Student news round-up: Student travel firm goes bust, UCL asked to act on Qatar partnership and the master of Selwyn College's 'cat'

 

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The Independent Online

Charity trips ruined as travel firm goes bust

Students from a variety of universities who were about to climb Kilimanjaro for charity had their trips cancelled this week when the organising travel firm went into liquidation.

The Boar in Warwick, Impact in Nottingham, The Galleon in Portsmouth and The Cambridge Student all report on students affected by the sudden collapse of GBCE Ltd, which trades as Student Adventures.

Some of the would-be fundraisers were left stranded at Gatwick Airport after being informed only at the last minute. Nick Robinson, from Nottingham, said: "All I can say really is that I am absolutely devastated that after nine months of preparation, training and fundraising... I haven’t been able to even come close to reaching the mountain."

Student Adventures' events director, Jock Wright, released a statement apologising for the situation: "I can only start by personally saying sorry that the situation we find ourselves in has come to pass. It was not my honest intention to see this happen and wish it could be very different for all involved."

Students from all universities who were affected were being advised not to try to make alternative travel arrangements.

Students lose out after “pyramid scheme” collapses

A mobile phone contracts “pyramid scheme” has reportedly left students out of pocket by thousands of pounds.

According to The Tab, some students have been left up to £4,000 in debt after taking part in the scheme, which involved buying contract for handsets and selling them on for cash. Participants were even encouraged to register their own companies in order to skirt a law limiting the number of contracts an individual can take out.

The scheme was closed down earlier this month by the police, forcing students to pay "buy-out" fees to the phone companies for the cancelled contracts.

Police told The Tab: "From the available evidence, the emerging picture shows the potential for a multi-million pound fraud which has already impacted over 350 students from a dozen UK universities and these numbers are expected to rise."

St Andrews puts freshers four to a room

Incoming students at the University of St Andrews may have to sleep in rooms of three or even four people because of a shortage of accommodation.

Student newspaper The Saint reports that common rooms and studies have been converted into four-person bedrooms, while existing bedrooms have seen extra beds added to increase their capacity.

The senior student at one of the halls of residence said: "I'd be keen to stress that our halls of residence, in my understanding, are not simply economically efficient spaces for cramming students. They are supposed to function as communities."

The university said the arrangement was "not unusual and has been done before".

UCL urged to act on human rights abuses

University College London has been asked by a Labour MP to act on reports of forced labour at its Qatar campus, according to The London Tab.

Alison McGovern, who is the shadow international development secretary, wrote to UCL and will meet its senior staff to discuss an ITUC report that claims some workers in Education City, Qatar, where UCL and other overseas universities' campuses are hosted , are being trafficked and forced into labour.

McGovern said: "UCL should be doing all it can to stamp out in any location that it is functioning, even if the individuals concerned are not direct employees of the college."

UCL commented that it had "no direct influence" on the employment arrangements.

That's no cat

The Master of Selwyn College, Cambridge, Roger Mosey, has been able to flout a ban on dogs in college accommodation by claiming that his basset hound is in fact a "very large cat".

Speaking to The Cambridge Student, Mr Mosey confirmed that because dogs are "technically" banned, the college council had agreed to the reclassification. "The college were having a joke with itself," he said.

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