Student news round-up: Oxford rape case to be reviewed


The Crown Prosecution Service has said it will review the case against Ben Sullivan, the former president of the Oxford Union debating society, who was accused of rape, according to Cherwell.

In a highly public case Mr Sullivan, who studies history and politics at Christ Church College, was arrested on suspicion of rape in May last year but was never charged. He consistently denied the allegations and the proceedings were dropped the following month.

Now the CPS has said it will look again at the case after the alleged victim appealed. It said: “A request has been made through the CPS Victims’ Right to Review (VRR) scheme for a review of the decision of no further action in this case. The VRR scheme gives victims the right to request a review of a CPS decision not to prosecute or to terminate criminal proceedings.”

Three British students vie to colonise Mars

PhD students at Birmingham, Durham and Oxford are among the final 100 candidates for the mission to establish a human colony on Mars, Redbrick, Palatinate and The Tab report.

Hannah Earnshaw, who studies astronomy at Durham, said: “Putting a colony on Mars is just a small step in such a big adventure and that’s such an incredible thing to be a part of… To me, it’s not about being a perfect candidate now. It’s about being willing to put the effort into the training and preparation to become the perfect candidate.”

The finalists, who have been selected from over 200,000 applicants, will train for 10 years in the hopes of becoming included in the eventual group of 40 people who will leave for Mars.

Maggie Lieu, who is studying for a PhD in astronomy and space at Birmingham, said: “I’m very open to having a baby on Mars. I think it would be really exciting to be the mother of the first ever baby born there.”

Ryan MacDonald, a physicist from Oxford, said: “Doubtless there will be many things that I would miss (I like being able to breathe air without dying), but I would gladly give up our Earthly comforts for this chance to really make a difference in the eyes of history.”

Controversial alumnus to be removed from KCL window display

Lord Carey of Clifton is set to be removed from a King’s College London display of prominent alumni after pressure from LGBT groups, according to Roar News.

The former Archbishop of Canterbury was criticised after he told a Conservative party conference in 2010 that “same sex relationships are not the same as heterosexual relationships and should not be put on the same level”.

Now, two years after the KCL students’ union passed a motion calling his comments “unacceptable” and “deeply offensive”, the university’s principal has reportedly agreed that Lord Carey’s panel should be removed from a window display of notable alumni. Lord Carey’s window currently appears next to Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s.

The university said: “It is likely, subject to planning approval, that the proposed redevelopment of the Strand campus will require a review of the Strand windows and we will consider the diverse views of our students, staff and alumni at the appropriate time.”

Portsmouth union president asks to break manifesto promise

The president of the University of Portsmouth student union, Grant Clarke, intends to ask students whether he should break an election pledge, The Galleon reports.

Mr Clarke promised last year to oppose any increase in the costs of halls of residence, but now wants to ask students whether he should change his mind and support a planned fee rise so that improvements can be made.

He said: “I haven’t technically broken [my promise] yet. I want to ask people what they think I should do, because if I carry on increasing the cost of halls, then I would be breaking my manifesto. I’m not going to break my manifesto without getting people’s prior approval.

“What I do want to put across is that people want to see an increase in the quality of halls. When I did look at the cost of halls of many of the universities that students pick first before they pick Portsmouth, their halls [are] between £15 to £30 a week more expensive.”

Library fines may prevent Cardiff students graduating despite OFT warning

Final-year Cardiff students have been warned by the university that they may not be able to graduate if they have outstanding library fines, despite the Office of Fair Trading warning that the practice could be illegal.

Gair Rhydd reports students were told by email that they “may be prevented from graduating” if their outstanding fines exceed £10 after 12 June.

Last year the OFT wrote to universities across the UK to warn that “the blanket of academic sanctions in such instances, regardless of the circumstances, could breach consumer protection law. [The OFT] is particularly concerned that some terms allow the university to impose sanctions on students even when they owe small amounts or a debt is disputed.”

Cardiff University said: “We appreciate that this is a concern for students and are doing everything we can to ensure that they don’t find themselves in a situation where they are unable to graduate.”



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