Students are settling in, or back in, to CambridgeDaniel Gayne/ Louis Ashworth/ Stormzy/ Royal Karolinska Institute/ Composite: Stephanie Stacey

Varsity brings you all the news you might have missed during the rush of the first week back!

Key stories from this week

This week, while everyone was busy eating free Domino’s, Vice-Chancellor Toope gave his annual address, the master of Trinity received a Nobel prize, and students spoke out about controversial lecturers and the Stormzy scholarships.

Toope speaks out

Toope promised to review the University's application of PreventLouis Ashworth

Toope gave his annual address at Senate house on Monday, reflecting on his twelve month tenure as Vice-chancellor. The speech touched on “divisive” issues from the year, including the pensions debate and Cambridge’s application of the Prevent legislation. He said that he “deeply regret[s] the erosion of trust” that has arisen out of the pensions debate, but claimed that “complex thinking” is needed before it can be solved. He also announced plans to reimburse EU nationals for settlement costs after Brexit.

Spending on students


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During his annual address, Toope announced plans to raise £500 million over the next six years to reform the current system of student financial support. The money will be put towards creating new postgraduate studentships as well as going to support undergraduates “from home and abroad.” Of the total sum, £300 million is said to be marked for expanding postgraduate studentships, whilst there is also thought to be an initiative to allow certain students to graduate debt-free, as well as further provision of support for the ‘squeezed middle’.  Speaking of the plans, Toope said it is an attempt to “ensure that the very best students come to Cambridge.”

LGBT+ mathmos spoke to Varsity about Aron Wall

Steven Edwards is a second year maths student at SelwynEmily Brailsford

Following the hiring of Aron Wall, a maths lecturer who has expressed homophobic views on his personal blog, Varsity spoke to several LGBT+ mathmos about their views on the controversial appointment. Wall will join the University in January. One mathematician described the situation as “disappointing”, with another said that they’d “like to give him a chance” but would “feel uncomfortable.” Earlier this year, after Wall’s controversial comments emerged, Jonny Tsang, a PhD student, set up an LGBT+ mathmos mailing list, which now has more than seventy members. Tsang told Varsity that they have “invited [Wall] to take a look at our mailing list, to join up and get to know the people here.”

Students on Stormzy

Stormzy's initiative was first announced in JulyStormzy/ Youtube

This week saw the matriculation of freshers at Cambridge, among whom are two black students who received this year's Stormzy Scholarships. This scholarship will fully fund their tuition fees while also providing a maintenance grant for their undergraduate studies, amounting to around £18,000 for the academic year. The president of the Cambridge African and Caribbean Society (ACS), Toni Fola-Alade, told Varsity that the announcement of the scholarship “puts a positive message about the black Oxbridge experience on a national scale in a way that no one else really can.”

On the lighter side...

Trinity master masters Chemistry, winning Nobel prize

Sir Gregory Winter is set to set down as Master next yearAARHUS UNIVERSITET

Sir Gregory Winter was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, along with two other scientists, for his work developing proteins using a process called directed evolution, which can be used to develop pharmaceuticals. The Royal Swedish Academy of Science awarded the prize to the laureates for “harnessing the power of evolution” and developing the principles of “genetic change and selection... to develop proteins that solve mankind’s chemical problems.” They also said “we are in the early days of directed evolution’s revolution which, in many different ways, is bringing and will bring the greatest benefit to humankind.”

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