Student news round-up: Oxbridge's donations windfall and Cardiff's accidental chancellor

 

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The Independent Online

Half of all university donations go to Oxbridge

Nearly half of the charitable donations made to universities in Britain are raised by Oxford and Cambridge, according to a recent report.

The latest annual Ross-CASE survey, which examines gifts and voluntary giving to higher education institutions, found that British universities raised £660 million in donations during the 2012-13 tax year and that 49 per cent of the money went to Oxford and Cambridge. This was up from 46 per cent in 2011-12, with the increase explained by the universities' "very substantial investment in fundraising".

Cardiff chancellor almost replaced by accident

Cardiff University has decided to keep its chancellor, Sir Martin Evans, after a "grossly embarrassing" episode in which a successor was nearly appointed without Sir Martin being offered the chance to stay.

The role was about to be given to the comedian Griff Rhys Jones last month when the process had to be stopped less than an hour before the ceremony was due to begin. It emerged that some senior members of the University Council were not aware Sir Martin was eligible for another term.

Following these events Mr Rhys Jones said he no longer wished to be considered for the role, stating that his "presence only makes this a more complicated process for everyone concerned". The university has apologised for its handling of the issue.

Oxford Union avoids vote of no confidence in President

The Oxford Union last night decided to scrap a proposed vote of no confidence in its president, Ben Sullivan, who was arrested earlier this month on rape allegations. Mr Sullivan has not been charged and denies the allegations.

The motion of no confidence did not address the arrest. Its proposer instead said that Mr Sullivan "has failed in his duties as President" and called him "incompetent... failing to go to meetings and reply to emails". Several prominent speakers have boycotted the Union in recent weeks, with some choosing to attend a rival union instead.

After a heated debate, however, for which Mr Sullivan was not present, the society's members voted to avoid the decision over concerns that it would influence ongoing legal proceedings. The student who initially proposed cancelling the motion said: "I would not risk having an innocent man declared guilty, or a guilty man evade justice, due to Union b******t".

National scheme to curb university binge drinking

Seven universities have signed up to a national pilot scheme aimed at encouraging responsible drinking.

Loughborough, Brighton, Liverpool John Moores, Manchester Met, Nottingham, Royal Holloway and Swansea have all agreed to take part in the NUS Alcohol Impact Project, which is being funded by the government. The universities will encourage responsible alcohol consumption, including banning initiation ceremonies and bar crawls on campus, as they work towards a "badge of honour" accreditation.

The £90,000 scheme has already been criticised, however. Alastair Campbell told The Independent on Wednesday that it does not go far enough to tackle the drinks industry's targeting of students.

University students elected as local councillors

Two students in Exeter have won council seats in the recent local elections, making them some of the youngest elected politicians in the country's history.

Stephen Brimble and Megan Williams, both final-year sociology and politics students, stood for Labour and the Labour and Cooperative Party respectively. In an interview with student newspaper Exepose, Ms Williams talked about balancing political campaigning with her student workload. "You’re not putting all of that effort in for the money," she said. "You do it because you want to do something for the area you live in."

The news comes days after another student, Rosie Corrigan, was elected mayor of Selby aged 21.

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