Tag Archives: University



Student life is almost at an end, and Laura Burridge sure isn’t happy about it…

The term that isn’t really a term, more of a black abyss of exam and essay related hell, is here already and the end of the academic year is nigh. During this time of despair, dreams of festivals, summer travel plans or just excitement to go home may be in the air for some of you. But for me, and a big shout out to those other final years suffering out there, this means only one thing. University, and student life as we know it, is over forever.

Let me take you on a little journey through time. For me, it seems like only yesterday I was cruising down the M4 for the first time, my face squished to a crack in the window in a desperate attempt to breathe after insisting that I bring everything I have ever owned in the entirety of my life to my new home. Fresh-faced and armed with a tin of Celebrations to bribe my Durdham Hall flatmates to like me (it worked), I had arrived.

First year went by in a vodka-fuelled blur of Bunker Mondays… and Wednesdays… and the odd Friday, with a sprinkling of crippling hangovers, a dash of daytime TV and a spoonful of awkward new friends. I lived in a world where naps occurred more frequently than lectures. Where the most stressful life choice was whether to live in Clifton or Redland the following year. Where 40% was the new A*. This world, my friends, was good.

“This world, my friends, was good”

As your fortnightly bearer of bad news (why stop now?), you need to know that the rumours are true. Third year is the worst year of your life. Everyone will tell you and no-one will quite grasp just how factual this is until their time comes. The debilitating fear that you will leave Uni thousands of pounds in debt, significantly more overweight than you started and with only a Desmond to your name is with you always. I’m unwillingly cheating on the relationship I once had with Lounge with the cruel mistress that is the ASS. I speak to my dissertation supervisor more than my flatmates and, more regular than the 16 (we called it the U6 in my day), there is a breakdown on the hour, every hour.

Yet, as I start to apply for real people jobs, a cruel realisation dawns upon me. This is not the worst year of my life. It’s the last of the best. Real life is a place where downing a Jagerbomb in under 30 seconds isn’t a valid achievement for the CV. In real life an example of working successfully in a team wasn’t that time I wing-manned my friend with that hot guy and good communication skills definitely aren’t how well you can drunk text. Which is a shame really as I have honed all these strengths to near enough perfection.

Non-student life sees the end of many things, namely happiness of any kind. Say goodbye to your student loan, being paid to literally do nothing, while student discounts are also a thing of the past. Midweek drinking becomes socially frowned upon, as is my much loved daily routine of This Morning, followed by a nap, lunch, followed by a nap, waking up for Jeremy Kyle before a couple of Real Housewives episodes come on and fatigue takes over me once again. I’m having to swap my vast array of onesies for restrictive office wear and come to terms with the fact 3 month summers off are no longer a thing. Just as I’m acquiring that unique Sainsbury’s Basics Table Wine taste, it is being cruelly ripped away from me. As you find yourself homeless, moving back in with your family is an unfortunate necessity and my parents have even mentioned ME paying THEM for this horrific ordeal. Rent, they called it. As if.

“Non-student life sees the end of many things, namely happiness of any kind”

So please, as you start to stress about upcoming exams or commence those all-nighters in the library, hating your course and questioning your life, take a step back; there is a very good reason why people say being a student are the best days of your life. I haven’t even started real life yet but I’m already 97% sure it is not for me. Not to fear though guys, I’ve done what any rational, real world adult would do in this scenario. Undertaken an extensive and exhaustive check over the UCAS website for my next degree. Travel and Tourism at Brighton? Say hello to your new fresher.

This article has been curated with the permission of Epigram who are the origin of this work. Laura Burridge is the original author and can be found on the Epigram website: http://www.epigram.org.uk/living/item/2649-room-101-life-after-uni

Picture credits: UGL_UIUC,

More than what’s reported: violence in Ethiopian education

Ethiopia library

Education experiences violence in many aspects globally. Emnet Assefa takes us through some of the violence, and the culture behind it, that Ethiopia higher education institutions face.

A lot more than an “Attack”

It’s clear for anyone to see the relationship between education and development, especially in the developing world. Education in developing countries suffers a great deal even though the methods and extent differ from one side of the world to the other. In any given society, education has everything to do with society and its day to day life.

A couple of months ago, a report that explored the challenges that education faces in some areas of the world. In this large annual report “education under attack 2013”, Ethiopia was among the countries highlighted. The report explored a number of conflicts, military and political attacks that schools, universities, students and teachers faced until 2011.

Ethiopia was ranked 173rd in United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) human development index in 2012, with adult literacy rate 39 per cent in 2010, gross primary education enrolment 102 per cent in 2011 as well as a gross secondary education enrolment ratio of 36 and 5.5 gross tertiary education enrolment ratio in 2011. Over the past few years, the country has increased investment in opening up new universities throughout the country in an effort to move up the ladder in access of education.

According to the  ‘Education Under Attack’ report 2014, those who are part of the education process have been targets of military and physical attacks. These attacks were caused by military groups and government security forces as well as others. The report explicitly discusses cases that have been reported from 2008 until 2013. Ethnic based differences, usage of schools and higher institutions for military and political purposes, extensive force used by government security forces on students were among the cases that have been covered by the report.

However, in reality there is much more to it.


Endalkachew is a former university lecturer in one of Ethiopia’s universities; he suggests there is more factors which suggest education is under attack.

“Education is under attack when it is not getting the proper attention that it should get in aspects such as policies, economy and political decision.”

Lack of attention on these issues have affected the quality of education in the country, mainly in higher education institutions which directly have affected the production of man power for the work force that the country needs.

According to Endalkachew, universities are expected to produce a quota of students annually which puts further pressure on universities, teachers and students. In order to achieve the target number of graduates, the quality of education is compromised. In the process, many students graduate without the necessary professional skills, knowledge and level of professionalism. According to him “they don’t come out as enough of professionals as they should have.”


The ‘Education under Attack’ report  discusses the attacks that students and member of higher education institutions face due to ethnic and political differences in the country. Ethiopia like many other African nations is a country with a population that is comprised of a number of diverse ethnic groups. Higher education institutions are places where ethnic differences are reflected on. The report discusses a number of conflicts that have been witnessed in these higher institutions. Depending on the location of the universities, several students, teachers and other education facilitators have been victims of these conflicts.

“Ethnic issues are issues that you never discuss about in higher education institutions especially as a teacher” says Endalkachew, discussing the sensitivity of the issue. He mentions an incident where a fellow lecturer who was a victim of abuse by students  lost his job because of “an example he gave in a class room”.

Agegnehu, 23 is a recent graduate from an Ethiopian university, He agrees with Endalkachew when it comes to the sensitivity of ethnic discussions among university students. He talks about problems that students face due to “attitude of ethnic centred teachers”. Because the subject is closed for discussion, students who face academic problems due to these attitudes have a hard time finding solutions.

The absence of a standard conflict resolution mechanism in solving ethnic based conflicts in higher education institutions is mostly presented as problem leading to the use of too much force by security on students, teachers and other members of higher education communities. The ‘Education Under Attack’ report explicitly discusses the detainment, killing and abuse of students and teachers by security forces is explicitly discussed on the report.

Human rights

“Education to some extent is a human right for me, it’s an exercise of freedom of expression” says Endalkachew, mentioning that students are not allowed to express their opinions; teachers do not have the freedom of exercising their academic freedom regardless of their political opinions. “Some lecturers and students are seen as taking advantage of their political affiliation as a way to exercise too much power in their activities both as students and teachers.”

Agegehu says, “The authority teachers are given deny students from speaking their minds”. Female students face this to a greater extent. Endalkachew mentions incidents where female students are asked to have sexual relationships with their lecturers in order to get good grades.

The report has brought significant insight of the situation, yet any one can go through the report and witness an ethnic bias within it. It’s important to see the contribution of informants and the locations where the reports have been collected in order to understand why the report looks the way it does.

Despite this, a number of facts have been brought to public attention about education; a subject that many consider safe. Yet there is more that education suffers from. In Ethiopian cases, many incidents have been witnessed but not many of them have been discussed among the public; most of these incidents were observed in higher education institutions.

By Emnet Assefa

Picture credit: Keith Nockels

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.

Burning flames in the hearts and streets of Santiago

Linn (2)Photo: Linn Helene Løken


Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile has left a highly privatised education system. Recently students have taken to protest in the streets to put an end the legacy of the dictator. Pandeia’s Ida Nordland translates a report directly from Santiago.

A blanket of polluted air covers Santiago. On the ground thousands of people have gathered. Drums are pounding the pace of the march they have started. The whistles join in, along with the loud shouts from the protestors: ”La education no se vende, se defende!” Chile’s educations are not for sale, they are to be defended.

“It is only during the last couple of years that people have realised that education is a right, not a privilege for the wealthy,” says Roberto Reveco, a film student at the University of Chile.

Today, most of Chile’s public schools and universities are private. While less and less public funds are spent on the public educational system, many choose to pay for a private education of better quality. The price for a bachelor’s degree in Chile varies, but may cost around 2000 euros. In comparison, the average income in Chile is 4.000 euros a year.

Pinochet’s Legacy

The privatisation process began 40 years ago. In 1973 Augusto Pinochet took the power from socialist president Salvador Allende in a military coup. Pinochet ruled Chile for 17 years and more than 40.000 people were victims of torture, random arrests, killings or abductions.

Pinochet left behind a strong market-oriented policy. Only between 1980 and 1981 were 87% of all schools transferred from public to private control. The current education system is a result of this total privatisation.

Today, there are private institutions everywhere, but lately the students have begun to speak up, especially against the profit-seeking principals. The former Chilean minister of education Harald Beyer was fired in April because of a new scandal: The boards at several universities had created companies that rented out premises to their own universities. In this peculiar way, the rent was sent to the principal’s own bank accounts.

The Penguin Revolution

”We are fighting for our education, our country and against the fraud that is being carried out by the authorities,” explains a teenager at Estacion Mapocho, the end station of the march. He is holding an anarchist flag.

“Last night the police changed the route of the demonstration which made people go to the wrong meeting point. They do this to prevent us from gathering in a peaceful manner. In the morning the police continued to stop traffic and block streets so we couldn’t attend the protest. That is the kind of system we are fighting against,” the teenager expresses.

The first wave of student demonstrations began in 2006 when high school students started the  ”Penguin Revolution”, named after the pupils’ penguin-like uniforms. The penguins protested against fees to enter higher education and for free public transport for pupils and students. The movement began with relatively small demands, but is now fighting for a restructuring of the entire educational system. The message on the banners are clear: ”Educación publica, gratuita y de calidad” – public, free and good education.

Camouflaged Challenges

It’s burning, not just in the hearts of young students. It’s literally burning. A bus stop is in flames. Around it a group of youngsters have gathered, covering their faces in headscarves. They are called ”los encapuhados” – the hooded.

They fight against the system with rocks and homemade molotov cocktails. They represent the Chilean student organisation’s perhaps biggest challenge to be taken seriously, although they represent only a small group. The police respond with tear gas, tanks and arrests. The clashes were expected. They occur after every protest.

The violent game is legacy of the dictatorship, which has left deep traces in Chile. The fight for a public education continues nevertheless, – slowly but surely. As the young teenager with the anarchist flag puts it: ”There is always something to fight for.”


Originally by Linn Helene Løken for Momentum

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 

2013 – Britain’s Annus Horribilis?


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.



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.”



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.



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




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.





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.




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.




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.


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.





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’.





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.



@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.





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’.



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.



@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.





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).



#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.




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.”



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.”



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.



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.



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.



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.





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





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




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.





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.



Gender Equality: Let us not forget about the men

Oslo University is spending more money on gender equality – but the money, as Ingunn Dorholtis investigates, is not always being spent the right way.

Let us rewind to 2004: For the first time women are dominating higher education in Norway. It has been 89 years since women got the right to vote. The same year the University of Oslo makes a two-year plan of action for gender equality, and specifies that a substantial part of their budget will be spent on projects promoting gender equality. The University of Oslo will be “the world’s first gender-equalised University” by 2011. The University’s director for equality at the time, Long Litt Woon, is happy that there is finally a plan of action for equality, but is worried that the money is not going to be spent according to the plan of action.

The plan of action for gender equality at The University of Oslo forgot about one factor, argues Helle Gannestad, in an article for Universitas: time. To become the world’s most gender-equal university you need the gender ratio amongst the University’s employees to be 50/50. A report from the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU) in 2006, showed signs that this was an unattainable goal by the end of 2011. In 2004, 78,4% of the employed were men. To achieve the goal of a 50/50 ratio of men and women,  99% of all new employees would have to be women until the year of  2011, and that would mean that the University would have to discriminate against men significantly, in order to achieve gender equality.

According to the head of the department at the equality and discrimination commission, Arnfinn Andersen, it would actually be a breach of the Norwegian Gender Equality law, and EU legislation. So, the University simply had to continue their hiring process where they are weighing the qualifications of the applicants,higher than their gender.

Now, fast forward to 2013: The money has been spent according to the laws and another 3 million kroner is placed in the budget for 2013, a number that will increase with 400,000 kroner next year.  At the Institute of Informatics (IFI) men are the dominating gender, while the number of women is decreasing. The institute has opened a new room that can be used for an extra day of teaching – for women only. But can it be true, that the original purpose of this extra money was to see them being spent on rooms for women only? It is unlikely.

 Giving the female students their own room to stop the development of a decreasing number of female students might be the right thing to do, if the social environment is not good for them. But money that is supposed to secure gender equality should not be spent on projects that are pushing the genders further apart – it is not the right place to focus. One thing is certain; Oslo will not have the world’s most gender-equalised university by opening pink rooms that smell of tea and girls perfume. To give special treatment to one of the sexes means upholding the differences in academia and if the goal is gender equality, the University should not forget about its male students.

Original article written by Helle Gannestad        



Higher Costs: Do Students Understand the Consequences of a U.S Education?

The American higher educational system is ranked by many as the best in the world – and it had better be for the price tag that is attached to it, argues Christine Wendel for Pandeia.

For tuition and living expenses, Americans will pay an average of $19,000 per year to attend a four-year public university. This means a total price tag of $76,000 for a bachelor’s degree, and that’s if the student graduates in four years. If he or she attends a private university, it will be an additional ten to fifteen thousand dollars more each year, and if students want to pursue a programme at a public university in a state outside of their own, they should be prepared to shell out double the price of attending a school in their own state.

Talk about a lot of money, considering that it is almost mandatory nowadays to have a college degree in the US in order to earn more than minimum wage – $7.25 per hour. People earning minimum wage, even working several jobs, are below the poverty line.

However, a problem is growing among the approximate 20 million Americans who attend college each year. They are having trouble paying back the thousands of dollars in student loans that are piling up. Even with their degrees in hand, the job market is not putting enough graduates to work, leaving debt defaults to follow. No job, no money, no debt payments.

Next to mortgages, student loans are the second largest type of consumer borrowing in the US. About two-thirds of all Americans who attend college take out student loans to cover the cost of earning a degree. By the time the average college student graduates, he or she owes an average of $26,000 in student loans.

Try walking out into the world with $26,000 in debt and feeling positive about the future. In October, Bloomberg reported that U.S. borrowers all together owe over $1.2 trillion in student loan debt. It was once an option for some graduates to move back home with mom and dad for a couple years after graduation. Now, for many, it is the only option.

Why such high tuition costs?

The Washington Post explains that there has been a 20 per cent drop in state funding and donations towards higher education institutions since 2000. This has led to a larger burden on tuition payers since universities want to keep the same standards. Forty-seven states have had at least a ten per cent increase in tuition within the last five years KBIA Radio reported in October. The state of Georgia had the greatest tuition fee increase of all public universities – a whopping 65 per cent since 2008.

Young Americans want to pursue an education, but the burden of huge student loans that will follow may lead some to think twice. This, however, is not the only problem. Bloomberg reports that 14.7 per cent of those with student loans have defaulted on their debt payments. That is up from 13.4 per cent in 2012, and is the highest default rate since 1995.

Compared to many European countries where education for all who are willing to put forth effort, the American system seems flawed. It is all about who has the money. If you have parents who are alumni, you can receive higher education. If your parents can afford to pay in-state tuition, you can receive higher education. But, if neither of these are the case, you can count on one large student loan bill following you around once you’ve been handed your degree.

The worst part is that students don’t understand.

Most students do not even realise what taking out huge loans entails. Seven million Americans have defaulted on student loan payments. A default can have serious consequences, even impacting future employment as many employers now perform credit checks before hiring. High interest rates on student loans and a market economy that has not been strong are both attributed to defaults.

A professor of European Journalism in Brussels told his pupils if European students were paying American prices for universities there would be riots in the street. Maybe it can be attributed to the US’ laid-back, positive, American-dream attitude. For whatever reason, there are no riots in the streets, no contests to sharp tuition hikes, only students continuing to take out more and more student loans to pursue an education.

 photo by Truthout.org

An Academic ‘Revolution’? Dutch Research System in Crisis

Not only censorship leads to a lack of trustworthy information: Nele Goutier highlights the growing problems, shortcuts and abuses prevalent in the Dutch academic system of research.  

In the Netherlands there is an increasing distrust towards academic knowledge. Some even claim the academic world is in crisis and in need for a revolution. Five prominent Dutch scholars pose in their recently published position paper ‘Science in Transition’ (SIC) and homonymous website that the academic system is corrupt and requires thorough change.

For Professor Jan Vandenbroucke of the Leiden University Medical Center it is very clear. “Everything goes wrong”, he begins at his contribution on drug research. Research funded by pharmaceutical companies conclude for example much more often that the drug invented by the sponsor is the best option, than research paid with public money does.

“Not because the researchers are corrupt, but because the system is corrupted,” explains Vandenbroucke. An example: scientists are paid to compare the new drug with a placebo, while companies by publicly funded research usually compare it with an already existing drug.

Compare it with drinking Red Bull: who consumes energy drinks is more alert on the road, according to research funded by Red Bull. You may be able to achieve the same level of alertness by drinking a cup of coffee, but that comparison is not made. Red Bull may be the best choice compared to drinks without caffeine, but compared to coffee that may not be the case.

Another problem is that the researchers are judged on their number of publications and the number of times that their articles are cited by colleagues. That provokes a variety of strategies: scientists would for example agree to quote each other’s articles to keep their scores up. Professors would sometimes abuse their statuses to get their names on other people’s publications while they have barely contributed to it.

Shared responsibility

The Dutch website Science In Transition provides recommendations to achieve a new, better way of doing science, by for instance informing the audience about the uncertainty of scientific outcomes, research methods and the mundane motives of scientists. In addition, the organization would like to see new standards of evaluation being formulated. It wants to get rid of quantitative rankings based that give rise to competition and cheating.

SIC argues that journalism as well should play a greater role in science. Journalists should investigate the practice of the scientific work and the mechanisms behind it. Huub Dijstelbloem, one of the initiators of SIC: “Press officers maintain the image of noble scientists and indubitable knowledge, because that is what “sells” best. Journalists go along with it due to a lack of time and money.”

“There is no ready-made solution. We now seem to be the rebels of the system, but I’m also part of it,” recognizes Frank Miedema, Dean and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the University Medical Center in Utrecht. “I cannot change it all at once by myself.” Revolution is a shared responsibility, emphasizes Miedema. “We’re all in this together.”