OUSU has been forced to issue an apology after a number of JCR officers criticised its handling of college elections.
OUSU’s actions were described as “deeply frustrating” after it cancelled its subscription to Mi-Voice – the online voting system previously used in most JCR elections – during the summer. (more…)
A professor at New College has discovered what is believed to be the earliest surviving catalogue of Wadham’s Library collection.
The four-volume catalogue provides an inventory of the total library collections as they stood in the 1680s, shortly after the college was founded in 1610.
Dr Will Poole, who is an English fellow at New College, made the historic discovery while investigating the library ‘small donors’ holdings, which consist of items that have yet to be catalogued online and which are recorded only in a card catalogue.
Dr Poole then identified the collection as Wadham library’s earliest surviving catalogue, commenting: “It is without any doubt the library’s catalogue as used from 1687 until at least the 1720s or 1730s.”
Wadham College Librarian, Tim Kirtley, described the discovery as “hugely significant”.
He said: “It illustrates the collecting strategies that must have been in place at the time – for example the section on poetry was not interleaved, presumably because the college did not expect to buy very much Latin poetry.”
“The catalogue also shows us through the shelf mark scheme the physical arrangement of the subjects on the shelves.”
The discovery is an important step in reconstructing an image of the library in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Anya Metzer, a student at Wadham, expressed her excitement: “The artifact comes from just 70 years after the foundation of the College and is a real piece of Wadham’s early history.”
“It offers us an insight into the academic community in the late seventeenth-century, a time when the earliest members of the Royal Society would meet at Wadham to discuss advancements in natural philosophy and science.”
The catalogue will be examined in detail and further information is to be published in the library’s online exhibition.
By Charles Walmsley
It’s fair to say that Worcester’s season has been sporadic. Aside from Cuppers, where they have yet to concede a goal thanks largely to their Blues contingent, they have failed to establish any kind of league form. That’s not to say their performances have been bad – last week’s 3-0 defeat to St Catz aside they’ve been unlucky not to win more. By contrast their opponents have enjoyed a much better season – before this game they had lost only once.
It came as a surprise then when Worcester started the game as though they were the side nine points clear at the top. Some fast football in midfield and hopeful balls from Liam Steward-George were rewarded with a corner, from which Sam Poulson dutifully snuck a touch to put his side one – nil up after only five minutes. The early goal worked to free the game up with both sides frequently testing the other’s keeper with long range efforts.
Wadham seemed to be playing a 4-2-3-1 with Elliot Miley and Chris Wright in particular causing problems for the defence by dropping off one another, allowing them space to run into. Worcester’s defence too often relied on last ditch tackles to deny their opponents’ attackers and this nearly gifted Wadham an equaliser, only for the away side to waste a two-on-one opportunity. Minutes later Worcester played their best football of the half as Phelan came sprinting from central midfield to lay the ball back to Von Hirsch, whose cross was only half cleared by Wadham captain Shane Grosser. Worcester left back Marcus Maxwell thundered a volley back into the box which Evans took down brilliantly, turning on the edge of the box to fire a shot into the bottom corner.
Two – nil up and Worcester were beginning to look comfortable. Another Steward-George corner caused more problems for Jack Firth, nearly putting the game beyond doubt before half time. However Worcester’s inconsistences once again showed themselves as they began to lose shape at the back and in central midfield. The use of the attacking four simply confused Worcester as the Wadham attack increasingly worked themselves into the space between the midfield and defence. First a sprint down Wadham’s right wing from Miley opened up the Worcester back line, leaving the imaginatively named ‘Neal the Barman’ to pull one back.
Suddenly Worcester were rattled and Wadham found more and more time and space to create chances. A good tackle from Ben Sloman resulted in a corner just before half time, giving Wadham a chance to go into half time level. The Worcester defence failed to clear and the ball dropped to Jeremy Stothardt on the edge of the box, who blasted the ball past Green to equalise. The remainder of the half was played out in Wadham’s terms , with Worcester desperate for a respite and the chance to regroup.
Coming out for the second half Worcester were clearly more determined. Early tackles from captain Mark Isaacs and fellow centre back Nick Booth set the tone for a half they would dominate from the back. After only two minutes Steward-George was fouled about forty yards out. Worcester’s clear height advantage paid dividends as Scott-Taylor flicked the ball on to Poulson who scored at the back post.
Defensively Isaacs’ side were excellent in the second period, reducing Wadham to a handful of chances. Marcus Maxwell and Sloman in particular were solid, not allowing the wingers to exploit space as they had done at the end of the first half. Only twice did Wadham really test Green and it was only in the 86th minute when a shot cruelly came off the post, that he was truly beaten. With two minutes remaining Wadham threw everything forward, but long balls simply allowed Isaacs and Booth to clear, and when the final whistle went Worcester were worthy winners.
Gay porn star Thierry Schaffauser left some students hot under the collar in his taboo-breaking talk at Wadham last week.
The French social activist, who founded the sex workers rights charity Les Putes in 2006, spoke frankly to members of Oxford’s LGBTQ society about his ongoing work for the gay rights movement and his experience in the porn industry.
Speaking of his experience in pornography films, Scahffauser said: “I don’t do barebacking. Fisting is also too technical, so I don’t want to have such experiences. The only condition I have when I accept an offer is that the person is safe and respectful.”
However, he was quick to dissuade those considering following in his footsteps: “You don’t earn as much money as you did in the past. Now you earn about £300 – £400 a scene. This is good money for one afternoon, but then you don’t make films everyday. I find it quite ridiculous that people harbor dreams of being a porn star.”
Schaffauser’s talk was entitled ‘life as a campaigning porn star and sex worker’. He recounted how he stumbled into sex work. “It was by curiosity that I ended up doing sex work. It’s the same with drugs. People always say that drugs are bad for you, but when I tried these things, I saw that I was still alive – and so I thought about prostitution and wanted to try that for myself.”
Schaffauser continued: “I was 19 when I had my first client. It was a simple job – I just pranced around naked in front of the man and he paid. I think I’ve always had the ability to have sex with anyone, as soon as I saw a gay man, I had sex with him. It was my way of keeping in touch with my community.”
He recalled his motivation in becoming a sex worker. He said: “I like what people express through sex and I also didn’t want to do a job where I feel exploited. I wouldn’t have the freedom to do what I want if I did another job. The fact that I moved to this country, can speak English, is thanks to sex work.”
Schauffeser also addressed the more serious aspects of sex work, including the issue of social support for those working in the industry: “In the UK, there are four or five organisations who do a lot of work to support sex workers. What they do ranges from the campaigning for sex workers rights to holding free English lessons for migrant sex workers.”
He explained: “In a traditional language class, the second question people ask you after your name is what you do for a living. As a sex worker, you either have to lie or tell the truth. If you tell the truth, you have to deal with the stigma of being a sex worker. Having free English lessons prevents this social situation from arising.”
In the interests of sex workers, Schaffauser said that he would be in favour of the decriminalization of sex workers, rather than simply introducing further legislation which “still may retain some restrictions on the worker”. He outlined the problems of legislating the sex industry:
“In other industries where the law protects worker rights, you can rely on the law to enforce your rights. But the sex industry can be exploitative and we don’t unionise for nothing. Most of the time you would have to listen to what your employer tells you. If sex work is decriminalised, we can push for labour rights by forming a workers’ collective to change the situation.”
Reuben Walsh, a second-year from Teddy Hall who attended the event, reflected that it was a “very educational experience” for those with “little or no knowledge of the sex industry”. He described the talk as “helpful in releasing us from the insular Oxford privilege, a position from which it is very easy to become patronising or even condemnatory toward aspects of the industry.”
After the talk, Schaffauser proceeded to sign autographs from the audience. The LGBTQsoc Events Organiser, said: “I got my copy of Thierry’s most recent DVD – Eurocreme’s Rudeboiz Scally Sex Offenders signed as a memento for the event.” He continued: “The storyline and script is lacking a bit, but as Thierry explained in the talk, that was out of his control.“
Oxford is not known for coming second best. It’s ranked highest in The Times and The Guardian league tables and it attracts some of the finest minds from around the world. But now it has something else to shout about – it employs the highest-paid university official in the country.
In The Guardian’s recent comparison of pay across UK universities, Oxford endowment manager Sandra Robertson topped the table.
Her salary of £683,000 last year – not including expenses claims of £43,665 – left the competition trailing behind, with the next highest-paid, the Vice-Chancellor, taking home £474,000.
The new government’s focus on the pay of top officials – including publishing the salaries of all civil servants earning over £150,000 – has focused attention on the pay and perks of Oxford’s senior administrators.
Spending on the fundraiser
With gardens to the front and side, seven bedrooms, a drawing room, sitting room, dining room and kitchen/breakfast room, there is surely no shortage of people who would like to live in the substantial North Oxford residence that was put on the market in 2004. The main barrier would probably be the price on the front of the estate agent’s brochure – £1.25 million.
But for the University this did not prove an obstacle – and they became the proud owner of the property in 2005, for £1 million. Unbeknown to Oxford’s academics – and even its governing body – the house soon had a new occupant.
Jon Dellandrea, an outgoing career fundraiser from Canada, was hired from the University of Toronto to be Oxford’s first head of development and external affairs. He arrived with great fanfare in 2005, with then Vice-Chancellor John Hood saying that “Oxford is very fortunate to have been able to attract someone of the calibre of Jon Dellandrea.”
But dons soon started asking questions: Who had appointed Dellandrea? What was his salary? Who set it? And now – almost two years after he left Oxford in summer 2008 – the veil of secrecy still refuses to lift.
Our revelation about his University-owned home this week has, however, provoked anger from dons – showing that Dellandrea remains a divisive figure.
One member of Council, the University’s governing body, said: “Dellandrea was not dealt with by Council. The Senior Salaries Committee doesn’t tell Council anything worth knowing. We didn’t know about the house. The Pro-Vice-Chancellors in those dark ages were just appointed by the Vice-Chancellor. Now there is a procedure for this and a selection panel.”
Another senior academic said: “There wasn’t a procedure in place for appointing him, so it was done.”
Dellandrea also regularly used a chauffeur to go about his University business.
A University spokesperson said: “In the course of University business, senior officers, including Pro-Vice-Chancellors, are able to make use of a University vehicle and a driver where necessary.
“The University does not employ full-time drivers or chauffeurs.”
Students have also questioned the University’s remuneration decisions.
Hannah Thompson, co-ordinator of the Oxford Anti-Cuts Campaign, said: “It’s really inappropriate for someone to spend £1m on a house. It’s a ridiculous luxury that the University can’t afford – especially [the use of] a chauffeur on top of a seven-bedroom house.
“I’m interested to know how they would justify investing in such a large house.”
The spokesperson defended Dellandrea’s conditions of employment.
She said: “The address you are referring to was bought for the University’s investment portfolio and still remains in the possession of the University.
“It is managed in the same way as its other similar properties and is currently let out at a commercial rate.”
She would not be drawn on who appointed Dellandrea or his salary, commenting: “The University does not make public the terms and conditions of an individual’s employment without that individual’s consent.
“All Pro-Vice-Chancellors report directly to the Vice-Chancellor.”
But Dellandrea is not the only Oxford official to have benefited from the University’s largesse.
Oxford pays more than 135 non-clinical staff more than £100,000 a year, according to the University’s latest accounts.
Former Vice-Chancellor John Hood earned £327,000 in his last year in the job, including pension contributions. This made him the sixth highest-paid VC in the country, according to The Guardian’s investigation.
This newspaper revealed in Michaelmas that the VC also lives in a University-owned property, which is worth £3.5 million.
This comes in stark contrast to the government’s desire to cut public sector pay and perks.
In a letter sent to universities across the country a fortnight ago, ministers Vince Cable and David Willetts wrote: “We are expecting [our department]… to apply restraint to all aspects of pay and bonuses with a lead being given by senior staff. We expect universities and colleges will wish to do the same.”
The Oxford Student this week asked all of Oxford’s college heads – and some of the central University’s top administrators – whether they would voluntarily reveal their salaries.
Just four heads of houses responded with their salaries – even so, revealing a gap of over £20,000 between the lowest and highest paid.
Sir Ivor Crewe at Univ was paid £91,742 last year, with Merton’s Dame Jessica Rawson (£86,912), Wadham’s Sir Neil Chalmers (£80,052) and Green Templeton’s Colin Bundy (£70,000) coming behind.
Frances Cairncross, Exeter’s Rector, said: “This is not information that I want to publish. My full employment costs are annually approved by Governing Body in the College’s management accounts.”
But Thompson questioned why heads of houses were reluctant to publish their salaries.
“It makes institutions look very dishonest when they don’t respond to investigations into pay. Why would you hide it? Are you ashamed of it?” she said.
None of the University officials contacted – including all Pro-Vice-Chancellors, Finance Director Giles Kerr, Development Director Sue Cunningham and Public Affairs Director Jeremy Harris – replied to our enquiry.
The University said that it was treating the emails as a request under the Freedom of Information Act. A spokesperson said that the individuals would need to consult each other before deciding whether or not to make their salaries public.
One senior academic questioned the University’s reluctance to answer the questions this week. He said: “They’re hiding behind the figleaf of calling it a Freedom of Information request, which it wasn’t.”
Similarly, the University this week refused to publish a copy of a report into Jon Dellandrea’s conditions of employment carried out by Oxford’s internal Audit and Scrutiny Committee.
A spokesperson said: “As the Audit and Scrutiny Committee report is not publicly available, the Press Office cannot provide you with a copy of it.”
Students across Oxford are paying rents to live in college accommodation that vary by more than £1,000 a year in the clearest signs yet of the so-called “college lottery”.
An investigation by The Oxford Student has also revealed that rooms can vary wildly in price and quality within the same college, leading to “ghettos”, with some students unable to afford access to areas of the college.
The cheapest college for undergraduate accommodation is Wadham, offering rooms at an average rent of £2,610 per year, more than £1,000 cheaper than the most expensive college – Pembroke, which charges £3,627 a year.
Graham Healy-Day, Wadham Students’ Union President, praised the work of students and the college in the rent negotiations.
“College should take pride in this, but I think they find it difficult to maintain. The important thing is to keep Wadham’s reputation for being egalitarian and iaiify priced amongst other Oxford colleges,” he said.
The most expensive colleges include Trinity, at an average of £3,544 to live on-site, Teddy Hall at £3,426 and Brasenose at £3,343. These prices cover 175 nights worth of accommodation, and exclude prices for food.
Nearer the bottom of the scale, students at Catz (£2,816), Meiton (£2,776) and Hertford (£2,801) can be more than £500 better off over the course of a year than their fellow Oxford students – despite repeated assurances from the University that college choice doesn’t impact on students’ experience.
OUSU President Stefan Baskerville said that these figures could well influence which colleges prospective students apply to.
“Many students come to Oxford without knowing that there are significant differences in rent between colleges. In the context of the real terms reduction in student loans this year, costs will be an increasingly important lactor for students when deciding where to apply,” he said.
Since a large proportion of colleges actually charge a range of prices for accommodation, the average price is often unhelpful for establishing students’ cost of living.
John Church, Pembroke’s Bursar, was unhappy with the tag “most expensive college in Oxford,” pointing outthat much cheaper rooms are available for some students.
“Pembroke’s rents are not, in fact, the highest. We offer a range of accommodation at a range of prices – from as little as £808 per term… We think it is fairest to offer a range and let students decide how to spend their money,” he said.
JCR President Ramya Arnold also defended Pembroke’s system of room selection, saying: “Pembroke’s banded system means that there is very affordable accommodation available to anyone – often far cheaper than colleges with a flat-rate system – with the minimum quality still being quite high.
This also allows for the fact that students prioritise different things within their budgets.”
Not all colleges offer such choice to students. Wadham, for example, charges the same rate to all undergraduates.
Healy-Day said: ‘This is a deliberately egalitarian policy, and something that we are very proud of.”
He added: “Having an equal room charge… keeps the focus on people’s relationships with one another, rather than on their financial background.”
Other colleges which have a policy of charging a flat rate for undergraduate accommodation include St. Catherine’s College, Magdalen College and St Edmund Hall.
Students have expressed their satisfaction with the flat rate system.
Charlie Wilson, Teddy Hall JCRPresident, said: “I would say it’s a simple and fair system, and I think it’s widely viewed as such within the college.”
While accommodation costs appear to indicate striking differences between college costs of living, bursars emphasise the importance of also taking into consideration food prices.
Martin Jackson, St Anne’s Bursar, said: “At the last survey St Anne’s was sixth in terms of accommodation costs, but fifteenth for food… It is important not to see accommodation as a single entity. Food and accommodation should be linked.”
At University College, where undergraduates can expect to pay an average of only £2,894 on rent, meal costs can tot up to £ 11.20 per day, according to their online student finance guide.
At Magdalen on the other hand, where the accommodation costs hit an eye-watering £3,230 for 2009/10, students fork out a less painful £8 a day for three meals in Hall. Taking food costs into account a year at Magdalen therefore works out at around £200 cheaper, despite the apparently high room rates.
According to Alice Heath, University College JCR President, the high food prices reflect the qualify of food, but can be problematic for students on low budgets.
“The food is excellent, but students can’t afford to spend on £11.20 a day on food, and I know many people – myself included – have stopped eating in Hall because it is simply too expensive,” she said.
Charlotte Carnegie, OUSUs Rent and Accommodation Officer, said that rent was an important measure of value for money.