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Mephedrone: Oxford student drug use revealed

first_imgThe specialist also reported that, chemically, the substance is an amphetamine like controlled drugs such as Speed.“You’d say that it’s in the category of amphetamines,” he said.Students spoken to by Cherwell also had little idea about if or when the drug was due to be reclassified by the government, with most believing that a new legal status would be set at the end of this or next month.A rumour of an imminent change in the legal status prompted a spike in sales as users ‘stockpiled’ earlier in the year.But a Home Office spokesperson confirmed that the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to the government was not due to report their findings into Mephedrone until the spring. The government would then take time to reclassify the drug, meaning that it may remain widely available for the rest of the academic year.The spokesperson said that the Council were reviewing the drug as an urgent priority. A source within the ACMD confirmed that “[Mephedrone] is one of our most pressing concerns. We are also investigating use of anabolic steroid for cosmetic reasons.”And despite the drug’s currently uncontrolled status, Oxford University proctors have now said that any student found abusing the substance is liable to be disciplined. “It is an offence…for any member of the University to engage in action which is likely to cause injury or to impair safety. Even if a substance is legal, supplying it to others in the knowledge of documented adverse side-effects could fall under the above,” said a representative for the university.“We would strongly advise students against the practise [sic] of taking any substance that could cause potential risks to their health,” they said.All students spoken to as part of the investigation asked to remain anonymous.See Cherwell’s editorial on drug use in Oxford: http://www.cherwell.org/content/9586 Mephedrone, recently labelled in the national press as the “UK’s new favourite drug”, is widely taken by Oxford students who thave little idea of the associated side effects and health risks.A Cherwell investigation this week has shown that students at the University are not only use the drug recreationally, but also as a study aid.They investigation also found that student-users are ignorant of forthcoming changes in its legal status, with many students incorrectly believing the drug will be banned imminently.Mephedrone, also known as M-Kat, is widely available online. However, the compound is illegal to sell for human consumption, so the websites which sell it market the drug as a plant fertiliser. The substance costs around £10 for a gram, with discounts available for bulk orders, making mephedrone less than a quarter of the street price of cocaine.Students report the drug as causing a feeling of euphoria, increased self-confidence and conversational ability and, in some cases, sexual arousal. They also said that the drug helped them to stay awake and “lively” when going out.One leading Oxford pharmacologist, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the issue, warned of the dangers of potential overdose on the drug.Many students use mephedrone because of its easy access and immediate effects. “It’s not as strong as cocaine or ecstasy,” said one undergraduate, “and it’s obviously much easier to get hold of. Iknow there must be risks about taking it, but not as much as others. It’s more of a sweetie-drug for me.”“It’s the smart person’s drug of choice, you take it, don’t drink, have a bit of a buzz, and then wake up feeling fine,” said another. “It’s legal which makes it seem a bit less bad, even though obviously it’s not legal for what we do with it…” The Home Office has confirmed to Cherwell that mephedrone is only legal when sold for purposes other than human consumption.One surprising finding of the survey was that a minority of students are taking the drug as a study aid, a use not reported on until now.“I had the idea for using it for an essay crisis because it kept me up all night at a club, and I didn’t feel bad in the morning,” said a student. “I only took only took a little bit in comparison to what I’d do on a night out, and it gave me a slight mood elevation – which you definitely don’t get from coffee.”“I’ve only done it once or twice as a last ditch resort,” he said, “‘because it’s quite a precarious solution”.Many emphasised the fact that the drug can be delivered to your door by post as an advantage. “You can buy it easily online – no lurking about on dark corners or cryptic text messages – you can buy it during labs!”“There’s something rather delicious about the postman handing over your fix by special delivery,” claimed one modern languages undergraduate.But one leading pharmacologist, who has led research into recreational drugs, told Cherwell that “with Mephedrone you’re taking an unknown dose, and one of the dangers with this is that someone will overdose.”When asked what he would tell students using the drug, he said, “don’t assume that just because it’s legal it’s safe”.He quoted a public health report which listed the possible negative side effects of use as “uncomfortable changes in body temperature (sweating and chills), heart palpitations, impaired short term memory, insomnia, tightened jaw muscles, grinding teeth, muscle twitching, dizziness, light headedness, vertigo,” as well as pain and swelling in the nose and throat if the substance is snorted.last_img read more

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James Blake “never booked” to play club night

first_imgI took a long coach journey from Cambridge and had to travel through Milton Keynes – do you know how horrible that is?”James Grant, a second year Historian at Queen’s commented, “I’m shocked and appalled.”‘Meditate’ is a new event, which advertises itself as “championing a very unique style of music”. Students were left disappointed after James Blake’s perceived “no-show” gig last weekend, but Cherwell can reveal that the critically acclaimed Dubstep artist was in fact never booked in the first place.Flyers and the Facebook event page clearly advertised Blake as a special guest at the top of the bill at the club night called ‘Meditate’, held at The Bullingdon Arms last Saturday. But when Cherwell contacted Lucy Dickins, Blake’s agent, she said that Blake had never been booked to play.The night’s promoter, second year Teddy Hall student Noor Rashid, was responsible for organising the event, which included booking the acts and the venue, as well as advertising and selling tickets for the night. He charged £20 for a standard price ticket, or £11 online for ‘early bird’ tickets for the event. When contacted by Cherwell, Rashid declined to comment.Cherwell spoke to Dickins, Blake’s current agent at International Talent Booking (ITB) as well as his previous agency, Reprise, and both said that Blake was never booked to play at the Bullingdon Arms.A spokesperson at Reprise said, “I had contact with Rashid about the possibility of booking James but we never even agreed a fee, let alone a booking. “If he’s claiming that Blake was supposed to play in Oxford last week, that’s completely false.”Dickins said, “James was certainly not booked to play the Bullingdon in Oxford. I have never had a contact with anyone under the name of Noor Rashid.“This is disappointing for his fans but I must re-iterate that James was never booked to play this night so is in no way responsible.”Students who attended the event thought that Blake would be playing between 12 and 1am. However, by the night’s close at 3am Blake had still not appeared. On hearing that Blake was never booked for the event, Kevin Ferriter, a second year at St John’s, said, “At first I was angry at Blake for not turning up and that I’d wasted £20; but if it is the case that he was never booked, then I feel like I’ve been cheated, and now I am angry with the organisers. Without James Blake, it was just an average night with varying qualities of dub and drum and bass music.”Ferriter continued, “I had invited some of my friends from home, and they came… especially for this event, so it was all a wasted trip.”A full-time promoter in Oxford, who asked not to be named, contacted Cherwell about Saturday’s event.  He explained that he was suspicious of the booking as soon as he heard about it.“There was no information about a Blake gig or DJ set in Oxford on any of his official websites, and I should know because I’ve been trying to book him for a while.“James Blake was clearly advertised as being at the top of the bill.Given his current stature I would suggest that he has five times more selling power than the rest of the Meditate bill put together.“I’m sure you’re aware of the level of radio play he has been receiving in recent weeks, far in excess of the other artists. Customers would invariably be buying tickets to the artist in question and not the ‘Meditate’ event as a whole.”Widget White of the Bullingdon Arms said, “We’ve had lots of complaints about people wanting their money back but it’s nothing to do with us: Rashid just hired out the room from us.“We’re pretty pissed off ourselves that people paid £20 for a pretty average night.  It was the first night Rashid had ever promoted [at The Bullingdon Arms], and we’ll never be having him back.“If people want their money back then they should get in touch with Rashid, or if they paid for the early bird tickets online, We Got Tickets.”Oscar Harry, a student at Cambridge, had come all the way to Oxford for the night. He said, “As a James Blake fan I am bitterly disappointed. £11 is quite a steep price for a night of lacklustre drum and bass.center_img Suspicion about the real reason for Blake’s no-show was aroused when the Facebook event page was completely deleted on Sunday morning, which led some to believe that Blake was never actually booked to perform, a fact clarified by Cherwell yesterday.last_img read more

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Thom Yorke works with Oxford students

first_imgThom Yorke used the expertise of Oxford MBA students to mastermind the release of his latest album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, on BitTorrent. The Oxford native, and Radiohead frontman, consulted with students Ryan Kroening, Phil Barry and Steven Lundy on “user experience, media strategy and financial analysis” when planning the unique release, which aimed to eliminate the need for a record label.The collaboration began when the three students, all self-professed music fans, were looking for a project to carry out for their Strategic Consulting Project (SCP). Whilst most MBA students at the Said Business School work for designated companies, Kroening, Barry and Lundy decided on a unique approach by helping to assist in the release of Thom Yorke’s latest work.Phil Barry explained to Cherwell, “We sent a message to Courtyard Management [Radiohead’s management company] entitled ‘MBAs offering brainpower’, which we think piqued their interest a bit”. Courtyard Management were full of praise for the students, saying, “It was immensely useful to have the input of the MBA students on data analysis and new marketing strategies. They produced a thorough and insightful document.’’Likewise, the students were enthused by working with Yorke, with Barry commenting, “Everything is driven by the music for Radiohead — our role was to adapt the business model around the music.”This is not the first time Yorke has attempted to innovate in the way he releases his music. The 2007 Radiohead album In Rainbows was released using a ‘pay-as-you-want’ method, whereby users could order the album for any amount they wanted, including nothing.In announcing the latest album, Yorke said that the release was an “effective way of handing some control of internet commerce back to people who are creating the work”.Said Business School also released a statement praising the innovation of the students, saying, “The MBA students were able to put their learning into practice on the project, analysing fan and market data, and bringing together new technologies to generate new ideas challenging conventional content distribution mechanisms.”The £3.75 charged for Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes is understood to be split 90%/10% between Yorke and BitTorrent, giving the method a clear advantage over standard label releases.Yorke’s approach has been met with favourable reviews from the student body, with Alexi Andriopoulos, a PPEist at Univ commenting, ‘‘I think more music should be released like this because it’s the only sure-fire way of ensuring that the artists who create the music get their fair share of the profits. It could encourage more talented musicians to enter the industry who previously were concerned about the ability to make money in music.”Yorke’s strategy appears to have been a success. Whilst BitTorrent have not released a specific figure, they have disclosed that there have been in excess of one million downloads of Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes.Although the reaction has been positive, some students noticed the irony that BitTorrent is banned at some Oxford colleges, with one student commenting, “They could have at least chosen a platform all Oxford students have access to.”last_img read more

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Student hunger strike in solidarity with Egypt

first_imgMore than twenty Oxford students are taking part in a rolling hunger strike as part of the Egypt Solidarity Initiative’s 1,000 Hours of Hunger campaign. The campaign is protesting against the repressive laws used to criminalise dissent and detain activists, destroying the freedoms that the Egyptian people fought for in the 2011 revolution.During 5th and 6th Weeks, students are taking 24 hours of symbolic action to express their anger at the loss of basic human rights of free speech and free assembly for political activists and Egyptian citizens alike. There are over 140 political prisoners currently on hunger strike in Egypt and the 1,000 Hours of Hunger campaign is showing solidarity with them. The strike started on 22nd September at SOAS and has already proved that solidarity — according to the Egypt Solidarity Initiative website — “makes a real difference” with three activists, including Alaa Adel Fattah, who launched the hunger strike campaign in August, being released on bail on 15th September.However, according to Egyptian human rights activists, around 40,000 people have been detained since July 2013, many without charge or trial. For example, Sanaa Seif — a 20 year old student — was arrested on 21st June whilst peacefully protesting the jailing of her brother and 23 others for 15 years. Those that remain incarcerated, in often appalling conditions, are evidence of the assault on civil liberties being conducted by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s administration.Amelia Cooper, an Oxford University Amnesty International member taking part in the hunger strike, told Cherwell that she is taking action out of a “shared sense of dismay [which] is rooted entirely in the audacious manner in which the Egyptian administration is abusing the rights of its citizens.”She added, “The object of the strike is twofold — we want to raise awareness, as well as demonstrating support and solidarity to the strikers in Egypt.”Alex Marshall, who is also involved in the Campaign to Close Campsfield and Oxford Migrant Solidarity, said he was striking because of his disappointment after seeing how the achievements of the 2011 Egyptian revolution have been “gradually and viciously crushed” in the intervening years.He explained, “There is dirt behind the daydream of peaceful and democratic societies such as ours that we take for granted – part of any expression of political principles is a willingness to look at that dirt, or briefly experience it in solidarity”.However, the campaign has been questioned by some members of the University. An anonymous second year told Cherwell, “Although I can appreciate what the campaigners are doing at the moment, I don’t exactly see how effective a group of Oxford students going hungry for a few hours will have any impact on events in Egypt. Maybe I’m just being cynical though!”The campaign is also attempting to show solidarity with prisoners of conscience such as Mohamed Soltan, who is currently in intensive care after slipping into a coma, having been on strike for over 280 days. Along with numerous others, the hope is to reverse the trend towards an ever increasingly damaged civil society in Egypt, and the release of arbitrarily detained political prisoners.last_img read more

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Oxford professor wins Abel Prize for Fermat’s Last Theorem

first_imgOxford Professor Andrew Wiles has been announced as the 2016 winner of the Abel prize for his proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem. Wiles is a Royal Society Research Professor  at the University of Oxford and will receive the prize from Crown Prince Haakon of Norway at a ceremony in Oslo in May.The Abel prize is awarded annually by the Norwegian government to an outstanding mathematician. The award was established in 2001 and has been described as the mathematician’s “Nobel prize”, coming with the monetary award of six million Norwegian Kroner (£500,00).First formulated by the French mathematician Pierre de Fermat in 1637, the theorem has been widely regarded by mathematicians as seemingly intractable. Wiles claims to have become fascinated by the theorem as a ten year old child after coming across a book in a library in Cambridge. In solving Fermat’s Last Theorem, Wiles has developed new tools which have allowed researchers to make significant developments in an effort to unify disparate branches of mathematics.The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, which presents the Abel Prize, said in its citation, ‘Few results have as rich a mathematical history and as dramatic a proof as Fermat’s Last Theorem.’Learning of the award today, Andrew Wiles told Cherwell, “I am very honoured to receive the Abel prize. I have been very fortunate to spend my life working on the mathematical problems that I love, and I am doubly fortunate then to be recognized so generously for my work.”In an email to Mathematics students across the university this morning, Martin R Bridson Head of Department wrote, “I write to share some tremendously exciting news with you: it was announced in Oslo at 11:00 GMT that Sir Andrew Wiles has been awarded the 2016 Abel Prize, the most distinguished prize in mathematics. This is a great day for Andrew and for Oxford Mathematics.”Second year Mathematics student Monica Gupta studying at Merton College where Sir Andrew is a fellow, told Cherwell, “Andrew Wiles was a the main reason I started looking into choosing Merton to apply to when application time came around. He is the most ‘famous’ contemporary mathematician. I feel very privileged to have seen him lecture a few times at the Maths Institute. The Abel Prize is regarded as the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in the Maths world, and it is very well deserved by Wiles. Hearing him give an interview after he found out he received the accolade was humbling – he was incredibly modest and mainly focused on the Maths behind his work, rather than the Abel Prize it won him.”In 2013 the Maths Institute opened their new £70 million Andrew Wiles Building, uniting a department that had previously been spread across three separate locations. The building was named after Andrew Wiles in tribute to his published completed proof in 1995.Merton College has been approached by Cherwell for comment.last_img read more

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Car crashes into shop in Cowley

first_imgCowley Road was cordoned off by emergency services after an out of control car crashed through the side of a shop just after 7am last Sunday. The vehicle, reportedly a silver Peugeot 207, first knocked over a lamp post in front of Tesco, and then drove into The Furniture Shop at the intersection of Cowley, Bullingdon Road, and Chapel Street.“Thames Valley Police was called at 7.19am on April 17,” Lucy Billen of the Thames Valley Police media team told Cherwell.Eyewitnesses told the police that they had seen two people, a man and a woman, get out of the vehicle after it crashed, and leave by foot. No injuries were reported, though there is still no word on the whereabouts or condition of the car’s two occupants. The police have kept searching for them and are concerned they may have been hurt, judging from the state in which the car was found. “The investigation continues,” Lucy Billen added.The family-run shop however was seriously damaged in the crash, and the owners said it would have to be closed for at least a month as the owners repair and rebuild their business. As well as the shop window which was entirely destroyed in the accident, a brick pillar supporting the building was damaged.Because this affected the structure of the shop, works started straight after the car was towed away by a team of around 20 firefighters. The family running The Furniture Shop have said the total insurance cost of the reparations could be up to “tens of thousands of pounds” and described the damage as “surreal” according to Oxford Mail.“This is a big shock for us all and we are now counting the cost,” Omar Nawaz told an Oxford Mail journalist. The 35 year-old and his brother Kasim Nawaz help their parents run the shop which has been owned by the family for 30 years. “It’s the East Oxford spirit – you just get on with it,” Omar Nawaz said. “We have been here for a long long time, we don’t intend on going anywhere. It is all a bit surreal but you can’t hang around and not get on with things or you would be in the same position.”Juliette Perry, a Somerville first year who will be living in Cowley next year, told Cherwell she saw the neighbourhood as a “friendly, relatively quiet” area. “Just like any city it has the odd incident but nothing too unusual. It seems very irresponsible and a real shame that people haven’t taken responsibility.“However I wouldn’t be worried about cycling to and from Cowley next year when I’m living there – accidents do happen, does it put me off – no, it’s no more or less safe than cycling anywhere else in the city. I just think it was lucky that no one was hurt.”last_img read more

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Professor accuses Cambridge of anti-white racism

first_imgSpeaking to Cherwell, Professor Biggar said “Cambridge University declares that it ‘utterly refutes’ my claim that it engages in political discrimination. I have substantiated what I have claimed with argument and evidence. Writing in in the Oxford Magazine, a circular produced by and for faculty members, in second week of this term, Biggar penned an article entitled “Cambridge and the Exclusion of Jordan Peterson”, addressing the decision taken by Cambridge to rescind the offer of a visiting fellowship, extended to the Canadian polemic on the 19th of February. Professor Nigel Biggar has accused Cambridge University of“discriminat[ion] on the unjustifiable grounds of race, gender, and above allmoral and politics”. Biggar’s article charges Cambridge on three accounts:communicating the decision to rescind the offer to the Student Union, beforecontacting Peterson, not providing reasoning for its decision, and itsinconsistent attitudes towards free speech and the actions of faculty members. In December 2017, Dr Gopal, a Reader in Cambridge’s EnglishFaculty, and Fellow of Churchill College attacked his work, tweeting “we needto SHUT THIS DOWN”. The response, a widespread social media movement againstBiggar, came as a reaction to what the Oxford academic terms his “modest viewthat ‘empire’ can mean a variety of things, is capable of good as well as evil,raises ethical questions worth thinking about, and requires sophisticated moralevaluation.” “It is a political act to associate the University with an academic’s work through offers which legitimise figures such as Peterson. His work and views are not representative of the student body and as such we do not see his visit as a valuable contribution to the University, but one that works in opposition to the principles of the University.” “He, along with his colleagues, rushed to judgement”, saidBiggar, speaking about the judgement made by Stephen Toope, the Vice Chancellorof Cambridge University. The Director of the McDonald centre for Theology, Ethics andPublic Life, went on to say that “if you’re white, male, culturallyconservative, and given to expressing reasoned doubt of prevailing mores,you’ll be given no benefit of doubt at all.” He claims that “the full significance of Cambridge’sreaction in this case only becomes clear when related to an earlier one”, goingon to describe Cambridge Fellow Dr Priyamvada Gopal’s online attack on his work“Ethics and Empire” as “incontinent abuse”, based on the same rhetoric as thedecision to withdraw Peterson’s invitation. A Cambridge University spokesperson told the Evening Standard: “We recognise Nigel Biggar’s right to hold views on Cambridge in relation to discrimination against white, male, conservative men, which are claims which we refute utterly.” He goes on to claim that the “fact that Dr Gopal’s behaviourappears to have violated their university’s own Social Media Guidelines seemsto have bothered them not at all.” The Oxford Regius professor wrote that, having examinedPeterson’s actions and career, he believed critics of the Canadian “had no goodreason to infer from a single, ambiguous photograph that Jordan Petersonendorsed ‘Islamophobia’”, referring to an image taken of Peterson with his armaround a man saying “I am a proud Islamophobe”. “When one puts Cambridge University’s serial inaction in thecase of Dr Gopal alongside its precipitate action in the case of ProfessorPeterson, what is revealed is this: the University does in fact discriminate onthe unjustifiable grounds of race, gender, and above all morals and politics. “He failed to ask the obvious questions that any fair-mindedobserver would have asked. Biggar then extends his comparison, appearing to state thatDr Gopal received preferential and inconsistent treatment from the University,on the basis of her race, sex and political biases. Dr Gopal described the piece in the Oxford Magazine as a ‘tedious bore”, saying “These power imbalances are so profoundly built in to bullying, harassment, stalking, racism, sexism etc”. At the time, Cambridge’s Student Union (CUSU) offered thefollowing statement “We are relieved to hear that Jordan Peterson’s request fora visiting fellowship to Cambridge’s faculty of divinity has been rescindedfollowing further review. “To refute it would require counterargument andcounter-evidence. Since Cambridge has supplied neither, it has not refuted myclaim; it has merely rejected it without explanation. Once again its leadershiphas shown itself incapable of engaging in the accountable giving-and-taking ofreasons, which is the very raison d’etre of a university.” “However, if you’re white, male, culturally conservative,and given to expressing reasoned doubt about prevailing mores, you’ll be givenno benefit of doubt at all. And, should you do so much as appear to transgressill-conceived norms of inclusiveness, you’ll be summarily and rudely excluded.” “If you’re non-white, female, and aggressively ‘woke’, thenyou’ll be accorded maximal benefit of doubt, given a pass on official norms ofcivility, and let free to spit hatred and contempt on social media. In response to this, an extensive blog post from Peterson, entitled “Cambridge University Rescinds my Fellowship”, condemned the university and union, ending with the statement “I think that it is no bloody wonder that the faith is declining (and with it, the values of the West, as it fragments) with cowards and mountebanks of the sort who manifested themselves today at the helm. I wish them the continued decline in relevance over the next few decades that they deeply and profoundly and diligently work toward and deserve.”last_img read more

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Debating Matters championship held at Oxford Union

first_imgThe student debating section of the program ran throughout the day, involving a number of local schools in the area. The event concluded with the main schools’ debate on whether ‘populism is a threat to democracy’ in the afternoon. The public debate, taking place in the evening, held the title ‘From sexting to screen addicts: should we be afraid of online harms?’ Participants included Jess Butcher MBE, a technology entrepreneur, and Professor Victoria Nash, the deputy director of the Oxford Internet Institute. Last week the Oxford Union played host to the Oxfordshirefinals of the Debating Matters championship. Debating Matters is run by BOI (Battle of Ideas), an‘educational and citizenship charity’ founded in 2018, but it was originallyrun by the Academy of Ideas, of which the debate chair, Claire Fox, is afounder.center_img Professor Nash said: “At a moment where mainstream politics is becoming increasingly polarised and emotive, it was so encouraging to see these young debaters using evidence, logic and respect to make their case. Free speech is certainly not without its limits, but we will need more, not less, open and honest debates on big societal issues if we’re going to tackle populism and intolerance.” The competition for sixth-form students took place as partof the Oxford Festival of the Arts, a city-wide festival which ran from the 21stJune to the 7th July.last_img read more

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Finalists demand predicted grades safety net

first_imgWhen asked about Cambridge’s proposal, Otter-Sharp noted, “there would be an extraordinary disparity between the treatment of disadvantaged STEM students and of disadvantaged humanities students if Oxford were to copy the exact specifics of Cambridge’s safety net”.  “Without question these are extraordinary times, that are having unprecedented impact on the way we live. There are a lot of unknowns for us all, but the University is working hard to alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty that our students are feeling, and will provide more information to our community about Trinity term teaching and exams in the next few days as the situation becomes clearer.” Unlike in Cambridge, where all students take exams in first and second year, humanities students in Oxford generally do not sit exams in second year.  This comes as Cambridge announced today that they will be cancelling exams for first and second years, and offering finalists their classification from their second year as a minimum assuming they pass finals.  Otter-Sharp added to this in correspondence with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Martin Williams, saying, “The minimum grade utilises the large amount of information about aptitude and attainment that our tutors have gathered about us as well as any past assessed work in order to assign students a predicted grade that would be a guaranteed minimum mark regardless of exam performance.”  The letter, which was written by finalist Ferdinand Otter-Sharp, reads, “It is fairer to judge students on their performance while at Oxford rather than their ability to study effectively in hugely varied home environments while dealing with the extraordinary mental stress of being isolated during a global pandemic which will have hugely varied effects on students”. center_img An open letter signed by 1,600 finalists has asked the University to give finalists their predicted grade as a “guaranteed minimum” in light of disruption caused by COVID-19.  “This is not a proposal to completely cancel finals. Oxford students have been preparing hard for finals and are not the type to settle for a minimum grade. The proposal is to provide a safety net, to help those most disadvantaged by the current situation” Martin Williams has given a statement in response to the letter, saying, “I appreciate the considered and constructive tone of the Oxford Finalists letter, it is greatly appreciated at this time. As rightly noted in the content, the pandemic is having a huge effect on students, who have been forced into an academic limbo, through no fault of their own, and I sympathise.”  Image credit to Saiiko / Wikimedia Commons. License: CC-BY-SA-3.0.last_img read more