Mansfield staff to receive the living wage

Mansfield staff to receive the living wage

Mansfield College will be paying the living wage for all staff as of next month.

A campaign by students, staff and the Living Wage Campaign means that all staff will be earning at least £7.65/hour.

The college, which has the University’s third smallest endowment, hopes that their decision will prompt colleges with larger budgets to follow suit if they haven’t already.

The College’s Bursar, Allan Dodd, said the size and endowment of the College means the new plan will stretch budgets further. He commented that they had to: “find other ways to tighten our belts to fulfil this commitment”.

“However, we feel it is an ethical issue. It is all about giving the issue priority and we chose collectively to do so.”

Rachel Cain, a former Environment, Ethics and Charities Rep, said: “This decision was made because of the students. It is a result of commitment – putting pressure on the higher powers in College through carrying out research and conducting a well-thought-out, evidence-based campaign”.

Charley Roe, a student who campaigned for the change, said: “The evidence provided by communication with the scouts and an anonymous survey was decisive in the demand it showed for the living wage to be implemented at Mansfield.”

The living wage is the minimum level of pay that enables a full-time worker to provide for themselves and for their family. In Oxford, it is calculated to be on average £7.45 per hour, as opposed to the national minimum of £6.19.

Several colleges have already agreed to move their pay scales to the living wage standard, and the University agreed to do so for all its staff in April of last year. Several candidates in last year’s OUSU elections also pledged to support the campaign.

Andrew Grey, Chair of the Living Wage Campaign, said he was “delighted” at Mansfield’s decision.

“It will make a difference to the staff of the College, and sends a clear message that the College believes its staff should be paid enough to live on. The authorities of colleges where the living wage is not paid to all staff should consider”.

Within Oxford, the campaign works alongside OUSU to implement the Living Wage in colleges. Daniel Tomlinson, OUSU Vice-President for Charities and Community, said: “I’m pleased that the hard work of the students campaigning in Mansfield and as part of OUSU’s Living Wage Campaign is producing more good news.”

Checking out chess Cuppers

Checking out chess Cuppers

chessA dominant Wadham team conceded only two points in all games as they defeated a field of 13 teams in the one-day extravaganza that was Chess Cuppers. Over 50 players from 11 different colleges braved an early Saturday morning to travel to St Hugh’s to compete in the annual competition, held by the Oxford Students’ Chess Club. Despite the bleak weather, there was an excited buzz around the room, which soon turned to silence as the beginning of play was announced.

Wadham dominated their league, carrying 10 out of a maximum 12 points. A juicy finals round was in prospect when Mansfield 1 bettered that performance by scoring 11/12  in their league. In a tough league, Blackfriars Hall won through despite being held to a draw by the hosts. The fourth semi-final slot went to a deserving St Edmund Hall, who, despite losing to Mansfield 1, managed to whitewash every other team in their league (9/12), pipping the reigning champions Trinity and new entrants Balliol.

Wadham’s form improved from incredible to imperious as they won every board against Teddy Hall, despite the valiant efforts of Chess Society President David Hewitt. But Mansfield 1 were unable to carry their morning form to the semis; a close game against Blackfriars led to a second drawn match of the tournament. In the high-pressure  rematch, though, Mansfield overcame the more contemplative Blackfriars team to progress to the final.

In the third-place play-off, Hall recovered their form to beat Blackfriars 3 points to 1. But eyes were already turning to the much-anticipated final. It was the final everyone had been waiting for, between two teams who had exhibited almost total dominance at the league stage. But the final score did not reflect the quality of the chess. Wadham won every board, exhibiting tremendous composure under pressure.

Wadham emerged the deserved victors in a tournament that included several players with internationally-recognised rankings. The growing popularity of Cuppers suggests an increasing depth in Oxford’s chess playing talent, which bodes well for March’s Varsity match.

PHOTO/Tristan Martin

Positively shocking

Positively shocking

So that was Christmas – you’ve had your fill of mince pies, recovered from the traditional NYE hangover and your tutors have thrust a fistful of collections in your direction.

But football fans still have a reason to be jolly – the 3rd round of the FA Cup is right around the corner – the annual contest pitting minnows against the nation’s mightiest.

This year lowly Hastings can cause one of the cup’s greatest ever upsets when they make the long trip north to Teeside to face Championship Middlesborough while tricky tests await both Merseyside clubs with Liverpool travelling to Mansfield and Cheltenham entertaining Everton.

So distract yourself from the monotony of past papers and indulge in handful of my favourite 3rd round shocks.

Havant & Waterlooville 4-2 Swansea, Wednesday 16 January 2008 (Replay)

Conference new-boys Havant & Waterlooville brought League 1 promotion chasers Swansea back to West Leigh Park thanks to a last gasp equaliser from Rocky Baptiste in Wales. A money-spinning tie against Liverpool and a trip to Anfield was on offer and the stage was set for a cup classic.

The Hawks, playing in their fifth FA Cup tie of the season after kicking off their campaign in the fourth qualifying round, raced into a 3-0 lead with an own goal from Swans’ skipper Garry Monk and strikes from Jamie Collins and Baptiste.

Guillem Bauza pulled one back before the interval before Jason Scotland set up a nervy second period, but Tom Jordan’s header sealed a famous victory in front of almost 4,500 fans.

Although the Swans would take the League 1 title in May, it is the Hawks who wrote their name into football folklore. In the fourth round they gave Liverpool a scare after taking a 1-0 and 2-1 lead and going in at half time with the scores level. But goals from Yossi Benayoun and Peter Crouch were too much for the non-league side whose cup dream eventually ended in a credible 5-2 defeat.


Cardiff 2-1 Leeds, Sunday 7 January 2002

Going into the game Leeds were leading the Premiership title race while Cardiff sat two points outside the play-offs in Division 2. David Moyes’s high-fliers included Robbie Fowler, Alan Smith and Mark Viduka and had reached the Champions League semi-final the previous season. On paper this tie was a foregone conclusion before a ball had even been kicked.

An early Viduka strike looked to have put paid to any slim suggestions of a shock but Graham Kavanagh hit back quickly with a stunning free-kick. Leeds had already lost Rio Ferdinand to injury and Smith was given his marching orders before half time for a dubious elbow.

Cardiff took the game to their multi-million pound opponents and Chairman Sam Hammam, whose “Crazy Gang” at Wimbledon won the cup in 1988, left his seat in the director’s box to watch the remaining minutes standing behind the goal.

The owner was perfectly placed to witness FA Cup history as his side pulled off the giantkilling of the round when defender Scott Young stabbed home from a Kavanagh corner.

Cardiff went on to finish fourth in Division 2 but were unable to reach the play-off final at the nearby Millennium Stadium, falling to Stoke in the semis – Leeds’ early title hopes were dashed by eventual FA Cup winners’ Arsenal and also had to settle for a disappointing fourth placed finish.


Shrewsbury 2-1 Everton, Saturday 4 January 2003

Division 3 strugglers Shrewsbury pulled off perhaps the most bittersweet of cup shocks when they knocked out David Moyes’s Everton.

The Shrews frustrated Wayne Rooney all afternoon and took the lead just before half time with a goal from veteran striker Nigel Jemson to the delight of a packed Gay Meadow. Niclas Alexandersson’s strik

e on the hour mark looked to have earned Everton a replay but Jemson had the last laugh with a late winner.

The journeyman’s goal set up another home tie for the Shrews

– this time against Claudio Ranieri’s Chelsea – but a brace from Gianfranco Zola and goals from Carlton Cole

and Jody Morris ended the Shrews’ slim hopes of reaching the 5thround.Things only got worse for the Shrews who could only muster three more wins before finishing rock bottom of the Football League.

PHOTO/ surprise trucks

Exeter 3 – 3 Merton/Mansfield

By Richard Foord

Mansfield/Merton pulled off a dramatic last-minute comeback against Exeter college, coming back from 3-1 down at the break to earn a deserved point in the last minute. The result is not ideal for either however, as they both drop dangerously close to the bottom of the premier league table.

Exeter enjoyed the best possible start to the match, converting in the first minute. The Mertsfield defence failing to deal with a cross from the right wing, Hunter’s header looping tamely to Exeter’s Platt who calming slotted past the goalkeeper into the far corner.

Rather than capitulating Mertsfield calmly began to play their way into the game, Captain Samuel Firman asserting himself with several strong direct runs into Exeter territory.   However lone striker Adam Zimmerman cut an isolated figure up front as Mertsfield struggled to create any clear openings.

Nevertheless their perseverance paid off 20 minutes into the game. Right wing ho-joon kim whipping a viscous ball in from the right wing which cannoned around a host of legs before arriving Exeter full back Rob Ainsworth bundled the ball into his own net.

The game subsequently settled down for a spell before Mertsfield’s Hunter was caught in possession on half-way by the persistent Platt, who, in on the keeper, proceeded to slot his second of the match, reinstating Exeters lead as well as cementing his own position at the top of the premier league goal-scoring chart.

Mertsfield once again bounced back, some sharp skill from Kim on the right flank taking allowing him to cross to Zimmerman whose volley has smartly saved by Exeter’s keeper Rupert Therlowe.

However, Exeter ended the first half in the same manner that they began it. Exeter’s  Brocklesby received the ball on the left side of the box, his first shot was blocked by Hunter’s arm, with the balling falling to him again only for his second attempt to be blocked by the keeper. The subsequent appeals for handball for the initial effort was rendered superfluous as the onrushing Charles Cooper converted the rebound, sending Exeter into the break 3-1 up.

The start of the second half was no less dramatic than the start of the first. As the ball swung in from a Mertsfield corner, Exeter keeper Therlowe exchanged some innocuous push and shove with Mertsfield’s Kim, prompting the referee to award perhaps the softest penalty ever conceded in the Jcr league. Both Exeter and Mertsfield players seemed a little confused by the decision, a particularly impassioned Chris Bennett receiving a stern rebuke from the referee for his trouble. However Mertsfield captain Sam Firman kept his head to coolly convert in the bottom corner.

Chances subsequently abounded for both teams, Mertsfield sensing they could get something out of the game and Exeter desperate to put the match to bed. Platt showed a rare lack of composure when he found himself in possession twelve yard from goal: when he elected to play a miscued pass beyond his onrushing team-mate rather than claim his hat-trick. Their was similar frustration in front of goal at the other end as Zimmerman was presented with a clear opening on the left side of the box, only to volley wide.

Eventually though, the perseverance with which Mertsfield had played with all game would pay dividends. Striker Zimmerman turned creator, whipping a ball in from the right flank, evading the Exeter defence and falling to an unmarked Ben Franz at the far post who emphatically fired the ball into the bottom corner, the referee blowing for full time a moment later.

Honours even was a fair result in a game in which both teams had their fair share of chances;  Franz’s last minute equaliser giving Mertsfield the point that they deserved. Even if they got a helping hand from some absurd refereeing.


Principal says Mansfield tutors responsible for 84.5 percent state acceptance

Mansfield College Principal lashed out at other colleges’ “easily suckered” tutors and the University’s “terrible snobbery” as she revealed that her college gave 84.5 percent of its places to students from the state sector this year.

Baroness Kennedy QC put this year’s 84.5 percent maintained sector acceptance to her college rate down to fellows learning how to “identify excellence in unusual places”.

In an interview given to the Times Higher Education magazine, she said: “My fellows have learned how to do it […] They are not taken in by the veneer and polish that can be produced by a certain kind of education”.

According to Baroness Kennedy not only have they learnt to see through a private school education but also are able to “see beyond the diffidence that you very often get from people from state schools”.

On BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions? Baroness Kennedy said: “There is no other college in Oxford that meets [an 84.5% maintained sector acceptance rate]”.

In 2010 the highest maintained sector acceptance rate was from Merton with 67.1%; the lowest was from St Peter’s with 41.7%. Three year averages from 2008-10 show that Trinity had the lowest state school acceptance rate of 44.7%.

Baroness Kennedy was careful to say that access should not come at the expense of diligence, telling the Times Higher Education magazine that she is “aware that you’re not doing anyone a favour by giving them a place if there are not going to be able to survive the academic demands”.

The increase in maintained sector acceptances are therefore put down to Mansfield tutors being more “astute and mindful,” unlike some tutors from other colleges who are “very easily suckered by what they perceive to be the excellence before them”.

The interview depicts Baroness Kennedy as being somewhat dismissive of the idea that access schemes such as Mansfield’s may lead to a bias against privately educated applicants.

She said: “I came to Oxford and I discovered that the upper-middle classes have got it clocked. Hard to get into Oxford? You get your kids to apply to do Classics or some obscure language, or get them to apply to do Theology, because they are areas that Oxford wants to keep alive but which get too few applicants.”

The possible unwillingness of other colleges to significantly change their access schemes is put down to a number of issues from the “terrible snobbery” to the fact that there is a “madness [about] minutiae” at Oxford.

The Oxford University website states that the university is “committed to recruiting the most able students, regardless of background.”

Baroness Kennedy, a Labour peer, has worked on increasing state sector access to university throughout her career, according to the Helena Kennedy Foundation Website, as commissioner on the National Commission for Education from 1991 to 1993 and then chairing the Further Education Commission into Widening Participation which produced a report entitled Learning Works in 1997.

Recently she has been outspoken on against the rise in tuition fees, saying on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions? that it “is going to set things back enormously”.

She further noted: “I think it is a hard struggle to make it a less frightening thing, the idea of coming to Oxbridge. […] [I want] to see people having opportunities. Wherever you are from I think you should have the opportunity of getting to our best institutions.”