Newsstack 08.02.2016

Weekly news from universities across the UK

8th February 2016

Cut The Rent campaign- University College London

More than 150 students at University College London (UCL) are withholding over £250,000 until their demands of a 40% cut are met.

Cut the Rent, the campaign group behind the protest, claims that accommodation costs have grown by 56 per cent since 2009. For most rent prices have become unaffordable with the cheapest halls standing at £102.97-£232.4. Students are forced to seek other sources of income and falling into even more debt.

One of the strikers, Nyima Murry, said:

“I’m striking so that future students have the opportunity to study at UCL on academic merit not financial background. The housing situation in London has to be made affordable: Landlords have refused to cut the rent, so we have no option but to do it ourselves.”

Last year UCL students held a successful protest against noisy and rat-infested halls and were awarded more than £400,000 in compensation. UCL management admitted that living conditions in their accommodations were “unacceptable”.


Pre-drinks banned at Cardiff- Cardiff University

Students at Cardiff University are being breathalysed before being allowed into Union bars. The scheme is aimed to hamper “preloading” sessions where students consume large quantities of cheap alcohol before going out.

A spokesperson for the Students’ Union said:

"The Students’ Union is happy to support any campaign that promotes and encourages responsible drinking, as has been seen through involvement with “Know the Score” and the Safety Bus scheme."

The scheme has been hugely criticised for its commercial purpose. Students have to be over the drink-drive limit to be let into a bar, but they are not restrained from drinking as much alcohol as they can afford inside the union bars. No measures have been taken to ensure that students are leaving the venue safe or moderately intoxicated.

A Student Union’s spokesperson assures that the scheme has not been introduced in business interests.


Campaign leads to pub for 'slow-drinkers'- University of South Wales

Students at University of South Wales designed a perfect venue for slow drinking experience as a part of #DrinkLessEnjoyMore campaign. The students worked in collaboration with Alcohol Concern Cymru and South Wales Police.

Elys John, course leader at USW, said:

“What the BA interior design students have done is to take the research from Alcohol Concern and put in their own ideas to create various ‘slow drinking’ venues.

Design includes juice barrels and window displays of soft drinks, skittles, board games and retro arcade games and an indoor garden with herbs used for drinks.

The idea of slow drinking venues is aimed to establish a healthier drinking culture among students where non-heavy drinkers could enjoy the “pub” experience without being obliged to drink spirits.


Animal testing shame- Nationwide

Five of the UK’s leading universities have been named and shamed for testing on about one million animals.

Oxford University headed the list with a total of 226, 739 animals exploited according to anti-vivisection organisation Cruelty Free International. It was followed by Edinburgh, University College London, King’s College London and Cambridge.

Five Universities including Manchester, Southampton, Imperial College London, Bristol and Aston did not return any data on the account of animal experimentation.

Among animals involved in experiments were rats, mice, birds, frogs, fish, ferrets, rabbits, sheep and monkeys. Investigation by the student paper the Tab revealed that only at Oxford University 29 monkeys, 43 badgers, 18 pigs and more than 200,000 mice had been put to sleep.

Dr Katy Taylor, director of science at Cruelty Free International said that universities should have been urged to “leave this archaic practice behind and move towards developing innovative and humane research methods for the 21st century”.

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