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5th November 2023

Protests, freshers’ flu, and hedgehogs: University round-up

With so much happening right here at the University of Manchester, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s going on at our fellow universities across the UK. Here’s a run-down so you don’t miss a thing
Protests, freshers’ flu, and hedgehogs: University round-up
Credit: University College London

University of Cambridge

Hundreds of Pro-Palestinian student supporters held a demonstration on October 14, 2023 at King’s Parade, Cambridge.

The protesters claimed that the institution, the UK government, and Israel are “complicit in genocide” in Gaza.

Concerns have been raised about the University’s handling of the issue. A Cambridge lecturer, Dr James Orr, was accused of being “racist” and “dehumanising” to Arabs and Palestinians, with one professor in his own faculty claiming it is “unthinkable” that he can teach “without discrimination.”

University security, according to the vice-chancellor, would conduct “proactive patrolling” and work with local institutions, including the police, as a response to the protest.

University College London 

In recent weeks, Just Stop Oil protests have hit a range of universities, including the University of Manchester, Exeter, and Leeds.

At UCL, on October 11, activists organised a protest in the Main Quad, damaging the columns on the stairs and disruption of foot traffic on campus.

Student responses to the protests varied. Katie Taylor, a first-year studying Politics and Sociology at SSEES, told UCL’s Pi Media that “UCL seemed like a random target.”

She felt that “students seemed very hesitant to join in and were more interested in the police presence than the protest.”

University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh has been criticised for hosting a book launch for ‘Sex and Gender: A Contemporary Reader’.

A group of scholars, including those from the University, wrote the book. The book’s authors characterise it as “a much-needed exploration of the relationship between sex, gender, and gender identity.”

However, UCU Edinburgh highlighted “concerns about the launch of a transphobic book on campus” in an email.

This follows the University’s decision to broadcast the controversial film Adult Human Female in December 2022 and April 2023. Protests forced the cancellation of both attempted screenings.

The filmmakers described the film as “the first UK documentary feature to look at the clash between women’s rights and trans ideology.”

However, several critics, notably the University of Edinburgh’s Pride Society and UCU Edinburgh, have labelled the film “transphobic.”

Cardiff University

Cardiff University’s Students’ Union (CUSU) have banned blue shirts and chinos, following “dangerous behaviour” by some of its students.

CUSU stated that individuals sporting the attire, commonly linked with sports clubs, would not be granted entry to its Wednesday club night.

This decision follows a series of “reckless, dangerous and incredibly irresponsible” actions by a cluster of male students on October 4 2023.

However, CUSU claimed that the actions taken were temporary and aimed at ensuring the safety of the students.

More Coverage

Financial boost for northern creative industries under government’s Create Growth programme

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer led the WeCreate Conference on November 13, launching the ‘Create Growth’ programme to support technological and financial development of the creative sector

Iconic Old Quad to be remodelled

The University has revealed plans to remodel the Old Quad area ahead of its bicentenary next year

The University of Manchester announces new environmental Master’s program

The new Master’s will focus on the social change needed to tackle the environmental crisis

Support for gender diverse students: Gender Expression Fund and option to add pronouns on Microsoft 365

Students can access a Gender Expression Fund, and add their pronouns on Microsoft 365, in two separate announcements which both aim to support gender diverse students