Student news round-up: The university with (nearly) no election candidates


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The Independent Online

No interest in Heythrop elections

The student union at Heythrop College received no nominations for either of its two sabbatical positions, The Heythrop Lion reports.

Four other positions in the elections also received no nominations, while another four were uncontested with only one candidate standing for each. In fact only one position, that of academic affairs officer, was contested by multiple candidates.

In a statement, the students' union executive said the elections would go ahead as planned and that a "robust" plan would be presented to ensure the union's continuation. It suggested that one of the sabbatical positions could be made part-time to encourage participation.

Heythrop College is part of the University of London and specialises in theology and philosophy. It has around 800 students.

At the other end of the scale, meanwhile, The Mancunion reports that Manchester's student elections set a new national record for the number of students voting, with more than 13,000 taking part.

Aberystwyth referendum on bibles in halls

The Aberystwyth student union is to hold a referendum on whether bibles should be placed in the university's halls of residence, according to Aber Student Media.

A survey by the union reportedly found that 50 per cent of students in one set of accommodation thought the inclusion of bibles was "uncomfortable" or "unacceptable", while only four per cent thought it was a "good idea".

The university said: "We will be very happy to work with the students’ union once the outcome of the referendum is known."

Durham staff strike over heating

Lecturers in Durham University's Italian department went on strike last week to protest the faulty central heating in their building, Palatinate reports.

Teachers cancelled classes after the heating failed to turn on, leaving the building "completely freezing". The paper reports that the heating often breaks down.

Lucina Stuart, a teaching fellow in the department, said: "It’s not just the temperature. The building is filthy, the windows are never cleaned and there’s water coming through creating damp."

The university later apologised for the "discomfort and inconvenience" and announced that it would undertake a "comprehensive refurbishment" of the building, including a new heating system.

Student officers could undergo counter-terrorism training

Elected student union officers and staff have been advised to attend Prevent counter-terrorism awareness training, according to The Cambridge Tab.

The suggestion is part of Home Office guidance relating to proposed anti-terror legislation that would crack down on non-violent extremism in higher education.

The guidance also says student unions should have clear policies "setting out the activities that are or are not allowed to take place on campus".

KCL to lease Aldwych Quarter

King's College London has announced it will lease four buildings in central London's Aldwych Quarter, including Bush House, former home of the BBC World Service, Roar News reports.

The new agreement will last for at least 50 years and will also see KCL take over Strand House, King House and Melbourne House. The Aldwych Quarter is located just off the Strand, where KCL already has a campus.

KCL's principal, Ed Byrne, said the acquisition would create "better quality facilities for students in the arts and sciences disciplines" and allow the university "to expand into new subject areas".

Students will be able to use the first new spaces from September 2016.