Join The Oxford Student for Trinity ’14
We’re looking for enthusiastic writers, photographers, cartoonists, filmmakers and editors to join the paper in Trinity Term 2014. As the largest student publication in Oxford, The OxStu‘s print edition reaches over 15,000 readers every week and we’re always on the lookout for fresh talent.
Working for The OxStu is a fantastic way to gain experience in journalism, and even work with national newspapers. If you’re still not convinced, here’s just a few things that our journalists got up to last year:
- Sold more stories to the national press than any other student publication in Oxford.
- Interviewed Hamid Karzai, Jesse Jackson, FW de Klerk, David Keene, John McCain and even the Dalai Lama.
- Bagged internships at The Times, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Independent, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and the BBC.
- Attended press previews of the latest cinema and theatre releases.
- Reported on exclusive speaker events such as visits by Michelle Obama and Aung San Suu Kyi.
Join the fun and watch your work go out to thousands of Oxford readers. No experience is required.
We are recruiting for all sections: News, Comment, Features, Music, Drama, Film, Science & Technology (including gaming), Arts & Literature, Fashion, Sport, Photography & Digital Content.
We are currently hiring editorial staff, news reporters, staff writers, sub-editors, photographers, filmakers and cartoonists. Positions are held for one term, at the end of which candidates must re-apply either for their role or another. If a candidate is unsuccessful in attaining the position they apply for, they will be able to discuss alternative options with the current editors.
Applications are now open and will close at midnight on Sunday 9th March. To apply send a CV and 300 words detailing your ideas for the website to email@example.com.
Overall responsibility for our digital content: managing the website, social media and driving our online presence forward. Some technical knowledge, editorial skills and familiarity with Wordpress required, but no programming ability necessary. Enthusiasm and new ideas welcome.
Redesigning and overseeing the new website. High level of technical ability including Wordpress a must.
Responsible for all multimedia: managing our relationship with the Preview Show to create and source video content, podcasts and playlists.
Section editors are in charge of organising content and administrating design of one of the newspaper’s sections: News, Comment, Features, Fashion, Screen, Stage, Music, Arts & Literature, Science & Technology and Sport. This role is likely to take up around 15 hours a week. Applicants should have some experience of journalism. Applications are now open and will close at midnight on Sunday 9th March. To apply send a CV and 500 words detailing the strengths and weaknesses of the section you wish to edit to firstname.lastname@example.org
Deputy Section Editors
Deputy section editors act as both senior writers in their respective sections and general assistants to their section editors. The role also hold the additional responsibility of managing the uploading of online content for their section. This role is likely to take up around 10 hours a week. Some previous experience of journalism is preferable. Applications are open and will close at midnight on Sunday 9th March. To apply send a CV and a 300 word cover letter detailing the strengths and weaknesses of the section you wish to deputy edit to email@example.com
The photo editor is responsible for coordinating all photography for the newspaper. Applicants must be prepared to be on call throughout the week to delegate tasks to members of the photography team. Applicants must have their own cameras and previous experience in photography. This role is likely to take up around 5 hours a week. Applications are open and will close at midnight on Sunday 9th March To apply send examples of your work, a CV and a 500 word cover letter summarising the strengths and weaknesses of the Newspaper’s photography to firstname.lastname@example.org
In charge of scheduling, coordination and quality control in the sub-editing department (see below). Applicants should have previous experience of sub-editing of some description. This role is likely to take up around 6-8 hours a week. Applicants should submit a CV and a 500 word cover letter detailing why they feel they are qualified for the role. Applications must be sent to email@example.com by midnight on Sunday 9th March.
Sub-editors moderate the style and coherence of copy from across the paper as well as catching spelling and grammatical mistakes. Applicants should submit a CV and a 300 word cover letter detailing why they feel they are qualified for the role. This role is likely to take up around 3-5 hours a week. Applications must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight on Sunday 9th March. No previous experience is required.
(see below for details of how to apply for these positions)
All applications for staff positions must be submitted by midnight on Sunday 9th March.
This role is perfect if writing is what you’re interested in, or if you want to test the waters and have a flexible commitment before making a bigger time committment. You can conduct interviews and write on topics of your choice – or meet commissions from our section editors. If you want to be a food columnist, theatre reviewer, sports reporter or anything else beside, this is a great way to increase (or begin) your portfolio of published articles.
As part of our news team, you’ll gain two immensely valuable skills: how to find out what is happening around you and how to explain it as simply and as clearly as possible. Apply if you have a passion for journalism and want to work with other people who do too.
As a member of our multimedia team, you will be involved in creating the videos, podcasts and other media that are bringing The Oxford Student into the digital age. For this role it would be preferable if you have previous experience, or even your own video equipment. However, anyone is welcome to apply if they are enthusiastic about expanding the newspaper’s multimedia content.
We use hundreds of original photos over a single term. If you have experience in photography and are interested in expanding your portfolio as well as circulating your photographs to a weekly readership of thousands apply now! Due to funding restrictions you will be required to provide your own equipment.
We’re constantly on the look out for people with artistic flair and a wry sense of humour to provide satirical and political cartoons for our publication.
HOW TO APPLY (for Staff Positions)
Simply download and complete the relevant form, and email it to email@example.com with ‘[Section] [Position] Application’ as the subject header (e.g. ‘Comment staff writer application’).
All applications must be submitted by midnight on Sunday 9th March.
For Staff Writer or News Reporter positions: Download (Microsoft Word 97-2003 Document)
For Photography/videography positions: Download (Microsoft Word 97-2003 Document)
For Illustrator positions: Download (Microsoft Word 97-2003 Document)
Good luck, and thanks for your interest. We look forward to hearing from you!
The Oxford Student
Mayank Banerjee has been elected President of the Oxford Union in a record-turnout election.
Banerjee, a second year at St John’s, defeated Trinitarian Crawford Jamieson by 273 votes.
The contest was the first opposed presidential election in over a year.
Also elected was Lisa Wehden, Worcester, who defeated Rupert Cunningham, Christ Church, 823 to 349 for Secretary of the society.
Mehrunissa Sajjad, Merton, and Roberto Weeden-Sanz, St Benet’s Hall, were elected unopposed to the positions of Librarian and Treasurer respectively.
Banerjee’s victory with 821 votes to Jamieson’s 548 was announced at just after six this morning.
Last night an email was sent to over a thousand people in support of of Jamieson approximately half an hour before polls closed at 8.30pm last night.
The identity of the sender of the email remains unconfirmed. Canvassing via email is outlawed under the stringent Union electoral rules.
Banerjee, who is currently Treasurer, will be President in Michaelmas term next year, pending any election tribunals that may be submitted before the deadline on Sunday.
A significant proportion of students who have suspended their studies for mental health reasons have expressed their dissatisfaction at the level of support provided by their colleges during their period of suspension.
In an investigation conducted by The Oxford Student, 72 percent of students indicated that they felt that they were not provided with sufficient levels of support during their period away from college. This contrasts with the average satisfaction levels of students with regards to the support provided by colleges during the process as a whole, taking into account their actions before, during and after periods of suspension when applicable, which gave a more sympathetic view towards college pastoral care.
21 students who have suspended their studies for mental health reasons responded to the survey. The Oxford Student was unable to calculate the precise sample size that this represents as, due to the decentralized nature of the process, there are no figures for the number of students who have suspended their studies for mental reasons currently at the University. The Oxford Student does know, however, that roughly 200 students per year suspend for both physical and mental health reasons.
Students were given the opportunity to indicate their levels of overall satisfaction with the standard of care provided by their colleges on a numerical scale, 1 being satisfied and 5 being dissatisfied. The average rating was 2.9. The responses to the survey are not, however, indicative of a homogenous experience, but rather highlight the wide disparities in student satisfaction.
The dissatisfaction with college support during the suspended period seems to stem from a lack of contact with the college during this time, leading to feelings of isolation amongst some students. One respondent stated, “I had almost no contact with college during my suspension, and I ended up feeling quite isolated from it. This made me very nervous about coming back.”
Another stated that “I had no contact with college, or my subject tutors, until I had to email my requirements to them, from which point onwards all contact has been largely negative.”
91 percent of respondents stated that no one was appointed to support them during their suspension, whilst 48 percent said that they received little or no form of support whatsoever.
A smaller proportion of students singled out difficulty in accessing college facilities as a reason for their dissatisfaction. 10 percent of respondents mentioned the exact word “unwelcome” in describing how they felt when returning to college during their period of suspension, however the survey reveals the striking differences in access to college facilities during the suspension period.
The survey also reveals the contrasting experiences of students both before their suspension period and upon their return to college.
25 percent of students said that their college was “fairly unsupportive” in re-integrating them upon their return to Oxford, whilst 38 percent described college as “unsupportive”.
A common theme in the responses describes the belief that colleges mistakenly assume that the returning student has completely recovered, sometimes leading to a lack of proactivity in re-integrating the student into their college environment. One student commented that “I think it would have been helpful to have more acknowledgement that I wasn’t completely fine, and that reintegrating was going to be really difficult. To some extent, I felt I had to put on a show of being completely recovered and immediately settled in order to justify my return; medically-proven recovery was, after all, in the conditions of my return.”
The fact that students are often required to be signed off by their doctors to prove that they are “medically fit to study” was picked up on by another respondent who argued that this “was unreasonable given that my diagnosis is chronic.”
43 percent of students said that they didn’t think that their college adequately understood the ongoing nature of their condition; with one commenting “I think that college could do with more education into the severity of depression and eating disorders.”
Some were sympathetic to the difficulties that colleges face in dealing with such a complex issue, with one respondent stating, “The diagnosis/diagnoses have morphed/multiplied almost constantly since sixth form, so I don’t think anyone can be criticised for not understanding what was actually going on.”
Once again, levels of satisfaction to colleges’ handling of students prior to their suspension was mixed, with some students offering high praise for their college whilst others were evidently deeply unhappy.
Some were keen to appreciate the efforts of college in offering them alternative arrangements to help them cope with their condition. “They put a lot of thought and effort into supporting me, including allowing me to rearrange courses and tutorials as I swapped between medications and tried to maintain a stable working environment. They did their best to work alongside my psyche team at the time and were looking for additional ways to provide support,” said one of the respondents.
Despite a healthy amount of positive feedback, there were still a number of students who were less than pleased with their colleges’ provision of care prior to their suspension. Respondents often cited the fact that colleges fail to initiate discussions even when they are aware that the student is having difficulties as an area that could potentially be improved. One commented, “they worked very much on the basis of me having to approach them. It is often very difficult when suffering mental health issues to reach out for help, and given that College were already aware of my mental health diagnosis, it would have been helpful for them to be more proactive rather than reactive.”
Confidentiality was also often mentioned as an issue, with one respondent stating, “My family were informed of events that I had explicitly requested be kept private. This was done with the very best of intentions, but nonetheless difficult.”
Others voiced their dissatisfaction more strongly. “They had no respect for me as a person at all,” explained one student. “They also played a part in making sure the entire college knew by telling my friends lots of stuff that I didn’t necessarily want them to know – the College head had meetings with them all about me without telling me – and the only reason I found out is because one of my friends told me.”
In response to the findings of the investigation, a University spokesperson stated that mental health care is a priority for the University: “We aim to provide, at both college and University level, some of the most comprehensive support systems of any university.
“Students with diagnosed and enduring mental illnesses can access study support from a team of specialist mentors – all of whom are qualified psychologists, psychotherapists, or counsellors – through the Disability Advisory Service.
“We look regularly at our welfare procedures and systems to see how they could be improved and we welcome all student feedback on their experiences, particularly when they have faced health challenges.
“On the specific question of informing families, students are adults and we have a duty to respect their right to confidentiality. University guidelines clearly state that we would only contact a student’s family, without a student’s permission, when that student had been assessed by a medical professional as lacking the capacity to make the decision for him or herself.”
What is most evident from the responses to the survey is the extreme differences in student experience and satisfaction across the University. Charlotte Hendy, OUSU Vice-President for Welfare, stressed the discrepancies apparent in the standard of care provided by different colleges. “This survey highlights the disparity between colleges when it comes to the facilities, services and support offered to students who suspend for non-disciplinary reasons. OUSU is currently working on this as a priority.
“On Tuesday, Rachel and I held a successful information and equipping evening for over 60 students who wish to begin conversations around this topic within their college. We are also currently talking to relevant staff from across the collegiate University to begin a dialogue around this issue, and to highlight areas where provision can be improved.”
The wide range of personal experiences and differing levels of support provided by colleges was an issue also recognised by the respondents themselves. One respondent was appreciative of their own experience but admitted that others may not have been quite so fortunate: “Overall my experience of college support during my rustication has been incredibly positive, and though I understand that some other students at my college have not had quite as much support as I have.”
Oxford University students have published an open letter to senior University figures criticising their response to harassment allegations surrounding the death of student Charlotte Coursier.
Coursier, a postgraduate philosophy student at Teddy Hall, tragically committed suicide in June last year after a split with her boyfriend. The subsequent inquest also heard claims of her ongoing harassment from philosophy tutor Dr Jeffrey Ketland.
The 135 students who signed the letter attacked the way that the university dealt with the issue. The letter criticises the University for allowing Dr Ketland to remain in employment whilst the investigation of the allegations Coursier made in May 2013 was taking place. Dr Ketland is still employed by the university.
They pointed out that the alleged harasser had had “institutionally mediated contact with students since the university began its review.”
Dr Ketland has been teaching as a philosophy tutor at Pembroke College during this academic year.
It was also highlighted that the university had failed to provide adequate information to students who worked in Dr Ketland’s department. Graduate students in Philosophy, many of whom largely led the campaign for the open letter, were concerned that “the lack of comment [from the University] created a difficult atmosphere in the Philosophy Faculty.”
The letter also raised the concern that “some students now fear that harassment
charges are not taken seriously”.
Luke Brunning, a DPhil candidate in Philosophy, said that “many students felt unsafe to be around [Dr Ketland]”.
“The Department of Philosophy has held a meeting with graduate students to inform of the outcome of the inquest into Charlotte’s death and to discuss any questions arising.”
However students spearheading the campaign, Jacob Williamson and Rachel Fraser, said: “The University’s statement is potentially misleading. The meeting referred to did take place, but students were given no details not already in the public domain concerning any review or investigation undertaken by the University. Details of the coroner’s inquest were given to students during the meeting. The results of the coroner’s inquest were, at the time of the meeting, a matter of public record. No one representing the Department or University attended the inquest. All questions concerning particular cases were met with an insistence that no comment could be made.”
The letter also raised the concern that “some students now fear that harassment charges are not taken seriously”.
Luke Brunning, a DPhil candidate in Philosophy, said that “many students felt unsafe to be around [Dr Ketland]”.
Many students and faculty members were not fully, if at all, informed about the events. Some learnt of the situation from colleagues abroad, whilst others only discovered the truth when it was published in the Daily Mail.
“Something has gone seriously wrong when members of a University faculty are not aware when one of their graduate students commits suicide after reporting one of their colleagues for harassment,” said Brunning.
Jacob Williamson, who led the process behind the letter said that the written protest “began with an informal meeting of students in the Philosophy Faculty last Thursday evening. I guided a discussion and the desire to form a letter was clearly widespread.”
He said that the students had felt “obliged to act because of the lack of openness about this case and because we feel the University has not fulfilled its duty of care.”
The undersigned urged “the swift adoption of a suspension policy” in future cases of harassment reviews.
Sarah Pine, OUSU VP for Women, was a signatory of the letter. She said that “all students should have the right to live free from fear of abuse and sexual violence. Regardless of whether or not Ketland was guilty of anything, the University should have taken greater measures to protect students whilst they were investigating.”
Pine added that “the University has many options available for them to improve their current system”. She suggested that they could strengthen harassment policies to allow for anonymous complaints, train tutors to recognise behaviours that are abuses of power, train harassment advisors comprehensively, and prompt the counselling service to provide group sessions on relationship abuse.
She also called on students to “engage with groups like WomCam and It Happens Here who can highlight what constitutes abusive behaviour.”
The letter predominately was signed by graduate philosophy students, but included members of the OUSU Women’s Campaign, It Happens Here, and alumni of the University.
It was first published on the Feminist Philosopher’s blog on Wednesday morning.
“A University review concluded in October. Its purpose was to inform senior members of the University of the circumstances of Charlotte’s death and to advise on any future steps. The findings of the review remain confidential but University is continuing to consider the most appropriate action as a consequence.”
A 66 per cent increase in funding has been allocated to OUSU by the University, prompting celebration from sabbatical officers.
£200,000 will be awarded immediately for the financial year 2014 –15. It will also receive a further £15,000 for the financial year 2015-16, and a final £50,000 for the year after.
President Tom Rutland said that he is “delighted to have successfully negotiated a massive increase in OUSU’s funding”.
“When I ran for OUSU President, I spoke about how years of underfunding for OUSU prevented it from being the Student Union that Oxford students deserved.”
He added: “This much needed funding uplift will propel OUSU on its journey from being a surviving student union to a thriving one.”
However, some student voices have been heard to speculate as to the timing of the inflated budget. Tom Ough, a third-year English student at St. John’s, commented: “I’m putting this down to Trup-gate. It’s quite clear that the university doesn’t want a repeat of an election which was a national laughing-stock, and this is a way of ensuring that students have more respect for OUSU, which has been chronically underfunded even in comparison to other collegiate universities’ student unions.
“But the funding increase is a credit to the negotiation skills of Tom Rutland and co., because the Trup debacle could easily have led the University to reduce its support for OUSU rather than give it a much-needed shot in the arm,” he added.
Some of this money will be used to hire a new Student Advice Service manager, who will allow the union to support more students who feel they have been mistreated or discriminated against.
OUSU will also be funding increased student representation across departments. Rachel Pickering, Vice President for Access and Academic Affairs, claimed that “student representatives are often less visible [than their college-based counterparts], and can lack the support they need to fulfill their representational roles”.
“The increase in funding will allow us to hire a full time Academic Representation Officer, whose job will be to coordinate and support divisional and departmental reps, and train them within their roles,” she said.
Alasdair Lennon, St John’s JCR President, commented: “The OUSU funding increase should be welcome news for everyone. However, due to Oxford’s nature as a federal university people will ask why isn’t this funding going to common rooms? The simple answer is that OUSU does things that common rooms cannot. OUSU’s centralised service offers: a free impartial and confidential advice service, assistance with troublesome landlords, coordination and execution of major campaigns, the support that student societies need, and the opinions of the entire student body. I also know that OUSU offer fantastic support and training to MCR and JCR presidents without which we would struggle in our roles. OUSU have an image problem not a relevancy problem, the increased funding is necessary and required.”
One Lincolnite, who did not wish to be named, hailed the new funds as an exciting prospect: “This is great news for students, and hopefully means that OUSU can do more for Oxford students. It is important that the University has increased its pitifully small block grant to demonstrate its commitment to the interests of students. Now, we need to make sure that OUSU spends this money wisely to meaningfully support the student body.”
The increased grant will also be used to improve communications with the student body by hiring a new Digital Communications Officer in Trinity Term and integrating Single Sign-On into its website.
Over the past few years OUSU has secured students the ability to re-sit Prelims and access the Rad Cam on a Sunday, as well as running the Living Wage Campaign across colleges. This year it also ensured that students who suspend their studies have the right to access University facilities.
Rutland suggested that in the past OUSU “has not been properly able to communicate these wins, as well as the services it offers to students like the Student Advice Service”.
The rest of the grant will go towards developing a digital Alternative Prospectus and permanently funding the OUSU Community Wardens Scheme. It also plans to investigate whether they could provide increased support for student non-sport clubs and societies.
Pickering reiterated her hopes that the increased funding will enable students to be “more aware of what OUSU does and how they can get involved.”
Keble’s O’Reilly Theatre played host to Oxford’s most talented last week with the final of Oxford’s Got Talent.
The winning act – Illias, David and Tom, a jazz trio from Balliol – came first. Illias said: “I think our initial bemusement at winning the Balliol competition was only compounded when we won the Oxford competition.”
“We had never performed together before but knew each other from various things. The whole process was great fun and who knows, we might even start playing together regularly!” he said.
Ella Bucknall, who organised the show, said it “was a huge success with lots of money raised for our charities and some amazing performances.”
The money raised will go towards RAG’s newly decided charities. The judges were current OUSU President Tom Rutland and his successor Louis Trup, as well as Cherwell editor April Peake.
Audience members also watched a performance from all-female a cappella group the Oxford Belles.
The final show saw a variety of performances, including singers, guitarists, drummers, a mandolinist and a contortionist, who provided especial amusement.
Bucknall said the contortionist, Tyler Jacobson, was “one of my favourite acts”.
“He was bending his body in ways which seemingly defied all laws of nature, and I was viewing the show from backstage so could watch both him and the audience as they squirmed in their seats.”
The first prize is two tickets to Lincoln Ball, a move which proved complicated when three winners went up to receive them. However, Bucknall said: “Despite the winning jazz trio having to wrestle for the two Lincoln ball tickets on the announcement of their triumph, they were reassured that the third ticket would only be a small amount each if they split the cost.”
“Overall, it was a great night.”
University College has revealed that there were five instances of sex-related harassment in the last academic year. Of these allegations, three were made against staff, whilst two were made against students. One staff member left the College’s employment as a result of the complaint.
Whilst the majority of allegations were made by students, one was submitted by a staff member.The report, released on the 14th of October last year by the Pro-Dean for Welfare Dr Andrew Gregory, detailed that not one of the complaints were brought to any of the College’s four harassment advisers. Just three out of the five cases were resolved.
No other colleges who submitted responses to Freedom of Information requests made by the Oxford Student reported bullying and harassment figures as high as Univ.
The Master of the College, Sir Ivor Crewe, stated “The College is committed to its equality duty and takes any complaint of harassment by a member of the college, students and staff alike, very seriously.”
He added that “Univ has put in place specific training on harassment and briefing that has raised awareness in the College of issues about equality at the workplace. We believe that this accounts for Univ’s higher rate of reporting, which is rigorously recorded by the College.”
Award-winning social media access scheme OxTweet has come under scrutiny after it was claimed that some of its participants were presenting a negative image of life at the University.
Questions have been raised over the candid nature of tweets published by members of the scheme, ranging from, “Stats was no fun, no fun whatsoever… #horrific #oxtweet”, while another tweeted: “Still so fuckered I can’t walk”.
These were described by one undergraduate as “a bit awkward, considering this scheme is meant to promote a good image of the University”. Another stated that tweets such as, “referenced 27 different academic papers in essay – better be good enough for tutor… oh, this is oxford, your best is never enough #oxtweet” were not the most encouraging for potential applicants.
The online programme, which received funding from OUSU Council earlier this term, sees current Oxford students take to Twitter to post updates detailing their life at Oxford. The accounts are subject-specific and encourage questions from potential applicants. One of the most honest in its depiction of Oxford life is the Oxford Biologist account which regualrly features the after-effects of nights out and the joys of whiskey consumption.
The scheme has proven popular and together the accounts have hundreds of followers. It was described in a recent OUSU Council meeting as a “level playing field for anyone from any background and country to ask questions”, and its founder won a prize earlier this term.
Not all shared this view of the wildness of an Oxford degree, with one of the scheme’s participants claiming that most of its output is “monumentally dull”. The anonymous OxTweeter also claimed that other members of the scheme hold “niche” opinions, and suggested that potential applicants to Oxford could be turned away by OxTweet rather than inspired.
In comments made to The Oxford Student, the OxTweeter said “tweets about essay crises and tea” were unrepresentative of Oxford life.
“If I (and everyone else I’ve spoken to about this) was a potential applicant, and saw most of the twee, inane OxTweets about tea and minor illnesses, I’d run a mile,” he added.
Less candid tweets included “It’s somewhat reassuring to see that the jokes in parliament have changed little since 1628 #oxtweet” and “Having breakfast in the maths institute cafe while working on problem sheets. Resisting urge to get another chocolate brownie #nom #OxTweet”.
OxTweet’s founder and former Magdalen JCR Vice President Jamie Miles, who won an OxTalent Award for Outreach and Engagement for his work on the scheme, said honesty was “vital” to the success of OxTweet:
“OxTweet was created to provide an honest account of Oxford from all perspectives. An undergraduate degree is a three or four year commitment, so having information on all of the potential warts and wonders of university life is vital to ensuring that everyone makes the right choice for them,” he said.
The OxTweeter who made the claims that parts of the scheme were “monumentally dull” also believes most OxTweeters are “part of a small minority of students who don’t really interact with the wider student body, and who hold what might be described as niche opinions.”He claimed his own OxTweet account “presented a much more balanced, representative and honest commentary on student life at Oxford”, and that “a lot of tweets don’t even mention what kind of work the student is doing, so whoever is reading has nothing to engage with,” he added.