Charges dropped: All Defend Education students have now been reinstated

The University has reinstated the final two student protestors after a two month suspension

The cases against three Defend Education students have been dropped on all accounts, following an investigation into their involvement in the  National Demonstration on the 29th January.

On Tuesday 25th March the Crown Prosecution Service announced that the charges against the three students had been dropped.

Several arrests and the suspension of five UoB students took place following the protests.


Although 3 of the 5 suspensions were lifted on February 21st, two of the suspended students have had to wait eight weeks for their reinstatement.

Simon Furse and Kelly Rogers are now permitted to return to their studies, after being banned from entering Campus.

Investigations on ten other arrested students also came to a close, as there was no convicting evidence of damage or assault.

The closure of the investigation and the final reinstatements came shortly after a petition containing the signatures of 230 Academic Staff was delivered to the Vice Chancellor’s legal representative.

Hattie Craig (VP Education) and Dr David Bailey (UCU President) with the letter of Petition outside the office of David Eastwood.

The last few weeks have also witnessed several high-profile rallies by Defend Education, in which they demanded that all suspensions were lifted immediately.

The pressure upon the University was also intensified when 17 MPs signed an Early Day Motion, in which they criticised UoB’s actions as “extremely repressive measures.”

Despite their reinstatement, the arrested students stated their anger at their treatment, in which they were subject to 30-40 hours in police cells, strip searches and tightly enforced bail conditions.

According to the students in question, their bail conditions had been “extraordinarily harsh,” and all the arrests were made under “unlawful circumstances.”

In a statement the University said:

“The University of Birmingham continues to uphold the principle of free speech and supports the rights of students and staff to protest peacefully and within the law, indeed there have been many protests on campus that have passed off peacefully and without incident.

“However, when violence is perpetuated on campus… the university will continue to take robust action to uphold its responsibility and duty of care to its community.”

Living In The Library

Three UoB students staked out in the library for an entire week in aid of raising money and awareness for Birmingham Nightline.

With the library now being open at all hours and the thought of failing exams looming over you, the idea of being there 24/7 may seem a rather tempting prospect. UoB students David Franklin, Sam Jones and James Phillips decided to do just that. Not only are they trawling through as many books as they can, they’re also raising money for charity.

The boys said that “unlike the rest of our time at university, we won’t be lying around watching Come Dine with Me or shouting at Jezza!”


Franklin, Jones and Phillips have chosen to lock themselves in the library during deadline week – one of the most stressful weeks of the year. The boys stress that taking care of your mental health shouldn’t just be about one week, however, as uni can be challenging for lots of different reasons and everyone needs support at times. This is why they’re raising money for Birmingham Nightline, the service run by students, for students. Nightline offers confidential, non-judgmental advice and the line is open 6pm – 8am every night of term.

It's all for a good cause!

#LongLoanLockIn Rules:

1. The boys cannot leave the library building. (Eat, sleep, work, repeat.)
2. They must spend the majority of their time working. (Did we mention it’s deadline week?)
3. They have to be good library neighbours. (No blasting loud music, etc.)

The boys describe the #LongLoanLockIn as “a battle of physical endurance, mental strength and supreme procrastination, but above all, it will be a battle to maintain personal hygiene.” They’ve currently been in the library for five days-I hope that friends have been visiting with deodorant!

Taking care of personal hygiene

On their video blog, the boys talk about how they’ve been directly supporting people whilst in the library. They were shocked at how much anxiety and upset they’ve already come across:

“We came into this wanting to raise money, wanting to raise awareness, we didn’t think we’d actually be directly helping people.

“What’s been really good is people have come up to us saying they’ve had mental health difficulty and never spoken to anyone and that our campaign has made them come forward.”

To track their progress – watch the video blog here.

So far, Franklin, Jones and Phillips have raised a whopping £854.18 for Nightline! Click here to sponsor them. Some kind students have even opted to sponsor the boys per hour that they stay in the library – now that’s an incentive!

Much needed supplies


Student City guide: Birmingham

What’s the big draw?

Birmingham sometimes gets a bad rep despite being the UK’s second city. Some cynics have even argued that the best thing to come out of Birmingham is the train to London, but this is definitely not the case! The city centre is full of shops, restaurants, clubs and music venues, while Birmingham’s cultural diversity is reflected in the arts, it’s the base of the UK’s first South Asian Music Performance and Dance company, SAMPAD, and there are annual festivals of jazz, comedy, poetry, film and literature.

What’s the nightlife like?

Symphony and Town Hall are great places to catch some live music and comedy. Bands and artists such as Fairport Convention, PJ Harvey and Laura Marling have performed here. The Bramall Music Building at the University of Birmingham is also host to some major events that are open to the general public, including a comedy night with The Noise Next Door and Matt Richardson, and Black Voices, an a capella group who performed during Black History Month. Some of the best places to go for an alternative night out include Snobs, which plays everything from indie hits to motown classics, and the Rainbow Warehouse, where Groove Armada, Fourtet, Gentlemen’s Dub Club and other acts have performed.


What can you do in the day?

At the Birmingham University campus, you can find the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, which holds various exhibitions of traditional and contemporary art as well as classical music concerts. Just outside the centre of town, in Digbeth, there are a variety of vintage and retro shops such as Urban Village and Mr Bird’s Emporium in the Custard Factory. The Custard Factory is known as Birmingham’s creative quarter, as it also has a theatre and the Dome Club, where you can watch films in 360 degrees. The new library is also definitely worth a visit, it has everything from Feel Good Fiction sessions to yoga classes!

Where’s the best place for non-millionaires to live?

Selly Oak is where the majority of students live in Birmingham, as it’s cheap and only a five-minute walk to campus. There are many different pubs scattered across the Bristol Road, like the Bristol Pear that often hold open mic nights and comedy stand ups organised by students. There’s also an Aldi and a variety of fast food outlets, including Chick Inn and Rooster House. For booze, Drinks To Go is famous for its friendly owner who dishes out lollipops to customers. What more do you want?

The Trojan Women

I am producing an adaption of The Trojan Women, which will be performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer. For more details, check out:

The Trojan Women

The Trojan Women performance details:

11th-16th August 11:00 theSpace on the Mile (Space 1)

18th-23rd August 17:00 theSpace on the Mile (Space 1)

Running time: 45 minutes


‘Extraordinary delicacy’ **** (Libby Purves, THE TIMES). 3Bugs Fringe Theatre returns for its 11th year with a new adaptation of Euripides’ tragedy, ‘The Trojan Women’. Mythology meets Mad Men, from Helen of Troy to Ella Fitzgerald. Set in 1950s post-war Britain, a time of disillusionment and strife. Hecuba and Andromache, once nobility, are forced into slavery by the men who killed their family. Featuring original music mixed in with blues, jazz, rock & roll and live singing.


SYNOPSIS:   Set in the aftermath of the Trojan War, Hecuba and Andromache, who were once powerful Trojan nobility, are now forced to leave their desolate city and are to be taken as the spoils of war to the Greek leaders where they are…

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Birmingham University agrees to pay all staff the Living Wage

The University of Birmingham has announced that staff will now all be paid the Living Wage.

The announcement was made on 5 March via Twitter and in an email to all staff from Adam Tickell, provost and vice principal.

Tickell said: “The university and the branch executives of Unison and Unite are pleased to report that the current dispute over the 2013 pay settlement has been resolved. The branch executives of Unison and Unite will recommend to their members that no further industrial action be taken in relation to the 2013 pay settlement.”

He added: “For its part, the university has committed to matching the current rate of the Living Wage for the year from 1 August 2014; and to match the then current level for the year from 1 August 2015.”

Hollie Richardson, a second year psychology student, said “I’m happy about the staff being paid the Living Wage. It’s a good sign that the university has acted this way. Now maybe all the riots and strikes won’t need to carry on.”

The current Living Wage, which is £7.65 outside London, is still not paid at all universities across the UK.

Missing the Winter Olympics? Five of the best extreme sports societies



Now that the Winter Olympics has come to a close, it may have left some students inspired to try out some extreme sports at their own university. Here are a small number of the extreme sport societies on offer across universities in the UK.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Pretty much every university in the UK will have a popular ski and snowboarding society and Birmingham is a good example. Brumski and Board society has been running for around 30 years and has over 500 members. They hold Christmas and Easter ski trips every year and regularly take part in competitions. Daisy Tudor, a committee member, describes some of the events that Brumski partake in, “every Wednesday we go to sports night. Fancy dress is compulsory, as well as drinking. Games and music are played and everyone is welcome. It usually gets very rowdy but there are no seniors terrorising freshers like some other sports encourage. We also have special events like the Extreme Sport Ball, BUDS and Kings Finals Ball (after competitions that take place in Edinburgh and London). During these there is a strict no cutlery rule and cheesecake always ends up in people’s hair or tux jackets.”


Oxford, York, Aberdeen and Warwick are only some of the universities that offer this rather unusual sport – underwater hockey! Apparently anyone who is able to swim is able to play. It’s played in teams of six and everyone is equipped with a mask, fins, snorkel and a small wooden hockey stick.

Skydiving and BASE Jumping

The University of Lincoln offers both skydiving and BASE jumping. For those of you that don’t know, BASE jumping is where participants jump from fixed objects (buildings, antennas, spans and earth) and use a parachute to break their fall. They go on weekly trips to Skydive Hibaldstow in North Lincolnshire, which is the home to University of York Skydiving Society, and sister drop zone of Skydive Spain. The society hopes to arrange an Easter Skydiving trip to Spain.

Skateboard, Rollerblade and BMX

The Cambridge Urban Sports society brings together skaters and BMXers and meets regularly for social and sporting events. Each term they travel to PlayStation skate park in London and to the NASS urban sport festival in Bath every year.

Warwick University is home to the amusingly named ‘WUSS’ (Warwick University Skate Society) as well as a Longboarding society. Longboards are usually two or three feet longer than a normal skateboard and have a wider wheel base. The society plans to take part in the Great Parade Skate in Leamington. Instead of offering society hoodies or t-shirts, the longboarding society have chosen to let members have personalised socks…


Birmingham University’s Windsurfing society has been running for over 10 years. They are members of the Student Windsurfing Association (SWA) so they go on trips all around the country to meet up with other Windsurfing societies. These include Bude in Cornwall, Liverpool, Bristol, Nottingham and of course BUCS in Southampton. Susanna Mazzocca Gamba, a member of the society, says “windsurfing is a great sport as it’s enjoyable at all levels and windsurfers are all very chilled out. We recently went to a roller disco as a social, which was great fun.”

The Manchester Extreme Sports Society (MESS) organise windsurfing, rock climbling, paintballing, bungee jumping, zorbing and other events for their members. Zorbing is sport in which you are harnessed inside a giant, transparent ball and run down a slope. It’s very popular with lead singer of The Flaming Lips, Wayne Coyne, who loves zorbing around the crowd at their concerts, because crowdsurfing is so last year… MESS has also helped organise a charity climb up Kilimanjaro.