International News in Brief

 
 

Queen’s SU bans ‘Blurred Lines’

Playing Robin Thicke’s controversial hit ‘Blurred Lines’ has been banned on campus by the Queen’s University Belfast Students’ Union. The motion, proposed by Student Officer for Equality and Diversity, Caoimhe McNeill, prohibits the song from being played in campus bars and clubs, on Queen’s Radio, in cafes and at club and society events.

Commercial outlets will also be prevented from playing the song, with the motion stating the station must be “changed immediately” where an external radio station plays it.

According to McNeill, over 20 other Students’ Unions have removed the same song from their playlists. She feels this is a positive “step in a right direction to make sure SU members feel safe on campus.”

The ban has not been universally accepted, with those speaking against the motion to remove the track calling it “tantamount to censorship.” It was noted that “millions of other songs” contain similar lyrics with connotations not far removed from that of Thicke’s most recent release.

The motion passed narrowly by four votes, with 26 students voting in favour of the motion against 22 opposed.

 

Police spying on Cambridge students

Cambridgeshire police have been attempting to spy on the political activities of Cambridge University students. Police officers have tried to recruit informants from the University to feed them information on students involved in demonstrations, their vehicles and their Facebook activity.

According to Chief Constable Simon Parr, this was routine practice. He commented, “We are gathering intelligence from a number of sources, as every force does, on things we believe may be interest in keeping the public safe… the only way we know if there are things we need to be interested in is by trying to find out.”

The move has been condemned by 130 Cambridge University academics. They have signed a letter addressed to the Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, calling on him to “condemn such covert practices.” They believe that a “threat of such unjustifiable surveillance” will discourage students from becoming involved with campaigning organisations, including Cambridge University Students’ Union.

Cambridge officials have yet to respond to the issue, claiming it is a matter for the police, not the University.

 

President leads university strike negotiations

The Academic Starr Union of Universities (ASUU), who represent Nigeria’s public universities, may be about to end their four-month strike over funding issues. Union leaders have sent a draft agreement to all branches, and it is currently under discussion.

This draft agreement arose after Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan reached out to ASUU President, Nasir Isa Fagge, with an invitation to the presidential palace for talks. The strike had become a source of national concern, as universities have been paralysed since July.

The Nigerian government have offered to provide $1.3 billion US Dollars in 2013 and $1.4 billion each year from 2014-18 for the revitalization of the university system. It has also indicated that it is willing to engage with universities in special consultancies in an effort to improve their income generation base.

Branches of the ASUU are currently holding congresses to debate the agreement, but it has been indicated that the majority will pass the draft. Concerning when lecturers will return to classrooms, Fagge commented: “That is up to our members.”

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