Universities dock pay from marking boycott staff

Universities across the country have announced they will withhold pay from staff participating in the marking and assessment boycott.

Aber Student Media, Bath Impact, The Courier and The Glasgow Guardian all report that academic staff taking part in the boycott, organised by the University and College Union over proposed changes to pension schemes, have been warned they could face pay cuts ranging from 25 per cent to 100 per cent of daily salary.

The boycott means UCU members will refuse to set or provide feedback on coursework. Exams will also go unmarked.

Nouse meanwhile reports that the University of York has agreed to review its stance on docking pay after hundreds of academics wrote an open letter of complaint. The vice-chancellor, Professor Koen Lamberts, said the university was willing to give the matter "further consideration".

Pre-drinks burglaries hit Cardiff

Students at Cardiff University have been warned that taxi drivers could be tipping off burglars about which houses will be empty for the night, according to Gair Rhydd.

South Wales Police believe that a recent spate of burglaries at student houses could be a result of communication between taxi drivers and thieves, and have warned students to avoid ordering taxis directly to their houses.

Authorities have even suggested that students should use mobile phones to call for taxis, rather than landlines that could be traced to an address.

PC Tim Davies, the student liaison officer, said no one had been arrested in connection with aiding a robbery but noted a trend of taxi drivers asking students questions about their evening plans.

He said: "If you're going out make sure that you leave a light on or a radio and pretend that someone is in. If anyone asks questions about where you are going and for how long, don't answer them."

Legal loophole leaves Sheffield students out of pocket

Sheffield students who work as mentors in halls of residence are missing out on £700 in pay owing to a loophole exploited by the university.

Forge Press reports that in 2011 the university's Accommodation and Commercial Services department reclassified the mentors as "voluntary workers" rather than grade two employees, meaning they were no longer required to be paid the minimum wage.

This has left the 67 mentors who work for the university £718 worse off than if they were paid the current living wage, which Sheffield now pays all of its employees.

Tom Harrison, the student union welfare officer, said: "There isn't any part of [the mentors'] work that is voluntary. The system needs a considerable review as a workers' rights matter." He said the union would also investigate reports that the university had told mentors not to speak to the media.

The university declined to comment.

UCL students told to travel two miles for a shower

Tenants at two of UCL's halls of residence were told they could shower at a gym two miles away after they were left without hot water or heating for several days.

The 500 residents of the Ifor Evans and Max Rayne accommodation blocks, where conditions have been criticised as "appalling", were advised by a student union officer that they could use the showers at Bloomsbury Fitness - a journey across London that would cost £2.80 with an Oyster card.

David Dahlborn, an accommodation representative said: "It’s our job to be there for students when they are let down."

The hot water has since been restored.

Dapper Laughs gig cancelled following student protest

An appearance at Cardiff's student union next February by controversial comedian Dapper Laughs has been cancelled after hundreds of students signed a petition, The Cardiff Tab reports.

Vicky Chandler, the president of the Journalism Society, started the petition, which gathered 713 signatures. She said: "I’m pleased to have stood up for the the rights of women, and the awareness of equality at my university."

The student union said: "Dapper Laughs is not allowed to perform on grounds that his show is incompatible with [our] policy on lad culture."