Inside the Bubble Week 14

Who will lead the DSU next year?

  • The University consultation on fossil fuel divestment has begun. Student groups such as People and Planet have been campaigning for the University to withdraw its investment in companies that profit from fossil fuels since a Palatinate freedom of information request revealed it to have £4.5 million invested in such companies. But the campaign is opposed by Professor Jon Gluyas of the Earth Sciences Department, who argues that only a small proportion of global oil reserves are in the hands of private companies, so it is governments who hold the key to reducing its exploitation. However, nine college common rooms have so far voted to support divestment, and twenty Durham academics have signed a People and Planet petition calling for it.
  • Voting has opened in the Union officer elections. Two candidates, Alice Dee and Jade Azim, are running for president, while a total of eight are standing for four different officer positions: academic affairs, community, activities, and development. Voting closes on Friday at 5pm.
  • Former Sunderland and Middlesbrough footballer Adam Johnson pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual activity with a child. The girl, who was fifteen years old at the time of the alleged offences, said that Johnson had asked for a “thank you kiss” after signing two Sunderland shirts for her, telling her on WhatsApp that “you owe me for this”. She described sexual activity to police officers, and the video was shown to a jury at Bradford Crown Court. Johnson, who was born in Sunderland and has twelve England caps, was sacked by Sunderland AFC after pleading guilty to previous charges of grooming and sexual activity with a child.
  • A demonstration was held outside East Stanley Primary school in County Durham after the school invited in a speaker from an Islamic Centre in Newcastle. A parent who supported the protest said that “the school are forcing our children to learn about Islam against the wishes of the parents”, but headteacher Joanne Williams said that the majority of parents supported the invitation. In December, police were controversially called to East Stanley Primary School after a group of muslim men stopped to pray outside the school.
  • The pro-EU campaign Britain Stronger In Europe launched the North East branch of its campaign on Tuesday. The group staged a meet and greet with the public in Durham before deputy director Lucy Thomas visited a business in Washington.
  • Fire and Ice in Durham, a series of events by Durham Business Improvement District (BID), began on Monday with a children’s craft tent in the Market Place. There will continue to be workshops throughout the week, with ice carving available on Friday and Saturday, and in the evening there will be displays involving fire beacons and ice sculptures.

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