Mother Nature calls- Birmingham
Free sanitary products will be given to students at Birmingham University following a successful campaign launched by a sabbatical officer at the students union. The idea was proposed by Daisy Lindlar, guild representation and resources officer, in retaliation to the ‘tampon tax’ whereby sanitary products are subjected to a 5% tax as they are classed as a ‘non-essential luxury item’. The issue has been raised in Parliament as MP’s are currently debating the issue. Lindlar addresses the issue by saying, “I’m fortunate in that although the tampon tax angers me, I would never be actually priced out of a period. But there are many people who aren’t so lucky. These people have to resort to unhealthy measures to manage their periods, such as ‘back-to-backing’ the Pill in order to avoid having a period in the first place, or creating unhygienic, home-made alternatives to traditional sanitary products."
Consent at Cambridge- Cambridge
Compulsory sexual consent workshops have been introduced at Cambridge University for first-year students. The Students Union Women’s Campaign designed the workshops with the intention of educating students about issues such as rape and lad culture. According to Isabel Lowe-Zinola, the women’s officer at Newnham College, booklets are distributed during the session that contain ‘information about going out, drinking societies and how to stay safe in the prevalence of lad/rape culture’. She added: “First year students in particular need this kind of advice because for some of them university is the first time where they will start going out and being introduced to these kinds of dangers. The National Union of Students published research last year that found that two thirds of students surveyed have experienced unwanted sexual comments.
Pied Piper visits halls- University College London
University College London has agreed to pay more than £100,000 in compensation to students who lived in noisy accommodation that was infested by vermin. An internal complaints panel has decided to rebate 87 students who lived in Campell House West, located near Euston, with a terms rent which amounts to £1,368. The seven month campaign included a rent strike which led to UCL’s complaints panel concluding that the living conditions were unacceptable. Students complained of disrupted sleep and an inability to study after demolition work began at Wates House, adjacent to the accommodation, between 2014-2015. According to Professor Anthony Smith, “UCL takes its responsibility towards its students extremely seriously and values highly its relationship with the student body. I am sorry that on this occasion the students’ experience did not match their or our expectations.”
Ethnicity research- Durham
An academic at Durham University is investigating whether ethnicity influences the likelihood of admissions to university. Dr Vikki Bolivier’s study reveals that 55 percent of applications from white applicants who applied to Russell Group universities between 2010 and 2012 were offered a place. In comparison, 30 percent of applications by Black Caribbean applicants and 22 percent for Black African applicants received offers. The results are based on a sample of UK-domiciled applicants who pursued full-time undergraduate courses. Although admissions tutors do not see the ethnicity of applicants, Dr Bolivier argues they might infer their ethnicity based on an applicants name, address, school and personal statement. However, UCAS has disputed this claim saying there is no systematic bias against ethnic minorities.