News stack 29.02.16

Union scraps council- Southampton

Southampton University Students Union have proposed to get rid of Union Council as part of plans for a new democratic structure within the Union. In a new blog post, Kerry Sclater, Vice President Democracy and Creative Industries, said: “In my opinion, the very backbone of a Students’ Union is how it enables its students to have their say and make change, which is why its so important that we update our structures to reflect what our students want.” Instead of Union Council, which currently meets twice a semester and elected councillors vote to make changes to the Union, SUSU are proposing to improve You Make Change which Kerry hopes “will become the new cornerstone of the decision making process” and lead to “fewer bureaucratic hoops to jump through to make change happen” Any student can submit an idea to the You Make Change system and then sabbatical officers will discuss it.

Maggie statue planned- Kent

Tory students plan to erect a 250-foot (76.2 metre) iron statue of Margaret Thatcher on their university campus to encourage “good and sensible behaviour.” A petition by Kent University Conservative Association’s (KUCA) has now moved onto its second stage – collecting signatures – after the first stage was approved by Kent Union, bringing students closer to seeing the Iron Lady look down on them every day. With 12 days left, 80 students from a possible 150 have, so far, shown their support by signing. Describing how the statue would be built in the Graeco-Roman style and inspired by the Colossus of Rhodes – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – the petition reads: “[It] would be placed on a 50-foot (15 metre) high white marble pedestal in the square across from the university’s nightclub, ‘The Venue’.

Student bar renovations- King’s College London

A statement from King’s College London has revealed that Guy’s College Bar & Cafe in the Students’ Union is set to close on 19 March for renovations. The renovations form part of a larger overhaul of student spaces on Guy’s campus, with the Student Centre and activity rooms that are currently based in Boland House being relocated to the West Wing. The bar itself will remain in the same location, but with ‘a new look and feel’. “Guy’s Bar is the heart and soul of Guy’s campus, which we all have a fond love for despite all its faults, a bit like a parent’s love for their deficient child. It will be hard to get by without it, it means we must survive without cheap pitchers and stained shoes. However hopefully it will return in a better state,” said Kouros Driscoll, a 3rd year Medicine student. Several Facebook events have been created to make the most of the last few weeks of the bar being open.

Decline in applications- Exeter

Exeter University is among other Russell Group universities who have seen a drop in the number of students from poorer backgrounds, despite extensive efforts to bolster numbers. Exeter University has suffered the biggest fall, at 2.6 percentage points down compared with 2004/05. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, less financially disadvantaged students have applied to seven of the 24 universities considered the best in the country. Universities minister Jo Johnson said that these figures show a “worrying lack of progression”. Other universities, experiencing a lack of apllications, are Oxford, Cambridge, Durham and Imperial.

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