Issue 271

Page 1





How has York fared, and where are we going now?



EXCLUSIVE: North Yorkshire Police’s Plans for Student ID Cards During Second Lockdown


NORTH YORKSHIRE POLICE Force asked YUSU and the University of York to introduce ID cards as part of their clamp-down on COVID-19 breaches, York Vision can reveal. The idea was floated by an officer from North Yorkshire Police in October so that students would have their term-time addresses recorded, as their driver’s licences were often linked to their parents’ addresses.




Thursday June 17, 2021

Illustrator Niall McGenity

Editor Matt Ward-Perkins Editor Will Rowan Former Editor Brooke Davies Former Editor Iwan Stone Deputy Editor Matt Igoe SCENE Editor Charlie Gaskell Former SCENE Editor Tasha Croager Chief Subeditor Lucas Lefley Former Chief Subeditor Lucy Purkis Charters Subeditor Natasha Brooks Subeditor Hannah Frost Subeditor Georgia Lambert Subeditor Jo Reed Managing Director Marco Phillips Deputy Managing Director Tasha Croager Social Media Director Jasmine Moody Technical Director Marks Polakovs Photography Director Vittoria Avigliano Marketing Director Alex Rich Opinions expressed in York Vision are not necessarily those of the Editors, Editorial Team, membership, or advertisers.




£159 per week

vs £179 at Langwith. In a 6 person kitchen there are 4 top cupboards and 9 bottom, with matching cutlery drawers.

44 or 51 week lets

the longest of any college.

Material effort to be bio-friendly, including advanced radiators and more recycling options.

Self catered, ensuite rooms in flats of 6 and 8.

3/4 beds as standard.



Stylish, spacious rooms and kitchens. Lights under the vanity mirror add a decadent feel.



No new bar - FOUR colleges will share the Glasshouse.


News Editor Perkin Amalaraj Deputy Editor Alex Rich Opinion Editor Jasmine Moody Deputy Editor VACANT Lifestyle Editor Em Whitehouse Deputy Editor Hannah Frost Science & Tech Editor Sarah Veale Deputy Editor VACANT Features Editor Iwan Stone Deputy Editor VACANT Climate Editor Emily Houghton Deputy Editor Alex Openshaw Sport Editor Marco Phillips Deputy Editor Georgia Lambert Screen Editor Charlie Gaskell Deputy Editor VACANT Food Editor Georgia Lambert Deputy Editor Lucy Purkis Charters Games Editor Matthew Igoe Deputy Editor VACANT Stage Editor Lucie Jubin Deputy Editor VACANT Books Editor Hannah Jorgensen Deputy Editor Jo Reed Music Editor Rory Sanger Deputy Editor Tom Holderness Relationships Editor Holly Palmer Deputy Editor Naomi McGrath



Less enclosed storage in bedrooms. Have the Uni chosen style over function?

OUR VISION WE HAVE RECENTLY taken to lighting a firepit at night; pizza boxes, old revision notes, editions of Nouse – nothing is safe. We have learnt that there are three ways to light this fire. 1. Due care and diligence. We say “learnt” – this has not yet been attempted. 2. Brandy. The slender blue glow seems to caress the paper as it melts into flame, before it fades into ashy stodge. 3. Motor oil. Ugly and industrious, but God does it burn. You see, our options putting together a paper seem very similar to those laid out above. Many choose to be pretty, elegant, and leave you wrapped in the comforting aroma of tiring memories. They will burn, yes, but with an elegant wave, and will soon be extinguished to leave their facilitators relatively unscathed.

If you have kept up with York Vision over the last year, this will seem an alien concept. The flame to controversy’s moth, we have always favoured the “motor oil” approach. We may not be glamorous, we may not aim for eloquence, but the hard work and amazing talent of our contributors to spark debate is truly unparalleled. Over the last year, it has been amazing to see this recognised. It has been an enormous privilege for our team - Brooke, Tasha, Perkin, Will and Iwan - to see Vision win three and be highly commended for two Student Publication Awards – making us once again the most awarded™ publication on campus. We have seen more than 550 articles posted online since lockdown began, a society grow while our writers have been scattered across Europe, and an incredible new committee effortlessly take the reigns.

As editors, taking over from us (Brooke and Iwan), we have student media veterans Matt Ward-Perkins and Will Rowan, backed up by rising talents Charlie Gaskell and Matt Igoe. If you need further introduction, you will find assurances of Vision’s future throughout this new edition. During this last year of our leadership Vision never set out to make friends – and that’s probably a good thing. There are few societies who have gained more notoriety, more abuse over our time within the team. But we are incredibly proud of our stories, both those that we can, and cannot, put out. Motor oil, after all, oils the pistons, cleans out the engine, and keeps the vehicle moving forward. Or it can make a bloody good fire. Whatever you think of Vision, you can’t deny we make shit happen.


Thursday June 17, 2021




THE UNIVERSITY HAS accepted awards of over £1 million in funding from controversial Chinese technology company Huawei over the last three years. Funding was awarded for research projects in the Computer Science and Electronic Engineering departments, and almost £300,000 has been received by these departments in the second half of 2020 alone. In January 2019, the University of Oxford placed a ban on accepting research grants or donations from the company, following security concerns being raised by MPs and then-Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson around Huawei’s role in the UK’s 5G network. The company was later banned from the UK’s national 5G infrastructure after criticism over these concerns and alleged links to the Chinese state. Earlier this year, Tom Tugendhat MP, who runs Parliament’s China Research Group, speaking to BBC News, said: “quiet ongoing partnerships between British universities and Chinese state-backed companies must be more transparent. Universities need to think hard about who they choose to partner with.” Speaking to York Vision, YUSU President Patrick O’Donnell said: “the University is currently exploring its Strategy for 2030 and it may well be worth further exploring who the University accepts donations from, ensuring that our activities and relationships are consistent with our values and that students are an important part of these conversations”. A University of York spokesperson told Vision that: “the University is committed to transparency and accountability and we undertake research in accordance with the highest professional standards, as specified in the University’s Code of Practice on Research Integrity, to ensure that it is robust and accords with rigorous ethical values”. Huawei denies any links to the Chinese state.






280 FEMALE STUDENTS used the University’s Report and Support tool this year, A Freedom of Information request filed by York Vision has revealed. The FOI request also found that 120 male students used the University’s tool in the same time period. Therefore, whilst female students make up 56% of the University’s Student Population, in 2020/21 they submitted 66% of the reports. Although there has been a marked increase in reports (522% increase for female students, and 280% for male students) across the board, the tool was only established towards the end of the 2019-20 academic year, so it has existed far longer in the 2020-21 academic year. The Report and Support Tool was officially launched on 1 June 2020, and aims to give students a “place to report student misconduct and find out about support available for students from the University and other services.” The online web page gives you the option of reporting misconduct either anonymously or with contact details, and leads you through a ten step process, which involves writing an account of your situation and specifying any protected characteristics which may have been a factor in the incident. A number of prominent universities in the UK, including Durham and St Andrews, have

implemented the Report and Support tool over the last year. These figures follow a report from The Last Taboo, who conducted university wide polls to understand the impact of sexual violence at the University of York. These emerged following outcry against Joseph Mckeown and Fasil Demsash, two PhD students at the University who were convicted of rape in two separate cases. A spokesperson from the University of York previously told Vision: “We have a number of measures in place already to support students, including our Sexual Violence Liaison Offers ... and advice about internal and external support services.” Despite these measures, some students have said that they have not been made adequately aware of the existence of such services. Sara Seth, a second year Politics student, said that she wouldn’t know where to go if she was a victim of misconduct at the University. “Although there is a lot of education on consent when we first enrol, it feels as though the University acts like this will solve all the problems of harassment that we all know will still occur on campus.” Patrick O’Donnell, YUSU President, said: “We are working closely with the University to make sure that the Report and Support tool is advertised clearly to students, and that every-

one understands what options are available to them if they are in need of support. While the increase in reporting directly to the University could indicate that more students are aware of the University’s processes, we are keen to build on this by working directly with students and organisations such as The Last Taboo to ensure consistency and more joined up support across campus.” Imogen Horrocks, from The Last Taboo York, called Report and Support “a really fantastic tool” but acknowledged “more needs to be done to ensure all students know what it is and how it can be accessed”. She continued to say: “it is positive to see the reporting statistics increasing as it shows that people are becoming more aware of the Report and Support service.” A spokesperson for the University of York said: “the University is committed to ensuring students can access help and advice in a way that is convenient and appropriate for them. “Report & Support is among a series of support measures students can access which includes York Nightline, the Open Door team, Student Hub, the College network and Togetherall. “We ensure information received is used to better understand the issues impacting our University community, to monitor trends, and inform proactive and preventative work.”




THE UNIVERSITY OF YORK received £124,450 in cash this year as payment for fees despite having a £0 limit, raising concerns of potential money laundering, a York Vision investigation has revealed. Since 2016, the University has received nearly £600,000 in cash as payment for fees, but the £0 cash limit was only introduced this academic year. The limit for cash payments has gradually been decreased from no limit in 2015 to a £0 limit in 2020. A spokesperson for the University of York said: “we no longer directly accept cash payments at the University Cash Office, however, our bankers are currently unable to stop all cash being paid via their branches into our bank account. “Consequently, as is the case with other universities, some cash still does get credited to our account and we deal with this in line with UK laws and regulations.” While the University insists that it has strong due-diligence procedures in place to avoid the

possibility of money laundering through cash takings, Matthew Page, a fellow at Chatham House, questioned the practice itself, saying: “Any educational institution that accepts cash payments is essentially putting out a welcome mat for the world’s kleptocrats and money launderers.” A University spokesperson told Vision that the gradual reduction of the cash payment limit was introduced to specifically address the risk of laundering money. Money laundering is the illegal process of “cleaning” money by taking illegally gained “dirty” money and reintroducing it into the economy as legitimate assets. This hides the true origin and ownership of the money, and is thereby made “clean” and usable for criminals. It is important to note that the University of York has not been accused of any wrongdoing. Earlier this year, a number of prominent UK universities, including Durham and Bristol, came under fire for potentially leaving themselves open to money laundering by accepting cash as payment for fees.

A Times investigation in February revealed that 49 UK universities accepted more than £50 million in banknotes over the past five years. The newspaper found that China was by far the single biggest source of cash payments across all the universities, with students from Nigeria, Russia, and Kazakhstan also making payments using banknotes. “British universities are exposed to illicit wealth as wealthy criminals seek the best education for their children. Universities should be alert to signs they may be handling dirty money” said Ben Cowdock, lead investigator at Transparency International UK. The University’s own Anti Money Laundering Policy says: “it is best practice to avoid accepting large cash payments for reasons associated with security and the risks associated with money laundering”. The policy, available on the University’s Financial Regulations webpage, appears to have not yet been approved by the University’s Executive Board, Finance Committee or University Council at time of writing, despite being a nearly three year old document.


Thursday June 17, 2021

Uni of York Students Targeted by LockdownBreaking Barbers



GLASGOW LAID BARE THE GLASGOW GUARDIAN has reacted with usual thoroughness to an “epidemic of racial harassment on campus”. A report describing 50% of minority students experiencing harassment, from both students and staff, was built on as they explored the signs Glasgow Uni should have seen, the calls for change that went neglected, and lack of change their Report and Support tool made when implemented. A further survey by the newspaper found not only the depth of feeling behind the statistics, but the intense despondency towards the Uni. This was summed up by one account of received support: “just the usual ‘sorry’ emails”.

MANCHESTER UNITING MANCHESTER’S EUROPEAN FINALS may not have been as uniting a factor as MailOnline Markle-bashers manifested, but it is no coincidence that the University of Manchester’s protests have been so well documented over the last year, when The Mancunion have brought together the students at its centre. From the initial fencing in, to the recent overwhelming 89% result in their VC Nancy Rothwell’s vote of no confidence, and even a training guide of how to deal with police on campus. It’s been a busy year to be a student paper in the North, and The Mancunion has found a niche as an informer and political power of its own.

THE BOAR ROARS THE BOAR HAS been right in the middle of the action, reporting on the Protect Warwick Women occupation on their campus. After 76 days of occupation, first of the Piazza and then under a week in the main University House building, the group has now secured a mediator for new talks with the University, to address their demands to improve safety and tackle sexual misconduct. Reporting on a long and demanding demonstration about a complex issue is challenging, but the team at the team at The Boar have absolutely pulled it off.

PUT A CORK IN IT LOOKING FOR SOMETHING more cultural? Head straight to University College Cork for the Motley Magazine. An insightful, passionate interview with Percy Jackson author and recent UCC graduate Rick Riordan, Alana Daly Mulligan sensitively balances the YA nostalgia with Irish identity politics.


IMPRESSIVELY, THE COURIER have made a clear stand against toxic university confession pages found in Newcastle, namely, ‘Newfess II’. In their argument, they talk of bullying and accountability, and manage to include comments from the admins of these pages, and also those who have been accused of racism and ableism on the sites. In bringing light to the problematic nature of anonymous confession pages - something that York has certainly been victim to - they are joining the wider discussion as to how to deal with these pages, which is hopefully something that University management will pick up on.



STUDENTS AT THE University of York were specifically targeted by a barbershop over the third lockdown, a York Vision investigation has found. BA Barbers posted over 110 photos of separate haircuts on their public Instagram account between 4 January and 12 April 2021, the duration of the third lockdown under which haircuts contravened lockdown regulations. York Vision has obtained screenshots of messages from the page to clients arranging haircuts, alongside booking confirmation messages, showing that the barbers made appointments during this period. Photographs of these haircuts soon after appeared on their Instagram page. Some images posted between 4 January and 12 April clearly take place within University on-campus accommodation, although it is possible these specific images were taken outside of lockdown restrictions. “They were making a killing out of it”, one anonymous client told Vision, with testimonies and messages from the barbers consistently stating that they were “fully booked” over this period. One source told Vision that they were “pretty chilled” about hygiene, and “didn’t really follow any regulations, and nor did we”. While another source reported that they did wear masks, and that their garage was well ventilated with doors and windows left open, those having their hair cut did not have to wear masks and

images from the site often display barbers themselves without these precautions, with one client immediately being replaced by another. On 6 January England entered a third national lockdown in response to what Boris Johnson called the “frustrating and alarming” spread of COVID-19 over Christmas. Only essential shops could stay open, with no one able to leave their homes except for medical needs, food shopping, and work you cannot do from home. Gina Conway, whose London hair and beauty salons have been closed 238 days out of the last year, told the BBC that “because hairdressers can’t do takeaway or home visits or online haircuts we are all really struggling to cover our costs.” A survey of salon owners suggests that 56% are considering closing. BA Barbers, run by local York lads, has used anonymous social media accounts to advertise their services. On 24 February, during lockdown, when haircuts contravened lockdown restrictions, Hes East Memes, an account with more than 4,700 followers, posted “Looking for barbers? Hit up @ ba.barbers”. Captions on BA Barbers’ Instagram posts within the third lockdown, four times on February 6, alongside their page description, also make reference to the fact that their practice is “local to York Uni”, and that “you can come to us or we can come to you”. While haircuts were original-

ly partially carried out from their garage on Kilburn Street, sources claim that this was moved to solely “home visits” after they were reported to the council. This concurs with Matt Boxall, the Head of Public Protection at the City of York Council, who told Vision that: “We received a complaint about haircuts being provided during lockdown. We wrote a letter and were assured that the practice would stop immediately.” On 26 February, they also told clients that “we won’t be on insta for now”, pointing them towards their Snapchat. Matt Boxall has told Vision that: “We will look into the complaint that it is now being run without the necessary precautions being taken and take the same stepped approach to enforcement that we have taken in similar cases.” The haircuts themselves received mixed reviews: one source told Vision that “people weren’t furious, but it was a pretty lazy haircut”, while another described the barbers as “really nice guys, really friendly”. Patrick O’Donnell, YUSU President, told Vision that: “The overwhelming majority of students have behaved responsibly and followed COVID rules over the last year to keep themselves, their friends and local community safe.” He urges those who are concerned about other students’ conduct to report it. BA Barbers and Hes East Memes did not respond when Vision offered them a chance to reply to this article.


Thursday June 17, 2021

“STUDENTS SHOULD NOT BE SINGLED OUT IN THIS WAY” Yorkshire Police request for more info to be placed on Student IDs BY


NORTH YORKSHIRE POLICE Force asked YUSU and the University of York to introduce ID cards as part of their clampdown on COVID-19 breaches, York Vision can reveal. The idea was floated by an officer from North Yorkshire Police in October so that students would have their term-time addresses recorded, as their driving licences were often linked to their parent’s addresses. At the time, York was under Tier 2 restrictions, which allowed for no more than six people to socialise. People were not allowed to socialise indoors with those outside their household at the time, due to Tier 2 restrictions, and venues had to close by 10pm. North Yorkshire Police told Vision that this was part of an effort to “form a collaborative solution to the issues students faced when trying to access hospitality premises in the city”.

IMAGE: YUSU YUSU PRES HAS SPOKEN OUT The idea was scrapped after YUSU President Patrick O’Donnell denied the request by the force, telling the officer in an email:


“I strongly feel that students should not be singled out in this way and made to identify themselves, as this ultimately only fuels the ‘us and them’ attitude which some in our city are developing.” Students from the University told Vision that it would have been an invasion of privacy if the move had gone ahead.


Accommodation could be made less secure Tom Willett, a History student said: “It feels like another instance of university students being unfairly targeted and disproportionately blamed for rule breaking. “The police covertly getting involved in student union business does not sit right with me, and being made to carry ID cards would feel like an invasion of privacy. “Making students carry a card would be extremely difficult to enforce and throws up quite a few safety concerns. For me, this suggestion by North Yorkshire Police demonstrates the discrimination students face. Just because it is logistically possible to use the university to access our addresses - it doesn’t mean it is fair.” Ollie Mulcahy, a third-year PPE student, said that the idea was poorly thought out and could damage students’ safety on campus.

“How is this keeping students safe? Losing your student ID could mean that anyone could find out where you live, and it’s not like student accommodation has the same level of security as normal homes,” he said. This isn’t the first time North Yorkshire Police has been accused of overzealous policing. In December last year, the force launched border patrols with number plate recognition cameras to catch people crossing from Tier 3 to Tier 2.

IMAGE: ROSS PARRY Fulford Road Police Station Jun Pang, Policy and Campaigns Officer for Liberty, told Vision: “You can’t police your way out of a pandemic, and we shouldn’t accept overzealous policing and surveillance, even as temporary measures. “Those in power should be focusing on supporting people, and helping them to follow guidance. That’s the best way to keep everyone safe, and why we must reject strategies like ID cards which are based on surveillance, punishment and division.” Kathryn Downey, a PPE student, told Vision: “the police have definitely overstepped the mark. The pandemic has already hit students hard, if this was implemented it might cause additional stress, even if they’ve done nothing wrong”.



OVER 2,400 ANIMALS were experimented upon for medical research in the Faculty of Life Science last year. This included over 2000 mice, 300 fish, 134 frogs, and four rats. These figures represent a fall on previous years, with 2,972 animals being used in 2019 and 3,724 being used in 2018. All experiments conducted were classified as “mild or moderate”; a moderate procedure may involve the animal experiencing prolonged suffering at a mild level or short-term moderate pain, suffering, or distress. Pierreck Roger, YUSU’s Environment and Ethics Officer, commented: “animal use in research is unfortunately necessary because no suitable alternatives currently exist. However, departments should do everything, and I believe they are, to limit this to the absolute minimum”. A University spokesperson noted that “research carried out on animals is conducted humanely, and only when there is no alternative”.




A FREEDOM OF Information Request has revealed that zero complaints were made to the University regarding both the new pride flag crossing, and the decision to name the new college ‘Anne Lister’. This finding comes after online backlash over the crossing, with one Twitter user, @LeaveHQ commenting “don’t [you] dare complain of funding problems this year”. According to the University website, the crossing was completed as a symbol to York’s inclusivity. In regards to the naming of the new college, ‘Anne Lister’ was put forward, as she has been described as the first modern lesbian. YUSU’s LGBTQ+ Officers Matt and Dan, told Vision: “We’re so pleased to hear there have been no complaints made towards the new college and the crossing! When we first heard about both of these being brought to York, we were thrilled (we had p advocated for ‘Anne Lister College’!) and we’re so glad that they’ve been positively received by the rest of the community”.



Thursday June 17, 2021

Vısıon YORK


DON’T BE SNOBS THE LIFE OF a tabloid editor is no easy task, with my dreams being filled with screaming red and witty headlines. There are plenty of people who see tabloids as the devil incarnate. Yes, there are publications such as The Sun from the 1980s which doesn’t help that image. However, lots of this hatred has transformed into snobbery, and - to really strike a chord - classism. Why, you ask? Not everyone can afford to, or are interested enough to read The Guardian, a paper which costs £2.50, and is aimed towards the graduated middle class of Britain. There are many examples of groups stating they do not want to work with Vision. This is despite excelling, and now officially being the top source of campus news, proven by this years success at the National Student Publication Awards, in which we even won Overall Best Digital Media against all other UK papers. Yet, we are still not good enough for some, and lets face it, it’s due to our red top. Don’t be that snobby student, and recognise the benefits of a diverse campus media scene.

DON’T TELL ME WE’VE LOST A YEAR HAVE YOUR FAMILIES also pitied you for “losing a year” of uni? I always answer confused, because I know I haven’t. Yes, it hasn’t been what I expected – but of course it hasn’t. We’re in a global pandemic. Whose life has been the same? But I’ve had amazing lecturers, who have gone out of their way to help me. I’ve had friends who have made time for me when I’m struggling. I’ve worked my arse off to make sure that I have kept up to date, and achieved as much as I possibly can. So don’t tell me I’ve “lost a year”. Don’t devalue our effort and patronise us – I’m proud of what we’ve done, and we deserve some fucking credit.

DEAR UNI, WE CAN’T GO BACK TO NORMAL AFTER ALL WE’VE been through as a student body, we deserve more than just returning to ‘normal’ when the pandemic subsides. Prior to the pandemic, we’ve all been told at some point that we must attend lectures in-person for the best experience, and yet online lectures have been the only option over the last year. The University is even telling us tuition fees should remain at £9,250 due to the quality of remote teaching received, which is a complete 180 degree turn away from their original stance. It can’t go both ways. Online lectures, while often challenging for students and staff, offer greater flexibility and accessibility to all students. Once things do indeed return to normal, it would be nice to not be made to feel guilty over not attending them in-person This degree of choice must remain. It’s the least we deserve.


CENTRAL HALL HAS been scrawled with graffiti three times in less than an academic year. The first time it said “Riot”. Then “Protest Tory Fascism… Riot”. Now, finally: “UoY Protects Rapists” – a statement acidically loaded as they continue to refuse to release information regarding the references of Joseph McKeown by University lecturers. All on exactly the same spot and using the same spray paint – it doesn’t take a genius to realise that there’s a trend. And it’s not as if this is students harmlessly blowing off steam, when the Uni sprint across and clumsily cover it with what appears to be an oversized dustsheet; these are violent accusations and rallying calls – that are also costing the Uni vast sums of money. In the first term of this year alone, York spent four times as much on graffiti removal than the entirety of last year – up to a blowout £871.34, with several more removed since.


More Graffiti on Campus

While many might see this as the University allowing a mouthpiece for students who are, rightfully over the last year, angry with the hand we’ve been dealt, their comment to York Vision after they were accused of protecting rapists says otherwise: “Graffiti is a criminal act and it is not

acceptable to deface any building. It will not be tolerated and we will take action where we can”. That seems fairly cut and dry – particularly after “CJ is a Conman” was daubed across the Grade II listed Heslington Hall. So why has it been able to continue? The answer appears to be indicative of a wider trend: the neglect of security cameras on campus. In 2019, Nouse reported that 543 – over a fifth – of CCTV cameras are not functional on campus due to an incompatibility with the updated University security systems. Indeed, they later reported that the number of security cameras had decreased by 155 over a year. The University later commented that work on improving security through CCTV coverage had been “delayed by the pandemic”.

“It doesn’t take a genius to recognise that there is a trend” It’s not as if their campaign is particularly sophisticated. RevSoc, who have claimed responsibility, signed off their last comment to Vision: “Merry fucking Christmas and a Revolutionary New Year”. While done at night, their graffiti appears on prominent and repeated landmarks, and in full view of anyone happening to walk past. It’s nonsensical, therefore, that there is no CCTV on this spot – not only would they have caught the offenders, but probably have saved money on the ballooning cost of removing it. So, if even accusations of protecting rapists and indictments to “riot” do not spur York into limited CCTV coverage on a listed building, what does this say of their wider attitude

towards security on campus? This need dramatically raised its head in November, as students in Halifax accommodation found themselves under siege, with a dramatic video showing residents fighting to keep out a group who were attempting to kick down their doors. The University of York confirmed that “security teams attended the scene and provided support and advice to students after liaising with North Yorkshire Police”, pledging to: “increase patrols in the area to deter any further incidents and to give our students additional reassurance.”


RevSoc have claimed responsibility

With threats like this present at York, the need for CCTV is essential, both as reassurance and to support students under threat. The fact that graffiti has continued to such an extent across campus shows that not enough is being done. While the relative impact of the graffiti may be minimal, it highlights faults at the heart of the University’s security system. That students can stroll across campus with cans of spray paint and say what they like, irrespective of truth, displays a massive flaw in the system – York needs to increase CCTV presence, and quickly.

Bottom Line: This is bullshit; the Uni needs to wake up!


Thursday 17 June, 2021








SEEN EVERY YEAR at the start of June, multiple corporations change their social media photos to rainbows, but without meaningful work to better the experiences of LGBTQ+ people it’s not allyship - it’s performative. M&S’s mediocre LGBT sandwich attempts to capitalize off pride month, instead of using their platform to address and help the issues faced by queer people, they instead sell Lettuce, Guacamole, Bacon, and Tomato wrapped in a rainbow. Is UoY accountable for rainbow washing too? Having painted flags on campus, changing a crossing and flying a flag for the month of June on campus, does the support they say they’re

showing match up to the actions they’re taking to make the experience of LGBTQ+ students equal? A study by Stonewall shows that LGBTQ+ people experience higher rates of depression, selfharm, alcohol and drug misuse, and discrimination. It also found that one in eight LGBTQ+ people aged 18-24 have attempted to end their life. This is unfortunately the harsh reality of the issues faced disproportionately by LGBTQ+ people, and a rainbow on campus simply won’t make these issues go away. The University of York’s first objective under their Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy is to “embed equality into all aspects of University Life”. However, as part of the LGBTQ+ community, in my experience this is something I am yet to feel, as there is a lack of awareness, but an abundance of rainbow washing, and information is lacking.

It should certainly be applauded that the University does have safe spaces on campus for LGBTQ+ students; the existence of LGBTQ+ soc, and the push for gender neutral toilets is great to see by the University. Open Door also features information to help those questioning their sexuality, which is definitely a step in the right direction. However, these changes are ultimately limited in their impact, with student-run groups being limited in resources and experience, whilst the Open Door website page lacks information for those questioning their gender identity. On top of this, York’s ‘queer culture’ is lacking - there doesn’t seem to be a push by the University to support queer owned businesses or charities in York, such as York LGBT+ Forum. Also, information is inaccessible to students, with important

days such as Trans Day of Remembrance only being marked on the University’s equality social media calendar and not their main social media. Frustratingly, the A-Z on the University’s website has ‘Maps of Campus’ listed under M; ‘Car Share Scheme’ listed under C; but no LGBT under L. So what I propose they do to make the experiences closer to equal is appointing an LGBT specialist practitioner, donating to charities, and rethink and restructure how information is shared to students, on social media and their website.

Bottom Line: It’s great that steps have been made to show the University’s support, but they must go further than flying a flag.




HAS THE UNIVERSITY been perfect? No, to put it bluntly. However, it is clear that the York has been trying to support their students through these tough times, perfect or not. One example is with the holiday themed goodie bags, ranging from Easter to Christmas. These are thoughtful gestures, especially for those in difficult situations over the Easter and Christmas period. A chunk of the University’s finance went towards Christmas goodie bags. An FOI request by York Vision revealed that 1,000 bags were handed out, worth £20 each, with the University spending £20,000 in total. However, this does not even consider the other two batches of 1,200 and 1,000 goodie bags, thus , 3,200

goodie bags cost a considerable price of £64,000! Some may argue that this was a waste of money ,yet the University did save money in other areas: on average between 2016 to 2019, the University spent around £1,654.82 on Christmas decorations, whereas nothing was spent this year due to COVID-19. Although the £1,654.82 saved is overshadowed by the cost of the goodie bags, I do not see it as a waste, especially when gestures such as these do help students in various and unquantifiable ways. Goodie bags alone of course aren’t enough for student’s welfare, and may be seen as a token gesture and nothing else. But to those concerned about this, funding did not just feed into short term gestures, as there are plans to give £2 million to Open Door and Disability Services in the coming year. This is great to see, and it does prove that the University are truly wants to im-

prove services for students in need, especially considering that the budget has increased from £521,000 in 2018/19.

“There is no doubt the University is trying to help from multiple angles” From goodie bags to funding University services, there is no doubt that the University is trying to help students from multiple angles. There are also other ways in which the University has helped in the pandemic. Earlier this year, testing centres opened around campuses, such as York Sport Centre, the Wentworth car park, and Goodricke College. All are accessible and the testing process is simple, quick, and easy to do. Efficiency and organisation are key with COVID-19 testing, and the


University has ticked every box. With vaccinations for younger people becoming available, we even have a new pop-up vaccination clinic on York Sport Centre. Again, accessibility for students has clearly been taken into consideration. Furthermore, with regards to accessibility, COVID-19 seemed to have dampened students’ social life. However, two outside venues were opened for students: The Forest and The Lakeside Tap. Although I desperately want D-Bar back, both venues have been greatly enjoyed by students during a time where students have been blamed and ignored during this pandemic.

Bottom Line: The University is trying to make this pandemic slightly more bearable, and I appreciate it


IT WAS A particularly arid day last week when I stood on Disappointment Drive right outside Nisa on Hes West. I’d arrived at the ungodly, outrageous hour of 18:15 seeking some consumable refreshment. It was closed, finished, gone with the wind. All I swallowed that evening was my pride as I trundled to Vanbrugh dining. There’s not much in the way of alternatives for the intrepid explorer or student outfitted with a stomach and/or bladder. Courtyard is closed, V-Bar is closed, D-Bar is closed, it’s a total eclipse of the heart of campus. Nisa could be a heavenly mirage in a desert of such desolation, but alas, it shuts up like a clam as soon as you look for it. We need more food options on campus, and Nisa staying open later during the week could plug part of that gap.



THE SAME GOES for Kit Kats, Blue Ribands, Penguins, Clubs, Pick Ups, and many more that don’t immediately come to mind. Those of you that say otherwise are wrong, and are clearly no different from the psychopaths who say that Jaffa Cakes aren’t cakes. Walking down the aisle of your local Nisa and stopping to grab a Mars Bar as a cheeky lunchtime treat, you might find that your hand accidentally caresses the shiny, golden wrapper of the glorious Twix. Do not be fooled. This does not mean that our beloved Twix has undergone a transformation. Beneath the chocolate encasement, sandwiched next to a deliciously sweet layer of caramel, is a whole bloody chunk of biscuit. Yes, the twix has its home in the confectionary aisle with a whole load of chocolate bars, but it is, and forever will be, a biscuit.





Review: The Human Voice


Visions of The Future

Punk Rock Love Story: The Weird World of Dinner in America

Charlie Gaskell


s cinema emerges from its slumber, many filmmakers face the temptation to ‘capitalise on COVID’ and plague audiences with lockdown-based stories. For director Adam Rehmeier, the opposite is true; his latest project is a tale of connection and crowded concerts… all without a mask in sight. When asked to summarise his new feature, Rehmeier replied “punk rock, love story”. A fair description of Dinner in America, the dark, coming-of-age comedy, written, directed, and edited by Rehmeier. Taking advantage of the cinephile’s craving for a fresh on-screen focus, Rehmeier emphasised his intent in a straightforward style: “I want escapism.” And, with Dinner in America, escapism is certain, in a film which opens the entrance to an exciting other-world of punk-driven energies and misfit love stories. Produced by Ben Stiller, the film centres on the unlikely romance of Simon, (Kyle Gallner), a roguish punk rocker on the run whose backstory was initially planned to be a little darker: “It was a punk rocker kid that was selling his body to pay for his record”. Simon’s dubious darling Patty (Emily Skeggs) is an awkward loner, obsessed with his band. As with Simon, her early character ideas were slightly further down the rocky road: “she was a lot darker…it was too competitive with the Simon character. So, one had to be less so.” Comparisons have been made between Dinner in America and Heathers (1989). Although unintentional, it’s a comparison that Rehmeier is proud of, “It’s a film I saw when I was a teenager, I love that movie”. In different ways, the


offbeat humour shares the same awkward stare as Napoleon Dynamite (2004). Although not a conscious influence on the film, Rehmeier welcomed comparisons, “Napoleon Dynamite I can definitely see. I think there’s an innocence to that film”. Recently released to UK audiences, Dinner in America is a film that revels in its punky grit just as much as its soft-hearted love story. Rehmeier crafted a soundtrack designed to embody such a spirit, “In fact, the band that we used to record with, Disco Assault, their brand of Punk Rock is more Reagan era Punk Rock. And, that’s what I respond to.” Prior to filming, Rehmeier worked with various bands and his leads, creating the music that would catapult the films energy into overdrive. “Emily and I went into the studio and recorded ‘Watermelon’, so, we had an emotional reference point for the movie, it’s a powerful point”. In keeping with his musical and cultural interests, Rehmeier was straight to the point when I asked about his lockdown experience. Or, better put, “It’s been diaper shit.” Rehmeier was emphatic about his enthusiasm for interaction and connection, “I’m more of an intuitive empath, I’m feeling stuff constantly as I’m moving... This has been such a downer year. You’re feeling everybody’s weight and heaviness – it’s exhausting”. Although based in Michigan, Rehmeier’s lockdown frustrations will resonate with many students at York: “with a mask, where I’m not able to see everybody’s reactions its very dull and cloudy.” Mask or not, it’s likely to be cloudy in York – but, there is a definite, consistent message from Midwestern directors to university students. We’re all tired of this shit.

few weeks ago, I excitedly returned to the cinema for the first time in eight months to see Pedro Almodóvar’s short film, and first venture in English, The Human Voice. I approached it almost completely blind: the only information I had was that it was a short film starring Tilda Swinton. Being a fan of Swinton’s work, this was more than enough to lure me to see the short. Safe to say, although I didn’t know what to expect, it was a trip well spent. The Human Voice is a fascinating, surrealist adaptation of Jean Cocteau’s play of the same name. The film sees Swinton’s unnamed character take on the role of the ‘abandoned woman,’ who has been waiting for her ex-lover to collect his suitcases for three days. From the moment the film opens, it becomes fairly clear that it is an adaptation of a theatrical piece. The very obviously ‘stagey’ set creates a feeling of surreal isolation. When Swinton stands on her apartment balcony, she doesn’t look out on a city but rather a black wall, amplifying how


Without wishing to make our conversation too COVID-19-centric, I asked Reheimer for his views concerning new films capitalising on COVID-19. Recently, filmmakers have found an opportunity to inject a quick cash grab jab through lockdown-based releases. The likes of Doug Liman’s Locked Down (2021) gained a particularly negative reception, and for fair reason too. Consistent with cinephile consensus, Rehmeier voiced his frustration, “I don’t want to watch movies where masks are part of it...When I’m thinking of a film, I think of it as a separate reality”. Escapism is something Dinner in America possesses in abundance, capturing a quirky alter-reality of intense relationships and caricature midwestern families. Putting the dinner in America, the film is packed full of mundane family meals and frozen food, “The dysfunctionality of the dinner scenes. Like, as an attempt from years prior to be the thing that the family all comes together for. And, that’s the one time. It’s playing with a traditional 50s stereotype”. In an aggressive stance against the mundanity and plasticity of American

Joe Radford

alone she feels. She is not currently living in the real world, but instead this surreal purgatory – capturing the ‘lockdown vibes’ of the last year.


In the monologue itself, Swinton’s character attempts to negotiate where she stands with her ex-lover following the end of their relationship, but not knowing quite which way to turn. As she tests out different stances and attempts to come to terms with how she feels, the exquisite camerawork from José Luis Alcaine reflects this. I would highly recommend The Human Voice as one of the first films to see back at the cinema. It is an emotional, powerful surreal experience, which is certainly worth seeing on the big screen if you can. Hopefully it will catapult a wider trend of short films receiving the big screen treatment. After so long away from the picture palace, it was especially refreshing to see this one. Whether as a deserved break from exams, or a very over-the-top form of procrastination – it served its vital, escapist duty. midwestern eating habits, his film set out to ignite the teen spirit smells of angsty energy. Featuring crowded gigs and mask free extras, Dinner in America provides a whole new world, “A dirty garage, with auto cars and all these kids swarming around… tt was important for me to get that right”. In a year of lockdowns and probably one too many family dinners, Rehmeier emphasised his excitement to return to normality, and, Dinner in America is the perfect glimpse into the future. With coming-of-age themes, and a central love story wrapped in an edgy punk-driven aesthetic, it’s clear that the story deviates from the COVID-19 world as far as it can. The only thing infectious about Dinner in America is it’s energy - a mask free zone of angsty rebellion punk gigs and American dinners. Now that sounds like a better reality. DINNER IN AMERICA is available on ARROW and available to buy or rent on all digital platforms in the UK

Veganism in York is Blooming



his may not come as a surprise to some of you, and it may come as an irritating truth to others (I see you carnivores), but veganism is on the rise. According to ‘The Vegan Society’, 2021 saw “record highs” in people signing up to Veganuary, and the number of vegans in the UK has more than quadrupled since 2014. Clearly then, ‘visions of the future’ must include vegan food and even vegan restaurants. If you’re a vegan or just interested in veganism in York, one place I would recommend is The Orchid. An entirely vegan Chinese restaurant on George Hudson St, The Orchid blends well into the other Asian restaurants and supermarkets surrounding it. Inside, the

layout is fairly standard: a large room, lots of reds and earthy tones, wood in interesting geometrical patterns and -hidden away in small alcoves around one wall -- pictures of The Shambles. The menu as well seems fairly standard for a Chinese restaurant -- a sweet and sour dish, a few salt and pepper ones, noodles, prawn crackers… you get the picture. My friend and I were both ravenous, so we decided to order a lot of food and share it all. We started off with spring rolls, salt and pepper ‘calamari’, ‘duck’ pancakes, and some prawn crackers (made of chickpeas). In my opinion the crackers were no different to non-vegan ones, and the spring rolls were also delicious.



Visions of The Future

Lucy Purkis Charters The ‘duck’ pancakes were unfortunately a bit disappointing. The texture of the meat had been replicated very well, but the flavour was a bit off, meaning that you needed a lot of hoisin sauce to balance it out, overall making it very salty. I’m not surprised that this was underwhelming though, I imagine replicating duck pancakes would have been quite difficult, so if you are vegan and crave a duck pancake, it would be a good choice, otherwise… not so much. I would recommend the salt and pepper ‘calamari’; my friend and I worked out that the calamari was probably just tofu, but it was delicately crispy and the sauce was delicious. For mains, we ambitiously ordered some ‘shredded beef’ in OK sauce, sweet and sour tofu, and some fried noodles. The sweet and sour tofu was lovely -- my friend, a sweet and sour fiend, said she could barely tell the difference between this dish and the chicken version. I would say that the sauce was too sweet for me, but sweet and sour isn’t my personal preference anyway. The ‘shredded beef’ was by far my favourite dish. I’m 99%


certain the beef was just shiitake mushrooms, chopped up and fried in such a way as to give them the appearance of bits of beef. But it tasted really nice, very umami, honestly at times I thought I was eating meat. The sauce it came in was also quite sweet, but blended so well with the ‘beef’ that it wasn’t an issue. Eventually I had to ask for a doggy bag, as we realised we had been over-ambitious and could not finish our food. Our bill was only about £20 each -- which given how much food we’d ordered was very impressive. This is actually what I think I enjoyed most about the restaurant: the food was good, standard Chinese food. And the prices were the same as they would have been in a non-vegan restaurant. Given that a lot of people claim being a vegan is too expensive, this was a real eye-opener to affordable and delicious vegan food.


REVIEW: The Chopping Block at Walmgate Ale House

Iwan Stone



strawberry cuts across the creamy sweetness, refuting the heaviness of the sponge. Whilst this may not have been the cherry on top of the cake, it was undoubtedly the cherry compote on top of the Yorkshire pudding.


hot, oily, almost buttery intensity of the fish liberally covered in garlic was delicious. However, seeing a dozen little eyes staring up at you is a recipe for regret. Particularly when your partner is having the garlic mushrooms. Nothing says oozing happiness like shredding a mini-white loaf into their aromatic residue. The big deal, however, is the shredded beef in a Yorkshire pudding. I challenge you to choose anything else – as delicious as my companion’s olive-salted, mildly spiced, ham-hock meatballs were, it was a strong commitment to this review that stopped the both of us from ordering this masterpiece in meat. For me, the true masterpieces were the desserts, partially because, after a takeaway pandemic, it is a sweet treat to have anything other than squares of chocolate. The vanilla posset with cherry compote, topped with amaretto crumb – a kind of reverse cheesecake – was creamy, light and refreshing. After a rich, indulgent meal, you may have thought that a sticky toffee pudding would be off-putting. Yet a ripe, tart



omfort food, as a cliché, carries devastating connotations of quaint, unskilful, and warming dishes. If you were to receive one from a restaurant after a year in quarantine you would give up on the industry and just cook the same things from home. However, The Chopping Block - striking in the starched signs as you round the corner from the 66 - brazenly defies this cliché. Distilling classic flavours into a combination of innovative and stylish dishes, all courses were warming yet bold. Remaining acutely familiar, they sparked that visceral enigma of genius that engenders that often craved “je ne sais quoi”. As you walk in, it is this impression that pervades across the classic, hardwood interior of the Walmgate Ale House. With enough rope to rig the Mary Rose, paired with fairy lights and broken down boxes, the design may be slightly bizarre but is by no means off-putting. It feels fresh, comforting; the result is welcoming and friendly. This speaks to what is really the primary pull for a student choosing a restaurant of this calibre – a remarkable £19.95 for three courses. Looking to impress? I don’t even need to taste the food to say this is the place for you. However, taste the food I did. Trying white bait for the first time, not quite realising what I had ordered, I may have scuppered myself into an unfair reviewing position. Don’t get me wrong, the





Why Civ VI is the Series’s Best IMAGE: JUNE GAS

Visions of the Future

Epic Wants a Bite of the Apple, But Will We Get Bitten Too?


Matthew Igoe

ook, I get it. Who cares? Two big corporations that don’t care about me are having a spat. Epic wants more money, Apple wants more money; let them hash it out.

Lawsuits, as dull as they might be, have always been landmark events in gaming history. The age ratings on games - the reason I couldn’t buy Modern Warfare for the PS3 when I was 13 - are a direct result of a lawsuit. The only reason Nintendo exists as it does today is because they won a lawsuit against Universal, who tried to claim the rights to Donkey Kong. If we take more notice of these lawsuits as they’re happening, we can get a clear insight into how the future of the games industry is taking shape. Let’s meet the players. It’s safe to say that Epic Games hasn’t garnered the best reputation. In 2012, they partnered with the conglomerate Tencent - now the largest video game vendor in the world - causing a lot of high-profile employees to resign. Since then, they have become known for their very aggressive business practices. This has worked for them: Fortnite, Epic’s flagship title, has been the world’s highest-grossing game for a couple of years now. Apple is a notable company in that every decision they make is motivated by a clear and consistent philosophy. They decide what you want, and need, and by God you are going to like it. Their ‘walled garden’ approach, in which each of their products is designed to work seamlessly with their other products, is the clearest example of this. Here’s the issue: Epic put Fortnite on the App Store, and circumvented Apple’s policy by allowing players to buy ‘V-Bucks’ (Fortnite’s fake currency) directly from their website, rather than through the App Store. This is because Apple takes a 30% cut from every purchase that is made through their App Store, and Epic was not happy. So, Apple took down Fortnite from the store almost immediately, and Epic decided to sue them. Epic is claiming that Apple’s App Store policy is monopolistic and unfair. Their argument is that, basically, Apple doesn’t allow for competition within their

devices or app stores. The consumers’ ‘right to choose’ is completely ignored, as Apple - whilst presenting a facade of competition - designs their products in such a way that makes any other option objectively worse. Take the recent release of Apple’s AirTags. These work exceptionally well with Apple devices. They instantly and easily connect with your iPhone so that you can precisely detect where they are in a room, or in the world, with almost no effort on your part. However, the release of these has made the main competitor product, the Tile, almost impossible to recommend for iPhone users, because it has no access to those same features. Apple’s rebuttal came next. They filed a countersuit, claiming that Epic’s issues were strictly monetary, and argued that the suit was nothing more than a publicity stunt to drum up interest for Fortnite again. They claim that their system improves consumer choice, and their tight control over the App Store means that they protect consumers from nefarious apps. Apple are arguing that their blanket rule of taking high commissions and disallowing in-app purchases means that apps trying to steal your money or private details are completely unable to touch your personal information. Sacrifices to competition are only done in the name of keeping their policy consistent. The bottom line: does either company actually have the consumer in mind? Epic want a freer market. Less restrictions, more games. This should bring more developers to the iOS platform. Apple’s case is that more developers don’t necessarily make better games. Their constraining regulations do mean that any consumer on their App Store can be promised a good experience with vetted games. The verdict of this trial will certainly change the gaming landscape, regardless of whether consumers are directly impacted. If Epic wins, and Apple is forced to change their entire app policy, it might open the doors for mobile app developers to be more open to producing games for iOS. Like Steam (the leading PC games market), or Epic’s own store, mobile app markets could become thriving places for developers and consumers alike. It’s something to watch out for.



Chris Small

couple of months ago, the last update dropped for Sid Meier’s Civilization VI. As the last from the New Frontier Pass, this is therefore probably the last update that the game will ever receive, as much as I would like to hope otherwise. I think a bit of a eulogy is in order. Civ VI is very much an acknowledgement that the series’ strengths lie in the fact that it’s always been more of a board game in video game form than anything else. This series has always felt important to me. This is in part because it’s one of the few games I’m good at. But this is also because there are very few gaming experiences as pleasant as an afternoon of playing a multiplayer game of Civ with friends (excluding having to deal with Sid Meier’s wild netcode ride). The changes made to the formula for Civ’s sixth installment were very well executed takes of what a lot of players have been asking for. We got unstacked cities, loyalty, disasters, climate change, and a good middle ground between IV’s deathstacks of units, and V’s one unit per tile. This gave us a version of the game where each player has the freedom and tools to take their own unique approach. The New Frontier pass has created some of the most interesting and fun civilizations the series has seen. It is incredibly satisfying to try to become better at Civ VI, but never to the detriment of it still being an incredibly relaxing game to play. The game is also as full of personality as any other Civ game. The game’s art style, soundtrack, and leaders all play a part in making the game feel lively and fun. Alongside this, the series remains as easy to pick up as a beginner as ever. And I guess that takes me to the end of an argument that’s about as meandering and directionless as the sort of afternoon that you’ll spend playing Civ. If you’re going to choose to try out the series, now is as good a time as any.





Visions of the Future

Theatres Are Still Closed, But Just You Wait


Brooke Davies & Tasha Croager

heatre’s are still empty across the country, and our initial light at the end of the tunnel - the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions on June 21st has now been extinguished. Over the past year, theatres and productions have had to adapt, making the move online in order to simply stay afloat. Part of this influx of online theatre was the addition of Hamilton to Disney+; a live recording of the stage show which starred the original American cast reached 2.7 million households when it first aired in July 2020. Yet there’s something so unique about the experience of live theatre that can’t possibly compare to a recording. As one of the top ten musicals on the West End, Hamilton deserves to be seen on stage, in all its raw and exhilarating glory. York Vision spoke to Natasha Leaver - who plays The Bullet in Hamilton’s West End cast - and discussed all things Hamilton, the West End, and the impact of COVID-19 on theatre more generally. “It’s an awesome show. It’s great that it’s so recognised”; a sentiment we can all agree with, as time spent discussing Hamilton is often just as enjoyable as watching it. Natasha emphasised just how much time, energy, and effort goes into making the show that brings joy to so many: “The process was really intense… I actually auditioned for the show about three times, and the third time I ended up getting it. I had about eight rounds of auditions.” Hamilton clearly takes its casting very seriously, and its rehearsals even more so, as Natasha told us that: “With Hamilton, you can’t just perform how you want to perform. You can’t take away from what else is going on onstage… it has to be so on point”.

Hamilton first kicked off its incredible run in America to emphatic success, so we asked Natasha: “Would you say you felt any pressure, as a part of the British cast, to do it justice?” “I didn’t really… The person in charge of the choreography was so meticulous about every single thing. Every single head, every finger, every energy given to different moves.” Hamilton’s choreography is a large part of its unique charm, and it’s safe to say that the contribution of the ensemble deserves serious recognition. Natasha said that “I didn’t realise how much we were on stage… with Hamilton, the dancers, and the leads, and everyone in between, are so integral to the piece. We’re on stage constantly. “Another thing I didn’t realise is how every single department is responsible for creating the phenomena that it is.”

Charlie Gaskell & Matthew Igoe

or most students, losing in-person interaction across the last year has meant disaster. Thankfully, this hasn’t been the case for those involved in musical theatre and drama across the country. While a lot of sport students are only just beginning to brush the dust off of their boots and get their feet on the ground, some students used the last year as an opportunity to try something different. A chance to reinvent the wheel, and take centre stage – fronting the face of student activity in a COVID-19-free world. And I’m not being dramatic. York Vision sat down to chat with Lori Stott and Becca Brown, a couple of theatre students who relished the opportunity to try something different with drama. Both were proud of the efforts made by students involved in online theatre over the last year: “We all had to be different and innovative, which made it good fun”. Whilst the perils of the online university experience can’t be discussed enough, many students saw the potential to do something different and exciting – beginning a unique adventure through the tech-savvy world of Zoom-based theatre. Despite the obvious limitations, the online experience was not short of perks: “In person I think people would be much

“From wardrobe, the attention to detail... the amount of lighting cues that there are… two-hundred and something… the sound and the amount that they have to do. It’s amazing to be part of something where everyone is working as hard as the people on stage to make it an incredible piece.” Considering the number of people involved in the production and performance of Hamilton, it’s understandable how the closing of theatres across the country has had an astounding impact on the careers and lives of so many. We spoke to Natasha in April, as the UK gradually started to come out of the third national lockdown. Naturally, we asked how she had been during this latest lockdown, and if she knew anything regarding theatres reopening. “I feel like this one has been really rough. I feel like in the other ones I’ve managed to stay motivated and focused on the end goal, because I felt like there was an end goal… In terms of my actual career and stuff, I feel like I’m in a bit of a rut right now and I don’t really know what the next step is.” Natasha pointed out that, due to the pandemic, theatre auditions aren’t happening in the same way or on the same IMAGE: NATASHA LEAVER scale, resulting in many performers



Stage to Screen: Best of a Bad Situation

more self-aware… funnily enough, on Zoom, I think we found that people were much less self-conscious”. It seems that the last year has opened a unique opportunity for theatrical students to incorporate something different that lends itself to inclusivity and openness. The possibilities are endless now that the world is beginning to return to normality. Becca commented that she thought “virtual theatre is becoming a form in itself”. This doesn’t just apply to universities, as she went on to speculate that “hybrid productions are going to become a lot more visible in the industry”. Evidently these students have taken the difficulties of the last year in their stride, and with plenty more student productions in the pipeline, it’s clear that the future is bright for drama students – whether virtual or socially distanced, they’ll keep ‘em coming. facing more uncertainties than ever. Not only have theatres had to adapt to the pandemic, but performers too: “I absolutely adore theatre… but theatre is a precarious and unstable job at the best of times… I’m kind of just preparing myself more for if I get TV and film auditions... I don’t know what the future has in store but that’s where I’m angling myself.” Whilst none of us know exactly what the future holds, one thing we can be certain of is this: at some point, be it in the near or distant future, theatres will reopen. Hamilton is a show that will be all too ready for when they do, as Natasha told us: “They want to reopen as soon as possible… Cameron Mackintosh, our producer, refuses to open our show until social distancing is abolished. The government will only give the theatres one week’s notice… Obviously theatres can’t run with a week’s notice. The cast are probably going to have a full four to six week rehearsal period… There’ll definitely need to be some gaps filled.” Whilst Hamilton definitely has a rocky road ahead, regardless of when they reopen, fans across the country will be ready to grab a ticket as soon as they can. Just you wait.



Visions of the Future


Turning a New Page: Books that Look to a Better Future Hannah Jorgensen As restrictions ease and life begins to slip back into ‘normal’, I think it’s safe to say that the worst of this pandemic is behind us. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably uncertain about how to navigate this new, changed world. Here are a few new non-fiction books that ask the question, “Where do we go from here?”, in insightful and exciting ways. 1) Humankind: A Hopeful History - Rutger Bregman This entertaining and uplifting book invites you to reconsider the belief that human beings are innately self-interested and immoral. Instead, Rutger Bregman reframes some of the world’s most significant events around the revolutionary belief that humans are inherently good and kind. Packed with stories of human compassion, this book offers hope for the future, with kindness as the foundation.

2) What White People Can Do Next: From Allyship to Coalition - Emma Dabiri Emma Dabiri offers clear and practical advice for white people to support and enact racial justice. This extended essay helps to frame the fight against systemic racism as more than just a current interest, but a conviction to live out and build upon for the rest of our lives.

3) We Can Do Better Than This: 35 Voices on the Future of LGBTQ+ Rights - Ed. Amelia Abraham This book brings together 35 influential voices to comprise an anthology of stories and visions for the future of LGBTQ+ equality. The issues explored are global and wide-ranging, from inclusive sex education in schools to imagining a world without gender policing. This is not only a diverse account of LGBTQ+ experience, but a manifesto for a brighter future.

4) Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder and Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark - Julia Baird An unusual and inspiring reflection on the natural world and cultivating your ‘inner light’ in the face of adversity. Interweaved with autobiographical details, Baird ponders the restorative qualities of spending time in nature, allowing us to tap hidden sources of wonder and resilience. This is a wonderful book for anyone who’s wondering how to navigate and rebuild their life after the pandemic.

And, of course, if the current situation becomes too much to bear, we can always dive into the futuristic worlds of fiction. Still, as lockdowns fade and we begin to embrace the new normal, these non-fiction options offer a look into a better, not-so-far future. It’s about time!

@YorkVisionBooks YorkVisionBooks


Books Are More Than Bestsellers Tasha Croager


s students, it is rare that we ever have the inclination, nevermind the time, to indulge in a book of our own choosing. From when we first learn how to read, specific books were placed into our hands. At school, we were encouraged, and in some ways expected, to enjoy the adventures of Biff, Chipp, Kipper, and Floppy (characters from The Magic Key for those that don’t remember), without ever being offered any alternatives. Even when we did reach an age where we could follow our interests and choose a book to read for ourselves, we were often limited to whatever battered books scattered the shelves at our school library; for me, it was A Series of Unfortunate Events and the Winx Club series. Occasionally we might have ventured into a bookshop and persuaded our parents to buy us a book entirely of our choosing, yet if you were anything like myself, the seemingly endless options were incredibly daunting to say the least. I often left with a book which subsequently spent an unnaturally long amount of time unread, and I can’t say I actually enjoyed or even finished it. Fast forward to young adulthood, and we still have very little control over our reading choices or habits. As a literature student, most of my time is spent reading books for my course, which I’m sure is similar for students across the board. Course reading lists cost an unpleasant amount of money, so even if by some miracle we have the time and inclination to read something else, we certainly don’t have the funds. “Go to the library!” I hear you say, which I agree is a brilliant option. However, libraries often have the unfortunate habit of owning very few copies of a book; if it’s popular, you’ve got to get in there quickly and read it before someone requests it. All of these circumstances contribute to our lack of control over what we read, whether we’re fully conscious of it or not. Even with a healthy book budget, main-

stream bookshops often steer us into buying certain novels or nonfiction reads. Even our beloved Waterstones in York has its bestsellers and popular reads on tables at the front of the shop, and don’t even get me started on the WHSmith Book Chart. Whilst I appreciate that for some people - especially those new to the pleasures of reading - this blatant signposting of “good books” can be helpful, I still remain a skeptic. Maybe that’s because in my experience, these books often don’t appeal to me. I feel almost coerced into reading them as they quite literally stare me in the face. The pressures associated with popular trends are as prominent with book-buying as they are with clothes. If you give in to the pressure and buy a popular bestseller, it’s no easy task to go against the masses and confess that you didn’t like it. Even social media plays its part, with many bookstagrammers reading the same books with recycled five star reviews. Obviously there are exceptions, and many bookworms can offer exciting recommendations. Local independent bookshops can also be a great source for finding that new, undiscovered read which is sure to be your bag. Even secondhand bookshops have their ways of helping you regain control over your reading; despite having a limited selection, their books are often so cheap you can afford a few bad buys. Essentially, what I’m trying to say is that it’s great to go into a shop and buy a new book, but don’t feel pressured to buy a certain one. Take your time and explore the shop thoroughly; check the shelves at the very back where they often hide the good stuff. Read all of the synopses, and sneak a peek at the first few pages to see if they grab your attention. Books are more than just bestsellers, so before you buy, make sure you’ve picked up a book that is really, truly for you.


Beth McCarthy: The Oprah of York’s Music Scene Iwan Stone


nyone who has been within 50 yards of TikTok will recognise Beth McCarthy, having seen her sobbing behind her steering wheel to ‘She Gets the Flowers’ – a video with 5.1 million views. If you’ve seen the dual TikTok of Will Joseph Cook’s ‘Be Around Me’ and her own ‘Omg Did She Call Him Baby?’, you’ll also remember her distinct, trembling voice. There is something vulnerable and fragile about her music that belies the incredible strength it imbues to her listeners.

ing that she did it to “get the experience”. “I chatted absolute bollocks for like, a good 20 minutes,” she laughs. “But it worked for me… they were like, ‘Yes, you’re weird, and so are we! We’ll just stick with you!’” This plays out across McCarthy’s music as she rewrites the charts – from Lewis Capaldi to Noah Cyrus. “There are certain songs out there that I hear and I’m like, wow, that’s incredible. But I-I am the person they’re singing about, like, I’m not them.” The power of this approach is perhaps best led through ‘Self Love Story” – a fundamental reworking of Taylor Swift’s 2009 hit. The famous, perhaps infamous chorus is replaced by: “You don’t need a prince when you’re already a queen / Write your own story / Where, baby, you are the lead.” She compares her role as singer-songwriter to being “the best friend or the big sister.” Her personal ethos is one based around self-appreciation: “I hate this narrative that people have of, like, needing someone else. The minute you start being, like, happy with yourself and comfortable with yourself, is the minute that all that attachment and sadness goes away.”

IMAGE: LOUIE WITTNER McCarthy left many people’s dream job in radio the month that lockdown began, but quickly returned as her pursuit of success in London was “spoiled” by COVID-19. Explained as a role for “if music doesn’t work out”, the radio enables her need for “connection”.

“My main goal has been to write songs that connect with people and that people can relate to, and listen to, and go, that’s me, that’s my story.” TikTok provides the perfect opportunity for this, according to McCarthy – particularly during a pandemic where we all have “that kind of want for real moments and genuine emotion.” Three years ago, she tells me, “If I’d have cried in my car and put it online, people would have been like, ‘She’s not okay!’” Now, people need to connect on a “vulnerable and raw and genuine level.” However, McCarthy jokes that TikTok is still not a wholly comfortable platform. She admits to being “a little bit bitter that I spent ten years grafting my arse off to try and make it in music... and then I literally had to cry in a car. And that’s the thing that everybody’s listening to my music because of… I could have just done this the whole time?” This was something that picked up when she went on The Voice UK at 16 – maintain-

“I’m trying to take on everyone’s story on my little shoulders. I’m the Oprah of Music.” Interaction with her audience has remained an integral element of McCarthy’s work – in the music video for ‘She Gets the Flowers’, a sequence of women write and hold up their stories of heartbreak. Simple and totally devastating, you leave the song consumed by the silence it leaves behind. She says that her next song is going to be building on the power within her rewrites – “We all cried together, and now we’re all going to get over it together.” Her aim is to “take the power back and take that moment where it’s like, okay, we’re really sad about that person, we’re really, really sad about that. But you know what, we’re okay.”






Visions of the Future

Review: The Howl and the Hum ‘Live at York Minster’


Joe Radford & Rory Sanger “Who knew I could enjoy the return of live music?” says The Howl and the Hum frontman, Sam Griffiths.


’m sure that this sentiment is shared by the many fans watching from home with a cup of tea and a takeaway. While most of us witnessed The Howl and the Hum’s livestream gig from York Minster within the comforts of our own homes, some 150 fortunate fans were able to attend in person and experience an outstanding one-off performance. An odd experience for sure: due to restrictions audience members were not allowed to cheer or sing along, only clap, or “vibrate” as Griffiths put it. That being said, there was certainly cause for vibration at the overwhelmingly emotional set delivered by the group. Griffiths first appeared on stage alone with his guitar, in a shirt adorned with the symmetrical image of a skull and a rose, a reflection of the band’s lyrical content which spans from the macabre to the romantically sentimental. He began with a rendition of ‘Pigs’; the eerie waltz which closes their latest album, 2020’s Human Contact. When I interviewed Griffiths in March, he expressed his fondness for the minimalist ‘Pigs’, and here it was performed as the prelude to the album’s lead single, ‘Hostages’. This opening two-song suite showcased Griffith’s delicate falsetto vocals and fingerstyle guitar talents and acted as a quaintly effective overture. From here the performance unfolded in a gradually constructed

manner, as The Howl and the Hum were joined by a trio of string players - a violinist, cellist, and double bassist (the latter filling in for bassist Bradley Brackwell, who was unfortunately ill for the performance) - as well as a socially distanced choir. This performative approach complemented the beautiful Gothic interior of the York Minster, where the grand acoustics breathed new life into the band’s music. As Griffiths was joined by more instrumentation, we were treated to a new song, ‘Thumbs Up’, as well as a good helping of Human Contact’s highlights. Yet, the apex of the performance undoubtedly arrived with ‘Sweet Fading Silver’, the dynamic power ballad which forms the centrepiece of Human Contact. Conor Hirons’ guitar was so awash with cosmic reverb that it filled the cathedral with ease. Drummer Jack Williams used beaters instead of sticks, taking on the role of an orchestral percussionist, and the track’s instrumentation melded into a euphoric crescendo. It is moments like these where in-person attendance at concerts is critical; the livestream does not live up to the live show. A performance of ‘Godmanchester Chinese Bridge’, the band’s most successful song, closed the night. It felt less like an encore and more like a coda, reminding us that post-COVID-19 live music isn’t quite back to its interactive pre-pandemic spirit. Still, the band left the stage afterwards demonstrating the golden rule of live performance: always leave the audience wanting more.




Visions of the Future




Naomi McGrath

decided to embark on a new personal dating journey, with a mixture of Tinder trash, trustworthy gal pals and one friendly neighbour. I dutifully documented the results in the hopes of inspiring you, fellow student, to step outside your lockdown limbo into a world of dinner and drinks; living a life that Samantha Jones would be proud of.



Back to the Future: Queer Relationships in Popular Media Holly Palmer epresentation of queer relationships is increasing in current media, making leaps and bounds from the commonplace homophobia found in mainstream media of the 2000s and even 2010s. However, this representation often plays into increasingly problematic traits and storylines , saturating the current era of queer representation with troublesome sterotypes. Complex queer relationships often don’t attain the “happy ending” of straight relationships in the media, and queer characters’ are often based on solely being not-straight, rather than being multidimensional people. Even shows about sex and relationships have often presented biphobic, homophobic, and generally queerphobic commentary and opinions. In Sex and the City, Carrie and her friends are outright biphobic, urging that Carrie’s bisexual boyfriend is simply a gay man refusing to “fully” come out despite being on a “layover to gay town” (Series 3). In fact, even in the most groundbreaking queer TV show about women, The L Word, some storylines were defined by biphobia and transphobia, using slurs and telling bisexual characters to “pick a side”. Multiple storylines also border on sexual assault and rape, yet are still cast in a positive light. The L Word, as a product of its time, is a clear demonstration of queer relationships in 2000s media, but also an illsutation of how these relationships in media have grown and changed over the past decade. In shows like Pretty Little Liars, even though one of the main characters, Emily, is queer, there are multiple problematic storylines around her and her love life. For example, the actions of her bully,

Six Dates in Six Days: York’s Post Lockdown Date Ideas

Paige, are excused as the beginnings of a loving and trusting queer relationship, as if attempting to murder you isn’t enough to put you off. In season 5, Pretty Little Liars had more queer female characters than any other TV show in history apart from The L Word. And yet they repeatedly problematised the storylines of its queer relationships, romantically pairing together women despite outright homophobic behaviour (not just kissing for practice anymore Alison?). In addition to this, the show “revealed” the villain to have been transgender all along. This is problematic in itself, but the network followed this up by tweeting “He. She. It. Charlotte. #PrettyLittleLiars” to mass controversy. We don’t just need representation of queer relationships on television, we need queer writers, producers, and staff in the industry; people to take careful time to sculpt queer characters and storylines that are developed, multidemensional, and not problematic. We often see queer relationships in shows geared for female audiences, but these very same shows produce problematic and hurtful storylines, showcasing internalised homophobia and excusing outright homophobic behaviour to justify character arcs. Queer main cast members are often not as beloved as the rest of the cast, typically meeting more complex and unhappy endings which aren’t wrapped up as neatly as their hetero counterparts. We need more than just representation, we need the normalisation of queer relationships in media beyond a defining character arc or storyline, and we need multidimensional characters that are defined by more than their queerness.

I brought the booze, the chat, and the entertainment. He brought...well, very little. He was nice. The date was nice. After our riverside walk, he cooked me dinner as we sat in silence in his shared kitchen. I’d talked continuously for around five hours by this point, and by the time he was chopping onions, boiling pasta, and humming along to Wolf Alice (which filled the ever-growing void), I realised the game was up. Riverside walks are affordable, practical, and fuss-free; a respectable date idea, provided that the company lives up to your expectations.


For my second outing, I journeyed to Spark, an indie outdoor venue. The food? Incredible. The company? Impeccable. The venue? Indie AF. Spark is the perfect place for those seeking casual drinks and gastronomic wonders. The prices vary, but IMAGE: LUCY PURKIS CHARTERS overall, it’s an affordable, practical, and a thoroughly enjoyable venue for both friends and flings.


If you’re adventurous and seek an experience which deviates from the usual dinner-date, this one’s for you. Personally, I found this experience to invoke nothing but regret. I was cold. The weather was grey, and the constant threat of rain had me in a chokehold. Somehow, the miniscule floats which bob erratically along the River Ouse don’t invoke the same excitement as a yacht party in Ibiza.


Cocktails. Heaters. Zesty shots and two for £10 beverages. Need I say more? I love this place, and the atmosphere makes for a great spot for drinks any time of the day. With its tropical atmosphere, cosy outdoor seating, ambient lighting, and beachy palm IMAGE: BORA BORA YORK trees (I assume they’re fake), this place is perfect for day-drinkers and night revellers alike.


This idea is perfect for casual getting-to-know-you encounters. A blanket, a variety of canned cocktails, a selection of pastries and you’ve got yourself a quaint, budget-friendly date. However, the company you keep is essential. If you’re stuck with a total bore whilst you try to escape vicious geese and pesky insects, the entire day could be a flop. Perfect picnic spots include the riverside by Millennium Bridge, and the York Museum Gardens.


I’ve frequented Lucia’s on multiple occasions, but I’d yet to experience a full three-course dinner with cocktails, wine, and company on a similar wavelength. We chatted...a lot. Whilst the Pinot Grigio certainly helped maintain the flowing conversation and kept any potential awkwardness at bay, I sense that with or without the presence of liquor or truffle-infused tagliatelle, the date would have gone swimmingly. Fortunately, my exhausting IMAGE: LUCIA YORK week had ended on a high note, and it pains me to admit that the date was on par with Lucia’s calamari (yes, that’s supposed to be a compliment).


Thursday June 17, 2021



WE’VE ALL EXPERIENCED that awkward moment when you tell a joke and nobody else finds it funny. Usually, it is delivered to someone close to you, so you swiftly brush it off and pretend as though it never happened. However, the people that perform comedy for a living don’t have it so easy. When faced with a live audience, comedians become fixated on gaining a laugh. Sometimes, too much. When speaking to the chair of York’s Comedy Society, Rohan Ashar stated that no matter what, in comedy “the audience always matters.” “I think about it in the sense that laughter augments the performance. I don’t count the laughs during a performance, but I believe that every performer would expect audience reactions in certain moments and when this doesn’t happen it is undeniably disconcerting.” Making somebody laugh is one of the greatest achievements ever known, especially when you don’t know somebody that well. For comedians and comedy actors to deliver scripted material to millions of strangers, hoping


COMEDIANS BEHIND THE LAUGHTER: “I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE” to make them all laugh, is brave. But, what’s even more amazing is comedians displaying their true colours, away from their material. During the recent Friends reunion, for example, we experienced Chandler Bing like never before. It took 17 years, but on 27 May 2021 we finally saw Rachel, Ross, Monica, Joey, Phoebe, and Chandler sit together in Central Perk one last time. Throughout the episode we saw the characters recreate iconic scenes, reunite with other fellow cast mates, and reminisce over the good times they had whilst filming. There was one scene in particular, however, that stood out the most to me: “If I

didn’t get a laugh, I thought I was going to die.” Sitting on Monica’s old sofa and looking out to where the audience would have been seated, Matthew Perry opened up about his struggles with comedy. He revealed that on the days he didn’t gain a laugh from the audience, he would sweat with stress and experience awful convulsions. Whilst filming the series, Perry admitted that for the majority of it, specifically between seasons 3-6 he remembered very little due to his abuse of drugs and alcohol. In 1997, three years after the first episode aired, Perry was admitted to rehab to help with his addiction

to Vicodin - then again in 2001. As well as Vicodin, Perry had become addicted to methadone, amphetamines, and alcohol. Attempting to battle his drug and alcohol abuse, Perry turned to comedy as a coping mechanism. During the reunion, we saw how fixated Perry was on gaining a laugh. There were moments when the other characters would deliver a funny joke and Perry (even if he wasn’t supposed to be in the scene) would jump in to get a piece of the action. Eventually, Perry became permanently sober. In 2011, he made an appearance on Capitol Hill in Washington to fight for support

for drug courts, and in 2013 he received a Champion of Recovery award from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy for opening up his home in California to other struggling drug addicts. In the words of York’s own Rohan Ashar, “a lack of laughs should motivate us to work on a performance in the future – I often channel negative energy into putting in additional effort with the rewards of audience appreciation in mind”. After Perry finished his second period in rehab, his performance during the 7th season of Friends onwards was unforgettable.


is happening. It’s tearing us apart and none of us have eaten butter in a week. Aunty Vi, how do we get to the bottom of it?”

“Dear Aunty Vi, I’ve got flatmate issues and I need help. We have one shared bathroom between the six of us and there are increasingly strange things appearing in there. It started when we found a large 1kg tub of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter right next to the toilet on the floor. We were even more bewildered when we found much


of the butter had been removed and two strange mounds were all that remained inside. Fast forward a week, and we found my housemates full body pillow, Nerf Gun set and a GTX 1080 Nvidia GPU in there. The only constant was the tell-tale butter tub dripping in the corner. My housemate denies it was him and we’re at a loss for what

Dear Reader, Thank you for your response. I propose a game of Cluedo. There’s nothing like a murder mystery to bring all your friendships back together. Examine your housemate’s belongings. Especially the full body pillow - I know being in the bathroom can be lonely, but surely no one suffers that badly. Check for any hairs, weird smells, or butter stains on the pillow, then, I suggest dealing the rest of your housemates’ possessions to the other people living there.

Roommate 1 with the Nerf Gun, 2 with the pillow, 3 with the GTX 1080 Nvidia GPU, and 4 with the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Instead of looking for murder clues, like the original game, I suggest coming up with various scenarios in which these items can be used in the bathroom. Perhaps the housemate you already believe to be the thief is the first man to fall pregnant and finds relief cuddling a pillow in the bath, or he suffers terribly with stomach issues, meaning butter helps kick start his flow and playing on the GTX brings a slight form of happiness and relief to the occasion. You should all gather in a communal area of the house to

make the game fair (either the living room or the kitchen depending on which is nicer), maybe with a couple of drinks because we all know people become more truthful when they’re drunk. From here, present your potential scenarios and watch the faces of your housemates, I guarantee one will eventually break into nervous laughter or tears of sheer embarrassment. I sincerely hope you discover which one of your housemates is a lonely, dairy obsessed gamer, and, even more, I hope you all unite, forming York’s first I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Soc, in which you all cuddle pillows and sit with spoonfuls of margarine.


Thursday June 17, 2021




WILL ROWAN Prepare For the Summer of Live, Laugh, Love Get your bucket, spade, and COVID shots, it’s going to be hot!

ARE YOU SITTING comfortably? It’s been a long old time since we last had a chat, and I’m positively raring to go. Let’s start with an update. My stationary elevator pitch turned out to be a non-starter. The last thing Deborah texted me was “I need a lift” at 2am on a chilly December night and we haven’t spoken since. It’s disappointing, but my entrepreneurial spirit continues unabated. It’s now been three years since I could count my age on my fingers and toes, and unless I grow some more sharpish I’m fated to be this way forever. Times change and you have to move with them. We’ve got through the bleak midwinter and as I sit here typing merrily away, I’m drawn to the sound of bird song and the call of a gentle breeze

Tragedy as York’s Theatre Royale forget the “Live, Laugh” from their signs under the beating sun. Everything is better when the sun shines, and right now it’s shining very brightly. It feels like the pandemic has an end in sight and it’s about time. I saw the York Theatre Royal

were advertising something about a ‘Summer of Love’ when I walked past earlier. Despite the burning temptation to add ‘live, laugh’ before the love, it got me thinking in a way that buildings don’t. What

does the summer have in store for us? I’m not sure we’ll quite reach the heights of Haight-Ashbury in ’67, but there’s a hope that social movements, particularly among the young, have a fresh lease of life after the pandemic. This summer can be anything you want, call it a Summer of Something and you get to pick the Something. Communal living may not be the next big thing, but we’ve been shown the necessity and power of local communities: online, and now hopefully very much offline. The poetry, music, and cultural record of the pandemic will be a historical and very personal testimony of this moment. You’re a part of that. Whether it’s a polaroid, an article, or jottings in a journal, we’ve all made records and have lived experiences of a key moment in

history. As places open up, we also open ourselves to a weird, often wonderful world. That’s not to say ‘freedom’ doesn’t feel like an intimidating prospect. Fear of missing out isn’t so much of an issue when you need to stay in. It may take time to adjust and that’s to be expected, so let’s make the most of it. Cut yourself some slack and do the same for others, it’s been a rough ride but we’ve made it. We might not fit 30,000 people into Museum Gardens (or should do so), but we’ll have the chance to reconnect with each other. There’ll be a time to reflect and remember but it’s also important to make new memories, share new experiences, and soak up the sun in the meantime. Let’s make this summer one to remember.



Lockdown is Bad Enough Without Social Media

There are more important things to worry about than looking good on the ‘gram! AS I SCROLL down my Instagram feed for the fifteenth time this morning, I take a minute to pause before double-tapping yet another perfectly framed, highly-edited snapshot of “reality”. If anything, it seems that this past year has only exacerbated unrealistic expectations for your average commoner like you and I. I can’t help but ponder the mundane experiences of all us “common people” over lockdown. It seems, if you didn’t get engaged, have a child, build a bar in your shed, or start selling homemade masks on Etsy, then your lockdown experience has been somewhat overshadowed. Let’s face it, not many people share their weekly Lidl haul on Instagram, do they. The pan...orama of the past year has seen many of us spend

more and more time with our families. If you’re anything like me, you’ve gone home and embraced the time on the sofa, the more frequent chats with siblings, and caught up on EastEnders, only to wish you were back on campus within a week. Battling with those ever-increasing train fares while straddling home and uni life has meant you get the stresses of paying for a holiday home in some faroff location, without the prospect of ever actually experiencing the warmth of the foreign sun! Yes, okay, I hold my hands up. I do admit to making a few homemade soups and taking up embroidery, but can you really blame me? For the large part, my days consisted of monotony served up with a side salad of “is this it?”. In the words of everyone’s favourite Irishman, I followed lockdown re-

strictions to the letter of the law… the letter! But at one point, a firstclass flight to Dubai sure did look tempting. Even during lockdown, where heels were swapped for slippers and a three-piece suit became the average person’s pyjamas fitted with a dressing gown, we were still fixated on image. We picked apart Adele’s body, were shocked at Will Smith’s, and couldn’t even (legitimately) criticise our own prime minister without slating his look. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first person to find fault with the current leaders of this country, but isn’t it about time we stop equating presentation with success? Rumour has it that the talented north Londoner won her accolades in her “before” body, and she will continue to break records no matter how society deems her in her

A realistic pose on / falling off a gate

current body, too. While I make a conscious effort to engage with positive accounts that represent me, social media is an illusion that has us all vying for an unachievable dream. This past year has opened many of our eyes to real life: overworked healthcare staff, overcrowded housing, and a society rife with inequality. For many students it’s caring for a relative, missing important deadlines, and piling up your recycling as high as you can until you finally concede and empty the bloody bin. In the real world, my life - and I think I’m not alone in this - doesn’t come in pastel shades, and square photos; it’s more those rejected, unfiltered ones where you fell off that gate you were so gracefully posing on.

Thursday June 17, 2021









AFTER DECADES OF change regarding discrimination laws and affirmative action, has the experience of studying male-dominated subjects improved for women at the University of York? There’s an expectation for English students to be easy going, for Drama students to be extroverted, and for STEM students to be, well, male… But are times changing? To find out more, York Vision spoke to students studying STEM subjects at the University of York. We spoke about their experiences, the challenges they have faced due to their gender, their thoughts on positive selection, and their own personal role models. All names and identifying details have been changed. What is the most challenging part of your degree? Charlotte (Computer Science, first year): “Being a woman, I feel like I sort of reflect all women, that



IS THE SOLUTION to indoor air pollution going vegetarian, opening windows, and ditching scented candles? We know increased outdoor air pollution is affecting long term health. However, as a country we’re staying inside more than ever. Recent studies, including some from the University of York, show indoor air might be worse than previously thought. With more people choosing to socialise and shop online, according to Nic Carslaw (a researcher here at York), on average we only spend 5 years of our lives outside. We are also increasingly separating indoor and outdoor air. Many modern buildings are built without the ability to open windows. This means money is saved and carbon output is reduced, but we may be paying the price with our health. Inside houses, air hosts a mix of polluting particles. However, there are key activities that cause background air pollution to spike. Formaldehyde, which is present in 800% more of our inside than outside air,

people are already doubting my ability to code, and that if I struggle that it will reconfirm it to them and myself.” Esther (Chemistry, Msc): “Chemistry can be cliquey, it can feel elitist, and it can be tough not seeing yourself represented. I haven’t met anyone who looks like me, talks like me, and dresses like me, which, for quite a while in first year, made me think I was the problem and in the wrong subject.”

“I haven’t met anyone who looks like me, talks like me, and dresses like me” Have you been treated differently based on your gender? Lara (Theoretical Physics, second year): “Not in a negative way. My sixth form was very male

dominated and I was offered work experience in a scheme to encourage more young females to study STEM subjects, which was very positive.”

Soapbox Science promoting women and non-binary scientists and their work in St Sampson’s Square, York. Ava (Mathematics and Statistics, first year): “I’ve actually had a lot of encouragement growing up to pursue maths. I feel like, as a girl at school, I had something

to prove by studying maths, and I got more encouragement than my male peers. Is that fair? Maybe not. But it fueled me with love for this subject.” Maisy (Biology, third year): “My course is really women heavy actually, maybe 60-70% of the course are women? I don’t think we’re treated any differently to men, but I think there’s maybe quite a difference in choice of careers and expectations about what’s going to happen when we leave Uni.” What role models do you aspire to? Katie (Maths, third year): “I’ve followed the work of Dr Hannah Fry for years and I can genuinely say she has shown me that the job I want does exist and there’s nothing stopping me.” Alex (Electronic Engineering, second year) : “Of course there are female role models everywhere, you only need to look, but we can still idolise men without it being super antifeminist. One of my per-

sonal idols is Alan Turing: not a woman, but still, staggeringly brillant for approaching a problem so uniquely.” Women across all STEM subjects have been credited with many scientific breakthroughs. We are all taught about Marie Curie at school, but how about Katherine Johnson (a mathematician key to calculating the safety of space flights), or Barbara McClintock (a geneticist who is the only woman ever to independently win a Nobel Prize for Medicine)? Interviewing women across so many different subjects has not left me with a conclusive view. Although there is a shift in the presentation of STEM subjects, and an increase of the number of women who are opting for these subjects, there is still a need for change. Key to this is that there is more freedom for women to speak out and make change, both at our University and across the globe. Stereotypes are shifting and things are changing.

GAS? I LIGHT THAT AIR? I POLLUTE THAT may cause lung and nasal cancer, with much of it released through household cleaning products. There are other daily events that cause a spike in indoor air pollution. Gas hobs pump out polluting carbon-containing gases, such as carbon monoxide and dioxide, which can lead to nausea, headaches and a decrease in brain function. However, even frying food on an electric hob, what you cook can release a range of particles. They can reduce your lung capacity, making it harder to breathe and increasing your chances of developing lung diseases.

Common student meals fry meat, but a York research team led by Karimata Abdullahi found that frying releases the most small particles, and frying bacon produces the most particles of any food type! An easy way to reduce the particles released into the air is cooking in the oven. Plus, cooking vegetables generally leads to lower emissions than cooking meat. Another source of indoor emissions is candles as their scents may be dangerous for our lungs. For example, Linalool, an alcohol, produces a calming lavender smell used in many products like fragrances and scent sticks, but

the issue is what happens when these chemicals react with oxygen as you breathe them in. Scientists don’t know the effects of all these different chemicals. We will have to wait and see what these candles have in store for our lungs. Nic Carlsaw at the University of York suggests some very simple and effective solutions to improve indoor air quality: 1. Avoid Indoor Air Cleaning Technologies: Research conducted by our university has linked this tech to possible increased indoor air pollution. 2. Removing pollutants: This

might mean avoiding scented candles and ensuring your extractor fan is on when you cook. 3. Increasing ventilation: Open your window if you can. 4. Use non-spray cleaning products: Switch to wipes, foams and creams instead of sprays. These solutions can minimise exposure to pollutants to avoid unknown health risks. Your future self will thank you, with lungs you can still use to breathe. With thanks to Nicola Carslaw, who provided key information and kindly provided many studies and statistics.



Thursday June 17, 2021



MATT WARD-PERKINS and WILL ROWAN talk to York’s Director of Public Health, Sharon Stoltz about student/resident divides and emerging from lockdown EVER SINCE YORK’S first COVID-19 cases last year, students have been at the centre of our city’s debates on the pandemic. Some have feared a divide opening between students and other York residents, with students often facing the blame for rising infections. York Vision met up with Sharon Stoltz, Director of Public Health in the City of York, to discuss the role students can play in York’s recovery, and the lessons that this year has taught us. In September 2020, when cases rose sharply, some saw the return of students as the cause. Stoltz reflected and said, “It’s a reasonable assumption to say that students returning to university into the city played a part, but they weren’t wholly responsible for that increase in cases. “If we think back to what was happening at that time, we had the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme, and restrictions were lifted. “I think people let their guard down, and even though the data showed that there was an increase in cases in younger age groups, not everyone in that

Crowds queue outside Spoons under Eat Out to Help Out: Mike Laycock age group is a student.” When asked to respond to the criticism of students from some in the city, Stoltz said that “I think we will always have certain sections in any community that will look for simple explanations for why case rates rise.” “There are vocal minorities in every university city who will have a moan, have a go at students, but that isn’t the majority view across York.

Langwith College move in Sharon Stoltz “The majority of York residents actually welcome students and understand the valuable contribution that students make not just to the economy in York, but to the fabric of the city.” When asked about the Autumn rise in cases, Stoltz told us, “Even though I expected that there would be an increase in infection rates when students returned, which was witnessed in other university cities as well, no one could have predicted the rapid sudden rise that we saw at that time.” Through that challenging period, Stoltz said that the way the city and universities responded was a “silver lining” and helped the city control rising cases before other areas saw a similar surge. “It led to a partnership approach between the public health team and both universities that has grown and strengthened over time. “I’m not sure that would have happened as quickly if we hadn’t seen that spike in cases.” Part of this partnership has seen students on the frontline of the city’s response, with over 150 students across York’s universities volunteering to support asymptomatic testing. Stoltz told us, “We couldn’t run our testing sites without the support of students.” “It’s been amazing that so many students have come forward, have been trained, and are doing an invaluable job helping our testing sites”. We moved on to speak about the vaccine rollout, with more

students becoming eligible to get their first dose. Stoltz urged students to register with a GP wherever they are living, to make sure that they do not miss out on a vaccine, but said that anybody who is concerned that they have missed out on a vaccine they are eligible for could contact York’s public health team. We asked what she would say to someone who was hesitant to get vaccinated, because of the relatively lower risk of COVID-19 to younger people.

Vaccination centre opened on campus this week Stoltz said, “One of the points of vaccination is to try and get to the point where we can have herd immunity. So we have the maximum proportion of the population vaccinated, so that we reduce the number of hosts that the virus can infect. “But also, we are increasingly concerned about what’s called long COVID, where even young people who have not been particularly ill with COVID-19, have not needed hospital admission, but are left with ongoing problems. “There are cases of young people that, months after what might have been a mild infection, still have various symptoms, including ones that might impact on their quality of life. “There’s no way of knowing whether you’re going to be one of the lucky ones and just perhaps have no symptoms at all, or you may have very mild symptoms and throw the infection off very quickly, or you’re going to be one of those people that’s going to be affected by long COVID”. Testing, particularly asymptomatic lateral flow testing, has become a part of student life for many, but Stoltz said she would

not support mandatory testing. “I am not a fan of making things mandatory - even vaccination is not mandatory. That’s not the way that we do things in this country. “We operate on a system of informed consent and we do everything possible to ensure that people have access to good information, so that they’re making an informed decision of whether they take up a vaccination, or whether they take up a lateral flow test. “I would 100% strongly encourage people to be tested [but] there has to be individual choice.” Looking to the future, as York begins to reopen, Stoltz expressed her expectation that “life will start to get more normal as we head into the summer.” “The only caveat around that is that the virus is still with us. So people just have to be sensible, including wearing a face covering and washing your hands or sanitising them regularly. “Just being mindful of protecting yourself by doing those simple measures, just common sense really. “And so things will go back to normal, and then students will be able to participate in all of those things. “Residents wouldn’t want students to feel that they’re locked up on the campus and they can’t come into the city, it’s just about using common sense and being sensible.” The city has come a long way since March 2020, and students have played their part all along the way. With the potential ending of legal restrictions in sight, students can continue to fulfil this role.

Walking into the light


BROOKE DAVIES pu YUSU Societies, and STUDENTS HAVE UNDENIABLY suffered the effects of this past academic year in a unique way. In a survey conducted by the ONS, over half of students reported being dissatisfied with the social side of higher education, a statistic which is unsurprising considering that a similar majority also reported a decline in their mental health. YUSU have certainly recognised this as Community and Wellbeing Officer Carly Precious told York Vision: “Prior to the pandemic, mental health was already a big problem on university campuses, having a disproportionate impact on those with protected characteristics.” “However, my focus shifted from tackling these issues generally to trying to reduce the


Thursday June 17, 2021






IWAN STONE and MARKS POLAKOVS present this year in numbers




POSITIVE student and staff cases

Report and Support appeals in Term 1 and Term 2

of York cases were UoY students



of UoY students tested positive

“Goodie bags”given to students by UoY



spent by UoY on graffiti removal this academic year

articles published by Vision since the start of Lockdown

uts a spotlight on the perseverance of d the role they’ve played over this pandemic negative impact of the pandemic”. For many, it’s been the sobering impact of social distancing that has hit home hardest with self-isolation often being the introduction freshers had to their new housemates. Not only were in-person contact hours made a relic of the past, all the usual university excitement was gone: no clubbing, no socials, and no hope. There has, however, been a considered effort by some members of the student population to help retain some resemblance of normality; society leaders have marched on despite considerable hurdles thrown their way by both the University and UK Government. James Doherty, Chair of FragSoc said: “I would say the fact that we have kept some

semblance of routine has been a great way of supporting those who have had a tough year. “Don’t get me wrong, we have had to sacrifice some in-person stuff like our pub quizzes or especially our LAN parties, where we all get together in one room to just have a good time for the weekend.” FragSoc has been recognised for their commitment, being shortlisted for two awards at this year’s Love York awards: Fundraiser of the Year and Event of the Year. James said: “I think the society having been shortlisted for two Love York Awards this year is testament to how well we’ve done over COVID, and we feel so incredibly thankful that we’ve been able to provide these spaces to take people’s mind away from what has been an incredibly difficult year for some”.

However, the challenges of the pandemic have proven too much for some societies; the lack of in-person activity has led to a decrease in membership, and with a decrease in membership comes a lack of committee members to take over the society. This struggle prompted YUSU and student group coordinators to create the ‘Adopt a Society Scheme’, which allows for people to take over groups which were unable to find a replacement committee in the past. Not only does this allow for societies to be rejuvenated, but also presents an opportunity for new students to take up the mantle and throw themselves into a new part of university life. With the UK beginning to reopen, and normal campus life looking set to return

soon, more opportunities for students are on the horizon. Carly said: “I am optimistic about the future as students begin to gain connections as we return to the new normal. “However, this in itself can be a daunting prospect, and we need to continue to support students in seeking pastoral and specialised care in order to help them navigate barriers.” The role societies have played, and will play in reopening is crucial, encouraging students to come to in-person events to highlight the return to normal, and also accommodating for those who wish to remain cautious, but also experience university life. Next year will be a challenge for committees, learning to balance both areas, but so far societies have shown themselves to be a force to be reckoned with.



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PATRICK THELWELL HAS been found guilty, after he was arrested for “obstruction of a highway” last September. This is the fourth time he has been arrested but he told us that this time felt different. To date, he has had to pay £500 in court fees – an amount covered by an arrestee support fund crowd funded locally. He, alongside 76 other Extinction Rebellion activists, was charged for dramatically blocking the roads used for the production of NewsCorp titles – including The Sun and The Times – after claiming they had failed to report


on the climate crisis. This drew condemnation from the likes of the PM, who branded the protests “completely unacceptable”. Thelwell, reflecting on the protest after his verdict, said that “it was good to have a legitimate target”, while others he had been involved in had focused more broadly on the Government. When a police officer had asked Thelwell if there was anything he could do to make him come down from an eight hour stint on a van emblazoned with “Fuck Murdoch, Fuck Rothermere, Refugees are Welcome Here”, he proudly responded with “You could arrest Rupert Murdoch for crimes against humanity”.

He believes that the media are a “threat to democracy”, as he sees them promoting “fake news, hatred, racism and fascism.” Therefore, he is appealing the verdict of his case, saying that their means were justified “given the nature and the severity” of the situation. Nevertheless, Thelwell retains the view that the actions of XR outside NewsCorp were a success. He cites the “huge positive response from social media” as a vehicle for opening a dialogue about reforming media. However, he also recognises the negative impact of the protest – notably how it was used as “an excuse to pass the Police, Crime, Courts, and Sentencing Bill”, which threatens

protesters with up to ten years in prison. “They’re terrified of the power of collective action, and of direct action,” he told me, further noting that “The Kill the Bill protests really show that people aren’t willing to, like, give into fascism quietly, we are going to make a stand”. A character in York, who has himself run for Green Party councillor, Thelwell believes that the way to go is through local representation: “an economy based on mutual aid, sustainability, and growing our own food”. He is pleased to see this being carried out in York, through societies like York Student Solidarity Network, and campaigns for a

Peoples’ Assembly. He believes that “students have been just treated disgustingly during this pandemic and for decades now.” On a local, as well as global scale, he believes that the only way to solve climate change is “through forming a united people of earth based on global democracy confederation of local democracy”. So would he do it again, knowing the recent verdict? “It’s always worth standing up on behalf of the people who are starving to death. There is nothing that the government or the police or anybody can do that can intimidate me or can scare me. They can arrest me, they can send me to prison for ten years, but ultimately I believe that we’re gonna win”.



AS THE POPULARITY OF the environmental movement has increased, new challenges have emerged for those living with disabilities. These new barriers can be illustrated through the term eco ableism, which broadly means a form of ableism in which sustainability policies erase or disadvantage disabled people. Many of these policies may disadvantage disabled people unintentionally through unconscious bias, as our society is built around the needs of able-bodied people. The environmental move-

ment’s failure to consider those with disabilities has created many barriers. Campaigns to ban straws led to their removal in many hospitality and othervenues. The ripple effect has disadvantaged those disabled people who heavily rely on straws, as they no longer have access to these in cafés, restaurants, airplanes, and many other facilities. For many with disabilities this ban greatly impacts their lives, as they now have to always remember a straw when leaving their homes. On top of this, for many with disabilities, plastic straws are the best option, as paper dissolves, and metal can be painful for many

Plastic straws can be essential to those with disabilities.

with jitters. The complete disregard of disabled people’s requirements may have been unintentional. Nonetheless, it has demonstrated how essential it is to consider those with disabilities when campaign-

ing for environmental change. Further campaigns for the removal of sliced fruit in pots and ready meals, due to their excess plastic, also affect those with disabilities. For some, this can be the only product they can eat due to housing designs meaning that many only have a microwave, or due to the limited ability to use their hands. If a ban happened it would severely impact disabled people’s freedom and independence. Some environmental movements such as Friends of the Earth have worked alongside their disabled members to ensure they are included within policies and cam-

paigns. This is essential to prevent discrimination and exclusion of those with disabilities. Ultimately, the straw ban has had negative consequences for disabled people. If this unconscious bias against those with disabilities continues, then the environmental movement could have dire consequences on their quality of life. Removing items like plastic straws pushes the blame onto the consumer, whereas the producer is often the source of the problem. By failing to consider them, we risk erasing the voices of disabled people. This is not acceptable, and it needs to change.


Thursday June 17, 2021





rugby league team since IT HAS BEEN well their last match in front of over a year since full supporters, most noticecapacity crowds have ably the stadium they are been able to watch playing in. The LNER Communisport here in York and ty Stadium, a new home across the country. for the Knights and York The past year has been City FC, has been in the challenging for clubs and works for well over a decvenues across the counade. 2 try, but the limited return Once expected to open of fans last month, and 1 in 2014, the stadium fihopeful return of full canally opened its doors at pacity attendances soon, the start of this year, with is generating real hope. football and rugby league York Vision spoke games being held behind to two venues who welcomed supporters last closed doors. Last month’s Knights month for the first time fixture was the first time since the start of the panthat supporters entered demic, discussing what the stadium, and the this means and what we Knights’ Marketing Mancan expect next. Plenty has changed ager Joe Smith told Vision for the York City Knights that “it was brilliant to see the fans’ reactions to being


the first in that stadium.” “It was really relieving, I’ve seen all the hard work that everyone at the club has put in, so it was great to see the reaction and so many people enjoying it.” Joe began working with the Knights full-time this year, after two and a half years volunteering for the club and supporting the Knights for their 19year history. He spoke about the feeling that a return of fans brought to the club, saying that “it’s so different without fans. “Just hearing the roar when the players went back into the changing room before the game, the celebrations when some of the tries were scored at the end.

“Seeing the players go around applauding the fans at the end of the game, we’ve not had that for the past 18 months and it was lovely, it was a bit emotional”. The relief and excitement at seeing supporters return was something felt across sport last month, including here in York. Maiti Stirling from York Racecourse told Vision that: “racing is a spectator sport. “It was great to be able to race last year but it is not the same without a crowd cheering the winner home. “Everyone here is very much looking forward to seeing the Champagne Terraces full again, and hearing the roar as the

horses cross the winning line.” At the LNER Community Stadium, the Racecourse, and elsewhere, months of work has gone into the safe return of fans, and bringing some live sport back into our lives. With York Racecourse looking forward to more race days throughout the year, and a hoped-for capacity crowd at the famed Ebor Festival in August, York’s rugby league community looking forward to Rugby League World Cup games in our city later this year, and York City FC planning for a return next month, the future looks bright for sport in York. challenging year.



YORK VISION STORMED to victory, demolishing The Lemon Press’ 198 runs in the first annual media group summer sport social. Iwan Stone stepped in as Vision’s final batsman with 46 to gain, thanks to brave performances from the likes of Charlie Gaskell and W.J Rowan – a target that soon tumbled as wides fell forth from a series of starstruck TLP leg spinners. The Lemon Press, ignominious in defeat, commented that: “In 1882 the ashes of English cricket were taken to Australia. In 2021 the ashes of the Vision office will be spread over Heslington.” Strong performances came from Nicholas Lunn, who made his attempt at cricket whites proud by scoring 56 for the losing side, but even the furious full tosses and diving catches of Harry Clay could not stem the tide as Vision painted their victory onto the 22 Acres. Vision look forward to crushing Nouse as their next fixture approaches.

MEET YOUR NEW SPORTS PRESIDENT base.” How do you plan on growing support for non-conventional clubs? “We’re thinking about starting a social media preview of clubs prior to students arriving at the University. With clubs training off campus we’ve looked at the possibility of a student’s sport parking permit so more students can bring their cars on campus to travel to off campus venues. I advocate for the fact that funding doesn’t always equal support, you have to address the root causes.” You mentioned in your manifesto that you want to introduce coaching courses due to a lack of referees for matches. How would you do this? “We’ve had coaching clinics that have been wanting to run for rugby specifically. It’s a case of

something that people need to become more aware of in how crucial it is to keep the sport system at this University ongoing, particularly college sport as it is predominantly student run. My hope is that we


MARCH 2021 SAW the election of Francesca “Franki” Riley as York Sport President. Her role is the main point of contact for university and college sports clubs. I had the privilege of speaking with Riley about her election run, and what changes we can expect to see in the 2021/22 academic year. What approach are you going to bring to university sport next year? “A really individualised approach to working with clubs. The best approach is to work with clubs one on one and work on their individual needs to progress and then results in BUCS will come with that. I’m focusing on a sense of equality and promoting sports that otherwise don’t get as big a voice because of a smaller fan


could have some courses ready for when students come in September. A lot of clubs rely on student coaching, and this program would develop better connections with the governing bodies of all of the

different sports. Maybe it won’t happen in a year but if we keep developing it over the years with future sports presidents to come, we can create a self-sufficient and manageable system.” You spoke about your priority being enhancing first aid provisions. How do you want to alter this? “I would love the presence of a St John’s Ambulance at every BUCS Wednesday. I’ll also look to improve students’ confidence in first aid by running courses. There’s been too many times where students have not taken the symptoms of concussion seriously and go out clubbing when rest is needed.” Your manifesto placed high importance on equal opportunities. How do you feel the university has not met this criteria in the past?

“We had an equal opportunities week where one of the first hours of the day in the gym was designated to females only to encourage women to go to the gym. I don’t feel separation is the answer. The root problem is that women can feel uncomfortable when there are a lot of men around, so this approach is not practical, as we need to work on improving women’s confidence in the gym. “I thought of a “gym buddy” scheme where you can find a friend or even a stranger to make a new friend to have that support in the gym.” Describing her election as a “three year plan in the making”, our new sports president is anything but lacking in enthusiasm. With planning already underway for the sports committee elections, expect a big year for sport at university next year.

ısıon VSport YORK

Thursday June 17, 2021





A NUMBER OF water sports clubs were denied access to the Campus East lake by the University estates team this academic year over wildlife concerns, despite being able to use it in previous years. YUSU Sports President Maddi Cannell wrote in an email to clubs that there are “a number of individuals who would be in favour of no activity happening due to nesting birds”. This is worsened by the fact that groups have also been denied pool access due to COVID-19, even when organised indoor sport was permitted. The clubs have claimed that this has had a detrimental impact on their activities and membership, with former Captain of the Canoe Club Tom Dugdale stating: “Not having lake access proved to be really damaging for us, without pool

access due to COVID-19 we didn’t have a non-moving body of water to take freshers on to practice. “Despite the help of the Sports President at the time, the push for access wasn’t successful, despite having access in previous years.” It is revealed, in an email from Cannell, that “the report from the planners indicates that non-motorised activity could have a minimal impact if managed properly”, but the clubs remain without access. A number of assessments were conducted with the help of the canoe and sub-aqua club. This is the only time they have been granted access to the lake this year. In a comment to York Vision, Cannell, who in her manifesto made a commitment to enabling access to the lake, stated: “We are now at the point where we are waiting for the report to come back and I am really

hoping this will see us get to a point where work can begin to be undertaken so we see use for the start of the next academic year. “Whilst of course we need to be mindful of the environment, there are several organisations the University and myself are utilising who are experts in making this sort of space work for recreational activity.” Rose Hemingway, current Captain of the Canoe Club, said: “If we’d had access we would have been able to run sessions sooner this year and actually have some club activities. Realistically, it’s the only location we could go to without car sharing.” In response to the difficulties faced this year, Cannell established the Waterspace Strategy Group (Lake Group), which she states “will provide a much better long term solution than the ad hoc provision previously in place, and mean development and access can happen in conjunc-

tion with the University, rather than being given reluctantly”.

IMAGE: YUSU A spokesperson for the University of York said: “We want to provide spaces for wildlife to flourish on campus, so each year the use of the lake is prohibited between 1st March until 31st August to avoid disturbance to nesting and breeding birds. It is against the law to intentionally disturb them.”

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