Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

The Week in Higher Education

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

The Week in Higher Education

Article excerpt

David Cameron has waded into the row about racism at the University of Oxford, accusing his alma mater of "not doing enough" to find places for non-white students. Writing for The Sunday Times on 31 January, the prime minister said that racism in top universities "should shame our nation" and that institutions must "go the extra mile" to root out "ingrained, institutional and insidious" attitudes that hold people back. The prime minister singled out his old university, saying that it was "striking" that its 2014 intake of more than 2,500 included only 27 black students, although he admitted that "poor schooling" may be partly to blame. While he rejected "politically correct, contrived and unfair solutions", such as quotas or positive discrimination, new rules will require the publication of data on applicants by course, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background, he said. Oxford hit back at any suggestion that it was "institutionally racist", with a spokesman stating that the university had done much to increase numbers of non-white students in recent years. Mr Cameron's latest target might surprise many, but his spin team are known to like a little "grit in the oyster" for these types of Monday morning talking points.

Just a couple of days before Mr Cameron's comments, Oriel College, Oxford, announced that it was keeping a statue of the Victorian imperialist Cecil Rhodes in place after alumni threatened to withdraw millions of pounds in donations, The Daily Telegraph reported. Donors had threatened to withdraw gifts and bequests worth more than £100 million if Oriel had bowed to pressure from the Rhodes Must Fall campaign, the paper said, citing a leaked copy of a report prepared by governors. A plaque to Rhodes, previously deemed "inconsistent with our principles" by Oriel, will also stay, the paper said - a decision branded "outrageous, dishonest, and cynical" by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign. "This is not over. We will be redoubling our efforts," the group said.

A US university is requiring its students to wear Fitbit fitness trackers to ensure that they walk a mandatory five miles a day, the College Fix website reported on 28 January. …

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