The News From The Dark Blues
TIM WIGMORE is back to report on the flop of Oxford’s first carbon neutral ball and OUCA’s attempts to get charitable.
READ Tim Wigmore’s first column here.
There’s been a real uproar about those discussed extra ‘off-quota’ University places for those willing to pay full fees up front. While this would probably be enough for the French to revolt, we English have a much deadlier weapon: irony. Student Union Vice President Alex Bulfin said of David Willetts’ remarks, “World class education should not be for the most able but those who are able to pay through the nose for it”.
The timing of the seemingly scrapped proposals was especially unfortunate, as it clashed with a classic Oxford funding scandal, complete with copious corruption and even exotic names. The story is that Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani – son of the former President of Iran, no less – received assistance, in return for cash, with his application to Oxford. One professor has sworn on oath that this is the case, and has even gone all moral high groundy and says he will return his Oxford MA in protest.
Elsewhere, it has emerged that some students had seen the contents of a university exam before they sat it. Given how much Oxford evangelise about its examination standards, the revelations about a Church History paper – which has now been excluded from all Theology prelims results – are enough to make you lose faith. All a spokesman could preach was the worryingly gormless-sounding “The person who set the exam did not realise that last year’s paper had been published online and had been seen in collections”.
Brasenose, meanwhile, have been going green. Their ball was advertised as ‘Oxford’s first-ever carbon-neutral ball’ – even though it was out of college, and all students had to be coached for half an hour to get there. And by the end all that mattered was the (green) envy felt of other balls – alcohol supplies are rumoured to have run out before midnight.
Finally, a new week has seen OUCA in the news again, with the plans of the Tory association to launch a partnership with a local charity. The story has been accompanied by some suitably bad puns; The Oxford Student went with “OUCA-n you possibly think this is cynical”. I haven’t seen anyone encapsulate how OUCA is perceived quite like this (sadly anonymous) student: the stereotypical OUCA member “spends his time wallowing in expensive port and masturbating over portraits of Margaret Thatcher”. And – on that note – that’s it for this week.