Student news round-up: £16,000 fees at Oxbridge, tributes to students killed in Malaysia, UEA admin jailed


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Oxford and Cambridge won't push for £16,000 fees

Neither of the country's leading universities currently support the rumoured proposals to raise tuition fees above £9,000, The Cambridge Student reported last week.

The plan to allow universities to charge more than the current maximum fees in exchange for taking on student loan debts is being championed by the former Universities Minister, David Willetts. Despite claims that the plan has the support of several top universities, however, Oxford and Cambridge have both refused to back it.

A Cambridge source told the paper that "it's not something we’re pressing for" and called the original report "exaggerated". An Oxford spokesperson, meanwhile, said the institution "has never suggested that the entire shortfall Oxford faces should be made up through fee increases. The collegiate University has no set view on future fee levels".

Staff lead tributes to Newcastle medical students killed in Malaysia

Neil Dalton and Aidan Brunger, the two British medical students stabbed to death while on placement in Malaysia, have been hailed as "excellent students" and "very committed".

Professor Michael Smile, who worked with the Newcastle University students, spoke of his "great sadness and dismay" at the news, while a colleague spoke of their "kind hearts and enormous potential".

Jane Calvert, the dean of undergraduate studies at the medical school, said: "Both were excellent students very committed to their studies to becoming doctors."

UEA staff member jailed for stealing £50k

An administrator at the University of East Anglia has been sentenced to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to stealing more than £50,000 from the institution.

UEA student newspaper Concrete reports that Sophie O'Hara submitted bogus student expense claims, which she was in charge of signing, to the tune of £50,504 before she was discovered. An internal university investigation, conducted alongside a police enquiry, found that she had taken advantage of her employment in the faculty of science to acquire the money.

O'Hara spent the money on holidays to places including Egypt and Florida, as well as taking her mother to afternoon tea at the Ritz.

Life in Israel "goes on because it must"

"Many of my friends have been evacuated," writes Tom Fenton from Ashdod, 30km from Gaza. "The United States’ State Department recommends travellers against non-essential travel to the whole of the country."

Mr Fenton, a student at Durham, is studying in Israel for a month. The strangest thing about the conflict, he says, is how life continues as normal. 

"When I went to Damascus Gate only a few hours after police had been firing rubber bullets and tear gas at stone-throwing protesters and journalists had been filming wearing flak jackets and helmets, people were shopping and socialising and kids were playing on the grass."

Not that the air raid sirens aren't cause for concern: "People here have 45 seconds to run to shelter - it was panicked... people were screaming and mothers grabbed their children and sprinted."

The full report is available on Palatinate's website.