Academics condemn “repressive” Counter-Terrorism Bill

first_imgOxford professors have joined 500 academics in signing an open letter published in The Guardian that condemned the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill currently being debated in parliament.The letter, which included signatures from Oxford academics, declares that the bill would be “a threat to freedom of speech at Universities”, as well as “an unlawful and unenforceable duty on educational institutions and staff .”The controversial bill, which seeks to curb campus extremism as one of its aims, has caused considerable debate, both within Oxford University and on the national stage. The letter declares, “One of the purposes of post-compulsory education is to foster critical thinking in staff , students, and society more widely. Our universities and colleges are centres for debate and open discussion, where received wisdom can be challenged and controversial ideas put forward in the spirit of academic endeavour.“The best response to acts of terror against UK civilians is to maintain and defend an open, democratic society in which discriminatory behaviour of any kind is eff ectively challenged. Ensuring colleges and universities can continue to debate difficult and unpopular issues is a vital part of this.”After branding the “draconian crackdown” as both “unnecessary” and “ill-conceived”, the academics called on the government to reconsider attempts to tackle extremism in the UK that do not compromise academic freedom.One of the signatories, Oxford academic Professor Robin Cohen, a former Director of the International Migration Institute, told Cherwell, “One of the odious provisions is that visiting speakers will be required to submit their presentations two weeks in advance. This is a basic violation of academic freedom. Academics are not automata. They think and develop their ideas as they go.“It is an even more horrible thought that Oxford academics will be obliged to report external speakers who have views considered to be advocating ‘non-violent extremism’ and who are thought to challenge democracy and individual liberty.”With regards to the legislation, Oxford University commented, “Individual academics from Oxford have already made it clear that they have concerns about the Bill. The University is monitoring events with interest.”The Home Office told Cherwell, “We must ensure that poisonous, divisive ideologies are not allowed to spread, including through our universities.“There is no contradiction between promoting freedom of speech and safeguarding the interests and well-being of students, staff and the wider community. Universities UK already provides guidance to help institutions develop extremist speaker policies.“The measures in the Bill will build on these existing arrangements and ensure Prevent is delivered to a consistent standard across the country. This is particularly important in areas where terrorism is of the most concern but we are clear that all areas need to understand the local threat and take action to address it.”last_img read more

Hundreds attend ‘Refugees Welcome in Oxford’ rally

first_imgNeville Dowley from Oxford, when asked why he felt it was important to attend the protest, stated simply, “The main thing for me is compassion.”A message from Andrew Smith, Labour MP for Oxford East, asked that a “strong message of support and solidarity for the march” be conveyed from him in his absence owing to a prior commitment. He added “Britain has a clear duty to take significantly more refugees.”He went on to say in his message that he has received more constituent emails and letters on this issue “than any other ever” and that he had already written to the Prime Minister saying that “we can and must do much more”.In relation to the practicalities of welcoming refugees in Oxford, the MP told the assembled crowds “I will work with City and County Council [to enable Oxford] to provide the support that people need.”Bob Price, the Leader of Oxford City Council today told Cherwell, “The Government’s announcement yesterday, while welcome progress, does not meet the expectations of the people of Oxford and their clear will to help.”“As the 20,000 refugees will be accepted over a period of five years, that equates to a very small amount of refuge being offered by the UK in the face of this human crisis, which is disappointing.”With regard to possible challenges facing Oxford in accepting refugees given its existing housing crisis, he stated that, “Since the Government’s plan is to prioritise orphans, the focus of the response required from Oxford will be more on finding foster homes rather than additional housing.”Lucy Brinicombe, who lives near Oxford and attended the rally, told Cherwell, “It’s great to see so many people here showing concern for people who are trying to flee great danger. I’m hopeful that at last we’re going to see Britain being compassionate as opposed to hostile, and the scare-mongering we’ve seen is going to be a thing of the past.“It shows an outpouring of care and people wanting to do something. There is a basic instinct to care for other people.” Hundreds of people attended a rally in Oxford on Sunday calling upon the UK to welcome more refugees fleeing war and desperate situations in the Middle East and Africa.The ‘Refugees Welcome in Oxford’ rally, which took place outside the Sheldonian Theatre, attracted families with young children, secondary school and university students and pensioners alike. The event began at 3pm and finished with a march at 4:45pm.Speeches were made from many prominent campaigning figures calling upon the Government to do much more and were warmly received by the crowds gathered. Messages on home-made posters displayed by members of the crowds included “We welcome refugees (Given the chance),” “We are all human,” “Love not Hate – Refugees Welcome in Oxford,” and “Albert Einstein was a refugee!”The Government announced yesterday that the UK will take in up to 20,000 Syrian refugees from UN camps over the next five years. By comparison, it is estimated that 18,000 refugees reached Germany over the weekend alone. Today Sigmar Gabriel, the Vice Chancellor of Germany said that his country can cope with at least 500,000 asylum-seekers per year for several years, while repeating demands for other European countries also to take their fair share.Kate Attwooll from Oxford, told Cherwell at Sunday’s rally “I work as a humanitarian in South Sudan and see first-hand the suffering and dire situations women, men, girls and boys experience on a daily basis. It’s shameful that the UK has taken this long to show compassion and open its borders to human beings in need.“Today the people of Oxford have spoken: we welcome refugees here and the Government needs to take action now.”Eleni Stamou, who is Greek but lives in Oxford, commented to Cherwell at the rally, “The initial response [of the British Government] was quite terrifying and cold but it is still not adequate.“The two crises are coming together in Greece, and it’s making an explosive mix which is terrible for the refugees and is stirring up far right sentiment. Once again you see asymmetry in European policy. We need to realise that Europe needs to share these problems.”last_img read more

Oxford faces sexism claims after introducing ‘take-home’ exams to close gender gap

first_imgOxford University has defended itself against ‘sexism’ allegations in the national press, following its introduction of ‘take home’ exams for some history students.From Michaelmas 2017, history students will be able to replace one of their five finals papers with a exam which they will be able to sit at home.According to a document seen by The Sunday Times, the change was designed to help close the gender disparity in the awarding of firsts in history. Last year, 37 per cent of men achieved firsts in history compared to 32 per cent of women.The move was described as “so insulting” by the University of Liverpool’s Amanda Foreman. While recognising the good intentions of the decision, she said: “The reason why girls and boys perform differently in exams has nothing to do with the building they are in.”Several of Oxford’s own faculty members are said to have criticised the decision, raising concern at the increased risk of plagiarism, and seeing it as only a short-term solution to gender disparities in results.But the University has hit back at these claims of sexism, saying that broader considerations caused the change in exam regulations.A spokesperson told Cherwell: “Timed exams remain an important part of the course, testing skills to complement the other assessed elements.“This change is part of a broader goal of diversifying the history course in response to a number of factors, including the need to test a greater range of academic skills.“The gender gap was also a consideration in this change, although research shows that the causes of the gap are broad do not lie solely in methods of assessment.”It is reported that Cambridge University has also assessed the possibilities for changing their examination systems.last_img read more

University losses to cost economy £6bn and 60,000 jobs, while Treasury resists bailout

first_imgOxford and Cambridge are predicted to see an average loss of 255 jobs each: similar to the average 240 job losses per institution, but much fewer than the predicted job losses for the second tier of institutions (the 22 other Russell Group members and some other older universities). In an economic recession, Oxford and Cambridge are assumed to face the “relatively largest increase” in the number of full-time students and the “smallest decline” in part-time students and international undergraduate students. Deferral rates from UK and international first-year students due to the COVID-19 pandemic are also predicted to be lowest for Oxford and Cambridge.   “Even with the current unfolding crisis, universities are still itching to compete to recruit students. This analysis shows how Universities UK’s student recruitment proposal simply shifts the financial pain around the sector. What students and staff really need at the moment is the government to stand behind their universities and for institutions to work cooperatively in the wider interest.” It estimates that 111,000 fewer UK first-year students and 121,000 fewer international first-year students will start university this year. This means 47% of international first-year students are expected to delay or cancel plans to study in the UK. Dr Gavan Conlon, partner at London Economics, said: “Many institutions have a very considerable exposure to international students, and the pandemic will result in a very substantial loss in enrolments and income. Government support of universities is crucial to protect students in the short term and institutional research and teaching capacity in the longer term. However, Oxford is predicted to have a negative net cash inflow from operating activities in 2020-2021, which means a deficit-based on day-to-day operations. This does not consider cash flow from investing and financing activities. The COVID-19 pandemic and consequent recession will lead to a steep reduction in student numbers, causing a £2.5bn funding “black hole” with dramatic impacts on the wider economy, warns a new report. The analysis predicts that 91 institutions will be left in a “critical financial position where income only just covers expenditure.” It warns that Universities UK’s recent proposal to allow institutions to recruit up to 5% more students would shift the financial impact onto less wealthy institutions. “The proposed student numbers cap will not be enough to avoid an overly competitive market for the remaining pool of applicants, with the impact of this actually being worse for some institutions than the effect of the pandemic itself. Given the expected financial losses across the sector, the government’s response clearly needs to be sufficiently well funded and well planned. The report states that: “While the analysis assumes relatively optimistic outcomes for higher education institutions, in reality, the potential financial impacts may be much worse than those presented here unless there is significant government intervention to support universities through this crisis.” “Our world-renowned universities are doing crucial work now as we hunt for a vaccine and will be vital engines for our recovery both nationally and in towns and cities across the UK. It is vital that the government underwrites funding lost from the fall in student numbers. These are unprecedented times and without urgent guarantees, our universities will be greatly damaged at just the time they are needed most. Meanwhile, the Treasury is opposing a sector-specific bailout of UK universities, in face of calls for doubled research funding among other detailed measures from Universities UK. The Financial Times reports that this has caused “division in Whitehall” and “objections from senior figures in the university sector,” but that the Treasury is “not receptive to what is viewed as universities’ special pleading.” The Financial Times reports that a cross-departmental meeting last week showed “broad support for a bailout” for the higher education sector, but that “the Treasury refused to be drawn.” The Treasury’s opposition was “confirmed by officials from three Whitehall departments.” A Treasury official said: “We are working with our colleagues at the Department of Education to come up with a sensible and targeted solution.” UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “This alarming report shows that university staff and students are now staring over the edge of a cliff and desperately need the government to step in and protect the sector. The government’s own analysis puts universities most at risk of financial pain from the current crisis and this report does not take account of other income losses, such as accommodation or conferencing. 36 institutions, out of a possible 125, are expected to similarly have a negative net cash inflow from operating activities. 91 institutions, almost three-quarters, are expected to have a net cash inflow of <5%, which puts them in a “critical financial position.” The UCU says the government must act to protect the income of universities, otherwise it risks inflicting damage to “a sector which will be crucial to the national recovery.” The report states that the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge are “assumed to be the least negatively impacted” when modelling the impact of an economic recession and the pandemic on institutions. Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group, said: “The whole Higher Education sector – like almost all others in the UK – is at risk at this unprecedented and challenging time. There are no simple solutions and while our universities play their part in responding to the immediate crisis through research, testing and practical support for the NHS, they are also taking steps to make savings and deliver the best value for every pound they spend. “The vast majority of universities do not have the cash reserves to cover these losses and we would expect no university to exploit the crisis. They need to work with us to protect jobs and the sector.” “To secure long-term sustainability for students and for the UK’s vital research and innovation base, sector-wide support across both teaching and research will be needed to help universities mitigate the disruption caused by COVID-19.”Oxford University has announced measures to save costs and preserve income streams, including a recruitment freeze, a pilot furlough scheme in six departments, and continued engagement with the government to seek funded extensions to disrupted research. The report, by London Economics for the University and College Union, estimates that 30,000 university jobs and a further 32,000 jobs in the wider economy will be lost. The “total economic cost to the country” from direct and indirect changes is expected to be more than £6bn, and “may be much worse… unless there is significant government intervention to support universities through this crisis.”last_img read more

Student campaign for affordable access to Oxford COVID-19 vaccine

first_imgUAEM UK have requested that the full licensing terms of the Oxford University vaccine are made public, to clarify the safeguards in place and to prevent the creation of potential monopoly-generation protections. They also have requested that Astra Zeneca declare their manufacturing costs, to verify their commitment to pricing a vaccine product “at cost” during the pandemic.  The campaign has developed a mapping tool to track public funding of COVID-19 research and development in universities. It visualises information synthesised from government databases and publicly funded institutions. The tool is currently tracking the funding of university groups in 13 countries. UAEM UK told Cherwell that their tool aims to highlight the role of the public sector in research, because the “contribution of the public is virtually never reflected in the pricing, accessibility, and affordability of the final drug.” Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), a global network of university students, is campaigning for affordable, global access to a COVID-19 vaccine. UAEM UK talked to Cherwell about their endeavours “to ensure that publicly funded COVID-19 vaccines developed in Oxford are widely and equitably accessible to those who need it most.”  AstraZeneca state they have the capacity to produce one billion doses through 2020 and 2021. UAEM UK note that agreements for “at least 400 million doses” have been made so far, 100 million for the UK and 300 million for the US: “That’s forty percent gone.” Oxford University have set out guidance to organisations about the licensing of University intellectual property about COVID-19 related products and services. It states that the default approach will be to “offer non-exclusive, royalty-free licences to support free of charge, at-cost, or cost + limited margin supply as appropriate, and only for the duration of the pandemic, as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO).” UAEM UK note that Oxford University and researchers have “said all the right things so far and made lots of positive steps”, but want this to turn “into concrete action that challenges the dominant model of excessive pharmaceutical profits and exclusivity.” UAEM UK have been assessing the licensing agreements for the University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine. They have concerns about “potential stockpiling by rich countries, namely the USA and the UK, to secure access to the vaccine before others.” UAEM is campaigning for universities to sign the ‘Open COVID’ pledge. Developed by an international group of scientists and lawyers, this encourages organisations to commit to providing non-exclusive, royalty-free licenses for their products, processes, and information for up to one year after the pandemic.  Emily Swift, an Oxford medical student who is part of the UAEM UK campaign, told Cherwell: “It’s hard for people to access this information from fairly dense websites. The goal is to allowed people who are interested to find where their money is going… Hopefully this is a way to hold institutions a bit more accountable for what people’s money is being used for.”  A statement made by AstraZeneca this week states that it is “collaborating with a number of countries and multilateral organisations to make the University of Oxford’s vaccine widely accessible around the world in an equitable manner.” It also states that it is engaging with international organisations and governments “for the fair allocation and distribution of the vaccine around the world.” UAEM UK also wrote to the Jenner Institute, in collaboration with other organisations including Just Treatment and Global Justice Now, to request that the deal between Oxford and AstraZeneca be made public, and to explain how it safeguards fair access for all.  UAEM UK expressed concerns to Cherwell that this means non-exclusive licensing of the vaccine will be limited to the duration of the pandemic. Once the WHO downgrades the classification of the virus spread, prices may increase, which is “likely to disproportionately affect countries and parts of society which are unable to rapidly manufacture or access  vaccines and other treatments once they become available.” “The public deserves a return on public investment by ensuring that COVID-19 vaccines are the global public goods which the UK public want – there was a recent survey by [the Wellcome Trust] which supported the overwhelming public majority behind universal equitable access to a vaccine.” They have not yet received a response to the letter. A University spokesperson recommended to Cherwell that questions about the University policy for licensing COVID-19 related intellectual property be directed to AstraZeneca, as they are handling manufacturing.  UAEM UK told Cherwell: “Given the state of global access to medicines, we feel that more is necessary and we need more information. We also want the companies involved, so far only AstraZeneca, to make good on their promises to make the vaccine affordable and accessible to everyone – we haven’t seen any concrete evidence of this yet. While everyone is saying the right things, these still need to be turned into actions.” Image from mapping tool created by UAEM student volunteers.last_img read more

COA: Claim Of Man Killed By Kick Falls Under Medical Malpractice Act

first_imgA man’s estate could not convince an appellate panel that a psychiatric center where he was staying was liable for his death based on the theory of premises liability.Roy Martinez was a former patient at Metcalf House, a voluntary group home operated by Oaklawn Psychiatric Center that offered supervised living for patients who don’t require inpatient services.While staying at the home, Martinez was involved in a fight with Metcalf resident assistant Kennedy Kafatia after Martinez refused to go to bed. In the midst of their scuffle after both reaching for a lamp, Martinez suffered a leg injury when Kafatia kicked him in the shin. Kafatia called 911 but stayed away from Martinez while waiting for police to arrive, which was consistent with Oaklawn’s protocol for handling altercations with the psychiatric patients of Metcalf House.The large laceration on his leg ultimately killed Martinez, and his estate sued Oaklawn, alleging liability for Martinez’s injuries and resulting death under the Wrongful Death Act in Linda Martinez, as the Personal Representative of the Estate of Roy Martinez v. Oaklawn Psychiatric Center, 18A-CT-2883.Oaklawn filed a motion to dismiss, asserting that because it was a qualified health care provider under Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act, the estate was required to file its claim with a medical review panel. A trial court granted the motion, finding that Kafatia’s alleged conduct was “not ‘unrelated to the promotion of a patient’s health or the provider’s exercise of professional expertise, skill, or judgment.’”In its affirmation of the dismissal, the Indiana Court of Appeals found Kafatia’s attempts to enforce Martinez’s curfew by telling him to go to bed, attempting to turn off the light and ultimately kicking him was a part of Oaklawn’s provision of healthcare to Martinez. FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare Katie Stancombe for www.theindianalawyer.comcenter_img The appellate court cited Cox v. Evansville Police Department, et al., 107 N.E.3d 453 (Ind. 2018), noting that the current test under Trial Rule 12(B)(1) regarding whether the MMA applies to specific misconduct is to determine “whether that misconduct arises naturally or predictably from the relationship between the health care provider and patient or from an opportunity provided by that relationship.”“When the altercation occurred that injured Martinez, Kafatia was naturally responding to Martinez’s physically aggressive behavior by defending himself. Kafatia thereafter followed Oaklawn’s protocol by removing himself from Martinez’s immediate physical presence and waiting for law enforcement to assist with Martinez,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote for the panel.“These facts and circumstances, together with the broadened scope of employment set forth in Cox, place the incident and injuries squarely within the scope of the Medical Malpractice Act,” the panel concluded.An attorney for Martinez’s estate argued before the panel last month that Kafatia’s actions that led to Martinez’s death should take him outside the scope of protections under the Medical Malpractice Act, despite being an employee of a healthcare facility.Separately, Kafatia was charged criminally with neglect of a dependent causing death in Martinez’s case, but a St. Joseph County jury found him not guilty in April, the South Bend Tribune reported.last_img read more

Report Shows Tobacco Prevention Programs Underfunded Nationwide

first_imgTwitterFacebook FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare Report Shows Tobacco Prevention Programs Underfunded NationwideDECEMBER 14TH, 2018 MITCH ANGLE ILLINOIS, INDIANA, KENTUCKYDecember 14th, 2018 marks 20 years since a landmark tobacco settlement and an annual report says tobacco prevention and cessation programs continue to get shortchanged.The settlement awarded over $27 billion to fund tobacco prevention programs throughout the U.S., yet studies show that some states severely underfund these programs.According to the Tobacco Settlement Annual Report, progress has been made in reducing smoking rates in the last two decades to a low 14% nationwide. However, the report shows that smoking rates are on the rise in some Midwestern and southern states and among certain population groups. Those groups include people who live below the poverty level, those with less education, American Indians/Alaska Natives, the LGBT community, and those who are uninsured or on Medicaid.The report says that not a single state currently funds tobacco prevention programs at the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and only two states, Alaska and California, provide more than 70% of the recommended funding.Locally, the report shows that Indiana is spending 10% to 24% of CDC recommended funding on tobacco prevention programs. The report also says Illinois is spending less than 10% of the recommended funds, with Kentucky having allocated no state funds for prevention programs.The report touches on the youth using e-cigarettes, an issue that has been dubbed an epidemic. It’s believed the use of them have skyrocketed due to the popularity of Juul, which is seen as a challenged that should be addressed to prevent another generation from becoming addicted to nicotine.Click here to read the report in its entirety.last_img read more

Trial Date Set For Suit Alleging Coerced Confessions

first_imgFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare TwitterFacebook Trial Date Set For Suit Alleging Coerced ConfessionsOCTOBER 29TH, 2018 TYRONE MORRIS EVANSVILLE, INDIANAA lawsuit involving three teenagers who accuse Evansville police of violating their constitutional rights is headed to trial.Back in January, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals found there was enough evidence to warrant a civil trial in the suit filed on behalf of William, Deadra, and Andrea Hurt and their mother but the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.The teens’ lawsuit alleges Evansville police threatened them and fed them facts to coerce confessions in the 2012 killing of 54-year-old Marcus Golike.The case is set to go to trial in September 2019.last_img read more

BREAKING NEWS: Join Us For A ReOpening Stage 2 Town Hall For Retail…

first_imgFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare Join Us For A ReOpening Stage 2 Town Hall For Retail & Restaurant/Bar Industries.Current guidelines on how to reopen and maintain your business during these transitions will be discussed along with the next steps. A medical advisor from the ReOpen Evansville Task Force will be in attendance to give specifics about health and keeping your environment safe for employees and customers. You may attend either town halls. Please submit any questions ahead of time through the registration page.REGISTER NOW FOR THE RETAIL TOWN HALL – WED. MAY 6, 8:45 AM:https://members.swinchamber.com/events/details/reopening-stage-2-town-hall-retail-4816REGISTER NOW FOR THE RESTAURANT/BAR TOWN HALL – WED. MAY 6, 4 PM:https://members.swinchamber.com/events/details/reopening-stage-2-town-hall-restaurant-bar-4817A-Zoom link will be sent out to all registrants. For more information about ReOpening, go to https://swinchamber.com/re-opening-back-in-business/last_img read more

Channel 44 News: Another Award Given for Finding Aleah Beckerle

first_imgAnother Award Given for Finding Aleah BeckerleCathy Murray, the woman who discovered the body of Aleah Beckerle, receives another financial award this week. United Fidelity Bank and the Bring Aleah Home Fund gave Murray $2,000. Spokesperson for the Beckerle family, Laura Jackson, says…FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img

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