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Barefacts (1997-1998) - 13

Barefacts (1997-1998) - 13

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Published by: The Stag on Jun 02, 2010
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Issue 923 - WeeklyFriday 5th December 1997
Entertainments Guide
Cinema and Arts
Union News
Notices & Personals
NUS: We told you so
US research has revealed ashocking drop in the num-ber of students applyingthrough UCAS for a universityplace this year. Figures show thatthe entries to each university aredown on this time last year, with thelowest drop being 3% at Hull andthe largest being 26.5% at Salford.The usual mid-November flood of applicants who want to get an earlyplace through the UCAS schemehas apparently turned into a trickle.The root cause of the problem,claims the NUS, is the introductionof tuition fees across the board forstudents. Tuition fees could addmore than £1,000 to the bills of stu-dents at university but could creepbeyond the £2,000 pound bracket,as vice-chancellors have free handto add “top-up” fees. Many peoplehere at Surrey would be happy topay these “top-up” fees, if they wereused to ensure adequate fire protec-tion in all the courts. However, theNUS believe that it is this extra costthat is scaring students off applyingfor university.“Tuition fees are killing ambitionand opportunity” claimed DouglasTrainer, NUS president, in a recentPress release to student newspapers.“We believe the statistics show thenightmare of reality - whatever par-liamentarians say, would-be stu-dents are turning off higher educa-tion.”However, close analysis of the sta-tistics released by the NUS reveals amore alarming story. It is clear fromtheir actions that the NUS has beentrying to stamp on the first readingof the bill proposing the fees, whichwent ahead on 27th November.They have put their efforts into alarge campaign now, but the bill stillhas to go through two more readingsand scrutiny by committee before itis passed. In acting this early, it ispossible that the NUS could inducea premature peak in public interest.The Government could then passthe bill without fuss from the gener-al public, who will be bored of theNUS’s whining.Also damaging to the NUS case isthe scope of the statistics. There willnaturally be a fall in applicationsnow, as many students cancelledtheir gap year plans and appliedearly last year, to avoid having topay fees in their first year. Also,there are large variations from yearto year in the time of year that stu-dents choose to apply to UCAS. If the statistics eventually level out asmore students get round to applying,it would prove the NUS wrong.People will lose faith in the cam-paign against tuition fees and theGovernment will win again.This week was designated a week of action, with local activities andnational media coverage to drawattention to the perceived problem.The NUS targeted MP’s, parentsand would-be students for directaction against the fees proposals.The Independent on Sunday also gotinvolved, using its well muscledbandwagon-leaping legs to carry anexclusive feature. It showed the edi-tor-relievingly long NUS poll infull, and gave the story the frontpage, plus a leader,
a full pagearticle. They will not give it thatmuch coverage again until well afterthe bill is passed.The tuition fee program was pro-posed on the basis that theGovernment should not have toinvest in a student’s education, as itis the student alone who actuallybenefits from being educated.However, this ignores the economicbenefits that well educated studentsbring to the country. TheGovernment backs their argumentup by saying that university gradu-ates find it easier to get high paid jobs. Therefore, charging them atuniversity will make no differenceto them, as they are the future richand will be able to afford it. Herethey forget that it is, in reality, verydifficult for university graduates toget a job, especially after their num-bers swelled when polytechnicsconverted to universities. Their arenow too many graduates chasing toofew jobs for the Governments logicto make sense.Students have a mixed perception inthe public eye. This is fair enough,as students are as mixed as the restof the public. Some people perceiveus as the future, as the people whowill take over and provide prosperi-ty in years to come. But it is easy forothers, who believe students aremere parasites, to point their fingerat us and make us pay fees. Whenour National Union is setting itself up to fail in saving us from thesepeople, there is very little we can doto protect ourselves. Time to get
part-time job, I think.
s who
st  year
not applied
of Students
Steven Alexander
Photo: NUS Conference in mid debate
The news in brief 
To queue ornot toqueue...
e’ve all been therehaven’t we? Fridaynight, 10pm, out-side the Union, your dressedin your best pulling outfit andit’s pissing down. You wetterthan a boy’s underpants afterwatching ‘Baywatch’. Youhave no money so you need toqueue for the cashpoint, whichhas run out of tenners threedays ago, and join the queuethat stretches down to the HallBar for entrance to the Union.Well, Students’ Union Clubhas recognised this and sincethe start of the semester beenworking on methods to getyou into the Union quickerand drier!This attack on queuing hasbeen three pronged. Firstly,since the hiring of profession-al Security, the organisationof the queue outside theUnion has become so muchmore efficient. In fact, wehave been beating theentrance rates of top Londonnight-clubs such as theMinistry of Sound, whackingin around 700 club membersan hour! We have also beenlooking at ways to speed thismethod up further by possiblyintroducing another entrance.What has taken the most timeto refine is the creating of anofficial Signing In policy,Guest List policy and TicketSale policy for events held inthe Union.Why is this necessary? Well,has there ever been an officialmethod to sell tickets forUnion club events? Theanswer is no. We so oftendepend upon word of mouthand Bare Facts to inform ourmembers and hope that every-one knows when and whereto purchase their tickets. Alsothere are always areas whichare not clear to membersabout how to sign in guestsand a perfect system has sofar eluded Union Club.So after careful considerationUnion Club have createdthree draft versions of thesepolicies which are soon to bepassed and implemented atthe beginning of next semes-ter. The three policies are fartoo long to detail now, but thebasics will be outlined below:
Tickets for all Union Clubevents - including theFriday Night Out - will beon sale between 11.00a.m.-3.00 p.m. from recep-tion, for at least five work-ing days before the event.100 tickets will be set aside for  Industrial Years, Life Members and Nursery & Midwifery Students for eachspecial event and Friday Night Out.Tickets for non Union Clubspecial events, such asOFU, Unplugged, Gilbert &Sullivan Society and anyStudents’ Union club or society, can be sold through the ticket machinebetween 11.00 a.m.-3.00 p.m. weekdays only.On non event nights, normal-ly Sunday-Thursday,guests can be signed in byClub members until 10.30 p.m, as opposed to 8pm as previously. All members will be able tosign in their guestsbetween 11.00 a.m.-3.00 p.m. onweekdays and up until 7.00 p.m. on the night of theevent. This must be donein person and not over the phone. A maximum of 200 guests willbe permitted into Union House at any event.For any event, all guest tick-ets will be priced £2.00above the cost of a UnionClub members ticket  price. This ticket pricecan be altered by the ClubCommittee, although oncondition sufficient noticeis given to all members.Guest tickets for theFriday Night Out will beset at £4.00 regardless of the time of entry.
What is important to takeaway from this article is thefact that Union club is look-ing to make everything easier,fairer and quicker. The fullpolicies will be plasteredabout everywhere once theyare passed, draft copies areavailable now. And if ANY-ONE who is a member of theUnion wishes to suggest theiropinions on these proposedpolicies then please contactmyself (su-liaison@surrey) orBob (the President - su-pres@surrey). You shouldalso attend the next UnionClub Committee meeting on10th December, 1pm in theGrant Mitchell room. It’s aslow process but once it’spassed hopefully there’ll be alot less soggy students outsidethe Union on a wet Fridaynight!
Kamran Loqueman,Union Liaison Officer.
Feel the noise
he Students’ Union Club announcedthe purchase of a new speaker systemthis week. The Renkus-Heinz system,which will replace the current one, is to costabout £70,000. Technical Manager Ian Lippcalled it a “very positive step forward for theUnion” and said that the system had beenchosen following trials of about six others. Itwill employ several speaker stacks, to tryand counter the problem of having an L-shaped dancefloor. It is hoped that noisepollution outside Union House on eventsnights will be reduced, whilst bringing a bet-ter sound to those inside. The new systemhas a life expectancy of about ten years, andwill be installed ready for the Christmas Ballin two weeks’ time.
Its gettinghotter, faster...
The first of this year’s snow might alreadybe here, but the Meteorological Office lastweek said that this year looks set to be theworld’s warmest since global records beganin 1860. The Met Office’s Hadley ResearchCentre also released a report suggesting thatthe speed of global warming is also on theincrease. Average temperatures could riseby between 2.5 and 3º centigrade next cen-tury, compared to this century’s 0.6 º rise.According to the report, the five warmestyears on record have all been in the 1990’s.Arguments have been raging at this week’sworld conference on Global Warming atKyoto, over the Australian Government’srefusal to agree to a cut in emissions of car-bon dioxide, thought to be a major contribu-tor to the greenhouse effect. In the US, too,oil companies have been running a televi-sion advertising campaign arguing thataccepting the proposed emissions cutswould increase petrol prices by 50%.
No more student night?
Students going to Bojanglez last Wednesdaynight were surprised to find that the door pricehad gone up to £5. Some students went on toother pubs amid rumours that the measure wasin retalliation for the boycott of the cluborganised by the Students’ Union severalweeks ago. Bojanglez management wereunavailable for comment at the time of goingto press.
2 NewsFriday 5th December 1997
Features 3
Friday 5th December 1997
, you may say,
“is a ‘sabbatical’?”
,and my answer would be that if Shane Ritchieoffered you two sabbaticals in exchange foryour old washing powder, then you wouldcertainly take him up on his offer - becausesabbaticals are a jolly good thing indeed.Sabbaticals (sabs) are Surrey students whotake a year out to run your students’ union,and early next year
will have the chanceto stand for election to be one of them.Usually it is final years who stand, but thatneed not be the case - so long as your depart-ment will let you take a year out of your stud-ies.But just what do these sabs do? In this week’sand next week’s Bare Facts we profileSurrey’s five current sabbatical officers, soyou can make up your mind whether it’s the job for you. And if it is, then pick up a nomi-nation pack from the CommunicationsOfficer, available from Monday week 15 -nominations close Friday week 2, so you’vegot the Christmas holiday to think about it.If you are even
interested in stand-ing and would like to know more, then comeand meet the current sabs, and ex-sabs fromthe past four years, at an informal meeting inChancellor’s restaurant area this Friday (5thDec) from 6pm. Hope to see you there!
So what do you do as Comms Officer?
According to the constitution, I am responsi-ble for all matters of communication betweenthe Union and its members. That’s a bit opti-mistic, but it does mean your input is requiredon how to market events to students. Most of all, I oversee the Union’s publications: theprofessional year handbook, Surrey forBeginners, the Union Handbook, Bare Facts,and a few others. I also get lots of money forthe Union in sponsorship - especially with thetrade fair.
What about committee work?
You have to represent students on a fewUniversity committees, including theComputing and Information Technology com-mittee, and the Library and Audio VisualServices committee.
What sort of people does your job bring youinto contact with?
All kinds of strange people! I get to deal withthe printing industry, students who write news,sports, features for the newspaper, photogra-phers, people that need you to help find theirfriend’s e-mail addresses, the University staff,and, of course, all the permanent staff in theUnion.
What skills do you need to be CommunicationsOfficer?
Be prepared to occasionally work quite late tomeet deadlines - that’s a quite important com-mitment. I would advise anyone going for this job to swot-up their computer skills beforestarting - but I managed, and my predecessormanaged, and we knew bugger all about com-puters! I’d say you need to be flexible, able todeal with a lot of people, and willing to put inthe hours.
Which part of the job do you enjoy most?
Mm... producing the paper. Whether you makeit so big that it excludes everything else is upto you, but it has to be the central task, I think.
Where do you see the job going over the next  few years?
A lot of what the Comms Officer doesdepends on the students, so one year you mayget a group that could more-or-less produceBare Facts all by themselves, and that wouldbe brilliant because it would leave you muchmore time to work on other aspects of the job.It all depends on the students....
 If the sabbatical team were an assorted multi- pack of crisps, which flavour would you be?
Er, salt and vinegar, lemon - bitter, sour, sourcream, and bitter salt. No - beef. Beef. As in:“Where’s the beef?”, because this is where themain element of the Union’s work goes on.There’s a lot of flapping and tarting about inthe other offices, but this is where the real beef is done. So beef, I should think, and all theother sabs can be things like terracotta andtangerine.
[We should point out that beingweird is not a prerequisite to applying for this job, it is just Matt’s “special qualitiy”.] In a nutshell, what is your job?
I’d say it wouldn’t really fit in anutshell. But it would fit in acircle, and that circle has abouthalf a dozen different segments[
is anyone following this?!
],ranging from course rep issuesto academic appeals, griev-ances, hardship applications,campaigns, and sitting on vari-ous committees to ensure stu-dents’ concerns about a varietyof issues are addressed.
So what does the title “Student  Affairs Officer” mean?
I don’t think it’s a very good title. A bettertitle would probably be “EducationRepresentation and Welfare Officer” - withcampaigns on top! I tend to be in charge of allof the campaigns, including Intro. Week organisation, gas safety, meningitis, health,safe sex, drugs, racism, AIDS - you name it,and you can have a campaign on it! TheWelfare side of the job is case work, mostcases being about hardship and finance, butalso quite a lot of course issues - problemswith courses, members of staff, and studying.I get a great deal of support from the WelfareOfficer who deals with the bulk of the casework, but when students are unsure of who tosee, they often come and see me - because, asa student, they may find it easier to approachme.
 How do you see the role changing?
I think the job needs more definition, andthere needs to be a good hard look at whichareas my job covers. I feel many groups of students are neglected because there is far toomuch incorporated in my job to ensure thateach section of the student body receives anequal amount of my time.
 And you don’t do much committee work, do you?
 At this point she waves her arm at a book-case full of files labelled “xxxxxxCommittee”
] I think I sit on well over thirtycommittees, and some of those have break-off sub committees, and some sub committeeshave break-off working parties! These all addup and take up quite a lot of my time.
Who does your job bring you into contact with?
I find myself spending most of my time withthe academics and heads of departments,rather than students. That’s unfortunate, but inorder to get the best deal for students youhave to liaise with the people who organisecourses and create university policy. I comeinto contact with the Dean of Students quite alot, and outside the university I deal with theWest Surrey Health Authority, AlcoholConcern Agencies, and The Acorn drug useGroup. I have little contact with the NUS(who try to help with campaigns) becausethey’re not as useful as they are supposed tobe.
What skills are needed for your job?
Organisation. That’s top of the list - there area lot of areas you need to keep up to date with,and if you can’t organise yourself, you’ll findyourself sinking under a mass of papers, min-utes, and agendas. Make good use of thewaste paper bin! Other than that, you needpatience.
What is your typical day like?
A lot of time is spent planning for committeemeetings, because if you have a three hourhardship meeting, then you need another twohours reading the case files, and another twoor three hours planning each student’s sub-mission to the hardship fund. The rest of thetime, you don’t know what is going to comethrough your door, which is one of the greatattractions of the job.
Which part of the job do you enjoy most?
I enjoy the meetings where you feel that theacademics are listening to what you say, andwhere you are making an impact on universi-ty policy, rather than just there paying lip-ser-vice to the university’s commitment to havingstudent representatives.
 If the sabbatical team were an assorted multi- pack of crisps, which flavour would you be?
A big tube of Pringles, because they’re like atypical working day - once you start you can’tstop! [
 And unlike Pringles, Sam’s lid doesn’t  pop off when you squeeze her sides. We think. But you could always give it a try next time you see her.....
Andy GaleReturning Officer
 Miss Birmingham treats all cases seriously....The Communications Officer at work - stupid expression not obligatory

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