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    Archive for the 'Laws' Category

    The divestment debate: should UCL sell up?

    By Guest Blogger, on 8 April 2015


    Written by Brigid Marriott, Faculty Communications Officer, UCL Laws

    As calls for fossil fuel divestment grow, universities across the world are being forced to consider the management of their endowments. Stanford, Glasgow and Sydney universities have already begun the process of full or partial divestment from fossil fuels.

    Oxford has decided to defer its decision on the issue, while Harvard is preparing to fight a lawsuit – brought by its own students – to try to force the university to drop its direct investments in coal, oil and gas companies.

    Fiddlers Ferry power station

    Fiddlers Ferry power station, Cheshire (credit: Alan Godfrey)

    On Tuesday 24 March, the Guardian newspaper published a letter from UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres to her alma mater, Swarthmore College, calling on the college’s administration to decarbonise its investment portfolio.

    That same evening, six experts from across UCL gathered to debate whether the institution should do the same and sell off its £21 million investment in fossil fuel companies.


    Professional Services Conference

    By Jack H C Dean, on 24 June 2014

    The inaugural Professional Services Conference took place on Monday, 16 June. The afternoon consisted of a series of presentations and panel discussions followed by an awards ceremony for staff and teams nominated by their colleagues across the university.

    Rex Knight, Vice-Provost (Operations), introduced the conference as a “celebration of work going on across the university”. Professor Anthony Smith, Vice-Provost (Education) said: “it’s all too easy for academic events to take precedent. This is an opportunity to say thank you to the unsung aspects of the institution.”

    Empowered - Emma Todd and Alice Chilver (UCL Bartlett)

    Empowered – Emma Todd and Alice Chilver (UCL Bartlett)

    Over the past decade, there has been a 20% increase in staff and a 16% increase in student numbers and Knight continued “thanks to your extraordinary professionalism all would not be as it is without what you do”.

    There were then presentations from Emma Todd and Alice Chilver (UCL Bartlett), co-founders of Astrea, the professional women’s network at UCL. Dr. Debbie Challis spoke about the exhibition, A Fusion of Worlds, at the Petrie Museum and funded by UCL Grand Challenges.

    Finally, Bob Carey discussed the Strategic Leadership Programme and Steve Rowalt and Kate Cheney delivered their presentation on the UCL Masterplan 2011, which has overseen the current transformation of the Cruciform Hub – @ucl_crucitwit.

    The Professional Services Awards consisted of five categories with nominations coming from a diverse range of staff across the university. Emma Todd, Strategic Communications Manager and Alice Chilver, Business Development Manager at the UCL Bartlett, won the ‘Empowered… confident and enabling’ award for their work in setting up Astrea. (more…)

    What corrupts independence and trust?

    By Guest Blogger, on 21 March 2014

    pencil-iconWritten by Professor Richard Moorhead (UCL Laws)

    Money’s influence on knowledge and politics was at the heart of the Centre for Ethics & Law’s annual lecture, March 14.  “The Place of ‘Institutions’ in the Idea of ‘Corruption’” was given by Laurence (“Larry”) Lessig, Professor of Law and Leadership and Faculty Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University.

    US Capitol, an institution that needs public trust

    US Capitol, meeting place for the US Congress.

    His intellectual aim was to explore notions of corruption broader than the popular conception of backhanders, and to illuminate how institutions are subject to a more subtle but potentially insidious corruption through ‘dependence corruption’: the deviation from the purpose of an institution.

    Such corruption can either directly weaken the effectiveness of the institution or it can weaken the public trust in the institution.

    ‘Independent’ institutions cannot and should not avoid dependence altogether. Indeed, institutions have ‘a proper dependence’ (democracies should depend on the views of the people; courts on the neutral interpretation of the law).

    Independence is compromised when that dependence deviates from its proper root.  Just as when a magnet is placed next to the needle of a compass, an institution is corrupted when it is steered away from its intended aim. Professor Lessig’s second point was that trust is a function of independence. (more…)

    “Let me explain how you have changed my life…”

    By Guest Blogger, on 5 March 2014

    Provost Scholarships Reception

    Provost speaking at the reception

    pencil-iconWritten by Anastazja Grudnicka (BA History and recipient of the Sarmartian Bursary)

    On Tuesday 25 February, the North Cloisters was transformed into an elegant reception venue. The reason for this metamorphosis was the biggest Scholarships and Bursaries Reception UCL has ever hosted.

    This annual event, hosted by current scholarship and bursary recipients, celebrates the invaluable impact of philanthropy on the scholarships and bursaries programme at UCL.

    Following an introduction by Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost of UCL, the audience of more than 150 guests, comprising donors, the recipients of the awards and UCL friends and representatives, had the pleasure to listen to speeches from both beneficiaries and benefactors. Each speaker focused on different aspects of philanthropy and what such contributions meant to them personally.

    It was incredibly inspiring to hear from the scholarship and bursary recipients themselves.  Although all three student speakers came from different backgrounds and faced obstacles of their own, they all shared a sense of gratitude for the support received.