six young people in Britain today leave school unable to read, write or understand basic mathematical principles. This is an exemplification of the fact that many enter schools with a reading
Private school students are 55 times more likely to win a place at Oxbridge than those who have attended a state school who already have financial security, not those on the margins. For students, particularly those from low income backgrounds, the very notion of a £9,000 a year, even if two years were paid, would still leave them with crippling debt. However, this is based on the assumption that students from low-income backgrounds will have the necessary qualifications required, to progress into higher education. The roots of educational disadvantage seem far deeper than preventative measures at university level will be able to access. This is highlighted by the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI). In the most deprived areas 25.3 percent of pupils achieve 5 A*-C grades including English and Maths compared with 68.4 percent in the least deprived areas, which equates to a 43.1 percent gap between most and least deprived. Pre-GCSE level, a study conducted by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) in March 2009, highlights that the achievement gap starts off relatively small, particularly in very early primary school years and then becomes a much larger problem – the pupils always seem to be playing catch up. This becomes particularly obvious by the time students reach GCSE level.
age significantly lower than their peers. Even for those who do struggle against this seemingly institutionalised educational disadvantage and manage to overcome it, what measures are in place to ensure that they can even get into a Higher Education Institution? This disparity is brought further into the light when considering the divide between private and state education; dependent again, on family income. Figures released by the Independent Schools Council (ISC) in September 2010, showed that close to two-thirds of all GCSE entries from private schools were awarded either an A or an A*, while nationally, 22.6 percent of entries score an A or above. Nearly a third (29.5 percent) of private schools’ GCSE entries got an A* grade, compared to 7.5 percent nationally. According to an academic study by Cassen and Kingdon, 50 percent of pupils eligible for free school meals at GCSE level, will achieve no passes above a D grade. This age old private/state school bias can be seen even before the cap on tuition fees was raised. As reported by The Badger in 2009, the Oxford University Chancellor Chris Patten, in an interview with the Oxford University newspaper Cherwell, attacked the “angry middle class parents” who have criticised his proposal of a rise
in tuition fees commenting that “I think it’s paradoxical at the moment that quite a lot of parents pay a fortune to put their children through private schools and then resent it when they have to pay when universities charge more than £3000 a year.” Patten here seems to have excluded any students at Oxford University that may have come from the state education system. In fact, in December 2010 The Sutton Trust noted that private school students are 55 times more likely to win a place at Oxbridge and 22 times more likely to go to a top-ranked university than students at state schools who qualify for free school meals. More broadly, of those in state education entitled to free school meals, only 16 percent would progress to university, compared with 96 percent from independent schools (Sutton Trust 2010). So while the government discusses certain ‘measures’ at universitylevel,isitperhapsinconsistent that they are axing so many schemes set up to help pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. The old labour rhetoric of ‘Education, Education, Education’ is now something that seemingly belongs in a golden era compared to what young people are faced with today. The University of Sussex’s assures prospective students that: “Aimhigher is one part of the widening participation work in which the University is involved. Part of the conditions likely to be set by OFFA under the new fee regime will be to ensure that effective widening-participation activities are undertaken directly by universities. The University has been performing well against widening-participation benchmarks and intends to ensure that we continue to do so. Over 20% of our current intake is made up of talented students from poorer backgrounds”. The current coalition government’s educational reforms appear to be making education that much more inaccessible to anyone from an underprivileged background. The ladder to HE, which once observed structures such as EMA has been removed, now replaced with an overwhelming price tag at a detrimental cost to educational progression and social mobility. When pupils from a North London school sang, ‘We Don’t Need No Education’, on Pink Floyd’s single in 1979, they were wrong; actually, we do.
Student Media Office Falmer House University of Sussex Brighton BN1 9QF
Views expressed in the Badger are not representative of the views of the USSU, the University of Sussex, or the Badger. Every effort has been made to contact the holders of copyright for any material used in this issue, and to ensure the accuracy of this week’s stories. Please contact the Communications Officer if you are aware of any omissions or errors.
letters and emails
‘Ban everything’ culture? Dear Sir/Madam, In a feature on the political diversity of Sussex campus appearing in the Badger a couple of weeks ago [‘Can’t we all just get along,’ 17/11/2011] the president of the Conservative Society, William Prothero, was quoted condemning the “ban everything culture” of the University of Sussex Students’ Union (USSU). As this seems to be a frequent point of contention I feel it would benefit from some clarification. In my experience, the ‘bans’ which invoke the most outrage are those aimed at consumer products. These are not, as often claimed, ‘banned from campus;’ they are simply not stocked by union affiliated vendors. This is not an infringement upon anyone’s consumer rights; vendors inevitably have to make decisions as to what they do and don’t sell, including on ethical grounds. Furthermore, the products are still stocked by other establishments on campus for those who wish to purchase them.
It is not those who can’t buy their products who are being oppressed At present there are only two companies boycotted by the USSU, both of which are subject to large scale global boycotts. The first is Nestlé – of great notoriety through their insidious marketing of baby milk formula, leading to large numbers of infant deaths in the developing world, a practice they continue in a more covert manner to this day. The second is Coca-Cola – implicated in the murder of trade union officials and other serious human rights violations in Latin America.
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Both companies also have particularly atrocious records of environmental degradation, health violations, systematic breaches of labour rights and the privatisation of water supplies. Nonetheless, if for whatever reason you still feel aggrieved that you cannot buy Nestlé or Coca-Cola products at Union establishments, then you can vote against the measures or even stand for election yourself. But let’s not entertain the idea that it is those who cannot buy their products in certain places on Sussex campus who are the ones being oppressed. Yours, Liam Sabec
Dear Sir/Madam, I am writing in response to John Galt’s letter ‘Political Diversity’ [24.01.11], a letter bemoaning the lack of political diversity on campus, and in particular citing the lack of any considerable right-wing presence on campus. Whilst I sympathise with the writer’s situation (myself having experienced the reverse, developing as a socialist in a rabidly Conservative small town) one cannot simply demand “political diversity” if most of the students who are politically inclined feel a certain way, and I am sure that this sort of suggestion is not what he intended to convey. Somewhat more alarming is his casual reference to “politically correct, ‘ban everything’ socialism”, a phrase that seems popular among the small but vocal right-wing presence at Sussex. The phrase “politically correct” simply refers to abiding by the current political orthodoxy (something which one could hardly accuse Socialists of in a wide sense, especially with the current government) but in this context I am assuming it refers to opposing forms of prejudicial and discriminatory language and behaviour. Therefore the “everything” that these Socialists seek to ban would seem to refer to incidences of racism, sexism, homophobia and other manifestations of prejudice which I think most people on campus, not just the “far left”, would find abhorrent. I invite Mr Galt to respond and perhaps clarify which of these things he believes should not be banned and why, as it seems somewhat contradictory to complain of a lack of political
diversity whilst criticising language and behaviour aimed at promoting forms of social diversity. Yours in equal but opposite frustration Jim Forsyth Harris
Tax debate Dear Sir/Madam, I wish to clarify a couple of points regarding my comment, to which Liam Sabec replied [‘Billionaire tax avoidance,’ 24/1/11]. Firstly, my qualm is not with the jobless - I thought I had made this clear - I merely assert that it is not wrong to ask someone to work for their pay. The bulk of Mr. Sabec’s article very angrily attacks me for the former, where in fact only the latter was my stated opinion. Such rage is misplaced. Secondly, contrary to what Mr. Sabec strongly implies in his comment, I do not support tax avoidance (who would?). I said this expressly in my own article, so I am unsure where this idea has come from. As an additional note, Mr. Sabec and others interested in taxation as a principle should investigate the FairTax system, which is a radical proposal that would be based on consumption, not income. Yours John Galt
Off-campus housing Dear Sir/Madam, As the annual, slightly-panicked, search for off-campus housing begins once again, I feel that I may take it upon me, as an experienced, know-it-all second-year, to impart some wisdom. Whilst I have been by no means unhappy in my present house, there are a few things which I wish I had known beforehand. Firstly, although it may seem a bit of a hassle, make sure you explore all of your options thoroughly – whether you want to go through an estate agent, a landlord, university-assisted or independent. My housemates and I decided to go through an estate agent, as we were
keen to get arrangements made as soon as possible. Therefore we didn’t use the university-run Studentpad. However, I have friends who found a great house through Studentpad as late as March, so there are no strict rules in terms of which route you should use, but you should never be afraid to ask questions. I think it is definitely worth going back a couple of times to see a house, both with the estate agent and without. If you can talk to the current tenants without the landlord or agent standing over your shoulder it definitely gives you a chance to get the real story! Living in a slightly dilapidated house which I would not necessarily recommend to others, I am rather hoping for a chance to gently dissuade any potential new residents. The other main aspect of housing arrangements which I have found interesting is that of housemate politics. It is amazing just how many people suddenly discover the unbearable and antisocial habits of their supposed best friends upon living with them. To a certain extent this is inevitable and you just have to make the best of it – who knows, this could be where you end up living for the majority of your time at Sussex. It does take more effort to maintain large friendship groups when you’re all living apart, but with a little effort, these relationships can become even stronger. Take the chance to move further into adulthood with the joys of bills, household disputes and tenancy agreements! Yours sagely, Katie Warburton
Student Life Centre Dear Sir/Madam, I have heard from other students that there has been some discontent relating to the opening of the Student Life Centre on campus. It has been said that students are disappointed at the university’s decision to stop the Student Advisor scheme in favour of the Student Life Centre. I am unsure as to whether the scheme was scrapped in order to open the Centre, or if the Centre was opened as a result of a requirement that the university have some form of advice medium for students about
topics not relating to academics. Either way, the view to which I’m referring is that the Advisors provided a personal, private service where the Life Centre fails to do so. This is said to be because students feel as if they must disclose their private business to somebody in a rather public setting, as opposed to the 100% private arrangements with the Student Advisors. I bring this up for two reasons.The first is that I went to the Centre for the first time today and obtained a “C-card,” which entitles me to free condoms from pick-up points on campus and in Brighton. I was, in part, intrigued to see how the obtainment of a card would be handled. Given what I’d heard about the Centre, I imagined I’d be subjected to a series of private questions relating to my sex life, which I can admit I was not particularly looking forward to. However, I can report, after the experience, that this was not, by any means, the case. The friendly lady simply explained the details of how the card works and handed it to me. This not only contradicted what I’d heard, but it also surprised me because, until now, any service facilitating safe sex has also verbally reinforced its importance thoroughly. I wonder whether the C-card service has deliberately eliminated this to combat the uneasiness expressed by some students. The second reason I bring this up is that I feel it is relevant to an article I read in a recent edition of the Badger about the monopolisation of services on campus [Comment piece, 17/01/11]. As with the beloved Richmond Creperie, which was threatened last year and challenged with the opening of the Arts Piazza and Library cafés, is the loss of our Student Advisors a sign that Sussex is, in fact, becoming ever more “mass-produced” and impersonal? It would be interesting to hear the views of a former Advisor, and indeed of anyone now involved with the Student Life Centre. I sympathise with those who work there as it seems to have been given a bad name right from the start. With any luck, I won’t find myself in need of any life advice, but if I ever do, I will be sure to report my verdict on this new “monopolised” service. Yours faithfully, Andy Hatton
Clarifications and Read something in the Badger that has annoyed or delighted you? corrections 24.01.11 p.9 feature: ‘What’s happenDo you want to respond? Then get in touch! ing to our universities?’ The cartoon printed did not include a credit as it was incorrectly cut.The credit should have read: Ralph Kellas. Send your letter to our letters editor, Rosie Pearce, at: firstname.lastname@example.org Got an issue to raise?
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A tale of two resignations
Are the resignations of Alan Johnson and Andy Coulson purely coincidental? Photos: The Guardian/The Telegraph Jessie Thompson On 20 January, the country watched in surprise as the Shadow Chancellor unexpectedly announced his resignation. Alan Johnson cited ‘personal issues’ as his reason for stepping down from the post, seen by many as second only to the leader of the opposition. The following day, Andy Coulson, Cameron’s media chief and former editor of News of the World, chose to announce his resignation from the government. It was surely no coincidence that Coulson picked the day that allegations were emerging about the misbehaviour of Johnson’s wife. Also that Tony Blair was sat uncomfortably under the spotlight and facing questions at the Chilcot Inquiry. The reporting of Coulson’s resignation was prefaced in news reports everywhere with the expression ‘‘a good day to bury bad news’’. This is a term that has resonated in politics ever since advisor Jo Moore on September 11, asked her colleagues if it was a
good opportunity to declare changes to councillors allowances. Labour MP Tom Watson stated that it was ‘‘the mark of the man that he would sneak out a statement on a Friday morning on a busy news day’’ and that it was ‘‘the second job Coulson has resigned from for something he claims to know nothing about’’. Coulson has been living under a dubious cloud of scandal ever since the Guardian uncovered the illegal practise of phone hacking that appears to have been rife under his editorship at the News of the World. It is now being said that Coulson’s resignation is going to raise continual uncomfortable questions regarding the phone hacking scandal itself- in David Cameron’s personal judgement. In addition, it will shed light on the seemingly biased allocation of Jeremy Hunt to the job of selling BSkyB to Rupert Murdoch. Compare this resignation – quiet, shrewd and suspicious, with that of Alan Johnson, a politician widely renowned for being honest, fair and approachable.
It seems utterly unjust that a man such as Johnson will now face a long series of fantastical allegations about his private life, whilst Coulson has done his best to escape the numerous charges against him as covertly as possible. The ethics of the media have never been in a poorer state than as we currently see them. There is no doubt that this has rather a lot to do with the huge proportion owned by Conservative loving media magnate Rupert Murdoch, an amount which is only set to grow. Under the Tory government we have seen not only the shockingly blatant attempts to completely destabilise the reputation of their Coalition partners, the Lib Dems, but also, the destruction of the relationship between MPs and constituents. When the Daily Telegraph went undercover at Lib Dem MP’s surgeries, they jeopardised the way MPs felt they could speak openly to their constituents, but also funnily enough, didn’t seem to find time to seek out what Conservatives were
saying about their Lib Dem partners. This was nothing short of entrapment, and should never have been allowed to happen. It may have been a bit far for Lewes Lib Dem MP Norman Baker to compare himself to Helen Szuman fighting apartheid, but it seems highly likely that many Conservative MPs denounced their partners in government in much the same way. The difference was that we never got to hear about it. Further indicators of the Tories willingness to allow the Lib Dems to bear the brunt of just about everything, was their handling of the tuition fees argument, in which they were conspicuously absent for the majority of the protests. It’s also no coincidence that the Tories will be hoping to stop the AV voting system from coming to fruition when a referendum is held. It will do them no harm to see the Lib Dems receiving as little credibility as possible. The practise of the right wing press in the recent months has been nothing short of shameful. To see journalists
resorting to loose discussions of the private lives of respectable, professional people, and using highly corrupt methods to destroy entire reputations in one single news story hardly seems to be in the public’s interest. When Gordon Brown, exhausted and frustrated, called Gillian Duffy a ‘bigoted woman’, this was a private moment. We are fools if we do not believe that Clegg or Cameron expressed the odd derogatory word about a troublesome voter once they believed that they were away from the glare of cameras and microphones. The role of the media is to serve the public’s interest, and all too often this is ignored in favour of cruel stings that we gain nothing from but a bad taste. The resignations of Alan Johnson and Andy Coulson, along with the respective coverage they received, say far more about the ethics of the media than meets the eye. Unfortunately, we continue to be reported to by a media that wishes to polarise, cause personal pain, and above all, sensationalise.
A Christian country, and what to do about it Peter Brietbart SU Secular society president Diversity seems to have been the topic of much writing in The Badger of late. To be sure, diversity of thought, identity, and belief are treasures of what it means to live in a society such as ours. Though we should not dwell too long on kitsch sentimentality; more important is the protection of such diversity. Relaxed censorship laws do much to sustain freedom of speech and thought, and equality laws are a crucial component of protecting identities, but with regards to belief, our state is pitifully lacking in egality. This is a Christian country. Not a country full of Christians, mind. We’re Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews etc. not to mention that a majority of British citizens now identify with no religion at all. The official religion of our country, however, is of the mythical
Palestinian Jew known as the Christ. It has been this way since King Henry VIII, meaning we have all sorts of drab dark-age relics left over in our political system. First of all, we have the monarchy, the affliction of being (inescapably) a royal subject. I actually happen to like the Queen somewhat – she’s grandmother-esque, she’s never publicly said anything very stupid or vicious and she performs her royal rubber-stamp duties well. However, when she eventually shuffles off this mortal coil and her son Charles – a moron of the highest calibre – takes the throne, I suspect his mother’s popularity will not serve him in the slightest. This is not to touch at all upon the absurdity of monarchy in the first place.The idea that to become the head of state of a nation one must have entered the world via the womb of one particular woman is nothing less than deranged. It’s the so-called Divine
Right of Kings that is the justification of this circus of inanities; God himself picks the ruler of the nation. And which God? The Christian one, of course. The influence of the Christian Church in our political system is by no means irrelevant. In the House of Lords, 26 unelected, self-appointed holy-men pass judgment over legislation, granting them not only spiritual, but very real political power. In 2007, the Bishops in the second chamber turned out en masse to block equality legislation that would grant gay and lesbian couples the right to adopt children – an endeavor that they succeeded in doing until late 2008. Their reason for opposing LGBT- lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, adoption was the standard dull divine bigotry that can be found and justified with recourse to an upsetting proportion of religious dogmas, but this time, the Bible.
The influence of official religious voices in a democracy will always be self-serving, for why wouldn’t they? If you know God’s wishes, it only makes sense to make them law. My problem is not with the belief, per se, but that our government is so structured as to allow only the Christian church the possibility of acting upon their beliefs directly. The cure is Secularism, by which I mean the constitutional separation of church and state. The church minds its own business – says which of its practitioners may have sex with who else and in what ways – and so on, and the state ensures that no religion has any legal advantages over any other. This sort of equality is worth pursuing, whether you are religious or not. The currently privileged position of the Church of England is unjustifiable, especially considering that it receives £170 million of state funds every year.
Contrast this to the fact that Middlesex University has had to close its Philosophy department due to lack of funding, and I can’t help but feel that the government is ignoring chemistry to fund alchemy, so to speak. The French notion of laïcité has much it could teach us about the place of religion in society. The idea is that we should have a neutral, equal public domain undistorted by claims of religious belief that demand privileged treatment. The public domain is supposed to be for the public good, and it shouldn’t surprise us that self-selected in-groups that constitute religions might request legislation that is for rather more private conceptions of the good. From an egalitarian position, no-one should be treated differently on account of their faith. Even the most cursory glance at countries that do discriminate on grounds of faith should tell you why.
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The drunk generation
Is this the ‘McDonaldisation’ of booze retail? Photo: The Mirror Harry Conrad Cockburn Alcohol tax is increasing and inflation and VAT rising. The mass unemployment movement that the government is advancing has firmly taken hold. It’s no surprise that this is enough to send a nation to the bottle in an effort to black out the wretchedness. Yet pubs are closing down as though they were merely a passing fad, and people are drinking less and less. That's right. We're drinking less. In 2009, according to the British Beer and Pub Association, alcohol
consumption fell by 6 percent, the fourth drop in five years, and the steepest year-on-year decline since 1948. At the same time though, we are incessantly bombarded by tabloid stories that portray a nation on the brink of collapse. The Daily Express reports that the 'drunk generation' of today sees a third of 15-year-olds drinking until they pass out, while The Daily Mail screams 'vodka epidemic'. With tabloid scaremongering always abound, we know that there is some truth in the booziness of young people.We've all seen inebriated girls
in high heels get knocked down by cars, and people breaking their noses from the force of tequila slammers. However this is all happening at a time when Britain is drinking less than the EU average. The tax on our most popular alcoholic drink, beer, is ten times higher than in Germany. Casual sippers are no longer supping because pub prices are forced so far up. This gives a fairly remarkable picture of contemporary attitudes to drinking. No longer are people indulging daily in a bit of ale or gin on the way home from work, but people now
seem to save their drinking for one big Bacchanalian binge every couple of weeks. This means that instead of a merry chat in the pub for an hour or two a day, people are now drinking as much as they can in the free hours they've allotted themselves at the weekend. This sporadic heavy drinking in place of low-level regular drinking, combined with soaring alcohol prices is re-shaping our culture and society. Quiet drinks in the pub are out and mass 'vertical' binging in high-speed bars is in. This is the ‘McDonaldi-
sation’ of booze retail. Perhaps alco-pops should come with a 'happy meal' type toy to reflect their insalubriousness. I'm a pub lover, and a bar loather, and it saddens me to think that in a few years time stretching out beside a log fire in a pub will become amusing in its antiquity. Bearing this in mind, I am advocating a return to carefree, daily, heavy drinking in pubs with friends. If you can't afford it, get a loan. You'll have died from cirrhosis before you have to pay it back. Let us live up to our 'drunk generation' title with pride.
The price of justice Liam Sabec Last week’s issue of the Badger was greatly enriched by the inclusion of a thought-provoking feature by Sam Waterman and Ralph Kellas on the increased marketisation of higher education (‘What’s happening to our universities’, 24.01.2011). The piece highlighted the shift in political thought towards an increasingly singular view of society centred on the free market. Unfortunately, education is far from the only institution assaulted under the auspices of ‘efficiency’; legal aid has also been substantially undermined. Since 1946 legal aid has been the primary guarantor of access to justice in the UK, providing funds for legal representation to those who could not otherwise afford it. Introduced by Clement Attlee’s government in 1946 it was regarded as a pillar of the welfare state of equal importance to the NHS. Legal aid’s premise is that true democracy predicates the real legal equality of persons, requiring equal access to the law. The history of the erosion of legal aid’s founding principles will be depressingly familiar for those who read last week’s feature.
The Thatcher administration ushered in significant cuts before the last Labour government fundamentally changed the way in which access to justice was treated. The Access to Justice Act 1999 introduced competitive tendering for legal aid, the first major intrusion of the free market, this is widely con-
You can be forgiven for barely noticing the 15 percent legal aid cuts announced in November, few envisage themselves needing its assistance and protests were distinctly muted. Perhaps, this is what led the government to make its most audacious claim; reducing legal aid would be ‘fairer’.
Education is not the only institution assaulted under the auspices of ‘efficiency’; legal aid has also been substantially undermined sidered to have triggered a ‘race to the bottom’ lowering the standard of legal aid work and thus exacerbating the disparity between rich and poor in their chances of succeeding at court. However, once again it has been the present government who have launched the most withering attack upon access to justice’s founding principles.
The Daily Mail, ever the champion of progressive social policy, attacked the fat cat lawyers taking millions from the state. The fact that the average legal aid lawyer’s wage is less than the average teacher’s seemed to be unnoticed. The irony that leading the charge was Kenneth Clarke, a wealthy Cambridge-educated barrister, seemed lost. Once again, the real
victims were the poor.The cuts saw the total removal of funding for employment, education and professional negligence claims and crippling cuts in private family, welfare and immigration cases. This ‘fairer’ system will see the families of those who died due to medical negligence or workers wishing to challenge unfair dismissals unable to get funding. The government are very aware of the unjust nature of their reforms. The government green paper said that cuts in claims against benefit decisions would disproportionately affect the ill and disabled - it was still scrapped. Let us hope that the new legions of disadvantaged appreciate that their misfortune is in the name of fairness. If one discounts the spurious claim that the justice gap will be plugged by lawyers working for free, this once again leaves the free market as the arbitrator of societal rights this time in the form of ‘no win, no fee’ law firms. The implications of this may not be immediately obvious, but they are extremely serious. Legal aid firms normally demand an over 60 percent chance of success to take on a case. Thus, whether justice is sought for the poor will be substantially dictated
by the commercial calculations of law firms. This presents two major problems. First, claims against financially powerful interests are essential for maintaining true legal equality; however they remain poor prospects for risk-adverse, financially-motivated, lawyers. Second, challenges based on ambiguities and uncertainties in the law are indispensible in its wider development and public awareness of its deficiencies. However, they also remain risky and labour-intensive work holding little appeal for the private sector. The decline of legal aid is indicative of the nefarious impact of increased ‘marketisation’ on our social institutions. Access to justice is being gradually transformed from an inalienable civil-political right into an economic privilege available to those who can afford it. Precluding a segment of society from equal access to the courts, an entire branch of government, carries grave repercussions for the rule of law and democratic values in the UK. The fact that the cuts were supposedly made to pay for the mistakes of the rich only compounds the injustice.
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Judith Butler at the University of Sussex
World famous academic speaking this Wednesday Diana Franklin, Administrative Liaison Officer Centre for German-Jewish Studies The Centre for German-Jewish Studies invites you to the Second Hannah Arendt Lecture in Modern Jewish Thought 2011. Professor Judith Butler (University of California, Berkeley / Columbia University) will speak on ‘Arendt, Cohabitation, and the Dispersion of Sovereignty’ The event will take place on Wednesday, 2 February 2011 at 5pm in the Asa Briggs Lecture Thearte (formerly Arts A02). Arendt’s famous commentary on the Eichmann trial in 1962 contains within it a statement of principle regarding rights of co-habitation that
political power without central sovereign authority. And yet, her claim that no one has the right to choose with whom to co-habit the earth sets a limit on rights based on individual volition at the same time that it asserts a right to co-habitation, a distinctively social right. Does the articulation of that right presuppose sovereign power, or does this performative work only on the condition that sovereignty is dispersed? Arendt’s view provides a timely counter to that of Carl Schmitt and Giorgio Agamben whose citation of Arendt is clearly selective. How might we rethink the performative as a dispersion of sovereignty? Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature and the
Butler at the University of Pennsylvania in 2010 Photo: LMIMIL has to be derived from the rhetorical and theatrical dimensions of her text. In explaining why Eichmann deserves to die, she accuses him of having abrogated a fundamental principle of human rights: no one has the right to choose with whom to cohabit the earth. This ‘right’ like the ‘right to have rights’ elaborated in On Totalitarianism is grounded neither in natural nor positive law. Indeed, the right is asserted on the presupposition that a plural subject exercises a performative power to bring the right into being. The power of this performative raises questions about the status of sovereign power in Arendt’s writing. She very clearly promotes a notion of democracy based on a social plurality, and explicitly recommends federalism as a way of distributing
Co-director of the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley. She received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Yale University in 1984 on the French Reception of Hegel. She is the author of many books, including Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Routledge, 1990), Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex” (Routledge, 1993) and Frames ofWar:When Is Life Grievable? (2009). She is also active in gender and sexual politics and human rights, anti-war politics, and Jewish Voice for Peace. She is presently the recipient of the Andrew Mellon Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement in the Humanities. She has recently accepted a visiting appointment at Columbia University. All welcome, no booking required.
National e-Petition to save NHS Visit the website to support the campaign The NHS Support Federation have begun collecting signatures to save the NHS from reforms that it believes will “cut deeply into the fairness, quality and value that we have come to expect.” The campaign has already gathered support from organisations such as the Royal College of Practitioners and the British Medical Association, as well as the trade union’s UNISON and UNITE. The NHS Support Federation was founded in 1989 and “campaigns for the right of every citizen to comprehensive healthcare regardless of their financial means.” and aims in this case to “to protect the NHS and safeguard its future.” The petition has gathered over 7,000 individual signatories. The petition site links to the Federation’s response to the gov-
ernment’s white paper ‘Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS’. In their response they assert “every hospital and community health service is transformed into...an independent organisation forced to compete for business.” To sign the petition visit www. nhscampaign.org and click on the top-right link to the e-petition.
The petition has gathered over 7,000 individual signatories.
One Sussex Week Events Listing
Aiming to celebrate the diversity of our members, educate, inform, share, inspire and more. Monday 31st January Sign language taster session, 1-3pm, room 126, Falmer House: An introduction to basic sign language with Gavin Lilley Students Against Sexual Harassment (SASH) Open Mic Night, 8pm, Falmer Bar Back Room: An Open Mic Night run by Women’s Group with women performers. The night is part of the new campaign Students Against Sexual Harassment (SASH) that is fighting against the rise in sexual harassment around the country. Tuesday 1st February Police information stall, Library Square, 12 – 4pm: The police will be providing students with information on personal safety as well as giving out freebies including personal alarms and UV pens. LGBT History Month film screening of ‘And the Band Played On’, Falmer Bar Back Room, 5pm: For the first day of LGBT History Month, LGBTQ Society will be hosting a screening of ‘And the Band Played On’ which is set during the first years of the AIDS epidemic in the United States. Chinese New Year Celebration, Mandela Hall, 6.30pm, tickets £5 in advance, more on the door: Sussex’s biggest ever celebration of Chinese New Year – expect performances, food, music and an opportunity to learn about a variety of traditions associated with the festival. Buy tickets in advance from the
Students’ Union Box Office or online at www.sussexstudent.com/events, more on the door. Wednesday 2nd February Disability Interest Group, Brighton & Sussex Medical School MS307A, 10am-12pm: A chance for students to come together to discuss issues relating to disability in a safe and welcoming environment. Issues such as the proposed restructuring of the academic year will be discussed as well as any issues that students themselves wish to raise and these will be fed back to the University and Students’ Union. It is hoped that this will become a termly event. Creating Inclusive Learning Materials Workshop, 12-2pm, book through Sussex Direct: This session for staff looks at approaches you can take to make materials more inclusive, to the benefit of all users. The session covers both electronic and paper based materials. Book through Sussex Direct in order to be sent further details and locations. Student Parents’ Coffee Time, 1-3pm, East Slope Family Room (behind East Slope Bar): Hosted by the new Student Parents Association, this will be a chance to meet and mingle with other students with kids. Come with or without your children. Thursday 3rd February Donation not Discrimination stall, 10am-1pm, Falmer House Reception:
LGBTQ will be running an information stall on the campaign against the National Blood Service’s blanket ban on men who have had sex with men donating blood. The campaign encourages people to donate on behalf of friends that can’t. Friday 4th February Skill Swap, 12-4pm, Mandela Hall: Come along to Mandela Hall to experience workshops run by a variety of students and student groups.You’ll be able to learn skills from all over the world including belly dancing and henna painting. Wake Up Sid screening and Retro Bollywood night, 6.30pm, Falmer Bar back room, £1.50 in advance, £2 on the door: Hosted by Indian Students’ Society and BollyGood Society, this event will combine a screening of the hit film Wake Up Sid followed by a night of music and dancing. Snacks provided, drinks promos. Sunday 6th February Super Bowl, 11pm-4am, East Slope Bar: Live screening in East Slope Bar from 11pm. Themed Super Bowl food served until late. The Dhaba Café will have daily internationally themed specials throughout the week. The Careers and Employability Centre will be hosting a One Sussex programme over the coming weeks including sessions for widening participation and mature students, see their website at: www.sussex.ac.uk/ careers
Union Bar Food Survey Good eating habits and good food are vital whilst studying, we want to find out what you eat during the average day on campus, where you eat and how you rate the quality and pricing of food in some of the campus outlets. The survey will take less than 5 minutes to complete, results from this survey will be used to improve and develop the services available at East Slope Bar and Falmer Bar, and as a little thank you for your feedback some luck person will win ÂŁ25 of Amazon vouchers, details at the end of the survey. www.sussexstudent.com/campusfoodsurvey
Thanks for your help!
arts THE MAIN EVENT Page 12 VISUAL ARTS CENTRE STAGE UNIVERSITY APPAREL Page 13
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The main event
The Badger interviews vegetarian writer Jonathan Safran Foer
ON THE BIG SCREEN FILM MATTERS Page 14 GIG REVIEW ALBUM REVIEW NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND Page 15
WHAT’S ON...? Page 16
Jonathan Safran Foer gets animated about animals Photo: thelmagazine.com Joel Stagg Jonathan Safran Foer rose to fame and acclaim in 2002 with his first novel, Everything is Illuminated. His latest book, Eating Animals, sees him stray from fictional writing for a critical interrogation of the farming industry, combining undercover journalism with opposing arguments, and personal reflection. A vegetarian, Foer was inspired to write the book by the imminent arrival of his first son, and a desire to be well informed in what to feed him. I sat down with him to discuss the importance of what we eat, ethical agriculture, and Eating Animals. The book doesn’t explicitly promote vegetarianism. Why is this? The existence of very good farms. They surprised me at least as much as the very bad farms, and I found it impossible to argue against them. I think most people want the same thing, which is as little violence and cruelty, and as little environmental destruction. I respect people who say “the world is never going to become vegetarian”, and it’s naïve to try and encourage that. It’s much better, for me, to reform the system. Another way of looking at things is that it’s impossible; they’re never going to reform the system. You can’t feed six billion people meat in a responsible way, so we should stop eating meat. One farmer in the book argues, ‘if you can’t do it right don’t do
it all’. The point is that we shouldn’t all do the bare minimum that any human being would be able to do. I don’t want to just resort to a type of laziness, of like, ‘well, it’s probably good enough’. A big argument for eating meat is our natural predatory instinct and our physiological design. Male humans seem to be designed to have many partners, not to be monoga-
makes us human. You talk about your grandmother and your children as key influences. You emphasise that what we eat is an important, conscious decision. We have a whole web of associations, emotional associations. Food can evoke memories of childhood, family, places that we’ve been, times in our lives, it’s very powerful. But my grandmother served us this particu-
You can’t feed six billion people meat in a responsible way, so we should stop eating meat mous. Wouldn’t you say that a marriage is unnatural? Yes! But in a way that we really value, and there are types of meat-eaters around who would say “Humans are made to eat meat. Forget it, I’m going to eat meat” and then you say to them “your daughter is married. Do you want her husband to act on all of his sexual cravings?” they would say - “I’ll kill him!”You know? We’re very picky, choosy and arbitrary with when we appeal to nature as a moral guide. Humans are great at resisting our cravings, that’s what
lar kind of food but also taught us certain kinds of lessons, that maybe when I was a kid or 50 years ago or in a different place those lessons in that food were not in conflict. In the year 2011 they are in conflict. It may be that in order to have one value we have to let go of another. How did you explain your vegetarianism to your children? I think eating animals is something that you have to explain to them. The stories that we read to them, almost always, have heroes that are animals, when they cry very often parents give
their kids stuffed animals, a lot of homes have pets, we’re taught to treat them in a certain way, but then there’s this other thing, the animals that we kill and cut up and eat their bodies, and I think for a kid that can be confusing. What effect do you hope this book will have? I would hope the average reader would read the book, say to their husband, wife, or brother, you should read this, we really should be thinking about this. The idea is that we really shouldn’t be ignoring this anymore. I think different people can reach different conclusions about how to engage it but, until recently, the default position is ‘I know its bad but I just really don’t want to know about it.’ And we can’t do that anymore. We really are at a crossroads. There is still time, there are still ways to reform all of this. Whenever something is on the ballot it always passes by the widest margin. Even though the industry spends tens of millions of dollars lobbying. People just share these instincts, it’s just common sense: who is the person who wants to cram chickens into a cage? It ties in to pollution, deforestation, global warming, animal rights, human rights... Right. In terms of bang for your buck in life, the best way the individual can change the world is to eat less meat. Eating Animals is out now and is highly recommended reading.
Fifteen minutes of fame
Joseph Preston Visual arts editor Following on from what we actually judge as art, I mentioned briefly the dominance of the celebrity artist as a factor in how art is perceived by the public today. And this is very much true, ever since Andy Warhol revolved his art around his persona, the artist as art has since dominated contemporary trends in visual arts today. Thanks to Warhol, not only the visual arts were influenced by his “fifteen minutes of fame”, but also popular music. Glam rock stars such as David Bowie cited Warhol as a major influence on his art as well as adopting stage personas (such as Ziggy Stardust) in a Warhol-equse vain which continues on till today with Beyonce’s Sasha Fierce and is also a major influence on Lady Gaga:
the idea of a stage or all encompassing persona which becomes a brand. It’s more about the artist than the music (think Britney Spears), and this is also true within visual arts as well. And there isn’t a more evident use of this trend then in the British art establishment. And there are no two greater examples then Tracy Emin and Damien Hurst. The majority of Emin’s art is about herself. From ‘Bed’ to ‘Everyone I Ever Slept With’, ‘Bed’ is of course her infamous installation piece, which as the title suggests is her actual bed. Complete with used condoms and period stains. ‘Bed’ is perhaps the most audacious piece of self art to have been exhibited. It isn’t about the bed featured, or the items around it, but the person who used it - Emin. There could not be anything more personal than private items which most of us wouldn’t want another human being to see. But
these are only remnants of Emin, it was her autobiography Strangeland which left no small secret unturned. Strangeland, other than being a piece of self art in it’s self, it’s is a seminal piece of non-fiction. Written in child-like prose - there is no extended Dickens-like metaphors and description; it is blunt, tactless, honest and completely compelling. It’s not like an average biography of a celebrity; it feels realistic and entirely personal. Strangeland is, of course a prime example as an artist as a brand. However, whereas Emin gains prominence through the power of her art, her equally infamous contemporary Damien Hurst monopolizes visual art. Hurst is a direct descendent of Warhol’s ‘factory’ production techniques, designing the art, but doesn’t actually make it himself. I see Hurst as designer-art, whilst Emin is about the
persona; Hurst is about production and prestige. His ‘Dots’ painting are a contemporary version of Warhol’s Marilyn screen prints. But nevertheless Hurst is a celebrity artist. It’s the brand and Hurst’s name that attracts its buyers. I believe there are plus and down sides to contemporary visual arts. One point of view is that this encourages other prospective artists to study art, as there could be gold at the end of the rainbow (so to speak), but at the same time unless you are audacious and incredibly charismatic, you won’t get very far in today’s art world. But then, has Emin and Hurst not gained our respect? Emin lays every bear for us to see and Hurst is an excellent business man. There is a reason why they are as notable as they are. But the popularity of the celebrity artist still leaves a lot of good visual arts out of the lime light.
Musical theatre is everywhere we look Photos: blog.pennlive.com/royberkinfo.blogspot.com/fanpop.com/signature-theatre.com Wanjiru Kariuki Performance editor Whether you love or hate it, it is undeniable that musical theatre is everywhere you look. Ryan Murphy’s latest creation has seen the emergence of self confessed ‘gleeks’, for those unfamiliar it is a term used to describe a group of fans currently addicted to the overtly (and unahsamedly so) cheesy musical TV show ‘Glee’. But what direction is musical theatre taking exactly? Is it a saturated phenomenon thanks to Disney and the countless number of television musicals it has released in the last few years (think high school musical) or a serious branch of theatre that has allowed the likes of Jennifer Hudson to garner not only
a BAFTA but the ultimate prize, an Oscar for her performance in ‘Dream Girls’ as well as the regeneration of a breed of actors that have the much envied triple threat: singing, acting and dancing. Musicals have always been popular to a certain extent, and the screen is for the most part, the most accessible way to see them when you consider theatre ticket prices. Nonetheless in the last few years, musicals have become insanely popular in Hollywood. Fans of American television will have seen characters burst into song in shows such as ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘30 Rock.’ Film favorites in recent years include, ‘Chicago’ and ‘Moulin Rouge’, two musicals that not only amassed critical success but also proved box office gold. Undoubt-
edly, they were terribly entertaining but what is happening to real musical theatre? That is, theatre put on the stage in front of a live audience with lights, music and sweat? While television musicals solve obvious issues such as un-retouched make-up, mistakes in choreography and limited sets and props, live theatre distinguishes mediocre performers from those that are simply brilliant. ‘My Fair lady’ is a classic example, whereby Julie Andrews performed all the musical numbers on stage but it is claimed that in the film all but one number was dubbed by Marni Nixon. Today, the dreaded 808 machines, or auto-tune has enabled singers to reach notes they never could and retouch any mistakes, which makes me ponder
if technology, as it has been argued in many other fields, is encroaching on this brilliant branch of entertainment. Granted, a lot of productions do start on the stage and then are transferred to the big screen, permitting audiences to enjoy the best of both worlds; live vocals as well as the rewind button when they want to relive a particular number. And as a fellow gleek, I cannot deny that I am an avid television musical fan but perhaps live theatre needs to get the credit it deserves and what better way than to go watch a couple shows. ‘The Wizard of Oz’ produced by musical god Andrew Lloyd Webber is coming to the London stage, and soon after ‘Betty Blue Eyes’ will be out for all to enjoy. Queue the singing.
Damien Hurst’s diamond encrusted skull Photo: Danny Alexander
If like me, a lifetime of ill advised fashion choices and Saturday afternoon panic buying has left you with a wardrobe large enough to clothe an entire village then having a Swish might just be the answer. Swishing is the new ethical fashion phenomenon which promotes clothes swapping not shopping in a bid to save money and the planet and keep our conscience as clear as our wardrobes. The concept behind it is simple. Fabulously fashionable and eco conscious ladies bring nice clean clothes which have been left lurking, terribly sad and unappreciated, in the backs of wardrobes to a swishing part where other equally fabulous ladies fall in love with them and take them home. The parties range from mini swishes in bedrooms to large scale Swish-taculars, all day events with free bars and burlesque entertainment. My recent shortage of funds and corresponding inability to close my bulging wardrobe door led me to the rather snazzy Lansdowne Place Hotel in Hove where myswish.com was hosting an uber glam swishing party with ten per cent of proceeds going to carbon cutting charity 10:10. Armed with an unloved fur coat (more Pat Butcher than Sienna Miller), a once treasured Ted Baker cocktail dress (which would now require a rib-ectomy to squeeze into) and various other fashion blunders, I paid my fiver admission fee. A welcoming Swish hostess rated my wares and gave me my points card which I could redeem against whatever I wanted. I was amazed by the quality of goods on offer and less than an hour later I emerged smug-faced and cradling a new bundle of adopted fashion joys. I had the glorious realisation that not only had I spent virtually nothing but I had also contributed something positive to the universe. A far cry from the familiar guilt ridden stomach ache a regular shopping trip produces. It’s estimated the average woman spends approximately £1000 annually on clothes, yet only wears 30 per cent of her wardrobe. In this era of disposable fashion swishing seems like the logical answer, providing women from all walks of life with an opportunity to get together and enjoy fashion without the resultant problems of mounting debt and waste.
Photo: daemonsmovies.com Photo: daemonsmovies.com
On the big screen
Lucy Atkinson Film editor Tangled Nathan Greno, Byron Howard USA, 100 mins, PG 2010 Disney lost its way for a while. After the glory days of our collective childhood, with their steady succession of classic musical adventures from Beauty and the Beast to The Lion King, the animation giant’s pool of ideas seemed to stagnate. The only stand-out classics for the past decade were the Toy Story movies, and one suspects that Pixar did the lion’s share of the creative work on that franchise. So why did Disney dry up? What happened in the intervening years, and how will they regain their crown as the animation studio
to beat? One idea, and one I hold close to my own sing-along heart, was Disney’s decision to stop making animated musicals. While the musical as a genre had been out of fashion in mainstream, grown-up cinema since the sixties, in animation and children’s film it was still going strong. Try and imagine The Lion King without Hakuna Matata, or Aladdin without A Whole New World. Imagine how different, how empty your childhood would have been without Be Our Guest or Under the Sea. Singing along to Disney was part of growing up; but in recent years, for some unknown reason, the music has died, dragging audience figures and critical acclaim down with it. Perhaps it was a bid to compete with Pixar, who have never made
a musical; perhaps some market researcher told them children these days want catchphrases and comedy penguins more than catchy tunes; perhaps they just couldn’t be bothered any more. Whatever the reason, the Disney musical died a death in the mid-nineties, and (not necessarily as a direct result, but certainly as an interesting parallel) the company as a whole has suffered. Thankfully, at the start of this new decade, Disney seems to be going back to its more tuneful roots. With the release last year of The Princess and the Frog, and with their new movie Tangled released this week, we have two Disney musicals in the classic tradition, and the good news is that they’re both great. Tangled is a new spin on the classic fairytale of Rapunzel, which takes its cues as much from Shrek as from
The Little Mermaid. The characters are energetically voiced and playfully rebellious, the script is fun for adults as well as children, and there are two genuinely amusing animal sidekicks, neither of which, thank the lord, are voiced by Eddie Murphy. While the film is needlessly in three dimensions, because the studios haven’t yet realized that their audiences have brains enough to follow a film that isn’t literally jumping out of the screen, it does look beautiful. One particular scene at the film’s climax is visually spectacular enough to rival any magic in the Mouse House’s back catalogue. But the real reason this film stands apart from anything the studio has done for a long while is the music. When the characters sing, it feels like you’re watching a REAL Disney film. The characters break into song and the film comes
to life. There is an obvious reason for this. The songs and music are written by Alan Menken, whose name you might not know, but whose music you were raised on. He composed the score forThe Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, Aladdin, and just about any other Disney film you secretly sing along to. His songs shaped our childhood, and now he’s back at the studio what won him his eight academy awards, introducing a whole new generation to the wonders of the animated musical. Watching the musical sequences in Tangled reminds you how you felt when you first saw Aladdin and Jasmine take that magic carpet ride, or sat down to dinner with Belle and Lumière. Alan Menken’s music makes you a kid again, and really, isn’t that what watching a Disney film is all about?
ham-Carter, is racing ahead with 12 nominations including Best Film, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Director. Toy Story 3, Inception, True Grit (earning a considerable ten nominations) and Black Swan are but a handful of other titles contending for Best Film.Winter’s Bone,an independent film and the second feature film directed by Debra Granik, surprised many with its four nominations. Colin Firth is a firm favourite to win Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of King George VI in The King’s Speech – especially considering he didn’t win the award for his perform-
ance in his 2009 film, A Single Man. James Franco is another contender, with his portrayal of climbing-enthusiast-turned-self-inflicted-amputee in 127 Hours – a film with a minimal cast which relied almost entirely on its male lead. Also nominated are Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Javier Bardem (Biutiful) and Jesse Eisenburg (The Social Network). Natalie Portman looks hot-tipped to win the award for Best Actress for her chilling performance in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan; though Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine) and Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) are offering some stiff com-
petition. Also nominated are Annette Benning (The Kids Are Alright) and Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole). Christian Bale (The Fighter) and Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech) look set to go head to head for the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, while Helena Bonham-Carter is favourite to win Best Actress in a Supporting Role. However, newcomer 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld may give the veteran actress a run for her money for her portrayal in True Grit – while Barbara Hershey and Mila Kunis (both Black Swan) have, scandalously, been snubbed by the Academy. Similarly, Christopher Nolan
(Inception) has been left off the list of nominees for Best Director - to the unmitigated outrage of what must be most of the world. Instead, David Fincher looks hopeful to win for his excellent film The Social Network. Inception is instead nominated for Best Original Screenplay, but may fall short compared to The King’s Speech and Mike Leigh’s Another Year. Not quite the clean-up Nolan was expecting. Lastly, Jack Black’s performance in Gulliver’s Travels – a film one critic described as ‘almost unendurably bad’ – has earned him a nomination for Worst Actor at the Razzies.
Lily Rae Film editor It’s that time of year again. The red carpet is rolled out, the tissues are primed and ready for A-list tears, the suits are sharp and the dresses are to die for. It can only be the 83rd Academy Awards: and the nominess have just been announced. Momentum Pictures (an Alliance Film company) have been nominated a staggering 20 awards for their features Another Year, The Fighter and The King’s Speech. The latter, directed by Tom Hooper and starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bon-
badger email@example.com Notes from the underground
The VoomKa troupe 2011 Photo: Polina Belehhova Louise Ronnestad Music editor Sussex Live Corn Exchange 20-21 January Sussex Live 2011 brought to you by the University of Sussex Students’ Union in association with the National Lottery was all about being yourself, trying something new and showcasing what the University of Sussex Students’ Union societies has to offer. On two nights, Thursday and Friday of last week, you could enjoy - Arts, Dance, Music, Film and Performance. The societies represented this year was: VoomKa Dance, Sussex Musical Theatre Society (SMUTS), Sussex University Drama Society (SUDS), Sussex University Big Band, Environmental Society, Breakdance Society, Indian Students Society and Show Choir. There was also an exhibition in
the lobby provided by the Life Drawing Society and the Photographic Society. The VoomKa girls opened up both nights at Sussex Live 2011 in style with an outstanding, impressive and energetic routine. Saskia Sidey, one of the dancers, comments: ‘It’s a collaborative dance piece with 21 girls taking part, it’s been a massive group effort and is our biggest performance to date’. VoomKa won an award last year at the societies celebration for making such good progress. They have girls from freshers to fourth years (and wouldn’t be adverse to boys either!). The Badger met with the enthusiastic VoomKa team backstage for a chat before the show on the Friday. This year’s dance piece was choreographed by Saskia Sidey, Millie Gooch and Rachel Fairfield set to Katy B ‘On a Mission’ and Far East Movement ‘Like a G6’. Saskia, Millie and Rachel quickly popped out from the loge and sat down to answer some questions in the midst
of make-up, change of clothes and other such preparations. How long have you been rehearsing? We came up with the routine in the first couple of rehearsals. After that we’ve been going over and over it, everyday for the last two weeks. It’s been pretty intense (haha). It’s been brilliant rehearsing, really. What inspired you? We wanted to put three of the main styles we do, together, in one dance that is: street dance, hip-hop and contemporary. To really showcase what we’ve got… How come you chose to include the song ‘Like a G6’? We started with Katy B and decided to choose that one because it had a mixture of all the styles that we wanted to do. So we started to listen to the beginning, which had a slow contemporary feel to it.We thought that we could adapt all the styles into it… and we used ‘G6’ because that was the routine that we’d used before. It’s a fun song and blended in quite well.
Have you enjoyed this? Yeah, it’s been really good to get to know lots of girls because people don’t always come regularly to the class. For this, people have been coming every day. Why did you join the Dance Society? It seemed like a good way to get to know more people.You make a lot of friends that you would not normally meet because you are in different years. It’s another group of friends that you’ve got. And you stay in shape (haha). Who has designed your costumes? The lovely people at Primark. We all bought plain clothes and customized them however we wanted. Any last words? Thank you for the opportunity. We hope to do bigger and more regular performances in the future.We are going to a Pineapple trip, London. Also, we’re doing the University Street Dance Championships. It’s good to start competing and build confidence. Sussex Live 2012 here we come!
Chapel Club might be willing to do the unexpected. Frontman Lewis Bowman shows sympathetic ambition in his lyrics, eschewing typical boy-girl drama for more challenging stuff: the album’s replete with religious imagery. While the single, Surfacing really little else than a cover of the Mama Cass number Dream a little dream of me, although the band apparently insists it’s a hate song directed at an unnamed scenester - shimmers with barely supressed venom, the rest of the album is considerably more melancholic. Quite a few of the songs seem to deal in a sort of metaphysical hangover, with a world-weary Bowman gazing uncomprehendingly at the scenes
unfolding , as the guitars crackle and soar around him. The majestic “The Shore” might be the album’s centrepiece - clocking in at six minutes, it begins with the sound of shrieking seagulls and grows into the kind of hypnotic hymn Kevin Shields might have been proud of. This is the kind of stuff I’d really like to see Chapel Club do more of - appaerently on a december EP, “Wintering”, they explored more atmospheric sounds. They’re still a young band, these serious young men - and you have to ask yourself, listening to this album, just how far they can go. Personally I’m more than willing to stick around and see where they end up.
Chapel Club Photo: windishagency.com John Pettersson Palace Chapel Club Loog/Universal They seem to turn up every two years or so: four or five serious-looking young men in a serious alternative rock band. The lyrics will be gloomy, the album will be loud and sweeping and owe a fair bit to the shoegaze movement of the early 1990’s. The enthusiastic press will mention Joy Division, MBV,or Echo and the Bunnymen in their encouraging reviews. So what chances do Chapel Club, a London band releasing their debut full-length “Palace” on January 31st, have of riding the buzz that’s surrounded them
for most of the past year into a promising future? After all, tons of bands are doing competent work on indie club hits. Do we really need another group of serious young men? Well, based on the songcraft on this album, I wouldn’t bet against them. Produced by veteran Paul Epworth, Palace is a terrific slice of atmospheric indie, perhaps the first exciting release of 2011. Yes, they’re gloomy, yes, they’re loud, yes, they do seem to have overdosed on Loveless - but with songs as strong as the twinkling sliceof-London-life “All the Eastern Girls” or the brilliantly titled single “O Maybe I”, who cares if we’ve seen it before? And there are signs, too, that
The Space is billed as Brighton’s unique arts and media event and unique it certainly is. Where else would revered BBC Four Controller Richard Klein and renown actress Clare Grogan appear on the same stage as they are this Wednesday? Boasting of bringing together the creative community with high calibre guests The Space more than lives up to the claim. It certainly did the night I went to check out the event with a line-up that could easily fill a room four times the size, and charge at least twice as much: Barry Norman, Frank Skinner. It is inspiring to note that everybody, including the guests give their time for free. This really adds to the sense of the community, the evening as an opportunity for creative collaboration. Not only is networking actively encouraged but the guests offer genuine and valuable advice. When asked for the secret of his success and what advice he would offer, Barry Norman who has enjoyed a long and illustrious career as a journalist and critic was open and heartfelt: ‘Telling the truth. If I thought it was good I would say so and if I thought it was bad I would say so and you had to believe that I meant that. There are no absolutes with reviewing. Don’t pretend to be something you aren’t and write like you believe it. Keep it simple. Be as informative as you can and if you can think of something amusing to say, well that’s always useful.’ Of course, above all the night is about entertainment and I was thoroughly entertained. Barry Norman regaled the audience with tales of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, and the golden age of Hollywood. His potential for name dropping, John Wayne, Laurence Olivier, read like a list of who’s who of revered actors and the anecdotes were always amusing. Even a brief interlude of a spiel about deformation and the legalities of copy write from the sponsors Acumen Media Law; which could have been one of those awkward promotions, sponsored events are often tainted by was hilarious, providing excellent fuel for Frank Skinner who repeatedly returned it as fodder for his jokes. Presented as ‘in conversation with Biggy Smales’, it was a welcome chance to see Frank Skinner interviewed in such an informal manner with contributions also taken from the floor. Intimate questions were answered honestly and self deprecatingly and not just for comical value. However describing his ‘alternative comedy’ as ‘basically swearing’, Skinner’s joke about swearing on TV ‘as being a bit like anal sex. It’s alright as long as you give them a warning – give them a chance to turnover’ had everyone laughing. Frank as his name, Skinner was on top form. Providing a spacious opportunity to get up close and personal with celebrated guests for just a £5 concessionary rate, The Space is well worth it.
If you want to see your event on these pages, contact Olivia James with the venue, date and time of your event, a short description, and any relevant images. Send your request to badger-listings@ussu. sussex.ac.uk by the Tuesday of the week before your event is happening at the very latest. * Tickets available from the Union Box Office in Falmer House
A Shepherd’s Journey: the story of Israel’s first Bedouin diplomat
Join your hosts Charlie and Simon and test your wits to win cash prizes and more!
Instead of Trash, why not try Jailbait? With hip hop, r&b, and plenty of ‘90s classics.
LGBT History Month
Chinese New Year
Double Bill Film Night
A month of special events ranging from film screenings, talks, gigs and club nights. More info at lgbthistorymonth.org.uk
An evening of performance, comedy and magic organised by the CSSA, with a chinese buffet to celebrate the year of the rabbit!
With The Wanderers at 7pm, and The Warriors at 9.30pm. Free popcorn and cheap drinks if dressed in gang themed attire!
With Peep Show’s Isy Suttie and Skins’ Joel Dommett, plus support from Elis James and Romesh Ranganathan.
Ishmael Khaldi speaks about his journey and life as part of an ethnic minority in Israel. 104
caroline of brunswick
I Like Trains
Sussex Salon Series
Funky Spanish Breaks
See the band playing tracks from their new album, ‘He Who Saw the Deep’, live.
Does the ban on religious symbols in countries such as France, Belgium and Italy violate human rights or ensure them?
Acoustic open mic session, followed by DJs playing funk and hip hop ‘til late!
Funky house band and Latin DJs, with plenty of great deals on drinks.
founders room, brighton dome
Thursday students’ union
Candidate Question Time
Hang the DJ
Hear from the students taking part in the full-time officer elections, and ask them any questions you may have.
Get down to Falmer Bar between 6-8pm and grab 2-for-1 cocktails every Thursday.
Every Thursday, it’s your chance to DJ! Get in touch via Facebook to book your slot.
Early US r&b, original Jamaican ska, jump blues, rocksteady and early reggae, gospel, roots of rock ‘n roll, calypso and jazz!
The Badger writers’ meetings
The Swing Ninjas and Lorne Rawlings
Want to write for the Badger? Come down and meet our friendly editors every Friday; pick up a story or share your ideas.
Come chill at East Slope Bar with live music every Friday. If you want to be involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Glaswegian record label and party comes After blowing the roof off at White Night to Brighton, with co-founders Jackmaster and last year, the Swing Ninjas return with live Spencer on the decks. brass and rhythms from the ‘20s to ‘50s.
falmer house, room
falmer house, room
fortune of war
Pigment and Light
FWS/Rinse and Supercharged
Phoenix artists explore the continuum of painting in its various forms - from canvas and paint to pigment and light.
The loveable Mancunian comedian is in Brighton for the weekend.
Dubstep all night long, with Joker, Plastician, Roska, D Double and Jamie George.
Creole Choir of Cuba
Brighton Filmmakers’ Coalition Meeting Chill out...
Swap or donate seeds to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Seedy Sunday, a project promoting the conservations of bio-diversity.
If you thought Cuba was all about rum and salsa, think again. The Creole Choir of Cuba tell a whole different story...
Get involved in local projects and bring your ideas to the table.
Have a relaxing Sunday with the Downsound Sessions - trip hop and dub DJs.
hove town hall
8pm, £10 when quoting ‘stu10’ with an nus card
The fight against the Ebolavirus Scientists’ new discovery raises hope Tanja Hoffmann At the beginning of this year the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry published an article by a group of US American scientists which gives new insights into the interaction between the fatal Ebolavirus and other molecules. Possibly, this innovation in the field will provide a basis for future developments in antiviral drug production. Ebola was first recognized in Central Africa where most of its outbreaks have been prevalent. The Ebolavirus is transmitted from an animal host, most likely bats, to humans who can then infect others via their body fluids. Infected individuals develop the typical symptoms of a viral hemorrhagic fever which includes high fever, diarrhea and a severe rash all over the body. This will consequently lead to a hypovolemic shock and in up to 90% of the cases to death of the individual. Although the disease spreads easily, especially in countries with limited hygienic standards, neither effective prevention methods nor treatments have been developed so far. The danger of the Ebolavirus does not only lie in its high virulence and mortality rate but that it is silent-
ly carried in other animal species making it impossible to monitor its incidence. Amongst other strains,
tively packaging themselves into the smallest unit possible which normally is no bigger than a hundred nanom-
thousands of new viruses until the invaded cell dies. It contains an RNA genome surrounded by a protective
Simple structure, complex life cycle Photo: Phil Moyer Ebola presents a further threat to human survival as it possesses the potential to be used as a bioterrorism weapon. Motivated by the threats which viruses present to human survival, scientists have been undertaking extensive research in the field since 1892. Viruses are masters in effec-
eters. Despite their simplicity in structure, their mechanisms of taking advantage of their hosts are sophisticated. Once they have entered the host cell, they are capable of replicating by using the required components from their host. An Ebolavirus, for example, replicates at an alarming rate, releasing
coat. This coat surrounding the viral genetic information has become the main target for research. By finding molecules which are able to bind to the coat, the coat structure can be changed in a way that makes it impossible for the virus to either enter the cell or carry out its replication process after having invaded the
host cell. Many molecules capable of binding to the viral coat have been identified but they only bind to the coat after the virus has entered the host cell. In order to ensure that no viral replication has occurred, it is necessary to prevent the entry of the virus. The two scientists Warburg and Rong were now lucky to identify one out of 230 screened molecules with this desired ability.They used a modified, and therefore less virulent, type of virus whose coat is identical to the Ebola coat. The molecule which belongs to the isoxazole family not only binds effectively to the Ebola but the Marburg virus suggesting that both types of viruses share a common mechanism of invading the human host cell. Warburg and Rong expect that their findings will encourage other scientists to find answers to questions of how Ebola and Marburg viruses manage to enter the human cell on a molecular basis, and whether the identified molecule works in the same way in animal organisms. Doubtlessly, these findings represent a milestone in virology research. For the first time they have shown that the Ebola and Marburg virus’ entry into the cell can be prevented.
The woman who found her voice Doctors perform miraculous voicebox transplant
Natasha Agabalyan Science editor A woman who had lost her voice during surgery was finally able to speak her first words in 11 years after a pioneering voice box transplant was successfully performed. This is only
the second successful larynx and thyroid transplant ever performed the first dating back to 1998. Brenda Charett Jenson lost her voice after complications during surgery blocked her airway. She was not only merely able to communicate through a voice synthesiser, but
A complex organ to transplant Photo: memorialhermann.org
also dependent on a tracheotomy (a tube is inserted into a windpipe) for breathing. Compared to that of the previous transplant patient, Jensen’s progress is immense. Although he has recovered some speech, he still has a tracheotomy and has never been able to move her own vocal cords. Jensen speaking after 13 days is in contrast miraculous. So what made Jensen the ideal candidate for this ground-breaking surgery? Firstly, Jensen was already on immunosuppressive drugs due to a kidney-pancreas transplant. Immunosuppressive drugs target the immune system in a bid to reduce the risk of organ rejection. Organ rejection is the most common problem with transplants, the body’s system generally not being very compliant when faced with unknown organs or blood. A good example of this is blood type between mothers and children. Blood types are categorised in two ways: firstly depending on blood cell types (A, B, AB or O) and secondly on the presence or absence of a particular protein Rh. In most cases, a pregnant woman’s blood and the foetus’s blood will not mingle, but at birth if an Rh negative mother gives birth to an Rh positive baby, the woman’s body can react against the Rh proteins enter-
ing her blood and create antibodies sent to fight the proteins. This is not a problem for the first birth, but if the mother were to become pregnant again with a Rh positive baby, her immune system would immediately create antibodies to fight off the unwanted proteins and the baby carrying them. Fortunately, a double injection of RH-immune globins during the first pregnancy, act as a vaccine and avoid complications to both the newborn and future pregnancies. Another reason for this surgery’s breakthrough success is that a more complex organ was transplanted. “The first larynx transplant only reconnected three nerves”, according to martin Birchall of UCL, whereas this procedure connected “five nerves with the intention of restoring much more laryngeal function than the original and, eventually getting rid of the tracheotomy.” The team transplanted the larynx, thyroid and trachea of a woman who died in an accident. The operation, performed at the Medical Centre of the University of California in October and lasted 18 hours, was lead by a team of specialised doctors who had trained for 2 years in preparation. Thirteen days after her opera-
tion, Jenson spoke her first words, congratulating her doctors on how amazing they were. Although she still requires the use of her tracheotomy, the hope is that she will learn to breathe without it. She is still learning to swallow properly but already says “This operation has restored my life. I feel so blessed to have been given this opportunity.” This operation follows a series of leaps in the transplant world. From the first successful face transplant in 2005, extensive research is being undergone in various fields surrounding the area. The transplants are becoming more and more complex but are involving a greater overall benefit as they endeavour to involve bones, muscle and nerves in the transplant. This makes the operations more ambitious but also more likely to stick. A lot of research is also being done into the value of stem cells within organ transplants and how to use a recipient’s stem cells to help ease the donor’s organ into the body. Let’s hope more research goes into these important operations: not only do they open up a minefield of information about the body, they also contribute to improving the quality of life of the treated patients.
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Sexism still an issue in professional sport Richard Kendall Last week saw the unsavoury issue of sexism in sport again rear its ugly head. At first, the appointment of Sian Massey as an assistant referee in a Premier League match last weekend did not at first merit much attention. Massey was not the first woman to officiate in English football; Amy Fearn took charge of a match in early 2010. This all changed in the following days, as comments made by Sky Sports stalwarts Andy Gray and Richard Keys about Massey came to light. Gray and Keys have fronted Sky Sports’ coverage of Premier League football for nearly twenty years, and as such are two of the most recognizable media faces, in football. In a private conversation, unwittingly recorded, Gray was heard to say, “What do women know about the offside rule?” with Keys responding “Somebody better get down there and explain offside to her”. These comments have been compounded by subsequent video evidence of sexist behaviour by Gray. Comments to a fellow Sky reporter, and to a female colleague, resulted in Gray’s firing lastTuesday. Sky said they had ‘no hesitation in taking this action’ in the light of his ‘unacceptable behaviour’. This affair has produced two strands of reaction, either supporting or condemning the duo. The latter strand has been by far the most vocal. Alan Leighton, national
secretary of referees’ union Prospect, said: “I think the comments are unacceptable ... women are evaluated and assessed in the same way as men”. Many in the media have echoed Leighton’s views, with the ensuing circus undoubtedly contributing to Gray’s downfall. In fact supporters of the disgraced duo were noticeably thin on the ground, with Rachel HeyhoeFlint, former England Women’s Cricket Captain, almost a lone voice. Flint said: “These were tongue-in-cheek comments and we are blowing something enormously out of proportion here”. It is this belief that the affair has been blown out of all proportion that seems most prevalent among ordinary sports fans. It is the wide extent to which this view is held that makes these comments so dangerous. Comments such as Gray’s are too often dismissed as ‘banter’, with the proponents of this view insisting that these jokes have no serious basis. Often though the opposite is true, with sexist banter masking an underlying sexist current that proves a barrier to sexual equality in sport. Such jokes may be regrettable, but if uttered in private they should not be subject to scrutiny and the perpetrators should not be disciplined. These views may be prehistoric, but they are not illegal. The decisive nail in the coffin of Andy Gray’s career was the evidence of sexual harassment in the
Dominant Sussex romp past King’s
Sian Massey fulfilling her duties as assistant referee Photo: Ian Walton/Getty Images Europe
form of comments to a female presenter.When private views manifest themselves in workplace actions it is a serious matter. Gray responded to this latest incident by describing it as ‘workplace banter’. There has been no comment from the female presenter to whom the comment was addressed, and we are therefore none the wiser as to how the comment was received. Whether it was received well or not (and the
Irene Morgan Sussex 34-0 Kings College The University of Sussex Women’s Rugby team were relieved to finally be facing an opponent with a full squad for the first time this season. From kick-off it was clear that King’s College London were a skilful team, but within a matter of minutes Sussex were pushing King’s defensive abilities with Jemma Coleborn sidestepping and smashing through a number of bemused King’s players to place down the first try of the game. Sussex continued to dominate but were lacking in communication and organisation. This did not stop Sussex’s relentless attack and well-timed support from loose-head prop Lillie Starkings brought the score to 10-0. Forwards powered through King’s players in aggressive mauls, which led to scrum-half Lucy Colbeck recognising an opening between the posts and diving over the try line. Shortly
after in brilliant lineout play Sussex broke through King’s defensive line and Captain Sarah Keeling used her quick feet and good hands to score the fifth try of the game. In the second half King’s had certainly picked up their pace; the immediate shock of the strength of the Sussex team had worn off and in scrums and tackles they were hitting hard. After two unfortunate held-up tries from Keeling and Coleborn, Coleborn exhibited her ability to break through the opposition’s defence, resulting in a wonderfully converted try. This was followed by excellent handling skills from Jess Forbes which allowed number 8 Lizzie Reading to storm her way through a number of helpless King’s players with another converted try bringing the score to an ultimate 34-0. Sussex’s new recuits displayed high levels of raw talent, and they will be crucial in the pursuit of the league title.
handing out unequal prize money to men and women. While such sexism receives condemnation in professional sport, there is no media to critique at an amateur level. It is perhaps at this level where the sceptre of sexism is most obvious. It is important to seize upon any example of overt sexism in sport, Only by vigorously condemning such actions can sport become truly equal.
The moment for Murray? Last week’s Owen Lee
Sussex’s defence stands firm Photo: flickr.com/solaris11
expression on her face suggests the latter) Gray’s lurid suggestion put his colleague in a potentially awkward position. Perhaps the response to this saga has been a little over-sensitive, but sensitivity is essential.There is little doubt that the world of sport is not a sexually equal place. Sexism is all too prevalent, in attitudes of many sportsmen and in the structure of competitions, it is after all only a year ago that Wimbledon was still
As we reach the latter stage of the Autralian Open, once again the question is asked, will Andy Murray win his first Grand Slam title? With his proven track record against the likes of Raffa and Roger, and high technical ability, he’s convinced many that this is the year for Muzza to break his Grand slam duck. Though poor form and lack of focus after last year’s run to the final raises question of whether he’s got the mental game that’s required of champions? Last season’s runner-up spot to the unstoppable (apart from if your David Ferrer) Rafael Nadal hit Murray hard, leading to an admittance that he wasn’t giving full focus to his tennis, consequently resulting in a series of early exits and a drop in ranking from a career high of 2nd in 2009 to 5th in the World at the start of Melbourne this year. That said, wins late in the season, plus the confirmation of Alex Corretja as Head Coach and a decent run at London’s O2 Arena, appear to have reinvigorated the Scot. With some blistering performances on the way to his semi-final spot, it’s hard to argue with him. Having destroyed 32nd seed Garcia-Lopez and easily accounted for 11th seed Jurgen Melzer, it’s hard to see how he’ll fail to dispatch with David Ferrer in similar style, and reach his second consecutive Aussie Open final. However, tour veteran Ferrer is eagerly awaiting and primed for battle. The Spanish no.2 ended 2010 in the top 10 for the first time in 3 years, and halted the 23 Slam winning streak of (an albeit injury hampered) Nadal to
earn his spot in the final four. Considering the close head-to-head contest between the pair, which will have been decided by the time we go to print, audiences are certainly in for an enthralling contest. Should Murray pass the Ferrer test, eagerly awaiting him with a 1-0 Melbourne final record, sits Mr Novak Djokovic. Having just beaten Roger Federer 3-0 he’s come into the final slightly under the radar, though certainly not underestimated. Whilst any win over Fed is noteworthy, the victory was certainly not without faults. After a fairly sluggish start in which two break points were proffered to Roger in his opening service game, the world no.3 soon found his feet.After claiming the first set 7-6 (7-3) and breaking early in the second, he was able to capitalise on some poor serving and uncharacteristic framed shots from Federer in a dramatic recovery after going 5-3 down, to take the set 7-5. In what was to be the final set of the match, Novak displayed some signs of nerves when failing to consolidate a break at 4-2, though eventually managed to hold on after a further break to claim the third 6-4. Whilst there are challenges facing Murray, he’ll certainly be much more confident with the draw than if his last two rounds were against Nadal and Federer respectively. With the Australian crowd firmly behind the mother country representative, we will have to wait and see if he can combine their support and his ability to succeed in his latest attempt be the first British male Grand Slam Champion in 75 years, or if the pressure will be too much and break him once again.
Sussex Men 4-4 Queen Mary’s Basketball Sussex Women 1st 27-62 Brunel Football Sussex Men 1sts 2-3 UCL Women 1sts (walkover)
Hockey Men 1sts 4-2 Reading University Netball Sussex 2nds 41-23 Reading Rugby Women 1sts 32-14 Reading Squash
Mens 1sts 0-5 Surrey Womens 1sts ( walkover)
Tennis Mens 1sts 12-0 St Mary’s
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