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8th February 2023

University Watch: New Year edition

What’s going on in Universities around the UK? Find out here
University Watch: New Year edition
Some of the Benin Bronzes in the British MuseumPhoto: Tillman @ Wikimedia Commons

University of Greenwich gives trigger warning over Jane Austen novel

The English Literature department at the University of Greenwich issued its Gothic Literature module with a trigger warning because of the Jane Austen novel Northanger Abbey. 

The University alleges that the reason for issuing the warning was due to the presentation of “toxic relationship and friendships” as well as, negative “gender stereotyping” which some students could be offended by.

A representative of the campaign group Academics for Academic Freedom and the professor at the University of Derby, Professor Dennis Hayes, argues that the University were at fault for “infantilising” students.

University of West England recognised for its approach to drug harm reduction

Located in Bristol, the University of West England has been recognised for its prioritisation of student health and safety over criminal punishment in its approach to recreational drug taking.

The University participated in a scheme run by the student-led charity SOS-UK, which instituted a 53 step programme, beginning with extensive research into drug and alcohol use.

The University of Leeds and Keele University also took part in the two-year programme.

University of Cambridge agrees to return the Benin Bronzes

Just before the New Year, the University of Cambridge agreed that it would return the Benin Bronzes to their country of origin, Nigeria.

The Benin Bronzes, a collection of 116 mostly bronze and ivory objects, are said to display excellent artistic quality and are hugely culturally significant.

The artefacts were looted by British Forces in 1897 during the sacking of the city of Benin. They were then taken to London to be auctioned. Since then, the Bronzes have been displayed at many museums around Western Europe.

Some of the objects will remain in Cambridge on loan from Nigeria.

It is expected that they will be returned at some point in 2023, though the diplomatic process is complicated.

University of York becomes the first to test flat roof solar panels

The University of York has put flat roofed solar panels on the campus building belonging to the School of Physics, Engineering, and Technology, becoming the first installation of its kind in the UK.

Flat roofed solar panels have never been developed or tested in the UK. The University is working with Norwegian start-up, Over Easy Solar, and the Norwegian Research Council to test the effectiveness and financial viability of such solar panels on the UK market.

More Coverage

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Students’ Union release statement in response to “Pro-Life Society” petition

The Students’ Union Exec team has released a statement outlining their legal position in regards to the creation of and affiliation with new societies

Students’ Union addresses new Freedom of Speech Act

The government’s new Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act will come into force from 1 August 2024 and aims to be a provision for freedom of speech and academic freedom across universities and Students’ Unions

Protestors converge on University Green

Protests converge at the University Green, where Students Against Tyranny met with counter-protests from groups including Manchester Leftist Action and the Socialist Worker Student Society