Missed our recap of January to June? Find it just here. Now to look at the latter half of 2015…
The second half of our year unfortunately kickstarted with some severe trauma: the end of Arena’s reign as VK vendor and Tuesday Cheese specialist, as its doors closed for the final time. Although it had been confirmed that Cheesy Tuesdays would remain, many questions were left unanswered. Would VK’s still be sold? And what fate would await the carpet? The answer came later in the form of Unit 1.
Meanwhile, the University was sued by a retired electrician, after he was exposed asbestos there over 20 years ago. The case, which was heard at London’s High Court, saw the former University employee seek substantial damages, as he believed that the exposure had led to chronic respiratory problems that left him housebound due to lung disease.
Well, this is awkward…
September saw a fresh new cohort hit the University, the introduction of Unit 1 and Exeter being named one of the top universities for value for money in the UK, as well as The Times and Sunday Times Sports University of the Year 2016 – not a bad start to the year in which we would celebrate the University’s Diamond Jubilee.
Given on the basis of “excellence in sports performance, education and research”, the Times Award represented the University’s “outstanding support for athletes, very high student satisfaction in sport-related programmes and world-leading research which enhances athletic performance at all levels”.
With a growing refugee crisis, the month also saw Exeter students put compassion into action by travelling to Calais to provide aid and support.
Fabulous news for all in October, as we learned that Exeter had entered into The Times’ Global Top 100 ranking, ranking at 93rd place. However, amid concerns over staff redundancies, study space issues and general overcrowding, Exeposé asked: “Global Top 100… but at what cost?”
Following a campus-wide survey of student opinion, Exeposé discovered that 80 per cent of students felt that the University campus was overcrowded. The biggest area of concern was the lack of study space, however, with 90 per cent of those surveyed stating there was not enough study space for the amount of students at the University.
That month, in which students also got angry over a “rubbish” waste collection policy, Exeposé examined diversity on campus, revealing that the number of BME students had fallen year on year since 2012. A Freedom of Information request also displayed disparities within undergraduate academic grading, with BME students scoring lower than their white counterparts in 28/39 undergraduate disciplines.
Bracton Law Society was revealed to be the richest on campus in November, with over £58,000 in their account – more than double the amount of the second richest society.
The Exeposé investigation also discovered that eight Guild affiliated societies were in deficit, according to the budget breakdown figures. Popular umbrella society Acapella in deficit to the not-so-sweet tune of £2,647.
November also sadly saw over 2,000 students attend a candlelit vigil to show solidarity with the victims of the Paris and Beirut attacks. The moving evening included poems and speeches in both English and French, a rendition of the Marseillaise, and a memorable speech from Palestinian student Malaka Mohammed, who spoke of the violence in Gaza and reminded the thousands in attendance not to forget the 43 killed in Lebanon.
“We are all involved in mankind… Let us work hard to end these atrocities. We can do this regardless of race, colour, religion, nationality or anything else. We can do it,” she said.
In its final issue before Christmas, Exeposé covered MP Ben Bradshaw’s talk about the EU to students. With the issue of Syria at the forefront of many students’ minds, the talk saw members of Socialist Students carry placards denouncing the MP’s decision to vote in favour of military action.
It was also discovered that, despite the introduction of the money-saving Guild Points scheme earlier this year, just 12 per cent of points had been redeemed.
Finally, to round off the year on a high note, one Exeter student found her Christmas mistletoe match in a rather unconventional way – through Channel 4 show First Dates. Having bonded over a love of standup comedy and novelty socks, the Theology student agreed to meet again with her date.