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Issue 465, 23 April 2001


Great idea, but where are the lifts?

Dr Eva Frojmovic
Director, Centre for Jewish Studies

The new disability services centre is good news. But having just moved into the second floor of an office building with no disabled access, I cannot help feeling that some of the £500,000 would have been better spent on installing lifts. Or perhaps I should just wait until a disabled student sues us? That will speed things up.

With safety and wildlife in mind

Robert Sladdin
Director of Estates

There is no formal policy about cutting back shrubs for security purposes, but pruning and replanting are a normal and necessary activity for estate services. Where security is felt to be a problem, shrub beds are usually completely removed and replaced by low growing shrubs.

The cotoneaster bed mentioned near Cavendish Hall has been thinned with the height retained; doing this keeps the height for scale, and importantly does not remove this year’s flowers, and therefore the berries upon which birds will feed this autumn. The area underneath will be replanted with a suitable species of shrub.

There are over 20,000 square metres of planting on campus which has been gradually increasing over the last 15 years. Off campus at various residences, estates manages many areas of boundary trees and woodlands with habitat and therefore wildlife conservation in mind. Whilst managing conflicting objectives, the landscape and environment provided for the University are always an important factor for estate services.

Curry house is not a pretty sight

Mark Nelson
Senior Lecturer, School of Philosophy

Can nothing be done about the dreadful appearance of the ‘Curry Corner’ restaurant (formerly ‘Suhana’s’), on Woodhouse Lane, opposite the School of Engineering?

For years, its demolished, rubbish-strewn annexe has been an eyesore, and cannot help anyone in forming a positive impression of this University and its environs.

Smoking out the vegetarians...

Professor David Fairer
Director, School of English

Now that Senate, as an academic body, has moved to prohibit smoking in individual offices, could I suggest that it consider a campus-wide ban on smoking along all footpaths and pavements?

Songbirds too are affected by passive smoking, especially on windless days (and note also the dearth of campus sparrows). A cleaner environment is healthy for everyone.

Also, in view of the latest alarming research on ‘passive eating’, can I suggest that Senate use its authority to segregate the eating arrangements in the SCR? Nothing is more horrible to us ‘non-meat-and-fish eaters’ (to use language your readers will understand) than to breathe in the fumes of the burnt corpses of salmon and pig.

And please – no more New Zealand tofu – the poor pink-nosed little animal has virtually been hunted to extinction

Yours concernedly

P.C. Vigil

Air Enhancement Unit & Flexible Projects

...and sounding out the semanticists

Andrew J. Baczkowski
Department of Statistics

The common theme in the latest Reporter is dictionaries!

Ultrasound is ‘non-invasive’ and ‘not radiative’? Doesn’t it go inside? Doesn’t radiation include sound radiation? What is meant by ‘harmless’ (which I don’t agree with – Medline gives plenty of references suggesting harmful effects) and ‘not electromagnetic radiation.’

And as for me not eating meat, I would happily change the subject by telling someone I am a vegetarian – even while enjoying a poached salmon sandwich!

Pushing back the age of retirement

Adrian Smith
Edward Boyle Library

According to John Carvel, social affairs editor of the Guardian: "The average retirement age would have to rise to 72 to maintain the present balance between the working population and numbers of older dependents, according to demographic forecasts published yesterday by the office for national statistics.

"The proposal to raise the state retirement age to 65 for women – to be phased in between 2010 and 2020 – would for a while reduce the economic impact of ageing. But an increase in the average retirement age to 72.3 years would be needed to maintain the present support ratio after 2040."

This may need to be built into our strategic planning...?

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