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Inquirer 1

Inquirer 1

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03/18/2014

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S
tudent union fears
\u2018terrorist takeover\u2019
In q u ire r
Th
eI
n
q
uirer
T h e
T h e
In q u ire r
In q u ire r
\u201cThey might invite the
s
econd-in-command of
al-Qaeda\u201d
Political societies on campus repeatedly blocked
T
he student union has been blocking
attempts to set up a politics society,
T h e s tu d e n t u n io n h a s b e e n b lo c k in g
T h e s tu d e n t u n io n h a s b e e n b lo c k in g
saying it would be \u201chijacked by ter-
a tte m p ts to s e t u p a p o litic s s o c ie ty ,
a tte m p ts to s e t u p a p o litic s s o c ie ty ,
rorists\u201d and \u201copen a back door for al-
s a y in g it w o u ld b e \u201c h ija c k e d b y te r-
s a y in g it w o u ld b e \u201c h ija c k e d b y te r-
Qaeda on campus\u201d.
rorists\u201d and \u201copen a back door for al-
rorists\u201d and \u201copen a back door for al-

Early last term, third year engineering stu- dent Khaled Jamoos attempted to set up what he called a Current Affairs Society: prominent speakers would come to City and talk to stu- dents on topical events. He presented the idea to the SU\u2019s student activities administrator, Rowan Lord.

\u201cHe was being very polite and sympathetic, but said he \u2018strongly advised\u2019 not to put the proposition forward because it \u2018wouldn\u2019t be authorised anyway\u2019\u201d, said Khaled. \u201cWhen I asked him as to why, he said that \u2018it was too general\u2019, and that pretty soon, maybe when I graduate, \u2018other people might take over\u2019.\u201d

Mr Lord further clari\ufb01ed his concern by musing that \u201cterrorism is current affairs\u201d and that \u201cwhoever takes over the society might in- vite, say, the second in command in al-Qaeda\u201d. He then said that the Student Union wouldn\u2019t want to open a back door for al-Qaeda on cam- pus. \u201cI asked him whether the student union would single out \u2018the second in command in al-Qaeda\u2019, even if I wanted to invite him\u201d, said Mr Jamoos. \u201cHe answered that yes, of course,

t

he Student Union monitors and checks on every speaker invited to speak on University premises, but he wouldn\u2019t want to take the

r

isk.\u201d Following the conversation, Mr Jamoos postponed the establishment of the society in- de\ufb01 nitely.

This term, however, another student took up
t
he task. Second year international politics stu-
dent Holly Ryan attempted to set up a politics
society late last year. Her proposition was re-
jected by the student union, following a simi-
l
ar argument. She tried again this October, but
t
he decision is being continually postponed.
\u201cI went to see Rowan Lord eventually, to
\ufb01
nd out why it\u2019s taking them so long\u201d, says
M
s Ryan. \u201cHe explained to me at that as a new
council had just been voted in, the proposition
h
asn\u2019t put to a vote yet.\u201d

\u201cBut then he said that he doesn\u2019t think it will get authorised, as it\u2019s likely to open a door for extremist elements on campus. He gave terror-

ist recruiters as an example.\u201d

When asked whether he didn\u2019t think, follow- ing the Union\u2019s own logic, that the Muslim so- ciety was posing the same risk, Mr Lord said \u201cwell yeah, but we\u2019ve had a Jewish Society here for generations and we wouldn\u2019t want to seem discriminative.\u201d On another occasion he said that the Muslim society is \u201cnot allowed\u201d to hold events on any topic that is not directly connected to religion.

I

t should be noted that a City chapter of the RESPECT coalition functioned on campus throughout last year. When challenged on that, Mr Lord said: \u201cWell, obviously, if you have a political party behind you, we can\u2019t say no. But without that there isn\u2019t much of a chance we\u2019ll authorise such a project.\u201d

T

he students then asked him whether he didn\u2019t think that this was impinging on stu- dents freedoms. Mr Lord said that he\u2019s afraid he wouldn\u2019t be able to give his opinion on that topic.

W

hen approached directly by the Inquirer for comment, Mr Lord simply said \u201cI am not al- lowed to speak to you.\u201d

T

he debate society was also disbanded by the student union last year following a contentious discussion about religion, and has not been re- instated since.

D
R
Weekly, independent and free.
8 N
ovem
b
er
2 0 0 6
T

he student union has elected nine of\ufb01cers, after elections were held in mid-October. It has also elected 18 delegates to the union council.

Less than 300 votes were cast, representing a turnout of less than 1% of the student popu- lation, and like the last elections in March, some candidates were running unopposed. The most votes were cast for the post of ra- cial equality of\ufb01 cer, which went to Shahram

S
hayesteh. TheI n q u i re r will bring you state-
In q u ire r
In q u ire r
ments from the new of\ufb01cers at the earliest
opportunity.

The executive committee manages SU busi- ness, including services and resources. The committee provides three sabbatical posts at a yearly salary of around \u00a317,500. The exec-

utive of\ufb01 cers are: Tom Abbott, the SU presi- dent, Shereen Sally, welfare and education of\ufb01 cer, and Simon Katchay, the communica- tions of\ufb01 cer. Katchay is editor-in-chief of SU publicationMassive.

The union council, to which 18 candidates were elected, is responsible for holding the executive of\ufb01 cers to account. So far, the

S

U has had a tricky time making democracy work, but has managed to implement two policies, one concerning health and safety, during the last year.EC

More information on the inner workings of
t
he SU is available to view online at www.
c
usuonline.org, along with details of clubs
a
nd societies.
top climate chaos
99% shun elections
T
wenty-\ufb01ve thousand protestors
T w e n ty -\ufb01 v e
th o u s a n d
T w e n ty -\ufb01 v e
th o u s a n d
g
athered in Trafalgar Square on Sat-
T w e n ty -\ufb01 v e
th o u s a n d
T w e n ty -\ufb01 v e
th o u s a n d
urday in a demonstration calling for
g a th e re d in T ra fa lg a r S q u a re o n S a t-
g a th e re d in T ra fa lg a r S q u a re o n S a t-
action on climate change.
u rd a y in a d e m o n s tra tio n c a llin g fo r
u rd a y in a d e m o n s tra tio n c a llin g fo r
The rally was organised by Stop Climate
C
haos, a coalition of groups that counts Ox-
f

am, WWF and Unison among its support- ers. SCC is urging the Government to reduce greenhouse gases by 3 per cent each year, and ensure that global greenhouse gases are in an \u201cirreversible decline\u201d by 2015.

The march follows the publication of the
S

tern report, a hefty inquiry into the eco- nomic repercussions of inaction on climate change. Commissioned by Gordon Brown, it

warns that global warming could reduce the
global economy by as much as 20 per cent.
Anshok Sinha, director of Stop Climate
C

haos said: \u201cIf we all come together we can stop climate chaos.\u201d It would certainly seem so. Celebrities turned out to decorate the demonstration, with appearances from KT

T
unstall and Razorlight.

In an explicit response to President Bush\u2019s continued downplaying of the effects of cli- mate change, the march began at the US Em- bassy. No arrests were made at the demon- stration, and in a rare moment of agreement, police and campaigners estimated the atten- dance at 22,500 and 25,000 respectively.CA

The National Union of Students staged
a national protest against top-up fees
T h e N a tio n a l U n io n o f S tu d e n ts s ta g e d
T h e N a tio n a l U n io n o f S tu d e n ts s ta g e d
on Sunday 29 October, saying that the
a n a tio n a l p ro te s t a g a in s t to p -u p fe e s
a n a tio n a l p ro te s t a g a in s t to p -u p fe e s
fees are discouraging poor students
o n S u n d a y 2 9 O c to b e r, s a y in g th a t th e
o n S u n d a y 2 9 O c to b e r, s a y in g th a t th e
from coming to university.
fe e s
a re
d is c o u ra g in g
p o o r s tu d e n ts
fe e s
a re
d is c o u ra g in g
p o o r s tu d e n ts
T

he demonstration, titled \u2018Admission: Im- possible\u2019, aimed to highlight the fact that uni- versity applications are down 15,000 this year \u2013 a decrease of 4%. The drop-off is especially stark coming after years of growth in the num- bers.

NUS president Gemma Tumelty said: \u201cThe decision to go to university is becoming an in- creasingly hard one to make for many people in society - particularly those from families where there is no history of going into higher education, and where \ufb01nances are tight.\u201d

3

90,000 students started on full-time UK higher education courses this year, compared with 405,000 in 2005 and 375,000 in 2004.

T

he NUS also fears that the \u00a33,000 cap on top-up fees could soon be lifted, allowing some universities to charge far higher fees than oth- ers and so creating poor-quality, \u2018cheap\u2019 edu- cation for those who cannot afford the best.

E

ducation minister Alan Johnson has been quoted as saying that students will \u201clearn to love\u201d top-up fees.TW

TheInquirer
Editors
Contributors
Cecilia Anesi,
Got a story? Want to advertise?
Dimi Reider, Emily Clarke,
Fatima Rahim, Gilad Halpern,
i
nquirer.city@gmail.com
Stephane Reissfelder, Tom Walker
Rene Butler, Jesper Lofgren
NUS protest
over top-up fees
Waterstone\u2019s
set to close?
Waterstone\u2019s recent woes put City\u2019s
bookshop at risk of shutting down any
W a te rs to n e \u2019s re c e n t w o e s p u t C ity \u2019s
W a te rs to n e \u2019s re c e n t w o e s p u t C ity \u2019s
day now.
b o o k s h o p a t ris k o f s h u ttin g d o w n a n y
b o o k s h o p a t ris k o f s h u ttin g d o w n a n y
P

ro\ufb01 ts at the HMV group, which owns Wa- terstone\u2019s, are down 20% from last year, with sales down 15% over a particularly bad sum- mer.

W

hile the company has not con\ufb01rmed any cuts yet, it is widely thought that campus stores will be the \ufb01rst to go, and six out of the 28 campus Waterstone\u2019s have closed already this year.

T

hose that remain have lost their specialist managers, with the managers of nearby high street branches running them by proxy in- stead.

T

wo Cass students, Chris Benyayer and Moritz Knickrehm, are trying to \ufb01ll the poten- tial gap in the market by launching Booknerd, a second-hand book service, in the main uni- versity corridor and online.

C

hris Benyayer said: \u201cBuying a book from Waterstone\u2019s is an expensive investment. Stu- dents will do a lot to save money, especially when it comes to books, and people are more in the know about saving online now.\u201d

H

owever, a Waterstone\u2019s spokesperson in- sisted: \u201cWe have no plans to close this store so the rumours are just that \u2013 rumours\u201d.TW

S
City students paid \u00a34 each in \ufb01 nes last year, with some
racking up over \u00a3300.
F
atima Rahim gets your views
T
he students we interviewed proposed
a number of solutions to the library\u2019s
T h e s tu d e n ts w e in te rv ie w e d p ro p o s e d
T h e s tu d e n ts w e in te rv ie w e d p ro p o s e d
problems. We put a few to Brendan
a n u m b e r o f s o lu tio n s to th e lib ra ry \u2019s
a n u m b e r o f s o lu tio n s to th e lib ra ry \u2019s
Casey, City\u2019s library director, to get
h
is response.
C a s e y , C ity \u2019s lib ra ry d ire c to r, to g e t
C a s e y , C ity \u2019s lib ra ry d ire c to r, to g e t
T
he library should set up an email/mobile
r
eminder system to warn you before your
b
ooks are due back, rather than after.
R

esponse: \u201cWhen we issue a book a receipt with book details and date due is printed. In addition it is possible to renew 24/7 from any- where in the world. The cost of doing this by email or text is prohibitive and money can be better spent on front line staff, user training and so on.\u201d

The library encourages students to make a note in their phone diaries reminding them when their books are due.

F
ines should be reduced to a reasonable
a
mount which students are able to afford
a
nd is more in line with other universities.
R
esponse: \u201cWe charge 75p per day on only
a portion of the collection \u2013 this is based on
l

evels of demand and the need to encourage students to act responsibly towards their peers and give everyone a decent shot at getting the books they want.\u201d

\u201cIdeally no student should ever have to pay

\ufb01nes, but there is a responsibility on the user here in terms of fair dealing with their peers. The more in demand the collection and the worse the rate of returning on time, the high- er the fee. As a library we\u2019re not looking to make money out of you but we must ensure that the service bene\ufb01ts all students. The sys- tem is designed to regulate use and behaviour patterns\u2026 it is designed to be fair. It only pe- nalises those who don\u2019t keep their end of the bargain.\u201d

Students who have returned their books late for a good reason should be granted a reprieve, and total \ufb01 nes should be capped at \u00a350.

Response: \u201cAnyone who generates \u00a350 in \ufb01nes (bearing in mind the ability to renew 24/7) is not showing respect for either collections or their fellow students. If your \ufb01nes are \u00a310 or more, you may set up an agreement whereby you pay a minimum of \u00a35 per week until the entire \ufb01ne is cleared. Last year we spent \u00a313k replacing stolen or defaced books alone! A large number of our students complete their studies without ever racking up a \ufb01ne and where there are mitigating circumstances we have a comprehensive appeals system.\u201d

Problems with the library? Email us at
inquirer.city@gmail.com
\u2018
A
nyone
with \u00a350 in
\ufb01

nes is not
showing
respect\u2019

The library\u2019s
director Brendan
Casey responds
to our story

ibrary \ufb01nes:
punishment or pro\ufb01t?
A

s if tuition fees and accom-
modation costs weren\u2019t
enough to contend with,
students face an additional

e n o u g h to c o n te n d w ith ,
e n o u g h to c o n te n d w ith ,
\ufb01nancial demon \u2013 library \ufb01nes.

When you\u2019re busy worrying about deadlines
and the like, the last thing on your mind is
whether your books are overdue. And then
comes the trip back to the library when,
shock-horror, you discover you have a book
out that was due weeks ago and are left with
a lofty \ufb01ne.

Cue the apologetic librarian. \u201cSorry, you
can\u2019t borrow any more books until you pay
back your \ufb01 ne.\u201d Wouldn\u2019t it have been cheap-
er to just buy the books in the \ufb01rst place?

At our university, it often would be. City
University\u2019s library \ufb01 nes are expensive: while
most universities charge 20 to 30p a day

f

or overdue seven day loans, City charges a
whopping 75p a day. A lot of students feel
this is too pricey.

According to of\ufb01cial \ufb01gures, the average
amount paid in \ufb01nes last year was \u00a34.00 per
student. Those we interviewed had \ufb01nes rang-
i
ng from \u00a32.20 to over \u00a3300.
\u201cIt\u2019s not fair,\u201d says a third year student who
does not wish to be named. \u201cI\u2019m forgetful and
t

end to take out at least two or three books at
a time. When I remember it\u2019s usually on the
day and there\u2019s no way I can go back home to
collect them because I live too far from uni,
so I end up getting \ufb01ned.\u201d

Ashka, 21, agrees. \u201cIt\u2019s even more dif-
\ufb01
cult with short-loan books. Sometimes it\u2019s
i

mpossible to return them on time if it clashes
with lectures, and you can\u2019t renew by phone
or over the net if there are other people with

r
equests on the books.\u201d
Mas, a third year politics student at London
M
et, says her university charges 30p a day in
\ufb01

nes on seven day loans and 50p per hour for
short loans, and she still \ufb01nds that a lot. She
says: \u201cI have every sympathy for City stu-
dents. I understand the need for these charges
so students won\u2019t just keep the books forever
when other students need them \u2013 we all know

h
ow annoying that is. But at the same time
maybe they should think about reducing the
\ufb01nes.\u201d
Not all students are sympathetic towards
those who have to pay library \ufb01 nes, however.
C

hris Williams, a postgrad law student,
feels that it is unjusti\ufb01ed to claim that the
system is unfair. \u201cIt\u2019s easy to renew a book.
You can renew by phone. And at the end of
the day, it\u2019s your responsibility to make sure
your books are returned on time so that others
can also have access to them.\u201d

Vojtech Mares, a second year computer sci-
ence student, recalls how stressed he was last
year while trying to get hold of a book before
his exams. \u201cI was waiting for a software
engineering book for two days before it was
returned. I couldn\u2019t study because someone
had sel\ufb01shly kept the book.\u201d

I

t is a sentiment echoed by sociology and
media student Risha: \u201cIt is frustrating when
you can\u2019t get hold of a book you need.\u201d
However, she concedes that perhaps the \ufb01 nes
could be reduced, and an upper limit for \ufb01nes
brought in.

L

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