Editor's column

University spending must be more transparent

The attacks in Paris were a terrifying reminder of the devastation which just a handful of people can cause. The world stands with Paris, whilst the country mourns for their dead, it is important that this event does not mark a shift in our behaviour around the world. We will know that we have lost this ‘war’, as described by the French President Francois Hollande, when we begin to treat our European and Western neighbours with as much suspicion as we do our ‘enemy’. It is not easy, for most of us here at UEA, to imagine the sense of shock, fear, and sadness which has engulfed a nation, however in this issue we have a gig review of Eagles of Death Metal, the group performing in the Bataclan when it was attacked, who performed in the LCR only a few days ago and we felt that it was important that we publish this review.

Our front page story covers the funding discrepancies between different faculties, which a Freedom of Information request we submitted, has revealed. The discovery that there is a clear disparity between the funding received by faculties, as well as a difference in the percentage funding which schools within those faculties, irrespective of student make up within those faculties, is concerning. The question which remains, and must be made more transparent by the university, is whether the course fees from humanities students are ‘topping up’ the budget of the Faculty of Science. Whilst it is understandable that different faculties will have very different expenditure needs, it is simply unacceptable if the students from one provide the deficit simply because their own faculty doesn’t spend as much.

Also on our front page, and in Sport, is an article which looks at a report, issued by the Union of UEA Students, which concerns the cost of the Sports Association Membership (Sam). The Union’s annoyance at the price of sport at UEA being significantly higher than that of competitor universities, is surprising given that the Union is largely responsible for setting the price of Sam. The fact that members of a sports club have no choice but to pay both for Sam and entry into British Universities and Colleges Sport (Bucs), despite whether they want to play competitively, or less formally. This is concerning, as it limits the ability for us to access different opportunities whilst at university, not just in opportunity to play the sports which we enjoy, but also the opportunity to take up positions on society and club committees which is so important for our future employment. Whilst it is important that the university enters into negotiations with the union over this again, it is crucial that the union takes a serious look at what is actually best for students.

In Comment, Ollie Watts, argues that the Snoopers Charter, which is slowly working its way through the House of Commons, is a sensible update to our surveillance in an age where the nature of security and intelligence seems to be moving further into the shadows. Whilst many argue that this bill presents a number of safeguards against ministerial oversight, it is unwise to ignore the potential implications and results of such legislation. It is not a total fantasy to foresee a situation where such data negatively impacts people’s employment prospects through an abuse of ministerial power, and we should be wary of any such possibility.

Our Global editor, Caitlin Doherty, has taken an in depth view of the financial issues women still face around the world in light of the recent decision not to overturn the ‘Tampon Tax’. Equality for Women, and all oppressed groups in society, must be the battle ground of the twenty first century. If we continue to ignore the serious barriers to women’s opportunities we not only deny them the job prospects of men, but we also will never be able to press ahead with the task of creating a society where everyone is equal.

The negative impact which gender stereotypes can have is the focus of one of our articles in Science and Environment, where Lauren Bird, explains how that it is important we highlight the successes of women who have been able to break through the glass ceiling in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (Stem) sector. This sort of inclusion allows us to conduct research which yields marvellous results such as that reported in Ellen Coquio’s article on page 18, where a small child has been cured of their leukemia through the use of a new technique involving donor white blood cells.

Opportunities to students are an important part of university life, both whilst you are conducting your studies, but also after we’ve graduated, we want to be confident that any challenges we face are ones which we can overcome ourselves.

17/11/2015

About Author

joejameson Joe is in his second year studying Politics and International Relations, and not-so-secretly wishes that he'd been around in the 1950s. When not reading the paper, with his shirt sleeves rolled up pretending to be Tintin, Joe spends his time reorganising his stationary, playing video games, drinking copious volumes of tea and immersing himself in as much science fiction as possible.



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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

If you would like to get in touch, email the Editor on Concrete.Editor@uea.ac.uk. Follow us at @ConcreteUEA.