Campus Watch

University of Bristol Introduces ‘Science of Happiness’ Scheme to Combat Mental Health Problems

The University of Bristol have implemented a new scheme called the ‘science of happiness’ course after a student took his own life earlier this year.

The course hopes to explore happiness through teaching ways to become happy and different techniques you can use on an everyday basis in order to achieve this. It will be offered to all students at the university, not just to those who experience mental health difficulties.

As well as this, the university has three centres which are open 24 hours a day that students are able to go to if they need any support. The aim of this scheme is to prevent any further deaths and detrimental mental health conditions in young people.

Students nowadays are experiencing increasing difficulties with mental health and the support needed is often not there; these schemes are being introduced in order to combat this.

There is a hope that all universities will follow suit and tackle this very prominent issue.

Charlotte Wood

University of Kent Bans Cowboy Outfits

University of Kent have banned cowboy outfits, among other costumes deemed offensive, under recent guidelines issued by their union.

Kent union stated that inappropriate outfits, including cowboys and Native Americans, priests and nuns, and individuals such as Caitlyn Jenner and Harvey Weinstein, violated every students’ right to a ‘safe space’.

The guidelines also warned against costumes centred on political or class stereotypes, such as ‘tory boy’ or ‘chav’, as well as those depicting the gender or sexuality they do not identify with ‘if the purpose is to belittle’.

The union stated that these rules were issued in response to recent ‘complaints’.

Though Kent is the first to ban cowboy outfits, the news comes in the midst of recent debates surrounding safe spaces, cultural appropriation and the perceived sensitiveness of what has been dubbed the ‘snowflake generation’, sparked by measures across UK universities such as the replacement of clapping with ‘jazz hands’ at the University of Manchester.

Emily Stevens

Hungarian Academy of Sciences Bans Gender Studies

Gender studies in Hungary has once again come under threat, after two conferences were banned on what many are claiming to be political grounds.

One of the talks looked at the under-representation of women in the field of open source coding within computer science. Reportedly, this was banned due to “other aspects of the [theme] of gender.”

The ban follows the Hungarian government’s announcement in August to ban gender studies within higher education.  

As of September 2019, gender studies will no longer be recognised by the government and all funding for the subject will be stopped.

Hungary’s deputy prime minister, Zsolt Semjen, has said there is no need for gender studies courses, and that the definition of gender is ‘nonsense’.

Oliver Murphy

Queen’s University Belfast Awards Hillary Clinton an Honorary Degree

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree from Queen’s University Belfast for “exceptional public service in the USA and globally” and an “outstanding” contribution to peace and reconciliations in Northern Ireland.

Clinton’s contributions come in the form of a number of visits to Northern Ireland spanning over 20 years, beginning in November 1995. Most visits took place alongside her husband, the serving President of the time, Bill Clinton. The visits have been largely symbolic. Among Secretary Clinton’s notable encounters is a meeting at the Lamplighter Cafe with Protestant and Catholic women involved in cross-community work.

The decision to award the degree has been criticised by some. Protests took place outside the university, while The Workers’ Party called the gesture “deeply offensive”.

A fellowship and a scholarship in Clinton’s name was also announced during the ceremony, which seeks to fund exceptional research with a particular focus on human rights.

Fiona Linnard

University of Cambridge Students Vote Against Remembrance Sunday Motion

Members of Cambridge University’s Conservative Association (CUCA) had their bid to promote the commemoration of British war veterans rejected by the students’ union council; this was at a meeting held just over a month before the centenary of the First World War Armistice.

A proposed amendment to the motion, which called for respect to be paid to war victims from across the globe, and not exclusively British ones, was also dismissed by the council.

CUCA’s proposition was condemned by some as a glorification of war, and the student activist who proffered the altered motion told Varsity, one of the university’s periodicals, that “the original motion’s focus on remembrance as ‘valorising’ war instead of working to end its devastating impact [was] deeply disturbing.”

Accused of attempting to eradicate the memory of British war veterans, the parties involved in the Remembrance Day discussion, especially those who opposed CUCA’s proposal, were subjected to the extreme hostility of some internet-users and were the focus of a national media ruckus.

In a series of tweets, the Students’ Union established their position on Remembrance Sunday, stating that “no suggestion was made that Remembrance Sunday events [were] opposed”. They agreed with the British Legion, that Remembrance ‘must be a matter of personal choice’”.

Nadia Vermeulen-Rostane

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