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International student fingerprint scan-dal

Some Universities in the UK are introducing new attendance monitoring measures which make international students participate in fingerprint scans in order to prove their attendance to lectures.

Both the University of Sunderland and the University of Ulster have already adopted the practice. Ulster University has defended this decision as: “In response to changing UK Border Agency attendance monitoring requirements”

On 30th November 2009, in an attempt to counter the influx of “fake” student visa applications, the UK Border Agency introduced fingerprint and facial scans for Tier 4 (adult student) visas, also known as biometric data.» >

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Vice-Chancellor defends University pay policy

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading Sir David Bell has defended the University’s pay policy after it emerged that the University pays nearly 10% of its staff less than the living wage.

Figures obtained by Spark* through a Freedom of Information request have revealed that 378 employees are paid less than £7.45 an hour by the University, of this number, 178 are employed on permanent contracts.

The living wage, promoted by the Living Wage Foundation, is an informal benchmark calculated on the amount an individual needs to earn to cover the basic costs of living.» >

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Problems with parking, permits and potholes

For many students at the University of Reading, driving is not only a source of independence, but also a huge convenience.

On-campus parking, however, is an issue facing those students who drive. With a grand total of twenty-four car parks on site, it seems surprising that the University is so reluctant to allocate spaces to students. Indeed, although parking permits can be applied for, the University’s website notes that: “these are only usually awarded to students with mobility issues or with other extenuating circumstances.”

The University must not only recognise that driving is an opportunity to become independent and an adult, but also an increasingly popular option for students living away from home.» >

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‘Best job prospects’ for social science grads

A recent report using data on graduate destinations from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) shows that social science graduates are more likely to be in paid employment than arts or humanities graduates. The researchers define social sciences as including economics, management, business studies, anthropology, sociology, criminology, human geography, media studies, town planning, education and politics. Professor James Wilsdon, chairman of the Campaign for Social Science study said, “Teaching and training the next generation of social scientists is an investment that will repay itself many times over”.» >

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Help mark Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Day of Remembrance was on the 20th November. This day of remembrance, remembered those who have been killed as a result of transphobia, hatred, and fear of transgender and gender non-conformists. It brought to attention the violence that those who are transgendered have to endure continuously.

Hate crimes towards those who are transgendered have increased in recent years with it having one of the highest percentages of homicide, sexual offences and other offences.» >

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Taxation on fizzy drinks

Researchers at the University of Reading and Oxford have recently published findings that suggest a 20% tax on fizzy drinks could reduce the number of obese adults in the UK by 180,000.

Research by the University of Reading Centre for Food Security published their findings in the British Medical Journal, stating their reason for proposing such a tax to be that fizzy drinks contribute to a multitude of health problems in adults, including obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.» >

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Glad RAGs for great causes

Anja Nielsen

The week beginning Monday 4th November saw this year’s RAG week come to fruition and was spent raising money for some great causes.

Events were held on all five days, with the committee getting a head start with fundraising by attending a street collection for Oxfam in London on Saturday 2nd November. The week began on Monday with a sweets sale and a second round of the Great Big Giveaway, an effort to sell supplies left in halls for a donation to charity.» >

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Reading University Jsoc’s ‘good deed day’

Jack Mendel

Reading University Jewish Society took part in an International day of social action, Mitzvah day, also known as good deed day.

Every year an astounding 25,000+ people take part in charitable and social projects, regardless of age, faith, affiliation, gender or socio-economic position – to donate their time and energy to a diverse range of vital causes that make a tangible difference to those in need around the world.» >

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