College deficits stretch to millions

first_imgOxford colleges have published their accounts for the financial year, which reveal decreasing reliance on the income from investment.The total income for the financial year ending in July 2009 was £281 million and overall the colleges had a surplus of £6 million. However, college endowments decreased by 7% amounting to £2.28bn.The falling endowments have been a cause for concern. Clifford Webb, Merton’s finance bursar commented on the accounts, “The problem is reflected more in investment income (which is much lower last year and this year, for example lower dividends and interest rates), which has certainly made a dent in college incomes.“The fall in endowment values was painful”“Going forward the amount of money given to colleges by the government is not enough by far to cover teaching costs and this will get progressively worse in the next few years because teaching funds are being cut. But you can’t yet see the impact in last year’s figures.”Other figures show that publicly funded tuition and research income fell by 0.7%, but overall academic income increased by 7.8%. The University claims income was “boosted by growth in fees from overseas students.”Staff costs account for half of college expenditure, and these rose by 8.1% last year, which highlights Oxford’s “above-inflation national pay awards for academic staff and higher pension contribution rates,” according to a University press release.“Teaching funds are being cut”Although colleges receive public funding from the University to support academic activities, this accounts for less than half their income.Colleges must rely on the return on endowments, fundraising and surpluses from conferences during the vacations. Conferences brought in £10 million for colleges across the University this year. There is also a large discrepancy in the performance of colleges. University College achieved a surplus of £1,650,000, compared with Worcester’s deficit of -£1,268,000. Many of the University’s richest colleges also recorded deficits.Univ recorded a surplus of £854,000 the year before and their huge surplus this year was partly due to disposal of fixed assets.The University reports that collectively colleges have “a small surplus at the operating level” despite a 7% decline in endowments.Oxford’s richest colleges, St John’s and Christ Church, also reported deficits this year. St John’s total funds stand at over £331 million, and their deficit was -£52,000. Christ Church is worth £268 million but had a deficit of -£371,000, despite recording a surplus of £995,000 the year before.New College lost -£602,000 this year. One New college student, who wished to remain anonymous, told Cherwell, “We’re all quite shocked to hear that the College is in this sort of state. Our JCR has one of the largest budgets in Oxford, so the impact of the overall problems hasn’t been felt much by current undergraduates – but they’re starting make staff cutbacks now, which is a shame.“What’s most interesting is that part of the problem is our links with New College School. Most people here didn’t realise that the School and the College share accounts, and it has angered a lot of people that the prep school’s problems could have an impact on us, even though we have basically nothing to do with them.”Other colleges reporting losses include Brasenose, Corpus Christi, Hertford, St. Hilda’s (though they recorded a deficit of only -£3000) and Wadham.Wadham lost -£205,000 this year. One third year Wadhamite told Cherwell she was not surprised by the news. “We’ve noticed prices in the bar go up and they’re currently doing up rooms in college, meaning undergraduates can’t stay there.”Colleges with very healthy accounts include Balliol, who recorded a surplus of £441,000, Jesus with £446,000, Lincoln with £566,000, Merton with £650,000 and Somerville, who reported a surplus of £794,000.Exeter recorded an impressive surplus of £2,026,000 but this was only achieved after the disposal of fixed assets. The year before Exeter had a deficit of -£244,000.Overall Oxford did receive more donations this year, which helped colleges through dismal financial conditions. Donations accounted for £53 million of endowments and colleges received £18 million in gifts and £8 million in capital gifts.Frances Lannon, Principal of Lady Margaret Hall and Chairman of the Conference of Colleges, said of the accounts, “The fall in endowment values, though painful, was considerably less than that experienced by some of our peers. Many colleges are fortunate to have, serving on their investment committees, Old Members who have highly successful careers in fund management. This has undoubtedly helped us weather the storm.”last_img read more

Split Decision on NYPD’s X-ray Vans

first_imgBy Michael Grabell, ProPublicaA state appeals court this month ordered the New York City Police Department to release information on the health risks of the unmarked X-ray vans that it uses to covertly detect explosives.But the panel overturned a lower court’s ruling that required the department to disclose records on when and where the vans had been used, its policies on van usage, or how much the vans cost, agreeing with the NYPD that concerns over terrorism outweighed the public interest.For the past four years, ProPublica has sought information about the secretive NYPD counterterrorism program that uses the vans equipped with X-ray machines. The vans can drive alongside vehicles or buildings to find organic materials such as drugs and explosives that may be hidden inside.But because the vans use backscatter X-rays, which bounce back from the target to create an image, they may also expose unknowing drivers, passengers and pedestrians to ionizing radiation, which can increase the risk of cancer. The X-ray vans are similar to the airport body scanners that were removed by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration over privacy concerns in 2013.The NYPD has refused to release any records about how it uses the vans and what it does to protect people who may be in the vicinity. Until ProPublica’s lawsuit, the police department had never said anything publicly about them other than to confirm their existence.In 2015, state Supreme Court Judge Doris Ling-Cohan said the NYPD’s argument amounted to “mere speculation” and was “patently insufficient” to outweigh the public’s right to know. But in its decision today, the appeals court largely agreed with the NYPD’s argument that releasing the information would “hamper NYPD’s counterterrorism operations and increase the likelihood of another terrorist attack.”Police reports about past uses of the vans, the NYPD said, would allow terrorists to infer the locations and times when they are not used and plot attacks accordingly. The department also argued that disclosing the total cost to taxpayers would reveal how many vans it had because the vehicles have been reported to cost between $729,000 and $825,000 each.The appeals court, however, said the NYPD had failed to explain how health and safety information, such as the potential radiation dose to passersby, could be exploited by terrorists — especially since such information has already been made public by the manufacturer and the federal government.It also reversed the lower court’s order that NYPD pay ProPublica’s attorneys fees and litigation costs, saying an award wasn’t justified.“We are pleased the court agreed that the police department acted appropriately in withholding information that, if disclosed, would compromise public safety and counterterrorism efforts,” the city’s law department said in a statement.ProPublica was represented in the case by Yale Law School’s Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic and David Schulz of Levin, Sullivan, Koch & Schulz.“We are disappointed that the Appellate Division took as specific the entirely conclusory affidavit submitted by the NYPD concerning the risk of terrorism from, for instance, possible disclosure of the aggregate cost of these vans to taxpayers,” ProPublica’s president Richard Tofel said.“On the other hand,” he added, “we’re gratified that the court ordered disclosure of any reports on the health and safety risks from the NYPD’s deployment of these vans around our city, and we look forward to the prompt disclosure of such documents.”More than 20 media outlets and nonprofits, including the New York Times, Bloomberg, Buzzfeed, AOL-Huffington Post and the New York Civil Liberties Union, filed briefs in support of releasing the records.“It’s a disappointing opinion,” said Mariko Hirose, senior staff attorney for the NYCLU. “There are lots of technologies that could be used for terrorist investigations. It can’t be that everything is going to be secret and kept away from the public because of that.”ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter. Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York last_img read more

Families group concerned about the increase in screen time at school

first_imgNZ Education HQ 30 June 2017With the New Zealand Government looking to shift education into a digitally-oriented system, there is concern from the community over the amount of screen time students will be exposed to.Education minister Nikki Kaye announced last week the Government would spend $40 million on raising teachers’ skills to deliver the new curriculum, which will involve all pupils from Years 1 to 10 taking part in digital technologies education.The new content will cover two key areas – computational thinking and designing and developing digital outcomes – which are likely to include computer programming, as well as unique Maori content.Family First NZ, which focuses on issues relating to families in the public domain, and which prides itself on being a voice advocating for strong families and safe communities is concerned about the extra screentime students will be exposed to with the new Digital Technologies-Hangarau Matihiki curriculum.It says government agencies have not provided enough research – or guidelines around this issue.National Director of Family First NZ Bob McCoskrie has spent several years teaching in secondary schools and tertiary institutions, as well as working as a social worker with young people in South Auckland for more than 15 years.“Screen technology may be a beneficial aspect of modern life, but the Minister of Education needs to do some homework on the growing concerns from health and development experts about the disproportionate use of screentime in many families’ lives, particularly the young in New Zealand,” McCoskrie says.According to McCoskrie, screentime should be treated as a personal health and wellbeing issue to be formally included in the health education curriculum and taught in the classroom from primary school.significant sleep disturbances, attention problems and impulsiveness, McCoskrie says.In 2015, a report WE NEED TO TALK – Screen time in NZ, Media Use: An Emerging factor in child and adolescent health by biologist / psychologist Dr Aric Sigman, was commissioned by family group Family First NZ.It was in response to the Ministry of Education telling Family First that “It is up to individual schools to decide the extent to which they will use digital technology to support teaching and learning”, and “The Ministry has not undertaken specific research on appropriate amounts of daily screentime for young people.”“Also, there were admissions to Family First from the Ministry of Health they have only provided guidelines for screentime use outside of school time (a maximum of two hours per day for five to 18-year-olds) and no guidelines at all for under-fives or to the Ministry of Education, or to Early Childhood Education services,” McCoskrie adds.Most parents, children and teachers remain unaware of the medical and developmental risks and the position of medical bodies on discretionary screentime, while many children and adolescents in NZ continue to significantly exceed medical guidelines.The ages at which children start viewing screens and the number of hours watched per day is increasingly linked to negative physiological changes, medical conditions and development outcomes including significant sleep disturbances, attention problems and impulsiveness, McCoskrie says.“Children are more susceptible to developing a long-term problematic dependency on technology.“The research is there – but it seems the Ministry of Education is turning a blind eye to it,” McCoskrie says. read more

McClean faces a race to be fit

first_imgPhoto © Pixabay James McClean faces a race to be fit for Ireland’s upcoming World Cup Qualifiers against Georgia and Serbia in early September.The winger suffered a bruised bone in his knee in West Brom’s pre-season friendly against Bristol Rovers on Saturday.The Baggies say he’ll mess their final pre-season games against Port Vale and Deportivo La Coruna and will be assessed again ahead of the start of the Premier League season.last_img

Man dies after being struck by train

first_imgAuthorities in West Palm Beach are reporting that a man has died after he was struck by a train near Palm Beach Lakes Blvd Monday morning.Witnesses reported that the man was walking west along the 100 block of Palm Beach Lakes Blvd around 5:00 am when he was struck by a Tri-Rail traveling in the southbound direction.Officials have since identified the victim as 37-year-old Randall Felton of West Palm Beach, however, no other details are available at this time.last_img