Student news round-up: Warwick students have no confidence in vice-chancellor

 

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The Independent Online

Warwick students have no confidence in vice-chancellor

The University of Warwick students' union has passed a motion of no confidence in Nigel Thrift, the vice-chancellor, according to The Boar.

Of the 1,120 students who voted on the motion, 682 (61 per cent) voted in favour, meaning the students' union's official position will now be one of no confidence. 289 voted against. There are around 24,000 students at Warwick.

The reasons given for the policy included the university's disputes with staff over wages, the vice-chancellor's pay, and the handling of student protests by police.

The university said: "The University is aware of and notes that 682 students have voted in favour of a motion of no confidence in the vice-chancellor. Having groups of students who actively disagree with the leadership of a university has been a feature of a great many UK universities for more than 70 years and this is one way they have of expressing that disagreement."

City may join University of London

City University London is considering a move to become part of the University of London, The London Student reports.

The City student union president, Rima Amin, emailed students to announce that the university's leadership was exploring the idea, and that a referendum would be held to poll the student body.

The findings will be presented to the university's council in March, the paper reports, and if City decides to proceed then a formal application would have to be made to UoL.

There are around 17,000 students at City compared with around 120,000 at the federal UoL, which is made up of numerous constituent colleges including King's College London, UCL and LSE.

Bath students oppose move to single exam period

More than 2,300 students at the University of Bath have signed a petition opposing proposed changes to the academic timetable, according to Bath Impact.

The plans, which would see students take all of their exams for the year in the summer instead of sitting half of them in January, were proposed by the university to allow more time for research and reduce pressure on lecturers.

Campaigners opposed to the changes say that they would "greatly increase stress during assessment, as students would sit their entire years exam in one period" and "require students to revise for modules they had completed five months before exams."

In a video about the consultation, Bernie Morely, the vice-chancellor for learning and teaching, said: "For nearly 20 years the academic year here in Bath has been based on two semesters, each containing teaching and assessment. With very short Christmas and Easter vacations, research tends to be concentrated during the summer.

"But it could be that a term structure, based on two terms of teaching and a summer term for assessment, would bring us more advantages as we move forward."

Paul Goodstadt, the student union officer for education, said: "The fact that the petition online has elicited such a response from students has been fantastic and it will certainly be used to determine the stance of the Students’ Union as discussions continue over the coming weeks and months."

UCL issues warning after student death from meningitis

University College London has warned of the risks of meningitis after it confirmed a student had died from the disease, The London Tab reports.

An email sent to all students from the university's director of student support said a student had "sadly passed away from confirmed meningococcal disease" and listed symptoms to watch for.

The message, which said the risk from meningitis was "generally low", reportedly followed an earlier email saying "THIS DISEASE CAN KILL IN HOURS IF NOT TREATED".

The University of Kent and Public Health England meanwhile issued a warning after a student there was confirmed to have contracted meningitis, but called the risk to others "extremely low".

Cambridge drop-out figures challenged

The University of Cambridge's drop-out rates, which it claims are "among the lowest... in the country", do not include students who take time out for medical reasons but never return, according to The Cambridge Student.

Figures provided by the university to the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that 45 students dropped out in the academic year 2011-12, but a Freedom of Information request filed by the newspaper reportedly showed that 83 students took time out that year and did not return.

The university said the difference was "to be expected" because "the population reported to the HESA website differs considerably to the population of students for which we provided the FOI data". It gave the example that the HESA data does not include "dormant" students who have stopped studying but have not formally left.

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