Student news round-up: Ex-students could vote in Cardiff elections


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The Independent Online

Ex-students could vote in Cardiff elections

A loophole meant that former students at Cardiff were able to vote in the students' union elections, Gair Rhydd reports.

According to the newspaper, which tested the flaw, ex-students who still had a university username and password were able to log into the online voting system and cast a ballot. Several former students are believed to have done so.

The students' union said: "On Friday 27 February, we received reports that there were instances of non-students being able to vote in the student union elections.

"In investigating this issue, we identified that a number of individuals were able to vote who were not eligible to. This stems from a change in the way the Students’ Union authenticated data from the University which was changed on 18 August 2014.

"During this election we have been able to identify and confirm the student status of all ballots cast, and have removed nine votes cast by non-students. As a result, we and our returning officer are confident in the integrity of the election."

Manchester campus evacuated

Three buildings on the University of Manchester's North Campus were evacuated after a chemical became unstable, according to The Mancunion.

Students and staff were removed from the Pariser building, which houses the university's department of civil and construction engineering, along with two neighbouring buildings after the emergency services were called.

Staff had raised the alarm because of concerns about the storage of acetone peroxide. The Mancunion reports that a student experiment may have gone wrong.

A bomb disposal team later entered the Pariser building and removed the substance.

The university said: "The University’s Pariser Building on Sackville Street was evacuated [Wednesday] morning after a chemical crystallised and became unstable. The police and fire service were called and a major incident was declared. Two neighbouring buildings were also evacuated on the advice of the emergency services.

"The chemical that caused the major incident has now been removed for safe disposal and the police cordon around Sackville Street has been lifted."

London students tackle homelessness

Students at two London universities this week took action to help homeless people.

The London Student reports that students at University College London opened the city's first ever Street Store, a pop-up shop that allows homeless people to browse and select free clothes rather than being forced to take whatever they are given.

Over 50 students volunteered to help with the store, which was based in Islington Green. The team behind it now hope to make it an annual event.

The store's project manager Liz Nguyen said: "We believe the clothes we choose to wear is the way in which we see ourselves. For many of our visitors it may have been a long time since they were able to choose their own clothes, making this a truly empowering experience."

At Kingston University, meanwhile, River Online reports that five students spent a night sleeping on the streets to raise money and awareness of homelessness.

The campaign, called Sleep Easy, was organised by the local YMCA and churches in the area. Participants took part in a shelter building competition and "entertainment focusing on issues of homelessness" before going to sleep.

Amy Claire Bush, one of the students who took part, said: "I have been lucky enough to have never experienced homelessness... I have decided to take part in Kingston Sleep Easy to try and raise as much money as possible to help the homeless communities in and around London."

UEA makes £100k in library fines

The University of East Anglia took in £100,855 in library charges in the 2013-14 academic year, according to figures seen by The Norwich Tab.

The figure includes replacement book charges, handling fees and card replacement fees as well as fines for overdue books.

In 2012-13 UEA made £79,774 from library fines. For the current academic year, since September 2014, the figure is £43,625.

The university did not comment, but its website says: "If you do not return or renew items before the return date they will become overdue and will start to accumulate fines.

"We do send overdue reminders, but the responsibility for returning items on time is entirely yours. Prolonged failure to return or renew loans will result in the raising of an invoice for the replacement cost of the item(s) plus fines and a handling charge for each item.

"Fines may be waived when you have mitigating circumstances such as serious illness, bereavement or a family/personal crisis."