Tag Archives: European Student

Visions of Division

To mark the end of our Conflict theme, Andreyna Valera collates this exclusive photo essay, depicting the remarkable stand off on the North Korean border.  

Last December, the relationship between North and South Korea was especially tense. Tourists were told the tours around the Demilitarize Zone (DMZ) and Joint Security Area (JSA) could be easily cancelled. These places catch the attention of thousands of views from all over the world every year, attracted by what can be considered the most similar place to hell on Earth.

First thing you are told when you step in the Korean DMZ is that you are not allowed to make eye contact with North Korean soldiers, not either gesticulate towards them to not ‘provoke’ any reaction. There is also a dress code that must be respected: no broken jeans or flip-flops, it can be used by North Korea to confirm one of their many lies about the rest of the world and manipulate saying how poorly the rest of people live that they cannot even dress properly.

1

An American Marine takes the lead of the tour as soon as you arrive. He makes you to sign this document where it is advised “the possibility of injury or death as a direct result of enemy action”. Although the JSA is a neutral territory, the safety of visitors cannot be guarantee in a hostile enemy act. Afterwards, another American soldier makes a presentation of the Korean War, how the Armistice was signed and the creation of the DMZ. They never sign a peace treaty so technically they are still in conflict.

Untitled

North and South Korean soldiers stand face to face overlooked by American soldiers, who also impose a strict photograph policy on visitors. A stunning performance for those who visit this location: Panmunjeom. The glass doors at the back of the picture have strange forms that North Korea uses to take pictures of tourists and provoke American soldiers playing with lights and reflections.

3

American and South Korean soldiers work shoulder to shoulder. There is an important American military base in Itaewon, North Seoul (South Korea). The US also played a decisive role as creating the DMZ as in the Korean War.

4

The static defensive position that South Korean soldiers keep constantly comes from the Martial arts. All South Korean soldiers have been formed with taekwondo training intensively, due to military service is still mandatory. Representatives from both Koreas meet in this room to negotiate; the north part of the table is for the North of Korea and the south for the South.

5

A fake town built by North Korean government as a propaganda strategy for worldwide tourists that visit the DMZ. There are many buildings and towers illuminated regardless nobody lives there. Satellites have proved that electricity is a luxury in most of the country.

6

This town is inhabited. However, there are restraints to take pictures from this point and all pictures must be shoot behind a mark line controlled by South Korean soldiers.

7

Korean people, from both North and South, leave their desires of union and reconciliation among them represented in those coloured pieces of clothing. The few familiar reunion agreed with North Korea have taken place in this area.

8

This bridge was used to exchange prisoners after the Armistice in 1953: once the bridge is crossed, there is no way to go back to the other side ever again.

The Danish view on the Ukraine: Danish Fast News

The Danish Minister for Employment, Mette Frederiksen

The Danish Minister for Employment, Mette Frederiksen

Denmark is characterized by high taxes and high welfare benefits. However the Danish government worries, that EU legislation is making it possible for outsiders to exploit the Danish system. Tinuke Maria Iyore highlights the most important Danish news this week. 

The influence of EU-laws on the Danish welfare system has caused an explosive debate the past week. According to EU regulations, EU citizens can earn the right to unemployment benefits in any EU nation and take these benefits with them across the union. Danish politicians are concerned that this will lead to exploitation of the generous Danish welfare system.

Denmark and Finland are the only EU-countries that require vetting for foreign citizens to receive unemployment benefits. The Danish prime minister recently announced that she wants to tighten these rules, making it even harder for EU-citizens to obtain benefits in Denmark. However this might be a violation against EU’s laws on discrimination and freedom of movement.

The Danish welfare system is funded by a high income tax, and EU-citizens working in Denmark are obliged to pay this high income tax, but are not given the same rights as Danish citizens.

Minister for Employment, Mette Frederiksen of the Social Democratic Party, adds that the Danish government wants to increase control with EU-citizens exploitation of the Danish welfare state, in order to prevent welfare tourism. “The free movement in the EU creates economic growth and jobs, but we have seen an increase in EU-citizens, particularly from Eastern Europe, receiving unemployment and social benefits. We take this development seriously, and must make sure that EU-citizens can meet the requirements for receiving benefits in Denmark”, she says to Danish newspaper Politiken.

More useful degrees

Eight Danish universities will be working towards lowering unemployment rates by comparing programmes to employment statistics. This year the regulation of admissions will be a cooperative effort from these eight universities. Some universities have previously made similar attempts to prevent educating young Danes on career paths that lead to unemployment. However this cooperation between universities is a first. The programmes will be assessed each year using the same procedure, ensuring that Danish universities are educating according to business and industry demands.

A signal to Russia

Denmark’s Liberal Party and other liberal parties in the European council have agreed on a proposal to deny Russia voting rights in the council, due to the ongoing Ukrainian conflict.  The council’s purpose is to ensure the respect of human rights and democracy. These principles have been violated by Russia on numerous occasions and the spokesman of the council’s group of liberal parties, Michael Aastrup Jensen, thinks it is important to send a strong signal to Russia. This would not be the first time Russia has lost its voting rights in the council. In 2000, the country was “punished” for the Russian army’s behavior in Chechnya.

Equality or discrimination?

Flickr: HBarrison

The University of Copenhagen wants to attract more female applicants to research positions. A gender action plan has been set in motion, and is to be implemented by the end of 2014. Tinuke Maria Iyore investigates what Danish student media are writing about the plan.  

COPENHAGEN UNIVERSITY HAS presented a new action plan for gender balance. One of the proposals is that both genders have to be represented in the applicants for research positions.

The proposal has received a lot of attention in Danish media and was recently up for debate at a Copenhagen University board meeting, where several board members expressed their concern about this requirement. Certain members of the Danish Parliament have even called the proposal discriminating.

However a close look at the pile of applications shows that the university might be facing an even bigger problem. The pile is simply too small.

Gender vs. Qualifications

According to the rector of Copenhagen University’s Ralf Hemmingsen, the proposal is not gender-discriminating. “We’re testing the proposal, because we find that there are too few female professors. I don’t think it is discriminating to make sure that we have at least one female and one male applicant.

“I would like to emphasize that qualifications remain the determining factor,” he says to the Danish newspaper Berlingske.

At the most recent board meeting, members agreed that the main goal of the action plan should be to attract more qualified applicants. Some board members believed emphasis should be put solely on qualifications, while others thought that the main focus should be attracting more qualified female applicants, due to the notion that this minority within academia holds a great deal of talent.

Danish Equality Laws

The minister for gender equality, Manu Sareen of the Social Liberal Party, welcomes the proposal. “I think it is important that the universities work towards a more equal gender composition. It’s about making the most of all talents”, he says to Berlingske.

He also states that it is equally important that the university stays within the Danish equality laws. The University of Copenhagen has previously obtained a waiver from this law with their 2008 action plan; ‘Diversity – more women in management’.

Jens Henrik Thulesen Dahl, who is Research Spokesman for the Danish People’s Party, is sceptical of the proposal. He calls it  “very discriminating” and thinks it diverts attention from simply hiring the most qualified applicant.

The Bigger Problem

The lack of applicants seems to be a problem that goes beyond gender. The board of Copenhagen University is concerned that every third research position receives only one application – thus granting no certainty that the most qualified researcher is actually the one who gets the job.

This might actually pose a larger problem than the lack of female applicants. “The universities should concentrate on attracting highly skilled employees. Not by making special proposals for women, but by creating a more attractive work environment, so more qualified applicants – both men and women – apply for the university’s research positions,” says Merete Riisager, spokeswoman on gender equality for the Liberal Alliance party, to Berlingske.

– – –

Do you think the University of Copenhagen is engaging in positive discrimination?  Is this an appropriate response to uneven employment figures?  Where should the university’s priorities lie regarding top reseach jobs?  Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Photo credit: HBarrison [Flickr]

Based on the following articles from Universitetsavisen:

 

http://universitetsavisen.dk/politik/rektor-ingen-diskrimination-her

 

http://universitetsavisen.dk/politik/konsdebat-i-bestyrelsen-kun-en-ansoger-til-hver-tredje-forskerstilling-er-kaempe-problem

Foreign Student “Ghettos”

Ena Kreso

Norwegian student media are looking into immigration issues within student housing. If international students are not mixed with domestic students in housing offers, it might create problems of isolation. Pandeia’s Tinuke Maria Iyore translates an article from Universitas.

In a student apartment building in Lower Kringsjå, Oslo, nine out of ten residents are international students. Nafiza Ferdowshi, from Bangladesh lives here, but does not plan to stay for long. “I’m going back to Bangladesh when I finish my studies. I really like Norway, but I hardly know any Norwegians,” she says.

Statistics from the Student Association in Oslo (SIO) show that most of the international students live in the older buildings in Lower Kringsjå, where block 24 and 26 have the highest percentage of international students. Here ninety per cent of the residents are foreigners. In Upper Kringsjå the numbers are completely opposite. Nine out of ten are Norwegian students.

Nafiza Ferdowshi and Tanima Ferdous, both from Bangladesh, are mostly content with their lives in Lower Kringsjå, but Ferdowshi does not plan to stay.  She thinks getting to know and communicating with Norwegians has been difficult. “I’m going back to Bangladesh when I finish my studies. I really like Norway, but I hardly know any Norwegians,” she says.

Moving up

In one of the newer buildings in Upper Kringsjå (the area with a high concentration of Norwegian students), we find Sven Sondre Frøshaug in the living room with his roommate Sindre Godager. Frøshaug previously lived in one of the blocks in Lower Kringsjå. “I avoided going into the kitchen as much as possible,” he says. “It was dirty and small. And I found it exhausting to speak English all the time.” In his new student apartment Frøshaug has a private bathroom, and shares living space with three Norwegian friends.

A Problematic Situation

Sveinung Rotevan is a politician for Norwegian political party Venstre. According to him the large number of international students in Lower Kringsjå is problematic. “It is important that the international students are mixed with the Norwegian students to secure language advancement and networking opportunities,” he says and adds that the student organizations should put in an effort to ensure a more mixed environment for students.

Contradictions

Trond Bakke, who is responsible for housing within the student association, says that nothing can be done to ensure a better allocation of the international students, as the allocating process is random. “The situation is a result of the fact that international students are prioritised higher, when allocating the student apartments. Additionally international students are more concerned about price than Norwegian students, and often prefer the blocks with lower rent,” Bakke says.

Missing out

Statistics show that four out of five international students in Norway return home after completing their education.

The director of Erasmus Student Network, Maria Mastrangelopoulou, thinks a reason could be that the international graduates have difficulties finding jobs in Norway, partly because their Norwegian network is non-existent. “It would be great with a career fair targeting international students, as this could help put them in contact with relevant employers,” she says.

Sveinung Rotevatn, thinks that it’s important to keep the international students in Norway afterwards. “We’re missing out on great knowledge and expertise,” he says.

Original Article by Ragnhild Sofie Selstø & Thea Storøy Elnan for universitas.no

Photo: Ena Kreso

Drugs, Fashion Week and The Recession: Danish Fast News

A torn Danish government, fashion hype in Copenhagen, the closure of the Capital’s drug haven and debate about the quality of the education are hot topics explored by Ida Nordland this week in Danish media.

 “SOCIALISTISK FOLKEPARTI”, one of the main Danish parties,  has left the government at the same time as their  leader, Anette Vilhelmsen, decided to stand back. The exit of SF is a consequence of the government’s decision to sell 19% of the stocks in the Danish state owned energy company “Dong” to American investment bank Goldman Sachs.

The American investment bank is well-known for a business structure that creates tax havens and the company supposedly had a central role in the financial crisis. This Thursday it was finally decided by the government to go through with the deal, in spite of over 200.000 signatures in protest; a move which also turned out to be so intolerable for SF that they had to take the drastic step to leave.

This forces the government, now only consisting of Socialdemokratiet and Det Radikale Venstre, to find 6 new ministers.The current government has a record of cabinet reshuffling, as it has happened 4 times during the past 6 months.

IN THE DANISH STUDENT MEDIA, the hot topic at the moment concerns the quality of the education on humanities as a consequence of the Danish funding system in higher education. Universities receive an amount of money per graduating student, which results in a disproportional incentive to pass students in exams. A student from Copenhagen University came forward this week and admitted that to have cheated at an exam. He is not proud of what he did, but according to him, it is way too easy to get a degree in humanities. He went on to allege that he shouldn’t have passed one of every two exams he has ever been to during his study. model

COPENHAGEN IS SIZZLING this week with fashionistas as Copenhagen Fashion week takes place. In a refreshing contrast to the usual debate about anorexic models, this year one of the shows deals with the issue by presenting their clothes on models in all sizes, from 34-48, with the help of volunteers. The volunteers argue for a more nuanced beauty ideal and the unusual show is made in collaboration with The National Association Against Eating Disorders And Self Damage.

CHRISTIANIA, which is know to be Copenhagen’s “free-city” and cannabis market, is closed this week. The shut-down is due to a much needed internal debate about the future of the community. All restaurants, shops and “hashbooths” are closed and  neither Copenhageners or tourists are welcome. The break to think is due to the controversy regarding the suggested legalization of marijuana, that has been going on for the last two years.

Photos: Flickr Creative Commons – Grozz and Luigi Anzivino 

Visions of Division

To mark the end of our Conflict theme, Andreyna Valera collates this exclusive photo essay, depicting the remarkable stand off on the North Korean border.  

Last December, the relationship between North and South Korea was especially tense. Tourists were told the tours around the Demilitarize Zone (DMZ) and Joint Security Area (JSA) could be easily cancelled. These places catch the attention of thousands of views from all over the world every year, attracted by what can be considered the most similar place to hell on Earth.

First thing you are told when you step in the Korean DMZ is that you are not allowed to make eye contact with North Korean soldiers, not either gesticulate towards them to not ‘provoke’ any reaction. There is also a dress code that must be respected: no broken jeans or flip-flops, it can be used by North Korea to confirm one of their many lies about the rest of the world and manipulate saying how poorly the rest of people live that they cannot even dress properly.

1

An American Marine takes the lead of the tour as soon as you arrive. He makes you to sign this document where it is advised “the possibility of injury or death as a direct result of enemy action”. Although the JSA is a neutral territory, the safety of visitors cannot be guarantee in a hostile enemy act. Afterwards, another American soldier makes a presentation of the Korean War, how the Armistice was signed and the creation of the DMZ. They never sign a peace treaty so technically they are still in conflict.

Untitled

North and South Korean soldiers stand face to face overlooked by American soldiers, who also impose a strict photograph policy on visitors. A stunning performance for those who visit this location: Panmunjeom. The glass doors at the back of the picture have strange forms that North Korea uses to take pictures of tourists and provoke American soldiers playing with lights and reflections.

3

American and South Korean soldiers work shoulder to shoulder. There is an important American military base in Itaewon, North Seoul (South Korea). The US also played a decisive role as creating the DMZ as in the Korean War.

4

The static defensive position that South Korean soldiers keep constantly comes from the Martial arts. All South Korean soldiers have been formed with taekwondo training intensively, due to military service is still mandatory. Representatives from both Koreas meet in this room to negotiate; the north part of the table is for the North of Korea and the south for the South.

5

A fake town built by North Korean government as a propaganda strategy for worldwide tourists that visit the DMZ. There are many buildings and towers illuminated regardless nobody lives there. Satellites have proved that electricity is a luxury in most of the country.

6

This town is inhabited. However, there are restraints to take pictures from this point and all pictures must be shoot behind a mark line controlled by South Korean soldiers.

7

Korean people, from both North and South, leave their desires of union and reconciliation among them represented in those coloured pieces of clothing. The few familiar reunion agreed with North Korea have taken place in this area.

8

This bridge was used to exchange prisoners after the Armistice in 1953: once the bridge is crossed, there is no way to go back to the other side ever again.

Does Greece need a revolution?

As 2013 drew to a close, and the protest movement across Europe took stock of its accomplishments, demonstrators in Greece turned their attention to the recent heavy handed nature of the country’s policing. As Chloe Thanopoulou investigates, the events of the 6th of December could irrecoverably change the nation’s future. 

The 6th of December has a special meaning for Greeks. It marks the death of Pavlos Sidiropoulos: the Prince of Greek Rock as well as being the day Alexis Grigoropoulos – the 15-year old boy who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time – was murdered by a police-officer.

It is also the day a revolution started – one that marks the country’s consciousness. In a certain way, the events are interconnected. Although Pavlos lived in a entirely different time, the circumstances were in many ways similar to those today. Through his songs, he reprobated the corrupt state and the philistines and showed the anger of the people towards the system. Alexis was another victim of the power of the authorities. He, as well as many others, have been victims of the political situation often talked about in Pavlos’ songs.

Protesters or Terrorists?

A social “explosion” of dissatisfaction and unrest followed Alexis’ death. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back; a full-scale collision with authoritarianism. Yet this was not reflected in the media, whose reaction to the protests – and the protesters – was largely a negative one. Activists were often characterised as terrorists; meaninglessly trying to burn cities down. This viewpoint quickly became widespread, distorting the image most people had about what was going on. Though the chance for change had been born, many people preferred long discussions at the local café’s – based on misleading information provided by the big news agencies – over the action a revolution requires. It kept many people away from demonstrations.

Demonstrations

Demonstrating is even less appealing when police reactions are taken into account. In an attempt to appear effective demonstrators are arrested so the police are able to announce the numbers of arrests the next day. It is considered a way of proving its capabilities, but in reality denies citizens the right to demonstrate peacefully.

An example of the attitude shown by police towards the politically active is an event that took place last year year when a local Greek group Laiki SynelefsI Papagou-Holargou (the people’s assembly of Papagou-Holargos) saw a series of arrests made against their members. For no apparent reason, two of their members were firstly accused of theft and  – when these charges could no longer be justified – the charge of arson of two ATM’s appeared. In a statement released by the group, they describe: “The autocratic behavior of the state and the “terrorism” against everybody who is fighting is obvious”.

Arresting people without a clear reason – especially in demonstrations – is a common tactic of the police: highlighting their unwillingness to find the real wrongdoers. Not only have politically and socially active people become a target of the authorities while facing continuous mistreatment, but they also appear to be the scapegoats of everything the police cannot cope with. The need to show the public that justice is being served by targeting people who fight and have strong political views, serves the need to control potential reactions which could lead to a revolution . So far, this tactic seems to be successful: the consequences of demonstrating seem severe, which in turn deters people from standing up for their rights.

Yet, the yearly demonstrations in the memory of Alexis  have had some impact. This is primarily because people believe that, 5 years on from the murder, ‘nothing has changed’. A revolution does not play by the rules and cannot calculate the costs. It may come only when there is no other choice – it knocks existing structures down to subsequently rebuild them. Yet, this does not have to be led by violence. It must start by changing minds, by changing perceptions of what is ‘normal’ and ‘acceptable’ and what is not. It may happen when someone sees his or her fathers’ store closing or his or her uncles’ house being taken away because of an unpaid debt. It could happen if allegations that as many as half of the police force vote for the far-right party Golden Dawn turn out to be true. Or it could be when someone’s desperate neighbour commits suicide, as occurred at the beginning of the Arab Spring. It may happen in the heads of the many people that work continuously for 300 euro a month, with no hope for a better future. We cannot forget the symbols of Pavlos and Alexis, because they have foreseen what the country is going through now. Silence, distortion and fear are not the way to change it.

Original article by Costas Papantoniou

 

2013 – Britain’s Annus Horribilis?

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At the turn of 2013, no one could have guessed the start of the year would result in such a harsh U-Turn in the UK’s public conscience. No longer was the forced Olympic and Jubilee celebrations enough to numb the public into a state of self-satisfied inertia, 2013 became the year of panic, protests and heavy handed policing. A year on, Pandeia explores how each new month brought more instances of disturbances and unrest in this 2013 Year in Review.

 

January 2013 – Isle of Man tuition fees, Oxford students protest Assange visit.

At the beginning of last year, a decision to introduce tuition fees for students from the Isle of Man was met with considerable protests. Three demonstrations took place in front of the Manx parliament, including an 800 signature strong petition. As reported in IOM Today, the group ‘Say No to Manx Tuition Fees’ helped organize the protest, the efforts ultimately leading to a postponement of the policy. The fees faced by Manx students would be a minimum of £2,500

january isle of man protests

    Via: Prospect Isle of Man https://www.facebook.com/IOMProspect

 

Meanwhile, a group of students from Oxford University opposed a presentation via video-link of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on their campus to give a speech to students.

 

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Julian Assange will be speaking at the Oxford Union on 23rd January. WomCam will be protesting. More details to come; get involved.

— OUSUWomen’sCampaign (@womcam) January 9, 2013

 

 

As reported in The Oxford Student the speech was to be broadcast at the Oxford Union. Wadham SU passed a statement of disapproval with its women’s officer claiming Assange’s address would be “disrespectful to survivors of rape and sexual assault.” The Oxford Union defended the decision and encouraged people to use the question and answer session to put the allegations to Mr Assange. However, Tom Rutland, President of the Oxford University Students’ Union  stood in criticism of the move.

 

As reported in the independent Oxford student paper Cherwell,  up to 70 protesters amassed outside the union during the speech given by Assange. The paper also reported that Assange criticised a film ‘The Fifth Estate’ which he claimed was “a lie upon a lie.”

 

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Oxford Union uploaded #Assange‘s speech only after removing Collateral Murder footage, replacing it with Union’s logo. http://t.co/ED4Cq2T9
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 28, 2013

 

 

It was reported that, despite this, Assange faced a number of probing questions about his designation as a fugitive. Assange is currently within the Ecuadorian embassy and faces extradition to Sweden to face charges for rape.

 

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JA in response to student – I won’t go back to Sweden to face trial because they won’t agree not to extradite me to USA

— Oxford Union (@OxfordUnion) January 23, 2013

 

 

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Julian Assange finds no allies and tough queries in Oxford University talk http://t.co/SGNmsDJL via @guardian
— Oxford Union (@OxfordUnion) January 24, 2013

 

 

February 2013 – Sussex students start occupation against privatisation

In February, a group of students at Sussex University began a long-term occupation of a university building to protest the privatisation of services at the university.

 

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Hundreds of protesters camped out in the Bramber House building on the university campus. As reported in The Badger, the campaign attracted national media attention and was supported by a number of high profile names, including commentator Owen Jones.

 

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This protest would continue for some time and later in the year would lead to an escalation in hostilities between students and university authorities.

 

March 2013 – Final trial of students arrested during 2010 protests. Acquittal of Alfie Meadows whose skull was allegedly fractured by a police baton during 2010 protests.

 

Alfie Meadows, a student who required emergency surgery after the 2010 protests against tuition fees was found not guilty of violent disorder last March.

 

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Meadows, who was a student at Middlesex University at the time of the protest, required surgery for a fractured skull after being allegedly bludgeoned by a police baton. Meadows also pledged to continue legal action against the Metropolitan Police which was postponed while he fought the charges.

http://

Justice for Alfie Meadows and Zak King! More than two years after the student protests of December 2010, two… http://t.co/97Krntyx
— Left Unity (@LeftUnityUK) February 11, 2013

 

 

In the same trial, fellow student Zak King was also found to be innocent of charges levied against him by police.

 

April 2013 – Four people arrested during Sussex student occupation. 

 

As reported in The Badger, four students were arrested in April during an eviction of protesters occupying a university building, after weeks of ongoing protest.

 

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The decision to evict the students came after the occupation started in February and was criticised by some groups.  A protest was organised at Sussex University calling for a continuation of protests and support for those students who were arrested. It also opposed the presence of police at peaceful protest and called for ‘Cops Off Campus’.

 

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May 2013 – Pledge to protest closing of ULU. 

 

The planned closure of the University of London Union was announced in May. This was met with hostility by many students and would be the trigger for protests and arrests later in the year.

 

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@Channel4 PRESS RELEASE: Students pledge to fight #ULU closure http://t.co/kNi3pdGSF3

— ULU (@ULUnion) May 3, 2013

 

 

As reported in The Journal the NUS pledged to support the union and oppose its closure.

 

 

June 2013 – Students occupy Warwick in protest at rise in Vice Chancellors pay. Stop G8 Protests in London.

 

As reported in Warwick-student newspaper The Boar, over 20 students occupied the Senate House on the Warwick campus to oppose privatisation at the university. One of the protesters said that the occupation took inspiration from the occupation at Sussex University earlier in the year. One of the protesters also said they were committed to dialogue but feared that the campus security services would cut off access to toilet facilities and food supplies.

 

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However, again reported in The Boar, the protest ended peacefully on 22 June with many protesters claiming they didn’t want to occupation to drag on and result in legal action.

 

Meanwhile, June also saw anti-G8 protests which included ‘Stop G8 Network’ –  which opposes the G8 and calls for an anti-capitalist agenda who were holding a ‘Carnival against Capitalism’.

 

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Carnival against capitalism! Come on down to Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus starting right now! #stopg8

— StopG8 (@stopG8UK) June 11, 2013

 

 

During the protests there were allegations of police brutality towards protesters and one man arrested on a rooftop was taken to hospital as reported in the Huffington Post

 

Police said that there had been incidents of criminal behaviour and rumours of planned violence towards police. 57 were arrested according to The Guardian during the break-up of an occupation in Beak Street.

 

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@MetPoliceEvents Sec 60AA gives Officers the power to remove masks #J11” Meanwhile… pic.twitter.com/Iw7MSEFS5q

— Sean Hughes (@SeanWHughes) June 11, 2013

 

 

July 2013 – Announcement of Crime and anti-Social Behaviour Bill. Arrest at ULU after protest slogans written in chalk.

 

During July, the ‘Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour Bill’ was announced. This led to widespread concerns among many that it could restrict the right to protest.

 

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As reported in the London Tab, 15 police officers were called to University of London Senate Building to arrest a student who had written a slogan in chalk on a wall protesting the closure of the University of London Union (ULU).

 

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#ULU protest – Konstancja Duff, 24, from Camberwell, has been charged with criminal damage and assault X2 on police –http://t.co/D6N01pENuG — Jack Grove (@jgro_the) July 17, 2013

 

 

August 2013 – Fracking protest – arrest of Caroline Lucas MP.

 

As reported in The Guardian dozens of anti-fracking protesters were arrested at the Balcombe site in a ‘day of action’ by activists during August.

 

 

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Latest picture from @rtcc_sophie at the #Balcombe #fracking protest: pic.twitter.com/gGT1NWarw2
— RTCC #climate news (@RTCCnewswire) July 25, 2013

 

 

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion was also arrested. Charges were later levied against the former Green Party leader for “breaching a police order on public assemblies and wilful obstruction of the highway.”

 

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Big thanks for all kind comments about #fracking protest yesterday & huge credit to all at #Balcombe for commitment to clean energy future

— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) August 20, 2013

One of most interesting issues in the fracking debate came in the role of Dr Edward Lloyd-Davies, who up until 2012 worked at the University of Sussex, it was reported in The Daily Telegraph that he was the founding member of Frack Off, the largest anti-fracking protest group. These reports attested to the continuing partnership between University staff and students in the demonstrations.

 

September 2013 – Aldgate East protests – EDL leader arrested along with 150 anti-fascist protesters.

An English Defence League (EDL) protest in Aldgate East was met by a large number of anti-fascist protesters in September. The leader of the EDL Tommy Robinson was arrested by police along with 14 others from the EDL. 150 anti-fascist protesters were also arrested for straying from the route. Approximately 3,000 police officers were deployed to keep order between the rival groups.

Robinson was also banned from speaking at Oxford Union the same month, amid ‘security concerns’. Speaking to the BBC, Oxford Student Union president Tom Rutland said that he was ‘delighted’ that the invitation had been withdrawn, stating:

“Fascist speakers who spread hate and threats that extend to our students and the wider community, and often bring with them a rally of violent and dangerous thugs, are clearly a threat to the safety of students and other residents of the city.”

 

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Pic from #EDL at Aldgate. Hearing about 800 anti-fascists in Aldgate East, not too far from the EDL protest site. pic.twitter.com/ULDRyrL
— HOPE not hate (@hopenothate) September 3, 2011

 

 

October 2013 – Edinburgh students detained during visit by Princess Anne.

 

Two students at the University of Edinburgh were detained by Royal Protection Officers at the University’s Old College Building during a visit by Princess Anne in September.

 

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EXCLUSIVE: Students detained after being forcibly removed from Old College http://t.co/hHEp1686OW

— Student Newspaper (@TheStudentPaper) October 9, 2013

 

 

The students claimed they were quietly studying when searched and arrested by the authorities.

 

Police Scotland said that the students were not detained under terrorism legislation and the removal of the pair was due to their unauthorised presence within a restricted area. Speaking to Pandeia, University Trustee Mike Shaw branded the incident a “disgusting breach of trust between the student body and their institution”.

 

Meanwhile, Sussex students restarted their efforts to overturn the decision to privatise services at the university. The previous occupation ended with a number of arrests and the latest occupation again centred on the Bramber House building.

 

Sussex is #occupied
— occupy_sussex (@occupy_sussex) October 30, 2013

 

 

November 2013 – Michael Chessum arrested after meeting with University of London representatives. Police try to recruit ‘spy’ at Cambridge.

 

University of London Union (ULU) President Michael Chessum was arrested by police in November after organising what police claimed was an unofficial protest.

 

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Michael Chessum, ULU president has been arrested following yesterdays demonstration. More details here: http://t.co/YMELbXd11f #saveULU

— Leopard Newspaper (@LeopardNews) November 14, 2013

 

 

As reported in The Leopard this led to a protest outside a Holborn police station calling for Chessum’s immediate release.

 

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Pic- #ulu /student protest,Holborn police station,against Michael Chessum arrest. Full story: http://t.co/ml0v2rbV7W pic.twitter.com/hM2rxSrGtl
— Chris Parr (@ChrisParrTHE) November 14, 2013

 

 

Meanwhile, Cambridgeshire police received criticism for their attempt to recruit an informer within the student union at Cambridge University.

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Cambridge students denounce police attempts to recruit informant to monitor student activists http://t.co/9tjDOpIL1E

— TheCambridgeStudent (@TCSNewspaper) November 15, 2013

 

 

December 2013 – Multiple arrests and allegations of police brutality at ULU. Sussex students suspended then reinstated. #copsoffcampus.

 

Five students were suspended by Sussex University for their role in the on-going Occupy Sussex movement which has been based in Bramber House since late October.

 

This led to an outcry among many who supported the five and demanded they be reinstated.

 

http://

 

 

After pressure from the campaign, the students were eventually reinstated by the university.

 

http://

 

 

Another protest at ULU resulted in more arrests and a video emerged of a police officer apparently punching a protester.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoL5BuoAnIs

 

According to the London Student 36 arrests were made including editor of the London Student Oscar Webb who showed his press card to photographers while being arrested.

 

http://

 

 

This culminated in a day of protest: #copsoffcampus was a national day of action and a large protest took place in central London criticising police brutality and restrictions on protest by the authorities.

 

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Why our role in climate change is a violation of our human rights

It may be unthinkable, but heavy pollution is a violation of human rights argues an Australian scientist in the Netherlands. As Lotte Kamphuis explores, current generations are therefore being called upon to take rigorous action against climate change.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that every human being is entitled to the protection of his or her basic human rights, independently of where and when he or she was born. Take for instance, the right for food and shelter however, owing to climate change these are at stake. If we do not take decisive action on this matter, basic human rights of future generations are being violated. It is this premise that the Australian scientist Peter Lawrence argues in his new thesis at Tilburg University, according to Dutch student newspaper Universe.

It is therefore alarming that environmental crime such as the dumping of and illegal trade in hazardous waste; is the most profitable and fastest growing area of international criminal activity, writes Universe in another article. In 2010 trading company Trafigura was convicted of illegally exporting the toxic waste to Africa and fined one million euros. Illegal wildlife trade in endangered species by smugglers is also seen as environmental crime. That’s before we even get onto the more widespread littering that occurs every day across the globe. It is the lack of cross-border legislation and the logistical problems any such action would cause that means governments struggle to take firm action against these illegal acts to harm the environment. In addition, environmental criminals often take advantage of situations where government and consequently law enforcement are at their weakest.

Needless to say, environmental crime isn’t going away and if we want to protect the basic human rights of the next generation, it needs to be tackled. In addition, new ideas, theories, methods and findings are necessary in research and applied areas related to the environmental law enforcement. In Folia, a Triodos Bank chairman put forward the idea that banks should focus more on sustainable development, for instance by investing in wind farms. This is just one of the many initiatives that have arisen as a consequence of the United Nations work on the matter. Yet, it is up to international community to agree on the combination of legal principles in achieving an effective global treaty on climate change and environmental development. This is essential to ensure that agreements are respected and protected for this generation and the future.

Greece: Does the crisis create violent men?

The economic crisis in Greece has had obvious repercussions on the socio-political climate, however as Myrto Vogiatzi investigates, it’s the hidden consequences that may point to an even darker future.

It is possible to view the consequences of the economic crisis in Greece everywhere. My university’s closed gates, the journalists commenting on the dysfunctional health system and the hundreds of homeless people in the streets of Athens. However, what about the ones that cannot be heard nor seen? Those, that won’t be exposed during the 8 ‘o clock news, debated in parliament or fit into future history books?

I am directing your attention backstage, where the crisis is being reflected in less obvious or documented ways. Following these same consequences would take you to households where victims become offenders, laying their undeniable burden on their close ones.

Since last year there has been an increase of 47% in domestic violence against women in Greece, according to a new study by the General Secretariat for Gender Equality. Verbal abuse was seen in most of the cases, followed by economic blackmail, sexual humiliation, beatings and rapes. The findings were presented during the opening ceremony of a new women’s support and consultation center in Kavala. “These cases are not happening in countries with no regard for human rights. They are happening in modern day Greece and not in an old Greek movie”, stressed the general secretary, Ms Kollia.

A similar study, entitled “Greece of the Crisis and the Memorandum”, was carried out by the Hellenic Society for the Study of Human Sexuality (EMAS) and the Andrology Institute of Athens, last spring. The results, which were based on a sample of 600 men and 400 women interviewed over the phone, showed the same increase in violent behaviour by men towards their sexual partners, attributing it to intense job stress, pressing financial obligations and low sexual activity. Most of the interviewees said that the frequency of their sexual relations had been reduced by 34% and seven out of ten men said that the Memorandum signed by the government had affected their sexual life in a ‘very negative way’. “The economic crisis is automatic social and cultural, batting mostly male gender who has identified his strength, money and sex as absolute forces of masculinity”, explained K. Konstantinidis, head of the Anthropology Institute. “A man without money, without a financial basis loses his stereotype, his manhood, his ability to say that he is strong”, he added.

Compensating for ‘a manhood in doubt’, is often the excuse for abuse of power and extreme behaviour.  The type of behaviour that is officially condemned but still tolerated by some social groups or even (far)-right political parties, such as the now infamous Golden Dawn. Their aggressive rhetoric (using words like “saviour”, “warrior”, “heroic patriot”, “inexhaustible power”, “secret voice of the blood”…) associates chauvinistic behaviour with patriotic resistance to the crisis, thus removing the guilt from those who are already prone to violent behaviour.

We cannot deny that the drastic deterioration of the economic situation of the country has led to an increase of domestic abuse. However, factors such as poverty and unemployment do not cause violence, they exacerbate it. If we take a moment and picture the offender, we quickly realize how easy it is to fall into stereotypes where alcohol, poverty and illiteracy play the dominant role. We don’t suspect that middle class men with a university education are violent to their partners or that successful women suffer it. Anyone can fit the profile. Class or status is irrelevant and suggesting that the financial climate generates domestic violence merely provides another excuse for this silent crime. According to Elena Apostolidou, consultant at the General Secretariat for Gender Equality, “we can only blame the economic crisis for intensifying the incidents and increasing their frequency, but not for creating violent men”.

Reporting the crime

Traditional stereotypes that reinforce notions of women’s inferiority and accept patriarchy as a form of asylum are deeply ingrained in Greece. They are often reproduced by the media, tolerated by judicial institutions and, most importantly, by the victim’s own social environment. As a consequence, women find themselves unable to rationalize their abuse or see themselves as worthy of seeking help, believing they deserved it. “The cases of family violence presented by the mass media are just the tip of the iceberg. Man is still considered the head of the family. Women are reluctant to press charges against their husbands, because there is the question of who will feed the children if the man is convicted and jailed”, explains Konstandinidis.

Very few women, indeed, take the decision to go to the police (especially when they are financially dependent) and if they finally do they are often stigmatized, treated with suspicion or are even sent back home. “Police see these women as poor little creatures and helping them is often only a matter of choice. But it’s their obligation to investigate the slightest psychological abuse even if there are no signs of mistreatment”, says Elena. According to her experience, police officers, judicial officials and investigators ask humiliating questions to the victim, who must endure a series of endless interrogations in order to prove that “it was not my fault”. The whole process can last several years (up to 9 years for rape), during which the offender is free to meet other partners and repeat his violent behavior.

Women’s stigmatization for reporting domestic violence isn’t of course something new, since violence and rape were always rarely discussed publicly in Greece. However, these last years of insecurity, people tend to underestimate most of the issues that aren’t directly associated with the financial crisis, ignoring – as an act of emergency – the rights of vulnerable social groups. As a popular saying goes, “why deal with this now when the world is on fire?”