Oxford Blues robbed during Boat Race

Oxford Blues robbed during Boat Race

The Oxford first boat minibus was robbed while the Blues were beating Cambridge in last week’s Boat Race, it has been revealed.

One of the first boat rowers, Constantine Louloudis, posted on Facebook: “Unfortunately, all our valuables were stolen while we were putting in the big strokes.”

“But we couldn’t really care about that right now. Champagne has never tasted so sweet!” he added.

Malcolm Howard, Oxford Boat Club President, commented: “We were irritated about the theft but we did not let it spoil the win. The matter is now the hands of the police. No indication of who stole from the minibus.”

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police stated: “Officers from Hounslow police are investigating after an allegation of theft from a minibus that contained personal property belonging to the Oxford boat race rowing crew. The theft happened on Sunday, 06 April between 17:20hrs and 19:00hrs.

“A blue Ford minibus, being used by the crew, had been parked and left unattended at The Quintin Boat Club. Left in the van was a rucksack and a red cotton valuables bag that contained personal property belonging to seven of the Oxford boat crew.”

The spokesperson continued: “When the driver returned to the minibus she found the valuables bag and rucksack had been stolen. The rucksack was later found in a nearby toilet with a purse containing £40 taken from it.”

A Magdalen Rower condemned the theft as “in extremely poor taste, whoever did it”.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact Acting Detective Sergeant Andy Jackson at Hounslow police.



“Terrific” Somerville team lose out on Uni Challenge title

“Terrific” Somerville team lose out on Uni Challenge title

The team from Somerville has been pipped at the post in the grand final of TV quiz show University Challenge, ending on 135 points to Trinity College, Cambridge’s 240.

Host Jeremy Paxman said at the end of the show that both sides were “terrific teams”, and author Jeanette Winterson – who presented the trophy to Trinity, Cambridge at the end – echoed this sentiment.

The side performed strongly at some points in the final, and scored a full three out of three on a set of questions on famous quotes about wealth and riches. They only managed one out of three, however, on a series of questions on Greek words.

Trinity, Cambridge maintained a narrow lead for almost the whole episode, surging ahead only at the end. The Somerville team featured students Sam Walker, Zachary Vermeer and Chris Beer, while PPEist Michael Davies was captain.

Prior to the show, they all told an article on the college’s website what their proudest moment on the series was so far. Vermeer said his was the successful identification of a piece of opera from Verdi’s “La Traviata”, while Beer said his was their defeat of Southampton University.

Somerville students and alumni reacted with sympathy on Twitter:

The event was screened in Somerville’s bar, with some of the team members photographed watching the show as it was broadcast:

Among others, Somerville has defeated teams from the University of York and London-based institution SOAS. Trinity, Cambridge reached the final after defeating the University of Manchester, and they also defeated Christ Church, Oxford, in the first round.

The series has seen many interesting twists for the Somerville side, especially for Michael Davies, who was described as “delightful” on Twitter by broadcaster Stephen Fry.

The show came under fire this week, however, after the academic Professor Mary Beard expressed disappointment that there were no women on Somerville’s team. Both teams in tonight’s final were all male.

Baby Love ousted as Oriel takes back building

Baby Love ousted as Oriel takes back building

Partygoing students across the city are expressing their disappointment after popular nightclub Baby Love confirmed that it is set to move from its current site.

The club, which is still open, will eventually close and relocate as part of landlord Oriel’s plans for the redevelopment of King Edward Street.

A spokesperson for the college told The Oxford Student: “Oriel College has a long term strategy for the gradual redevelopment and improvement of King Edward Street.”

“As a result the College will be taking back the premises occupied by the Baby Love Bar shortly. We understand that the Baby Love Bar intends to relocate to new premises as soon as it can and wish it well for the future.”

The club, which is on two floors and has two bars, is known in Oxford as a popular alternative to larger, more mainstream venues. Martin Forde, who runs Baby Love, was keen to assure students that it would survive in some form.

He said: “Over the past year our landlord Oriel College has taken a decision to redevelop the site at King Edward Street, and as a result, we have mutually agreed that Baby Love would find a new home. Neither side knows exactly when this is going to happen, as third party decisions are involved.”

“Baby Love would be taking its ‘love’ to a new premises, and would inform you and all its loyal customers the minute it’s been agreed. It’s a new beginning and an exciting one for us. We can assure all our regular customers, that none of our promoted nights will be affected and parties will continue as usual, either at our present or our relocated site.”

“Baby Love would like to thank Oriel College for the years of fun it has afforded our customers and us in what has become as institution amongst the students of Oxford University. We thank them and extend all our best wishes for their future plans,” he added.

The promise of relocation was not enough for many students, some of whom placed a tongue-in-cheek blame on Oriel for the loss of the establishment.

Jane Cahill, a third-year History and Politics student at Queen’s, said: “I suspect this is really because Oriel boat club are angry that gay marriage caused so much flooding and stopped their races. Taking our Tuesdays away from us is their revenge. Unbelievable.”

Tom Rutland, OUSU President, said: “First Oriel’s JCR disaffiliates from OUSU, and now the college is endangering my favourite club nights: Poptarts and Supermarket!”

“Students can expect a strongly-worded OUSU Council motion and a priority campaign to #savebabylove when they come back in Trinity Term,” he added.

Baby Love is one of the city’s favourite nightclubs. It plays host to LGBTQ Tuesday club night Poptarts and is also home to the popular alternative music night Supermarket.

It has also hosted launch and fundraising nights for some of Oxford’s zines, including Cuntry Living and NoHeterOx**.

LJ Trup, OUSU President-elect and frequent Baby Love DJ, said: “Baby Love is my home. It’s where I grew up from a Spotify lover with a dream to a fully fledged quasi-disc jockey.”

“The toilets have been the setting for the forging of many a friendship. The panoramic view of the pole you see as a DJ is more beautiful to me than the view from the highest mountain. To lose this is like losing an aspect of my being.”

“Together we shall lament hipster nights of old and together we will fight tooth and nail to ensure the resurrection of this temple of debauchery,” he added.

“We do this for our children and our children’s children, so that they will know what it means to be an Oxonian.”

Baby Love in its current location is open every night from 8pm until 3am.

On hearing the news, Otamere Guobadia – a second-year Law student at Univ and member of the NoHeterOx** editorial team – wrote an ode to Baby Love: “I rend my garments, cursed the gods, I wept for an eternity and I’ll weep for an eternity more. How can Baby Love be no more?”

“For better or for worse, I can chart my loss of dignity through those doors, those booths, that dance floor. The dreaming spires will never be the same. ‘Stop all the clocks…’”

Cai Wilshaw, a second-year Classics student at St Anne’s, said: “For those of us who aren’t particular fans of Camera or Bridge, Babylove has always been our choice haunt on Tuesday and Thursday nights.”

He expressed his concern about the future of Baby Love: “I doubt that the owners will be able to move quickly enough to ensure the return of Poptarts and Supermarket next term, and I fear that this alleged relocation will turn out to be a load of hot air.”

“Its many revellers will miss the sweaty walls, the faint smell of sweat and regret, but most of all – the pole. I hope the owners will ensure that they replicate such features should they manage to find an alternate venue,” he added.

Somerville team make it to TV quiz show final

Somerville team make it to TV quiz show final

A team from Somerville has sailed through to the final of TV quiz show University Challenge, defeating London university SOAS by 85 points.

The team is captained by PPE student Michael Davies, alongside students Sam Walker, Zac Vermeer and Chris Beer. Their semi-final victory was broadcast on BBC2 on Monday evening.

They fielded questions on a variety of topics, and achieved a trio of correct answers on painter Ford Madox Brown and two out of three on the topic of squirrels in literature.

At the outset they appeared to be struggling, with SOAS on 55 points to Somerville’s -10 at around ten minutes in. They quickly recovered to win their place in the final, which will see them pitted against Trinity College, Cambridge.

The team received a positive reaction on Twitter. OUSU President Tom Rutland said: “Cheering on ex @ousunews officer @mjdavi3s on #universitychallenge”.

TV presenter Nigel May, however, took a different angle. He posted: “Davies on #universitychallenge looks like a jolly little chap. I imagine he giggles in bed…”

The final will be broadcast on BBC2 at 8pm next Monday.

EXCLUSIVE: Anger as colleges call St Giles Christmas fair “tawdry” and “poor quality”

EXCLUSIVE: Anger as colleges call St Giles Christmas fair “tawdry” and “poor quality”

Leading cultural venues have condemned a group of Oxford colleges after they raised objections to the city’s annual Christmas fair – despite it raising £1.8m for the local economy.

According to official City Council documents leaked to The Oxford Student, a group of “stakeholders including colleges on or near St Giles” described the funfair – popular with the children of local residents – as “tawdry”, and described the stage music as being of “extremely poor quality”.

The documents say Balliol described itself as “marooned” and like “an island in the centre of Oxford” during the event, held in November last year. The college is located on Broad Street, which according to the City Council website was only closed for seven hours during the three-day event.

An unnamed college claimed that “many of our staff were considerably inconvenienced” while another proposed “a short parade on one weekday evening” as an alternative to the festival, which last year brought around £1.8m to the local economy and was attended by 100,000 people.

The objections, among others, have led to the cancellation of the annual lantern parade and the decision to disperse this year’s festival around the city rather than keep the focus on St Giles.

Cultural venues expressed their disappointment at this move. Jeremy Spafford, Director of Arts at the Old Fire Station, said staff at the centre were “very disappointed” and that this year’s festival would be a “diminished version”.

“My understanding is that the main objections to the Christmas Light Festival came from colleges which did not like the disruption,” he said.

“I am disappointed that those that raised objections were unable to see the value of bringing thousands of members of the public who would not normally visit cultural venues into the city centre for what was a joyous celebration of the City and its cultural heritage.”

“We know that the various venues and the university museums had fantastic footfall and this could not be achieved without a significant centrepiece event in St Giles and without the pull of the lantern parade which brought children from Blackbird Leys, Wood Farm, Barton and Rose Hill into the event with their families.”

Students also raised concerns over the plans during a meeting of John’s JCR, with one member pointing out that children “have a wonderful time at the Christmas fair” and that if the changes went ahead John’s would be seen as “the college that banned Christmas”.

However, other students expressed their annoyance at the disruption caused by the fair. One said the music stage was “facing her window and has been disturbing her (and a handful of others’) work during the day as well as stopping her getting to sleep at night.”

Jonathan Lloyd, CEO of Pegasus – an arts organisation specialising in youth theatre and emerging artists – said he was also “disappointed” at the decision.

“All of us at Pegasus are disappointed about the proposals to remove the lantern parade and fair from this year’s Christmas Light Festival; last year’s parade provided a fantastic focal point for the festival, involving hundreds of local schoolchildren, and attracting new audiences into the city centre’s cultural venues.”

“It created a wonderful, communal, carnival-like atmosphere in the run-up to Christmas. That would be difficult to re-create if the festival is dispersed through various venues,” he added.

Estimates made by the City Council suggest that last year’s event saw an increase in visitor numbers of up to 336% for cultural venues in the city.

Peter McQuitty, the Council’s Head of Policy, Culture and Communications, said they carried out “extensive consultation” to make this year’s event better.

“It was clear that there was concern about a three day road closure with criticism of the inconvenience caused by it and the impact that it had on the city. There was also some concern about the noise levels.”

“Therefore we have taken the decision to hold a Christmas event over three days but there will be no road closures and no event in St Giles in order to minimise disruption to residents, businesses, and people who work in the city,” he added.

Staff at St John’s and Balliol did not respond to requests for comment.

New College JCR subsidises exclusive dining society

New College JCR subsidises exclusive dining society

New College’s exclusive dining society, the Smith Society, is under fire for its £2,106 subsidy from the JCR.

The Smith Society holds two dinners per year to reward undergraduates who have made outstanding contributions to the JCR. The JCR contributes £36 per head.

The issue surfaced after student James Rhodes posted a poll to the New Freshers Facebook group.

A majority of respondents were critical of the Smith Society with 21 choosing “I believe this is a waste of college funds as it benefits circa 5% of the JCR”, and 11 electing for “I don’t believe the committee should get to vote on their own reward dinner”.

8 JCR members supported the society, voting for “I agree with the cost of SmithSoc, the selection procedure and the JCR funding it”.

Others seemed more indifferent with 2 suggesting that the subsidy should be halved and 4 claiming not to care at all.

As well as cost, SmithSoc has been attacked for its vote timing. Rhodes claimed “the motion for SmithSoc is passed at the committee handover meeting in [which] effectively 2 committees are present thus they are usually in the majority”.

SmithSoc did, however, have its defenders. Robert Harris, a New fresher, slammed the cost criticism as “an absolutely absurd accusation.”

“Virtually all spending by the JCR, whether on kit for sports teams, investment in musical equipment, or even on the whole of freshers’ week, benefits only a minority of students at College. As long as a majority approve part of the budget being spent on a minority, there is no issue, and I see no reason why spending on SmithSoc is any different to spending on anything else. What’s next? Saying that OUSU and JCR spending on welfare is unjustified because only a minority of students benefit from these services? Ridiculous.”

Student Harry Jewson weighed in on the procedural critiques, saying “If anyone objects they can vote against the motion. Two committees is still well under a majority of even one year group, Motions are submitted in advance. If you don’t like it turn up and vote. Many who could simply don’t bother”.

Katherine Nicholls, New JCR President, told the OxStu “The budget for the dinners this year was adjusted to £2,106 after a vote on an amendment to the motion. The amended motion then passed without opposition. Additionally, the JCR Committee this year intends to spend about two thirds of the amount mandated.”

Nicholls went on “At the moment the JCR is thinking about the procedure by which the JCR approves both the idea of Smith Soc, as well as the details of the budget assigned to it. A Facebook thread is not the ideal way to properly explore this issue, but I do agree that Smith Soc, and the procedure for approving it, does need to be discussed.”

“We are planning to hold a JCR forum at the start of next term dedicated to debating this. I’m going to look into ways to ensure the forum is as directed and productive as possible.”

SmithSoc was also debated by the JCR in Trinity 2013 and though it was easily passed,student Adam Piacsick castigated it for taking money away from Access schemes.

An anonymous New undergrad commented “So, I think lots of people think that if you have a JCR committee position, you should want to do it for the good of the college, not so that you get a reward (a posh dinner with free flowing wine about twice a year). I think SmithSoc is a nice idea but I don’t think the JCR should foot the bill. College should.” ”

The student added “This has all been a big debate on our Facebook page very recently and now our JCR president has decided to call a meeting next term about it and is sending everyone an email with all the details so we can be more informed. It’s definitely democratic to have the whole of the JCR voting (which includes ex committee members and future ones). It’s just that the rest of the JCR doesn’t understand the situation.”

Senior Proctor’s celebratory “Selfie”

Senior Proctor’s celebratory “Selfie”

Merton Fellow Dr Kate Blackmon yesterday celebrated being made Senior Proctor of Oxford University with a “selfie”.

The photo captures her predecessor Professor Jonathan Mallinson of Trinity College, along with the Warden, Sir Martin Taylor, and the University Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton.

Senior Proctor’s celebratory “Selfie”

Dr Blackmon is Merton’s first ever female Proctor. Her admission also coincides with the college’s 750th anniversary year.

Oxford’s Senior and Junior Proctors and the Assessor are appointed annually at the end of Hilary Term. Colleges take it in turns to elect their candidate through a 14-year cycle.

Dr Blackmon’s “selfie” was shared on Merton’s Facebook page, along with another that showed Merton fellows gleefully smiling at the camera and making the “peace” sign.

In an interview recently published on Merton’s website, Dr Blackmon stated she was looking forward to taking on “such an ancient and unique position in a world-famous institution”.

However, she added that: “Some of my American colleagues think I’m going to be an exam invigilator, because that’s what a proctor is in most universities outside Oxford and Cambridge.”

The Proctor’s Office has recently used Facebook to track down photos of students trashing each other after exams.

Dr Blackmon commented that: “The students were surprised, as they didn’t think the Proctors could use Facebook and it resulted in a lot of people being caught trashing who had then put pictures of themselves on Facebook ‘in the act’.”

“It was interesting to see how quickly the Proctors are able to pick up on new technology for such an old – practically medieval! – institution. They have to keep on the leading edge,” she added.

Kellogg College accused of age discrimination

Kellogg College accused of age discrimination

An ex-employee of Kellogg College is suing Oxford University for age discrimination and unfair dismissal.

Catriona Carter Jonas, 53, told Reading Tribunal Centre last week that she suffered “nasty treatment” from her superiors at Kellogg, causing her to “cry herself to sleep”. She stated that the college’s former bursar once described her as a “wrinkly old bag”.

Ms Carter Jonas was employed by Kellogg between 2007 and 2013, resigning last March following eight months of sick leave.

Ms Carter Jonas claims the college’s current domestic bursar, Donna Lipsky (who was appointed in January 2012) attempted to “manage me out”, allegedly increasing her workload by 80% with no recognition.

“I was depressed and would cry myself to sleep most nights. I was suffering from regular panic attacks”, Ms Carter Jonas told the tribunal.

The former events co-ordinator claims that on one occasion, when walking past Mrs Lipsky’s office, she overheard the bursar telling a colleague that they “need someone cheaper, younger, stronger.” Ms Carter Jonas was taken to disciplinary hearings in 2011 and 2012, before lodging a formal grievance.

The employment tribunal also heard evidence from another former Kellogg employee Keith Fraser last week, who told Judge Robin Lewis that Lipsky had driven a “culture of bullying” at the college.

Mr Fraser claims that Mrs Lipsky’s behaviour resembled that of an “alpha-personality”, with the bursar allegedly shoving Kellogg chaplain Reverend Robin Gibbons out of an office and causing a door to slam in his face.

Alice Carse, representing the University, told the tribunal that Jonas was “making something out of nothing”, listing concerns over her work management and ability to follow instructions. Ms Carse also told Judge Robin Lewis that Fraser is simply bitter as he was not given Mrs Lipsky’s permanent role.

Neither Kellogg College nor its current bursar, Mrs Lipsky, responded to a request for comment.

The case at Reading Tribunal Centre continues.

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