News in Brief – 16th September Issue

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Student Loans Company makes fortune from calls

Over a million pounds in revenue was raised by the Student Loans Company (SLC) from 0845 numbers over the last five years. The numbers can charge up to 41p a minute from mobiles, leaving some students and graduates out of pocket. The SLC has attempted to justify the money made by claiming that the charges lessen the impact on public finances.

College drops burka ban after outrage

Birmingham Metropolitan College scrapped a ban on Muslim face veils last Thursday, less than twenty-four hours before a planned demonstration. The U-turn came after a petition opposing the ban received over eight thousand signatures in two days. The college said it needed to introduce the ban “to be able to confirm an individual’s identity in order to maintain safeguarding and security”.

Oxford Union cancels EDL founder’s invite

English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson has had his invitation to speak at the Oxford Union cancelled after the claimed that ‘security’ costs to host him could not be covered. The Union has a reputation for inviting controversial speakers, though current president Tom Rutland welcomed the decision stating: “There is no value in inviting or hosting hate speakers in the name of ‘free speech’ when they themselves do not believe in free speech nor a free society”.

Students form credit union

Undergraduates at the University of Northampton have set up a joint initiative with the town’s Credit Union to form the first credit union for students. The new organisation, which offers financial services such as savings account and loans to students, is intended as an alternative to short-term payday loan firms.

250 lose out on York accommodation

The University of York has forced 250 undergraduate freshers to look for off-campus accommodation, after previously guaranteeing them spaces at their halls of residence. The university has offered free bus passes to the students who have branded staff as “rude” and “sarcastic”. Incoming student Abi Creak said a staff member told her to “get a mug of vodka”. She commented “how’s a mug of vodka going to help when I have no house?”.

Adrian Polglase, London Student: Issue 1 (16/09/2013)