Clubs & Societies reminded to adhere to NUS Alcohol Awareness Policy

Royal Holloway’s recently revised Alcohol Awareness Policy has been causing controversy at the beginning of the new academic year amongst societies and clubs on campus. The Orbital has been informed that a certain society , not affliated with the Students’ Union, has been called in to speak to the College, to remind them that committees […]

Police Investigating Sexual Assault outside Medicine

Reported in the early hours of the morning during fresher’s week, Surrey Police are investigating a case of sexual assault outside of the Royal Holloway venue Medicine. According to the Police, on the 26th of September, a woman in her 20s left the club and was reportedly approached by two men. The woman, who was […]

Royal Holloway places highly in World University Rankings

Royal Holloway has placed at 17th in the UK and now sits at 118th in the world according to the Times Higher Education World University rankings. The College once again had an impressive performance in the ‘international outlook’ category, ranking at number one in the UK, and sixth in the world. The College Principal, Paul […]

Two arrested over knifepoint robbery released

Two teenage boys arrested in connection with the robbery that took place in Egham last month, have been released without charge by the police. The robbery, which took place on September 16th near Egham railway station, saw two youths threaten a 31 year-old man at knifepoint. The man handed over both his phone and wallet […]

College Expansion Plans Deferred by Council

Royal Holloway’s plan to expand the university buildings by 2031, to cater for a forecasted increase in students, has been opposed by Runnymede Borough Council during a meeting with Councillors. The plans, which would see the University look to buy further property in Englefield Green to transform into new halls of residence, and to create […]

NUS create ‘New Deal’ ahead of 2015 General Election

The National Union of Students (NUS) have released their manifesto, ‘New Deal for the Next Generation’, ahead of the General Election next year. The content of the manifesto is split largely into three themes focusing upon education, work and community. Following the 2010 General Election which saw a transformation in the way UK tuition fees work, […]

Foreign students should not be included in government immigration cuts

Top dogs at British universities have called for international students to be excluded from government efforts to cut immigration. A report, published by Universities UK, showed that 59% of the public thought the government should not reduce international student numbers, even if that limits the government’s ability to cut immigration overall. The organisation, whose 134 […]

EU exit could be bad for British universities

EU exit could be bad for British Universities: The President of Universities UK has warned that if Britain leaves the EU, it will lose the right to influence policies affecting our higher education system. Moreover, the fees which British students pay whilst studying in the EU may be liable to increase.

NUS LGBT student survey: A recent survey by the NUS into the wellbeing of LGBT students has revealed that 56% of students have considered or dropped out of uni as they felt they did not ‘fit in’, and 1 in 5 have experienced harassment on campus. NUS say the survey is the first step in ‘changing the world around LGBT students for the better’.

Turnitin aiding cheats? University chiefs are questioning whether plagiarism checking software Turnitin is being manipulated by students to cheat. The software, used by many RHUL departments, allows students in some cases to check their course work for plagiarism before submitting, meaning they can tweak ‘copied and pasted’ passages to pass off as their own work.

93rd place for Holloway: Royal Holloway has ranked 93rd out of 109 universities in the 2014 Student Beans sex survey with an average of 3.28 sexual partners per person, an increase from 1.61 partners the previous year. However, Holloway is still far off from Brighton University, who hold the number one position with an average of 10.59 partners.

NUS withdraws support for Student Rights: The NUS executive committee have unanimously voted to condemn the presence of the Student Rights group on UK campuses. The group, which was founded to monitor extremism on campus, has been accused of intimidating Muslim students and heightening the sense of Islamaphobia within the UK.

Water into wine? American Mark Phillips has created a powdered alcohol, or ‘Palcohol’, which can be added to water to create alcoholic drinks. However the product, which comes in seven flavours, has been banned from UK shores for fears it may be consumed irresponsibly; the product’s website even advocates snorting the powder for a faster effect.

Articles: Laura Denham

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800th anniversary of Magna Carta Celebrations start early at RHUL

June 2015 marked the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, one of history’s most important documents, which established the foundation of modern democracy, and that few people know was signed in Runnymeade.

Celebrations started early at Royal Holloway in April, with a convention on the Magna Carta, in partnership with Amnesty International, Brunel University, the Supreme Court and the National Centre for Citizenship and the Law, to generate debate around the anniversary.

Students from various local secondary schools gathered to draft a modern-day Magna Carta, as well as take part in a debate to explore the politics of the Magna Carta and how it is still relevant in modern society today.

This is the first in a line of events planned by the Egham Museum in celebration of the anniversary. These events, named Constitutional Conventions, will take place in the summer term at Royal Holloway in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Many other events started very early in advance for the anniversary. The Egham Museum closed in late April and re-opened on June 15th, having been redesigned to be made more attractive to tourists.

Most recently the Egham Town Team has been set up to redesign Egham’s town centre, in an effort to strengthen community pride and underline its historical importance. Egham, according to the Surrey Council Website, will become the ‘gateway to Magna Carta country.’ There is an opportunity for Royal Holloway students to enter a competition to design Egham Magna Carta signs that will be placed throughout the new town centre, and a logo for the new team.

Article: Brooke Dawson

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The hashtag ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ has been trending in social media platforms for over recent months. The campaign, supported originally by Amnesty International, has been propelled into the public sphere by high profile tweets, and there have been calls for increased efforts to find and further protect the 270 plus school girls who were kidnapped by the jihadist group Boko Haram from a school in Chibok, North-Eastern Nigeria, on the 14th April.

Translating as ‘Western Education is Forbidden’, Boko Haram is a Nigerian, Islamist terrorist group which was founded in 2002. The group was created by leader Abubakar Shekau with the intention to overthrow the Nigerian government and create an Islamist state. Since 2009, the group has launched violent attacks against the military and civilians alike, while especially targeting school children.

The kidnap of over 200 girls came weeks after the group laid claim to two bombings of bus terminals in the same region, which was declared to be in a state of emergency in May of last year.

The whereabouts of the school girls are unknown. A video was released by the terrorist group to a French news channel which showed some of the girls, whom experts presume are stationed in the vast Sambisa forest on the border of Cameroon. In the video three of the captives spoke to the camera to confirm they had now converted to Islam, and leader Shekau stated that the girls would be held until all imprisoned members of Boko Haram had been released by the Nigerian government.

In previous altercations with Boko Haram, the Nigerian government have successfully negotiated to release prisoners, though it cost them around £2 million. Since the kidnapping there has been a backlash within Nigeria and from international activist organisations, condemning what they believe to be ‘minimal’ efforts on the part of the state to rescue the girls. Locals report that there is a distinct lack of trust from civilians regarding the poorly equipped and trained military, due to years of human rights abuse within the country. Moreover, Amnesty International reported that Nigerian security forces failed to act on advanced warnings about Boko Haram’s raid, which saw the 200 girls kidnapped.

Nigeria’s president Jonathan Goodluck met with French, British and American leaders in Paris on the 17th May to discuss the situation. The countries, along with neighboring states, have counter-terrorism units on the ground in Nigeria, yet a clear plan of action was not established from the conference. Though Goodluck says he is ‘optimistic’ about a successful outcome, senior diplomatic figures such as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have expressed their concerns regarding the heightened intervention from the West, suggesting it may rile Boko Haram and further exacerbate their cause against Western society.

The UN Security Council have now officially deemed Boko Haram as an organization linked to Al-Qaeda, having received reports that its members were trained by the terrorist group and fought alongside them in Mali. Due to this information, the UN has taken measures to set up an arms embargo, which they hope will ‘close off important avenues of funding’ to the organisation.

Residents of Nigeria’s North-Eastern region now live in constant fear of further attack by the Islamist group. Another 100 people were killed in a week following twin bombings in the city of Jos. Meanwhile, having been missing for almost two months, concern for the school girls is increasing by the day, and pressure is mounting on Goodluck’s government to take effective action soon.

Article: Laura Denham