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“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:

https://twitter.com/andrew_j_kerr/status/453253157439950849

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

https://twitter.com/KiranBarhey/status/453254616462131200

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.

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Victory for Oxford in the Boat Race – LIVE

Victory for Oxford in the Boat Race – LIVE

The Boat Race 2014: Liveblog

18.35: The Oxford side has collected the trophy. And on that note, it’s time to say goodbye to the liveblog for another year. Thanks for sticking with the OxStu, and congratulations to the team!

18.32: The losing Cambridge side collect their medals:

https://twitter.com/theboatrace/status/452861216319606784

18.27: Not much magnanimity from the Oxford students with our News Editor Jacob Lee in Hammersmith. However, there’s a bit of a strange feeling among the crowds rather than full-on elation, probably due to the oar incident.

Malcolm Howard, President of OUBC, is interviewed for TV and claims he is “proud” while also expressing some sympathy for the losing Cambridge team. Oxford rower Constantine Louloudis says the river “is running dark blue”. The Cambridge rower involved in the clash says it “is part of the race”, but thinks team members should “keep your held high and move on”. Coming up soon will be the famous tradition of throwing the winning cox into the river, as well as the presentation of the trophy.

18.20: PROTEST NOT UPHELD: Cambridge were out of their water, not Oxford, meaning the oar clash will not affect the race’s result.

18.18: VICTORY FOR OXFORD. However, umpire Richard Phelps has raised his red flag, meaning there is definitely a protest from Cambridge. The cox for the Tab team is speaking to Phelps now.

18.16: Looks like it will be a similar margin of victory for Oxford in the main race as it was in the Isis vs Goldie reserves race an hour or so ago – probably of around 10 lengths at least. Cambridge cox shouts: “Fight to the end”.

18.13: Around three minutes to go as they approach Barnes Bridge. Oxford’s victory is certain now, as they are far ahead. The real drama could come afterwards if there is an appeal by the Cambridge squad for that oar contact, but they now look like they are resigned to a certain fate.

18.11: The look of determination on the faces of members of both squads is a testament to the grit and determination of Oxbridge rowers. Oxford’s lead is still as strong. The BBC, meanwhile, has confirmed there was contact between the two oars a few moments ago. Cambridge could appeal or protest after the race, but it depends if Oxford was in the correct area of water at the time. Decision up to the umpire.

18.07: Jacob is with a large group of Oxford students as they approach halfway point at Chiswick Bridge. The atmosphere is “euphoric” as Oxford have a very clear lead.

18.04: Serious blow to Cambridge after what appears to be a clash of oars. Cambridge has fallen back quite far, giving Oxford a serious lead.

18.02: The lead is still with Oxford despite the fact that Cambridge had the advantage on the first (“Middlesex”) bend around the Fulham area. Oxford have the advantage of the next bend at Hammersmith Bridge.

17.57: They have begun! Around two minutes late due to objections from the coxes. Oxford have the advantage at the outset.

17.50: Storm Uru – on the Oxford squad – is a fantastic name. Apparently named because his father was a sailor in a storm, and he vowed to call his first son “Storm” if he survived. Luckily for Oxford, he did. Five minutes to go.

17.41: ISIS WIN THE RESERVES RACE: In Jacob’s words, Oxford’s reserves have “nailed” Cambridge in the Isis vs Goldie race.

https://twitter.com/TheOxStu/status/452848599647272960

Meanwhile, Max Bray – a fresher History student at Somerville – had more sage sartorial analysis: “It’s refreshing to see a paucity of light blue scarves on show”.

17.31: Natalie, a spectator on the banks, says: “It’s a lovely atmosphere. It’s a good opportunity to catch up with old friends, and there is a great British sense of occasion”.

Meanwhile, one of these dancing sailors – Crispin – says he’s “not really bothered about the boat race, we just like singing and dancing”.

https://twitter.com/TheOxStu/status/452847546679820289

There’s only 20 minutes to go until the race starts!

17.16: The crews are now heading off to do a warm-up. Now that they are out, things are obviously becoming a bit more tense among the spectators. From Jacob:

17.12: The squads are now walking down what is essentially a catwalk from the boathouse to the river. Brasenose student Tom Watson got a particularly strong cheer from the crowd. Cambridge rower Ivo Dawkins looked slightly nervous as he stepped into his boat: it’s no surprise, considering his father’s boat sank when he participated in the race several decades ago.

17.06: Our News Editor Jacob Lee is down by the river:

Meanwhile, the main teams are currently taking their boats down to the river! A quick summary of what time everything else is going down over the next hour – at 17.25 we’ll be watching the Isis vs. Goldie reserves race, followed by the main race exactly half an hour later at 17.55.

16.57: The OxStu’s Music Editor Jake Downs has some wise words for whoever sourced Cambridge’s kit:

https://twitter.com/jakedownsmusic/status/452837215874592768

16.50: The reserves teams are heading out now, with Goldie (Cambridge) going first. Isis (Oxford, obviously) have also made their way onto the river:

https://twitter.com/theboatrace/status/452834395381317633

16.38: Clare Balding (one of my utter faves) is now kicking off her coverage on BBC1. She has had a very busy weekend, having covered the Grand National at Aintree yesterday. Meanwhile, WEATHER FORECAST: the temperature in Putney is around 16 degrees, while light rain is forecast for 6pm. Wind speeds of 15mph are estimated, which hopefully won’t pose problems.

16.33: It’s estimated there will be almost 250,000 people on the banks of the Thames today, and Putney is certainly looking busy at the moment.

16.22: Our friends over at The Cambridge Student have some insight into why teams choose the stations they do after the coin toss.

16.16: We’re delighted to have Alexander Fox (whom you might recognise as the presenter of Shark Tales, a video feature for some other Oxford newspaper) in charge of the OxStu Sport Twitter feed today as the Varsity football match goes on:

https://twitter.com/oxstusport/status/452826307433627651

16.09: COIN TOSS: the first team coin toss has gone to Oxford, who have also picked the Surrey station. It might be a small victory, but it bodes well…

https://twitter.com/theboatrace/status/452825247704973312

16.04: A bit on the geographical area where the race will take place: the squads power down a part of The Tideway, a stretch of the Thames in central London, and will cruise past the suburbs of Chiswick and Hammersmith (where our News Editor Jacob Lee will be picking up a bit later). The Tideway is essentially just the part of the river which experiences tides (self-explanatory, really – that wasn’t an insult to Oxbridge’s collective intelligence). Remember to let us know what you are doing today for the Boat Race. Give us a tweet @TheOxStu or email editor@oxfordstudent.com!

16.00: The second teams of both squads – Isis (Oxford) and Goldie (Cambridge) – race half an hour before the main teams. They’ve just had their coin toss:

https://twitter.com/theboatrace/status/452822139436302338

15.56: In around ten minutes time there will be a coin toss between the Presidents of each boat club to decide which squad gets which station. They will supposedly use an 1829 sovereign coin in a nod to the year the Boat Race began, and speaking of which, here’s a delightful little website full of stats and cute graphics to keep you entertained: http://white.net/boat-race/

15.43: The Boat Race might be fast-paced and energetic, but today is no day to neglect the spiritual, thoughtful side of life. Thankfully, “Older People’s Day” is there to keep us reminded:

https://twitter.com/OlderPeoplesDay/status/452794169871040513

15.34: The Boat Race has a history stretching longer than any of us have been alive: Oxford has won the annual event 77 times, while Cambridge has clinched the title on 81 occasions. This is the 160th race, and any eagle eyes out there will notice that 77 plus 81 in fact leaves one year unaccounted for  – this is because there was a dead heat in 1877. Legend has it that it was only declared this way because the umpire fell asleep under a tree, although he claimed that he was wide awake and that the tips of the boats passed the finish line at exactly the same time.

15.15: Lots of areas around the riverbank in London are closed, much to the chagrin of this tweeter. His kid, however, doesn’t seem all that bothered:

https://twitter.com/GusWatson/status/452781435079118848

15.08: The race is being sponsored by financial giant BNY Mellon, which has launched a bizarre little website which attempts to find out which side you should be cheering on through a quick quiz. Asking fans to choose between Nigella Lawson and Carol Vorderman is probably not the most perceptive way of doing this, and readers of this blog probably already have a chosen side, but if you’re short on cash there is a £10,000 prize at stake so get on it: http://whichblueareyou.com

15.00: Hello and welcome to the OxStu’s coverage of the 160th annual boat race between Oxford and Cambridge. Behind the blog is Editor-in-Chief Nick Toner (@nick_toner), while intrepid News Editor Jacob Lee will be bringing us the latest happenings on the banks in London. We’ll be here for the next few hours keeping you up-to-date with events and gossip from the race, so stick with us. Tweet us @TheOxStu or email editor@oxfordstudent.com to feature in the blog – we’d love to hear from you! Meanwhile, if you just can’t get enough of live action sport, check out Associate Editor Miles Dilworth’s live coverage of today’s other big match – the Varsity football – here.

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.

Oxford fresher to run for European Parliament

Oxford fresher to run for European Parliament

Oxford’s political scene jumped to the next level recently when a Christ Church fresher announced he is set to run for the European Parliament.

Jan Nedvídek, who studies PPE, is running as an MEP for the Czech party ODS, known as the Civic Democratic Party in English. Nedvideck is also the current OUCA Political Officer.

The ODS is a centre-right Eurosceptic party, and is a relatively substantial force in Czech politics as it holds 15 seats in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. It currently has 9 MEPs.

When asked why he wanted to run, he said: “So many people complain about the fact that the EU is so far away from us, and that it doesn’t consider the views of the ordinary voters. I was fed up with this kind of talk: what’s the point in complaining if you’re not ready to get up and do something about it?”

“The EU can only be made more efficient and representative if people who work in it want to make it such: and this is why, when the party HQs rang me, I only took a minute to consider their offer.”

Jan castigated the EU as being “ruled by an elite which is led by an integrationist, federalist ideology rather than political pragmatism” and insisted “the parliamentarians in Brussels need to be replaced by people who use their common sense instead of ideology to make decisions”.

“The UK and my own country (the Czech Republic) are both better off in than out, and that is why I reject all efforts to withdraw from the Union.”

Nedvídek conceded he is unlikely to win his election due to the party list system used in European elections. He is placed last on the ODS’ list, so victory for him would require 100% of the electorate to vote for the party.

“As we don’t live under the communist regime anymore, this is not very probable,” he said. “Consequently, I’m not very likely to win this time: however, I shall do my best to make sure that my party gets all the votes it possibly can and wins the election!”

Nedvídek, who was appointed OUCA Political Officer after a disputed election, was congratulated by the official OUCA Twitter account.

Student leaders claim “We Are All Oxford” is “misguided” and “unacceptable” as parody accounts run wild

Student leaders claim “We Are All Oxford” is “misguided” and “unacceptable” as parody accounts run wild

Leaders of OUSU and the African and Caribbean Society last night criticised “We are all Oxford” (WAAO).

Tom Rutland, OUSU President, claimed the project was “misguided” and admitted that a Facebook link an OUSU officer made to the page last week was a mistake.

Similarly, ACS president Hope Levy-Shepherd critiqued the project as “well-meaning” but “unacceptable”.

Rutland, who is about to begin his final academic term as President, admitted to The Oxford Student that the “We Are All Oxford” Tumblr “should not have been linked to originally” and that the link “has since been taken down”.

Rutland stated: “My view is that the “We Are All Oxford” tumblr is misguided (if probably well-intentioned), and that denying experiences of racism is not the correct way to improve access to the university.”

“We cannot put the two aims of eradicating racism and improving access at odds with one another – the sources of both must be tackled,” he added.

On Friday the OUSU Facebook page shared the WAAO Tumblr under the heading: “Some great stuff”.

ACS President Hope Levy-Shepherd said it was her own personal view that WAAO had the potential to “delegitimise personal experience”.

Levy-Shepherd, who stressed that her own perspective cannot represent the feelings of ACS as a whole, stated that: “WAAO may have had well-meaning intentions, but the actual execution of the project was unacceptable.”

Levy-Shepherd explained: “It is my understanding that WAAO was on a mission to protect the image of the “University ethos”, which explains a lot of the boards being interpreted as propaganda.”

“Pointing out that certain measures [such as equalities reps] exist simply isn’t the same as saying that they are effective.”

“The seeming attempt to delegitimise personal experience through a regurgitation of university facts and figures appeared to me a conscious attempt to stifle constructive dialogue”, she added.

The controversy began when WAAO was launched in response to “I, too, am Oxford”, based on a similar campaign in the United States.

The Oxford version has been featured in national publications such as The Guardian and The Independent.

A BME Law student at Mansfield, who wishes to remain anonymous, agreed with Levy-Shepherd, commenting that: WAAO “ended up asserting that “all’s well at Oxford” over ITAO’s “we have genuine issues and feel pain”.”

The lawyer continued: “WAAO rolled out the usual lines about access and embracing diversity that you’ll find in any prospectus but that have no bearing on individual BME students’ experiences.”

The accounts have been subject to several parody accounts in recent days. “We Are All Oxford” has been parodied by “We Are All Awful”, while this morning “I, too, am Oxford” was hit by the spoof “I, too, am whiteboard”.

This second parody features pictures of students pointing at whiteboards containing famous quotes adapted for humorous effect.

Access has been a key issue in the controversy. Levy-Shepherd also pointed out that the original WAAO’s “reference to Oxford Access schemes, funds and outreach projects for low income households and state school students missed the point of ITAO entirely and failed to engage with the relevant issues regarding race and ethnicity that were the focus of the original.”

Levy-Shepherd explained: “It goes without saying that not every student of BME origin at Oxford comes from a low-income household and/or a state school: I am still confused as to why WAAO sought to conflate those issues in the context of this campaign. Not being the victim of prejudice because I went to a state school doesn’t necessarily mean that I won’t be a victim of prejudice because I am black.”

The co-chair of the Campaign for Racial Awareness and Equality (CRAE), Anne Meeker, said: “The students featured in the [original ITAO] campaign constructively and eloquently highlight facets of the Oxford experience that often go ignored, and do so in a manner that is brave and beautiful.”

Meeker, and her fellow students at CRAE, hoped that discussions of these recent anti-racsim Tumblr accounts,  “will lead to greater awareness of [the] issues [raised], and how they have been addressed in the past, that will lead to a student commitment to rectifying them.”

“We will only see positive, constructive action if all contributions to the debate are civil, respectful, and open-minded – dismissing anyone’s experience will not achieve this goal, and we hope this is a sentiment shared by everyone who chooses to get involved,” 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.

OUSU apologises as competition escalates between anti-racism Tumblrs

OUSU apologises as competition escalates between anti-racism Tumblrs

OUSU was dragged into a debate between opposing anti-racism Tumblr accounts last night after it apologised for publicising one campaign over the other.

It had shared the “We are all Oxford” campaign – which aims to highlight the positive experiences of ethnic minority students – without having first shared “I, too, am Oxford”, which aims to highlight racism.

“We are all Oxford” (WAAO) has been accused by Oxford Students of “diluting” the message of the original “I, too, am Oxford” project.

On Friday, OUSU posted a link on its Facebook page to the WAAO tumblr, describing it as “some great stuff”.

Yesterday, this was followed up with: “In case you were wondering what our previous post was about here is some more great work by Oxford students from “I, too, am Oxford” to put it into context [before linking to the ITAO tumblr]”

Charlotte Hendy, VP for Welfare and Equal Opportunities, told The Oxford Student that “neither campaign was an OUSU project.”

Tom Rutland, OUSU president, tweeted last night that WAAO was “Definitely not OUSU organised, but appreciate the post sharing may give the impression it is.”

OUSU has since stated on its Facebook page that it “would like to make clear that it supports the ‘I, too, am Oxford’ campaign and would like to apologise for posting a link to the recent ‘We are all Oxford’ campaign without first highlighting the former campaign.”

“This was a mistake made by one of our officers that the individual has apologised for.”

The original “I, too, am Oxford” Tumblr states that participants in the project “are demanding that a discussion on race be taken seriously and that real institutional change occur.”

Students on “I, too, am Oxford” express their individual experiences of racism in Oxford. One, for example, said: “You’re from London! You must be from BRIXTON? (x2 in a week)”

Others used the photo-shoot to communicate the problems of institutional racism, with statements such as: “If you “don’t see race”, how come we don’t see that in the admissions statistics?”

However, fears that “I, too, am Oxford” could deter potential BME students from applying led Alexandra Jaye Wilson, a first-year PPEist at Univ, to set up the WAAO page.

This alternative Tumblr account states its “aim is to present the full picture. We have heard from those who have suffered negative experiences here, which we all agree need to be voiced and challenged. We want to show people that many ethnic minorities have an overall positive experience here at the University of Oxford.”

Some students used this new Tumblr to qualify their earlier involvement in “I, too, am Oxford”, with comments such as: “My statement was not meant to represent my entire experience, by highlight some issues. My overall experience is very positive.”

Other students express their own positive experiences of Oxford, such as, “I’m Asian, and I have not felt that it has been a problem here.”

However, many of the statements expressed on “We are all Oxford” relate more generally to the institution’s attempts at access and outreach, such as one student’s assertion that the University spends “£5.6 million on outreach each year.”

In 2013, the success rate for UK candidates applying to Oxford was 17.6%, but for non-EU applicants the figure fell to 10.1%.

Vinay Anicatt, a third-year E&M student at Wadham, commented that, “the [WAAO] campaign has mainly white people saying they haven’t noticed prejudice/racism – I wonder why? Whatever they intended, they’re (at best) discounting and (at worst) overwriting the original experiences posted.”

Wilson told The Oxford Student why she chose to set up WAAO. “The ITAO project raised some outrageous and unacceptable comments that students from an ethnic minority background have faced while being here. However, the campaign presented an unrepresentative experience for ethnic minorities studying here.”

“Our main concern is that the ITAO campaign will deter prospective ethnic minority students from applying to Oxford. Such a campaign gives the impression that ethnic minorities are excluded at the University of Oxford.”

“We all agree that one of the best ways to combat racial prejudices is by increasing access for all people to this institution. However, we think that a campaign [such as ITOA] that discourages applicants has the potential to undermine access work,” she added.

The original “I, too, am Oxford” campaign was based on the “I, too, am Harvard” campaign which proved widely popular in the United States.

The Oxford version has been featured this week in national publications such as The Guardian and The Independent.

Commenting on WAAO’s claim to be aiding access work, Anicatt added: “I think it comes off as pretty disingenuous – ‘no no, we promise there aren’t any problems – come here and enjoy the occasional alumni sponsored financial support package, that’ll make it all better’.”

Chiara Giovanni, BME/women of colour rep of feminist organisation WomCam, praised “I, too, am Oxford”, saying: “I am heavily involved in Access work and one of my priorities has always been portraying a balanced picture of the university. There are enough people either entirely against Oxbridge or entirely in love with it; for this reason it’s essential to present potential applicants with the truth.”

“Access is about encouraging applications from those students who would not normally apply, and these students often have legitimate concerns about equality within an institution like Oxford.”

“Engaging with them as nothing more than a glorified propaganda machine is useless; it’s far better to take their concerns seriously while letting them know that current students are working to improve things. This is why the [“I, too, am Oxford”] project is crucial; we are starting a dialogue that has been ignored and pushing issues that need to be resolved,” she added.

Harassment case of dead student “not taken seriously”

Harassment case of dead student “not taken seriously”

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.”

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