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We deplore this attack on freedom of expression in Brazil’s universities | Letters 1 Nov 2:08pm We deplore this attack on freedom of expression in Brazil’s universities | Letters
107 international academics react to social media reports that more than 20 universities in Brazil have been invaded by military police in recent days, with teaching materials confiscated on ideological groundsReports have emerged on social media that more than 20 universities in Brazil have been subjected in recent days to: invasions by military police; the confiscation of teaching materials on ideological grounds; and the suppression of freedom of speech and expression, especially in relation to anti-fascist history and activism. As academics, researchers, graduates, students and workers at universities in the UK, Europe and further afield, we deplore this attack on freedom of expression in Brazil’s universities, which comes as a direct result of the campaign and election of far-right President Bolsonaro.
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We risk losing slices of our past if we don’t root out racism in our universities | David Olusoga 21 Oct 4:00am We risk losing slices of our past if we don’t root out racism in our universities | David Olusoga
History is in crisis when black students refuse to study it and staff suffer abuse What happens when a highly respected professional body undertakes serious and rigorous research into race and racism in its industry? Then, in the light of depressing findings, the researchers call upon their profession, institutions and colleagues to confront “persistent inequalities in our habits and practices”? The dismal answer is that both the researchers and their findings are served up, by parts of the press, as disapproval fodder for the “world’s gone mad”, “had enough of experts” demographic; the hard core of the unreality-based community.
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Academics are being harassed over their research into transgender issues | Letter 16 Oct 12:38pm Academics are being harassed over their research into transgender issues | Letter
It is not transphobic to investigate this area from a range of critical perspectives, say 54 academics who are also concerned about proposed changes to the Gender Recognition ActWe represent a newly formed network of over 100 academics, most of whom are currently employed in UK universities. We are concerned, from a range of academic perspectives, about proposed governmental reforms to the Gender Recognition Act, and their interaction with the Equality Act. Our subject areas include: sociology, philosophy, law, criminology, evidence-informed policy, medicine, psychology, education, history, English, social work, computer science, cognitive science, anthropology, political science, economics, and history of art. This week, following an opportunity offered to us by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, we have submitted to the consultation a number of letters, outlining, as individuals, concerns about the introduction of self-ID for gender reassignment.
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Israel must lift its bar on US student Lara Alqasem | Letters 10 Oct 1:02pm Israel must lift its bar on US student Lara Alqasem | Letters
More than 300 academics call on the Israeli authorities to permit Lara Alqasem to enter Israel and pursue her studiesAs academics from multiple disciplines at universities across the United States and across the globe, we are dismayed at the decision of Israel’s Ministry of Interior to deny entry to American citizen Lara Alqasem (
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University education: a £10k salary boost for the price of three flat whites? | Letters 24 Sep 1:41pm University education: a £10k salary boost for the price of three flat whites? | Letters
Responses to Aditya Chakraborrtty’s article on ‘mis-sold and overhyped’ universities that are ‘just a con’Aditya Chakrabortty’s piece is absolutely right (
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Toby Young appointment adds to the pressure on universities | Letters 3 Jan 1:06pm Toby Young appointment adds to the pressure on universities | Letters
Will the Office for Students be able to deal with serious issues facing higher education, asks
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I once marched against tuition fees. Now I can see their worth | Sonia Sodha 29 Dec 2017, 4:49am I once marched against tuition fees. Now I can see their worth | Sonia Sodha
Scrapping fees does nothing to help disadvantaged young people. The money would be better spent helping all, regardless of their chosen pathThere’s plenty to make me cringe when I reminisce about my university days, and it doesn’t stop with my dodgy sense of style. If I’m honest, I feel a little shame-faced about the narrower world view I inhabited back then. One of the ways that manifested itself was the enthusiasm with which I threw myself into campaigning against tuition fees. Then, the government was proposing raising fees from £1,000 to £3,000 a year. Cue much passionate marching in student demos, earnest drafting of student union responses to government white papers, and letter-writing to MPs. The reason I got so exercised about a fee hike that might seem fairly modest in the context of the £9,000 fees most universities are charging today, was that the university I went to, Oxford, had a big access problem (and indeed still does). Young people from working-class backgrounds were, and are, seriously under-represented. As someone who’d had all the benefits of a middle-class upbringing – including parents who nurtured my aspirations every step of the way – that struck me as deeply unfair, and I got very involved with our student union’s access-widening schemes. I thought higher fees would further discourage any young people who might think university wasn’t for them.
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Universities legally bound to protect free speech | Letters 28 Dec 2017, 12:29pm Universities legally bound to protect free speech | Letters
Instead of protecting free speech, universities have negated it, says
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Fining universities for no-platforming denies the idea of academic freedom | Simon Jenkins 27 Dec 2017, 12:04pm Fining universities for no-platforming denies the idea of academic freedom | Simon Jenkins
The government says it wants to ensure free speech on campus – yet under the Prevent strategy it has its own list of banned speakersWho has the right to decide what students hear, read or see? The National Union of Students thinks it has that right. It argues that this is a free country and it can decide whom to censor. Universities minister Jo Johnson disagrees. He sees modern students as mollycoddled snowflakes who should grow up. He
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The British elite is at war with itself – on a scale we’ve never seen before | Paul Mason 18 Dec 2017, 11:41am The British elite is at war with itself – on a scale we’ve never seen before | Paul Mason
Our elites used to keep calm in a crisis. But now – with the Tories fighting to the death over Brexit and the tabloids terrified by Corbyn – they’ve lost their heads When I first started working at the BBC, in 2001, what struck me was not how most of the people in charge were from the same universities, or that it was assumed you were a ski enthusiast, or how casually people dropped the names of powerful people they knew. It was the uniformity of thinking. There were progressive people and conservative people, but they mostly subscribed to the groupthink of the elite. Surveying the levels of anger, abuse and fractiousness in the upper levels of British society today, it feels like a very different country. The
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Universities are bastions of privilege. They have to change | Simon Jenkins 14 Dec 2017, 1:00am Universities are bastions of privilege. They have to change | Simon Jenkins
The astronomical course fees for these bloated institutions are no longer defensible. Two-year degrees would be a good moveThe ice mountain is cracking. The glaciers are loosening. The greatest cultural confidence trick since the medieval monastery is dissolving. This week the universities minister, Jo Johnson, said the unsayable: the British three-year university course, virtually unchanged in 100 years, is absurd and should end. That many foreign universities are equally conservative is neither here nor there. To Johnson, the overwhelming majority of courses can be done in two years. The internet has transformed – or should have transformed – both teaching methods and student research. The astronomical
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University vice-chancellors’ salaries in the spotlight | Letters 11 Dec 2017, 2:18pm University vice-chancellors’ salaries in the spotlight | Letters
Academic staff and students past and present respond to stories on the salaries of vice-chancellors at Bath and Birmingham universities. Plus
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The Guardian view on universities and the market: winner takes all | Editorial 7 Dec 2017, 7:01pm The Guardian view on universities and the market: winner takes all | Editorial
Student fees were supposed to create competition for the best students and the best courses. Instead they’ve just inflated top pay and vanity building projectsOn average, graduates earn more than their peers who have not been to university. But it doesn’t require a maths degree to know that averages don’t tell the full story. The potential earnings of a law student at a top university are likely to far exceed those of a media studies graduate from an institution at
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University food banks are monuments to the obscene pay of vice-chancellors | Kehinde Andrews 7 Dec 2017, 8:20am University food banks are monuments to the obscene pay of vice-chancellors | Kehinde Andrews
The changes VPs have championed at so many universities have drastically increased the cost of studying, condemning many students to povertyOn the same day that news broke that staff at the University of Birmingham are
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Sneering at miners reflects a deeper malaise in our universities | Meg Kneafsey 2 Dec 2017, 7:04pm Sneering at miners reflects a deeper malaise in our universities | Meg Kneafsey
As a graduate of Durham, I know cultural elitism is rampant on campus, where largely overprivileged students face few challenges to their world viewLast week, Durham University’s Trevelyan College rugby team
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The fat cats have got their claws into our universities, and will eat them up | Aditya Chakrabortty 28 Nov 2017, 1:00am The fat cats have got their claws into our universities, and will eat them up | Aditya Chakrabortty
Academia’s unfolding tale of greed goes beyond vice-chancellors’ salaries: it’s about how the decisions about their pay are made, and by whomScandals aren’t meant to happen in British universities. Parliament, tabloid newsrooms, the City … those we expect to spew out sleaze. Not the gown-wearing, exam-sitting, quiet-in-the-library surrounds of higher education. Yet we should all be scandalised by what is happening in academia. It is a tale of vast greed and of vandalism – and it is being committed right at the top, by the very people who are meant to be custodians of these institutions. If it continues, it will wreck one of the few world-beating industries Britain has left.
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Universities now sell themselves – just like shampoo | Barbara Ellen 11 Nov 2017, 7:05pm Universities now sell themselves – just like shampoo | Barbara Ellen
Now that education is a commodity, colleges are bound to exaggerate their standingWhen something is turned into a commodity, should anyone be surprised when it starts to behave like one, even to the point of exaggeration in its marketing? Some British universities, to be named by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in a clampdown this week, have been found to be in breach of advertising codes by
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Leftie? Yes, and proud to be among those upholding Enlightenment values | Will Hutton 28 Oct 2017, 7:05pm Leftie? Yes, and proud to be among those upholding Enlightenment values | Will Hutton
The Mail’s attack on universities is typical of a campaign denigrating those who dare to question BrexitAcademic freedom is the soil in which knowledge flourishes. The freedom to research, to follow where evidence leads, to argue, to be challenged, to exchange ideas freely and to disseminate the results lie at the heart of academic life. Immanuel Kant captured the spirit that animates universities when he said that knowledge was a process in which human beings dared to know. The great advances in science and medicine over the past 250 years, along with the breakthrough understandings offered by social sciences and the humanities, would have been impossible without this Enlightenment mindset. It is these freedoms, entrenched because of universities’ constitutional autonomy, that have allowed our civilisation to achieve what it has.
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Bring on Oxbridge quotas – and break the middle-class lock on privilege | Sonia Sodha 25 Oct 2017, 1:00am Bring on Oxbridge quotas – and break the middle-class lock on privilege | Sonia Sodha
Britain’s elite universities have tried and failed to address concerns about diversity among their students. It’s time for drastic action to force their hands Kudos to Norwegian football. The Norwegian FA has announced that its
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The Guardian view on universities and Brexit: culture wars | Editorial 24 Oct 2017, 1:57pm The Guardian view on universities and Brexit: culture wars | Editorial
Chris Heaton-Harris’s demand to know who was teaching what on the EU ratchets up the gap in the post-referendum tribal divideThe peremptory demand to universities for the details of Brexit lecturers and the content of their courses from Chris Heaton-Harris, a government whip –
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Brexit ‘McCarthyism’ is unacceptable to universities. Free speech must flourish | Janet Beer 24 Oct 2017, 11:39am Brexit ‘McCarthyism’ is unacceptable to universities. Free speech must flourish | Janet Beer
The Tory whip’s letter raises profound worries about academic freedom. We will go on promoting debates with diverse views on Brexit, as with all other subjects
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If millennials are wary of free speech, who can blame them? | Gaby Hinsliff 20 Oct 2017, 1:00am If millennials are wary of free speech, who can blame them? | Gaby Hinsliff
Banning ‘no platform’ policies on campus would not be so easy. The web generation has witnessed the hijacking of decent debatePeople who like banning things, should be banned from doing so. Discuss. And no, it’s not an A-level philosophy question. It is the essence of the argument the higher education minister Jo Johnson started this week, when he announced that universities who don’t protect freedom of speech on campus
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Defying Betsy DeVos 9 Oct 2017, 7:07am Updated Defying Betsy DeVos
Universities refuse to reform their policies on sexual assault.
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Value your health: head for the inner city, and swerve the ‘burbs | Deborah Orr 7 Oct 2017, 2:00am Value your health: head for the inner city, and swerve the ‘burbs | Deborah Orr
We love to walk, especially on demonstrations. All that protesting keeps us city dwellers fit and well when we venture out of our high-density housingThere’s something wonderful about research that puts a whoopee cushion on the seat of conventional wisdom. This week a study by the universities of Oxford and Hong Kong suggested that
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Working class and BAME? Here’s how not to feel like an imposter at uni | Poppy Noor 11 Sep 2017, 9:56am Working class and BAME? Here’s how not to feel like an imposter at uni | Poppy Noor
Universities are still overwhelmingly white and middle-class and adjusting can be tricky. Here are some tips to help you throughWith
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Why shouldn’t we shine a light on fat-cat bosses in our universities? | Sonia Sodha 6 Sep 2017, 1:00am Why shouldn’t we shine a light on fat-cat bosses in our universities? | Sonia Sodha
After the row over vice-chancellors’ pay, and with students paying £9,000 tuition fees, universities must be far more transparent about their financesAccording to
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Universities are broke. So let’s cut the pointless admin and get back to teaching | André Spicer 21 Aug 2017, 3:00am Universities are broke. So let’s cut the pointless admin and get back to teaching | André Spicer
The meaningless tasks and faux-business strategies prioritised by British universities have skewed their real role
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How to turn Britain’s universities into comprehensives | Sonia Sodha 17 Aug 2017, 1:39pm How to turn Britain’s universities into comprehensives | Sonia Sodha
A more localised system with less academic selection might be better and cheaperIs it worth it? That’s the question many young people starting university this autumn have to grapple with in a way previous generations haven’t. Young people now graduate with an
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I went to Oxford. As a black female student, I found it alienating and elitist | Afua Hirsch 15 Aug 2017, 11:10am I went to Oxford. As a black female student, I found it alienating and elitist | Afua Hirsch
The experiences of minority students reflect new research showing the UK’s top universities need to tackle the social segregation they reflect and help to causeI got asked a lot of annoying questions when I was a student. Some were about my hair texture (afro, kinky), libido (presumed to be supernatural) and expected ability to dance (think Beyoncé). Over time, researching the experiences of other students at Oxford, where I studied, I’ve found these interactions to be a common consequence of being black and female in an environment that is populated not just by white students but also by many who have never met a black person in the flesh before.
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Universities stop spying on their students? Now that’s a radical idea | Giles Fraser | Loose canon 3 Aug 2017, 10:48am Universities stop spying on their students? Now that’s a radical idea | Giles Fraser | Loose canon
Talking radical nonsense – and generally learning in the end that it is radical nonsense – is partly what higher education is for. Snooping on Muslims isn’tIn his biography of Tony Blair, John Rentoul tells the story of a young Blair being summoned to the dean of his college in Oxford to explain the presence of a lipstick that a cleaner had found in his room. “Oh, that’s mine,” said Blair, dismissing what the cleaner had taken to be evidence of female guests. Whether or not Blair was telling the truth about the lipstick Rentoul does not say. But what this story does illustrate is the sort of thing nosey college cleaners were encouraged to look out for back in the 70s. They were interested in his sex life, not his politics. London South Bank University (LSBU), on the edge of my parish at the Elephant and Castle, has
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The Observer view on persisting pay inequality | Observer editorial 15 Jul 2017, 7:05pm The Observer view on persisting pay inequality | Observer editorial
It’s too simple to blame market forces for the yawning discrepancies Who’s worth more? The radio presenter who grills evasive politicians on behalf of the nation every morning? The carer who drops in on your elderly parent three times a day? The footballer whose skills you admire so much? The head of one of our most prestigious universities? Or the cleaner who freshens up your hotel room? The simplest way to answer this question lies in how much they get paid. Footballers top the league: Lionel Messi has just become the world’s first footballer
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After leaving care, I went to Cambridge University. I know it’s got access problems | Vashti Ronda 12 Jul 2017, 6:50am After leaving care, I went to Cambridge University. I know it’s got access problems | Vashti Ronda
The barriers I faced when applying to universities weren’t just the obvious economic ones – they were cultural and psychological, too
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The Guardian view on higher education: trouble ahead | Editorial 29 May 2017, 1:24pm The Guardian view on higher education: trouble ahead | Editorial
First the universities were treated as businesses. Then they were told to fight for export customers. But now Brexit threatens to cut their student numbers disastrouslyUniversities have been so transformed by 30 years of reform that the language around higher education can appear emptied of its traditional meaning. The
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15 May 2017, 3:21am Campus Life: Locked, Loaded and Loopy
More states are allowing firearms at public universities on the bizarre premise that guns will fend off the epidemic of gun violence....
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Students pay high fees and deserve value for money. This bill won’t help | Jim Dickinson 10 Apr 2017, 5:09am Students pay high fees and deserve value for money. This bill won’t help | Jim Dickinson
Student approval ratings are abysmal, but the higher education bill offers no hope that universities’ performances will be properly regulated
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4 Apr 2017, 2:00am Treating overseas students as migrants is not just wrong, it defies common sense | Chris Patten
For the good of our universities, and of Britain’s soft power, the government must end this unfair categorisation I have always preferred policy to be based on facts rather than prejudice. A good example of the latter is the way the immigration figures are presented. At the moment our policy is not, alas, founded on evidence.
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Universities’ drive to tackle sex harassment | Letters 7 Mar 2017, 1:43pm Universities’ drive to tackle sex harassment | Letters
Your article is right to identify the need to do more to tackle sexual harassment and violence in our society (
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When will universities wake up to this epidemic of sexual harassment? | Eve Livingston 7 Mar 2017, 8:58am When will universities wake up to this epidemic of sexual harassment? | Eve Livingston
It’s shameful that coded glances and quiet words are still a female student’s best defence against predatory staffOn my first day as a student union vice-president, amid a flurry of introductory meetings, briefings and bits of paper, I was given the names. There was a tour of the office space, a demonstration of the annual leave booking system, and stuck somewhere in between a list of staff at the university with a reputation for inappropriate behaviour who I should avoid where possible. One, I was told, had invited two female officers to the pub under the guise of building a good working relationship. It was a bonding exercise that had ended with him following one of them home. It was recommended I didn’t attend his committee or accept the invitation for introductory drinks that would (and did) arrive on my desk within the first month of my term. Now, how to work the photocopier.
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Opening the door on sexual harassment | Letters 6 Mar 2017, 1:48pm Opening the door on sexual harassment | Letters
March for the NHS | Harassment in universities | National Geographic | John Lewis bonuses | Joseph Knight | Cakes of the pastUp to 250,000 people marched on Saturday to show support for the NHS and focus on its underfunding in the run-up to the budget. It would help the cause for the Guardian to have reported it in Monday’s paper. May I inform your readers that photos and stories are on websites such as
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The Guardian view on sexual harassment in universities: taking it seriously | Editorial 6 Mar 2017, 11:59am The Guardian view on sexual harassment in universities: taking it seriously | Editorial
The evidence of staff abusing their position shows that paper policies are not enough. It’s time to enforce them
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Letters: hardly ‘arrogant’ – universities have been changing for years 4 Mar 2017, 7:08pm Letters: hardly ‘arrogant’ – universities have been changing for years
This was an unworthy attack on our seats of higher educationAs staff from universities throughout the UK, we read Sonia Sodha’s criticism of universities (“
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Universities and the lessons of the market | Letter 13 Feb 2017, 2:31pm Universities and the lessons of the market | Letter
Anna Fazackerley’s article (
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Why we should think critically about positive psychology in our universities | Carl Cederström 7 Feb 2017, 10:44am Why we should think critically about positive psychology in our universities | Carl Cederström
Buckingham University is to beome a ‘positive’ institution. Yet the wholesale importing of Martin Seligman’s philosophy risks fostering a culture of compulsory happinessProfessor
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The Guardian view on social mobility: the class ceiling | Editorial 25 Jan 2017, 7:01pm The Guardian view on social mobility: the class ceiling | Editorial
British politicians haven’t paid much attention to the effect of social background. It’s time to wake up Most people would like to live in a society that is fair, where merit is rewarded and every child in every part of the country has a similar chance of health and happiness. Most of us recognise that however much successive governments declare their intention of working towards this ambition, the goal gets no nearer. Austerity has fallen unequally. The number of children in poverty, which fell by a third in the decade after 2000, is now expected to be back above 3 million by 2020. A new report from Professor Neena Modi, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, shows poverty and inequality wrecking health. New analysis of university entrants suggests that black and minority ethnic applicants still struggle to get into Russell Group universities. And Alan Milburn’s social mobility commission has done groundbreaking research showing that working-class kids who leap all the barriers and make it in to the top professions still don’t get on as fast or earn as much as their more privileged peers. It adds up to a world in which disadvantage is becoming entrenched. Since 2010, policymakers have been thinking less about poverty than about social mobility. Others see life chances, the possibilities open to every citizen from cradle to grave, as the best way of measuring progress. These distinctions of terminology matter: they shape the way we think about the answers. But none of them seems quite complete on its own. There is a clear link between low-income families and the appeal of cheap, filling food that tends to lead obesity and the kind of outcomes Professor Modi describes, where Britain’s level of infant and child mortality is among the worst in western Europe. But it doesn’t account for the level of smoking in pregnancy – three times higher in Northern Ireland than in Lithuania, where the per capita income is only a fraction of the UK’s, or why babies in Norway are twice as likely to be breastfed as they are in Britain.
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From universities to schools, the system is in a state of crisis | the big issue 7 Jan 2017, 7:05pm From universities to schools, the system is in a state of crisis | the big issue
Ministerial meddling and staffing shortfalls mean trouble aheadThe comments by the Department for Education that you quote in your front page story are somewhat selective in their interpretation of the higher education and research bill (“
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Gagging clauses should have no place in British universities | Letters 4 Jan 2017, 2:12pm Gagging clauses should have no place in British universities | Letters
As former lecturers at London Metropolitan University, and the former negotiators for the University and College Union there, we are not remotely surprised to see that our old institution makes greater use of compromise agreements in order, we feel, to gag former staff than any other university (
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Universities are using casual contracts to put profit before people | Kehinde Andrews 17 Nov 2016, 10:17am Universities are using casual contracts to put profit before people | Kehinde Andrews
There is a place for casualised work in academia but it is becoming so widespread that talent is being driven away, and both staff and students sufferIn 2009-10, during the final year of my PhD at the University of Birmingham, a decision was made on high to close one of the flagship departments of British sociology. The rationale was that they could offer a degree in the subject without the expense of a large team of
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28 Oct 2016, 3:40pm On Campus: Why Halloween at College Is So Frightening
Costume crackdowns at universities reveal an absence of moral guidance from administrators who should be mentoring students.
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24 Oct 2016, 11:36am I compared universities to slave plantations to disturb, not discourage | Kehinde Andrews
Of course universities are racist – they’re part of a regressive system. We have to recognise the role they play in our society if we are to challenge it“Universities like ‘slave plantations’” was the headline
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14 Oct 2016, 6:30am I recreated my rape scene to show why sexual consent lessons are crucial | Alice Irving
Reports of rape are soaring, yet misconceptions of what constitutes rape persist. Universities must be clear that sexual violence in any form will not be toleratedFor university students around the country, freshers’ week has just come to a close. Traditionally associated with frenzied socialising and drinking, in recent years it has become notable for another fixture: sexual consent workshops. And this new term saw yet another protest led by a male student
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9 Oct 2016, 2:52pm Theresa May’s rejection of Enlightenment values | Letters
Following the referendum result, leave campaigners gave assurances that a post-Brexit Britain would remain “open to the world”. Instead, we have witnessed increasing signs over the last few days of a Powellite drift towards insular nationalism, with UK universities as easy targets. We have seen proposals for restrictions on the number of overseas students and for organisations to be forced to reveal the proportion of their workforce which is “foreign”. And most recently (
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7 Oct 2016, 1:53pm The Guardian view on student sexual harassment: stamp it out | Editorial
The Guardian has uncovered widespread sexual harassment and violence at universities. The universities must lead a change in the cultureA permissive culture at Britain’s universities is flourishing because the institutions fail to challenge it. As we report on Saturday,
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5 Oct 2016, 2:31pm Amber Rudd’s crackdown on foreign students will harm UK’s great universities | Letters
“And foreign students, even those studying English language degrees, don’t even have to be proficient in speaking English” (
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29 Sep 2016, 2:00pm The higher education bill will harm universities | Letters
You are correct to call on the government to pause its “misconceived higher education bill” (
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22 Sep 2016, 2:53pm The Guardian view on universities: facing a double whammy | Editorial
Brexit risks falling student numbers and vanishing research grants. Now a misconceived higher education bill could be the last strawBritain’s higher education sector has probably never been held in such high international esteem.
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20 Sep 2016, 2:12pm Universities should be safe places – give offence somewhere else | Letters
In this age of untrammelled internet abuse, it is touching to hear of an environment in which people worry unduly about giving offence to others (
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