News Stack 22.02.16

News from other universities around the UK

22nd February 2016

Anti-Semitic row- Oxford

The Labour Club at Oxford University, the biggest student Labour society in the UK, has been embroiled in an anti-Semitism row over its decision to endorse Israel Apartheid Week.

Co-chair Alex Chalmers a student at Oxford’s Oriel College, issued a strongly-worded statement on Monday in which said he was stepping down from his position because a large proportion of both Oxford University Labour Society and the student left in Oxford “have some kind of problem with Jews.”, adding that the society is currently split between “varying factional disputes” and that certain members of the clubs views towards certain disadvantaged groups was “becoming poisonous.” Oxford University Labour Club said to The Independent that: “We are proud of the long history we have of working with the Union of Jewish Students and the National Union of Students to protect Jewish students on campus, and this will always be a top priority for Labour Students.”

Tory loan threat- National

The Tories have warned it will prosecute graduates from across the UK and overseas who fail to pay their student loans back on time as part of a new plan, as the number of students is expected to rise.

The Minister for Universities Jo Johnson said in a statement to to the House of Commons, that the new plans were needed to ensure the repayment system remains “fair, robust, and efficient” as the higher education system sees more people gain entry than ever before, due to a cap-lift on numbers. The decision has been met with hostility from current students and graduates, who say that it is unfair and criminalises students. It comes at a time when the Government has recently been criticised for making a U-turn on a student loan promise which originally saw post-2012 students repay the amount they borrowed once they earned £21,000 or more.

Campaign against cuts- Warwick

Organised by Warwick for Free Education (WFFE), the demonstration to save maintenance grants has called on the University of Warwick to publicly condemn the Tories’ decision to scrap maintenance grants, which the WFFE points out was “forced undemocratically” through a backdoor parliamentary committee which the vast majority of the public haven’t even heard of.  The WFFE has a set of demands for Russell Group universities – which Warwick University is part of – to oppose the slashing of maintenance grants and pressure the government to reverse the cuts, adding that by not the Russell Group is supporting some of the “worst aspects of government policy,” including the set of higher education reforms proposed recently, “These proposals would amount to nothing less than the full marketisation of education, and the cuts to maintenance grants are just one element of this programme.”

Best student city revealed- National

Berlin has recently been named as the best city in Europe for students followed by Paris, Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam. Criteria consisted of the cost of tuition fees, nightlife, value for money, cost of tuition fees, English-taught courses, standard of culture and nightlife, ease of getting around the city, and of travelling back to the UK were all considered too.Berlin and Copenhagen do not charge any tuition fees. Whereas Paris charges around annual amount of around £136, Brussels around £621, and Amsterdam £1,950. Compared to UK cities such as London and Manchester which charge around £9000 tuition fees and are expensive. Berlin was praised for its cheap cost of living, culture, and vibrant nightlife.

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