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In the news this week: 19 February 2016

19 February 2016

A look back at some of the week's news

Elite universities' proportion of disadvantaged students drops

The proportion of disadvantaged students at several Russell Group universities has dropped in the last decade, according to a report in Times Higher Education. Responding to the news, UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said the current system is 'not working fairly for students from disadvantaged backgrounds' and suggested that a 'radical overhaul' of university admissions was required to ensure that decisions are 'transparent and based on students' actual achievement.'

Pension cost increases no excuse to hold down pay

Increases to pension costs should come as no surprise to sensible employers and should not be used as an excuse to hold down pay, UCU head of bargaining and negotiation Michael MacNeil told Times Higher Education. Speaking ahead of pension changes due to take effect in April 2016, he said that the sector has been aware of the increases for a long time and should have planned for them.

Report into bullying of students and staff in UK's universities and colleges

A joint report from UCU and other stakeholders into harassment and bullying of LGBT staff and students, showed 17 per cent of staff had experienced name-calling while at work, 13 per cent had been harassed and one in ten had been threatened or intimidated.
UCU head of equality, Helen Carr, told the Independent and Times Higher Education 'The findings in this survey are consistent with a recent House of Commons report on transgender equality that called for better, and more readily available, training. While there is greater awareness of the issue and better structures in place to deal with bullying, this has not translated into incidents being properly dealt with or even reported.'