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Science Faculties to Re-Merge

Nov 01 2005 17:24
Nichola Hawkins
The Rector and College Secretary have announced this morning that the Faculties of Physical and Life Sciences, formed from the split of the Royal College of Science in 2002, will be re-merged under the title of "Faculty of Natural Sciences".
The RCS crest appears again......

In a move that seems to have taken many senior College figures, as well as the student union and student body, by surprise, the Rector today announced to all staff in Physical and Life Sciences that their faculties are to merge in a new Faculty of Natural Sciences, to be headed up by the current Head of the Department of Physics, Professor Peter Knight. An announcement,2523123&_dad=portallive&_schema=PORTALLIVE was also placed on Spectrum.

Since the dismantling of the Royal College of Science was announced in 2001, in the same restructuring that saw City and Guilds merged with the Royal School of Mines, times have been somewhat troubled for the Faculty of Life Sciences in particular. In August 2004, it was announced that the Faculty of Life Sciences was deemed financially unviable: a situation rectified, following a change of Faculty Principal, largely by the closure of most academic activities at Wye.

Indeed, this will be the fourth restructuring to affect Wye since it merged just five years ago, having been placed in Huxley and RCS, then re-united in a Department of Agricultural Sciences, then placed in the adepartmental Faculty of Life Sciences, and now in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, before teaching activity is eventually transferred out of Imperial to the University of Kent over the coming years.

For the remaining students, at South Kensington and Silwood, they will find themselves once again in a Faculty of comparable size to Engineering and Medicine, with over 2700 undergraduates and 680 PhD students.

Indeed, to old RCS enthusiasts, it is likely to appear that the net effect of the destruction of their Constituent College identity will in fact be little more than a name change, although internal changes from within the separate Faculties, including the reorganisation of Life Sciences research into Divisions, may remain in effect to some extent.

The new Faculty Principal will take on the role fully at the end of December, and structural details of the new Faculty will be finalised for the New Year. The Union will also need to adapt to the new structure, as two current Faculty Unions find themselves in the same Faculty and no longer with any practical doubt as to their connection to the RCS. The outgoing principals of Physical and Life Sciences will return to other commitments, in Research and as Deputy Rector respectively.

Developments are likely to be ongoing through the year; as ever, watch this space.

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Discussion about “Science Faculties to Re-Merge”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Nov 01 2005 17:24

Does this mean the Black Hole will be back to get Theta??

Bring back the RCS!

Nov 01 2005 18:26

I like to see Sir Richard keeping up his habits of consulting the people affected by his changes...

Nov 01 2005 18:38

(mutters conspiracy theory about LifeSci being doomed from the start, set up to fail and create an excuse for asset-stripping Wye)

(then mutters a quick Kangela while C&G aren't looking)

Nov 01 2005 22:04

Indeed, the dark knights of the Black Hole will return - like a phoenix from the ashes of the RCSU!!

Nov 01 2005 22:16

Hey, i've just been reading up on the antics of the old RCSU - it seems way better than the current system of faceless 'faculty' unions.

What are the chances of it being re-formed after the current announcment?

Will the college allow the RCSU to use the logo etc.

And what of thier mascot??

6. Seb   
Nov 01 2005 23:26

The old RCSU was fairly badly run, but I don't see why the time isn't right to give it another go.

Theta, the mascott, is currently being held against it's will by Dan Lehman last I heard. Go steal it off the filthy guildsman.

Nov 02 2005 00:00

The RCSU was in slow demise throught the late 90s but it was quite a huge ccu of it's time before that. It was quite sad to see it's end when it finally happened.

8. Jez   
Nov 02 2005 09:18

Whooooooooooo I'm a mascot again!

Nov 02 2005 09:25

Get a grip guys. This story is far bigger than it's affect on mascotry.

Nov 02 2005 09:57

Don't be such a miserable git.

11. Bob   
Nov 02 2005 10:15

The handover from the RDS to the faculty unions can only be descibed as cataclysmically s**t. Let's hope it's handled better this time...

And that a proper office is provided.

And so on and so forth.

And mark another one up for Sir Dickie's outstanding foresight.

Nov 02 2005 11:59

Has anybody contacted the RCSA yet?

This is surely brilliant news for them as they effectively have their old union back, regardless of what the students choose to call it.

Having seen how much C&G and RSM benefit from strong links with their respective alumni associations (both financially and socially), this can only be a good thing for science students.

Nov 02 2005 12:13

Bob, please look at the situation before you judge us. It was a horrendous year for the officers of the RCSU. I for one ended up having to leave the College for a period in order to recover from a erious bout of depression that I had, and was in no fit state to conduct any sort of handover (not that there was an Hon Sec the year after). At the end of the year, there was only 3 executive officers left - hardly an ideal situation, but one caused by the bitching going on at ICU level.

However, I do agree that there needs to be support for the new body that will get up and running quickly at this crucial time. This I would hope would come from a number of sources, but predominantely from ICU level. I hope as well that the students will be allowed "buy in" at this early stage, so that they actually feel connected to this body. I am both emotionally involved, as well as no longer being a student, to give my input to the debate, and it should be one that the Students purely make.

i will finish by saying that I look forward to see what the student want to make of it, and I would hope that the Alumni and College will support them in there decision.

Nov 02 2005 12:13

First thing the "Faculty of Natural Sciences Student s Association" should do is have an election to select a name, ala C&G back in 2002(?).

The RCS(U) needs to be brought back to the front of people's minds as most of the people here started after the RCSU abolished itself, so may not have heard much about it.

As a crusty old Guildsman and member of RCS Motor Club, I hope the scientists get a proper CCU^H^H^HFaculty Union back. They have the opportunity here to set up a viable, functional union to represent their interests. Or they could just elect a bunch of self-important, arrogant people to mess it all up .. but that never happens in student politics, does it?

Nov 02 2005 12:17

Speaking of which, I noticed many, many, many worthy, intelligent, caring, non-partisan, non-members-of-political-parties, not-in-it-for-themselves candidates standing for ICU Council this year. When do we find out how well RON did...

Nov 02 2005 14:10

John: Mariko met with some RCSA people just before this story broke and will arrange another meeting soon.

Bob: Yes, sorting out an office is on the to-do list. In fact the scientists' unions are being impressively efficient in planning for the merger so far.

Ashley: So can the scientists have our fire engine back now?

Oliver: :-P !!!

Nov 02 2005 14:21

Nichola: I'm sure we'd be willing to negotiate with the reformed union... It would be nice if some more scientists showed an interest in Jez! We're having a very good year with new members, but they mostly seem to be Guildsmen.

Incidentally, we need someone to fill our "Queen of Jez" position. This is a ceremonial role which traditionally goes to a new (female) club member. Scientists should feel free to apply!

We are an equal opportunities club and have awarded the position Queen of Jez to various types of "Queen" in the past, so it should really be a girly girl this time ;).

Nov 02 2005 14:34

I think you will find us as the Trojan Horse Organisation areholding theta ransom.

Keep an eye outyou RCS people


19. Seb   
Nov 02 2005 15:46

Trojan Horse:

To hold a mascot to ransom you need two things:

One, a violate mascot.

Two, to issue a ransom.

Neither of these criteria apply to the >theft< of Theta. Theta was not a violate mascot (not having a FU to be a mascott of), and it's been missing for over a year without a ransom being delivered to anyone that I have ever heard of.

Do you think you could at least let some people in the new union know where it is being kept? Because with no union to care for it, and only about one person left on campus who cares about it, it's very hard to play mascotry and the chances of getting it started again when there isn't actually a mascot and no established figures to work out where it might be hidden it's not going to happen.

Nov 02 2005 17:42

I suspect that Theta is in the hands of ex-students who did not think there was anyone able to properly care for it at College.

These people were always a law unto themselves, however if I believe that if a properly constituted Science Union asked for Theta to start turning up to certain events, as a violate mascot with adequate security, it would do so.

I believe this, because they were always very good at looking after Theta, a fact attested to by what hasn't been said in the discussion

Nov 02 2005 17:53

Talking of Theta Mk IV - since she ended her days as RCSU mascot as a virgin, should not the newly reformed Union create a new Theta anyway....

Also, the 3-handled pot appears to have been missing since a RCSA dinner in the Polish Club a couple of years back - anyone got any info on that?

Nov 02 2005 19:31

I heard that the 3-handled pot was 'removed' by an Alumnus at said dinner.

As a scientist, I would very much like to see the re-instatement of the fine and ancient sport of mascotry.

But it can't start until the new RCSU has their mascot back.

I doubt the current two FUs will be willing to spare any cash or time to make a new one, perhaps Dan Lehmann et al. should consider returning Theta as a goodwill gesture.

This would kick-start the mascotry again, and I am willing to set up and run an RCS mascotry club next year.

23. Sid   
Nov 02 2005 19:34

Well it seems like the only reason to reconstitute the RCSU would be to brink back mascotry. Scientists seem to be fickle!

Obviously, the world seems other things are more important

24. Ruth   
Nov 03 2005 10:37

Sid, I think the main problem is that most of us weren't around when the RCSU existed and therefore can't see what bringing it back us going to do. We are therefore not very enthusiastic. Also the apparent liking for mascotry I think is more to do with the kind of people who read Live! than a representative view of the average scientist!

It's a bit of a shame actually when faculty of physical sciences union was finally beginning to be of use that we're probably going to have to start again! So I do hope that the hand over is good as to be back at the the level the faculty of physical sicences union was when I started 4 years ago (ie I didn't even know it existed until my second year when I was told about it by some engineers) would be a shame.

I hope that everyone (including alumni and other faculty unions) will help us to make a useful and functioning faculty union by whatever name. What matters is that it reperesents students now, not what it may have been in the past.

25. tom t   
Nov 04 2005 12:52

Never thought I'd say this...

but SRS might be right for once.

Natural sciences do all have cross-pollinating interdisciplinary sections, and more so at Imperial where there is a reasonably strong tradition of such research. Under Sir Peter, I'm convinced that a better stab at it will be made than over the last few years. The fact that this is how it was, just testifies to history repeating itself. If anything, SRS's lack of consultation just goes to show that he mucked up the first time, and knows it. Bring back the RCS (under a different name) and we're back to where we were whilst SRS was just wrecking British pharma firms.

I can't wait to have a closer collaboration with biologists, environmental policy developers and more. Such a unifying approach will mean that the sciences can pull back against some of the engineering and medical institutional dominance seen over the last few years. And if SRS thinks this will just be another way to develop his beloved 'life' sciences, he'd better think again.

Bring it on!

In other news, poor old Mr Arif's essential reforms to Union Council will have to be rethought, yet again. Pity all the knights in the land didn't keep him informed while he was making all those grand plans.

26. Jon   
Nov 04 2005 17:59

One of the 3 handled pots, I assume belonging to the 22 club, is in the Union Bar.

27. Si   
Nov 05 2005 20:33

Just a quick point, the whole reason for faculty unions, CCUs or whatever newly fangled brand college wishes to call them, is to bring to their memebers a levels of support and recreation closer to home than the main ICU system.

On the recreation front this would include intercollege / interfaculty competition.

Take a quick look in the Union Bar and you will find many trophies from an era when RCS, C&G and RSM competed regularly in sports.

I can't believe that the scientists can't find 15 rugby players amongst their ranks willing to take on the mighty RSM.

Nov 05 2005 23:04

Si: They do! RCS rugby is still around according to

Also im sure ive seen some of 'our ranks' walking about in RCS rugby tops.

Perhaps the RSM ought to ask them nicely for a game?

Nov 05 2005 23:28

So, any news on Theta from you 'filthy Guildsmen'?

I'm about to begin the process of starting up an RCS Mascotry team. I'm wondering wether to set it up as an SCC club, or administer it thourgh one of the current FUs, or just run it informally.

Any help/advice, especially from Black Hole alumni would be much appreciated!

30. Ruth   
Nov 06 2005 13:41

Don't run before you can walk all you people who want to bring back mascotry and the like. Competition is all very well if you have strong and established faculty unions to begin with. Despite the history associated with RCS, this is still going to be a new faculty union. If scientists waste their time with mascotry and other competition with Guilds then our new faculty union will never become strong and properly established and we'll end up collapsing again ready to be the victim of Sir Richard's next amazing reorganisation plans.

31. Bob   
Nov 06 2005 15:51

Couldn't agree more. This will be a completely new union (though I personally think it should be called the RCSU if possible) and a lot of work is going to have to be done to ensure that it is representative of scientists and financially viable before anything else. Then we can start playing with mascots and taking Faculty-linked clubs under our wing (ala CGU).

Organising academic representation should be interesting as following the recent LifeSci restructuring there are marked difference between courses (unlike in engineering). So all fun and games really...

I think the current faculty execs (thouh I really only know PhysSci) should make a good fist of the handover, I just hope strong candidates come forward for next year.

32. Bob   
Nov 06 2005 15:54

Also in reply to Tom:

I don't see why the proposed changes to council will have to be rethought. The quotas will need to be changed but surely that's only a minor detail.

Nov 06 2005 19:13

I completely agree, first and foremost the point of the new union must be to serve its students. And part of that service is as Si mentioned, providing intercollegiate/faculty recreational activities.

There are currently plans to set up an inter-FoNS football league, with all the departments playing each other. This will hopefully provide the players for an RCS football team, who can then take on C+G and the RSM once again.

As for mascotry, surely the Black Hole team/exec could be recruited this year in order to start it up again properly at fresher's fayre next year?

PS Are any of the current mascots violate??

Nov 07 2005 08:37


In my experience nothing to do with council is ever just a 'minor detail'. The simplest things always seem to take ages.

35. Seb   
Nov 07 2005 10:16

The only way you build a strong club, society, union etc. is through activity. Any excuse for activity should be leapt upon (be it mascotry or running events).

The fact is accademic and union level representation just isn't an issue for the majority of members. Competition with other FU's are the perfect way to boost brand recognition and an excuse to actually do something.

When we were starting Physoc up from a cold start five years ago, we found the most important thing was creating the illusion of momentum amoung the Freshers. When the yearly fresh intake comes in, things like lunatic traditions involving mascots give the impression of a far more active society that is worth investing time in.

The last thing you want to do is bury yourself in self-important paper shuffling at Union Council meetings and thinking that anyone outside of hack-dom will care or notice.

Activity first, attract peoples attention, and then you can actually start finding out what it is people *actually* want.

36. tom t   
Nov 07 2005 17:48

hear hear seb

i on;y mention Council as Arif made sure lots of ordinary students weren't on it after his reshuffling of papers, but there are lots of Life Sci and Phys Sci positions....

play safe boys and girls

Nov 08 2005 17:08

Dear RCS person,

You should know that mascotry is not an "offical" club - you will find that the vice-president is normally associated with the mascotry team, but the rest of the team is normally made up of a selection of randoms. So - you just start it - but first you need a violate mascot.... which we have ;)

Nov 08 2005 17:37

Dear The Trojan Horse,

Cheers for the clarification, as you may know the days of mascotry were gone before most of our current science students arrived. So what would happen if our Vice Pres wasnt interested in mascotry next year?

Could someone else be responsible i.e. the RAG officer

Also, is Spanner violate? Surely the preliminary mish-mash of the two science unions could come to some kind of arrangement with C+G to secure the return of Theta so the game can start proper next term?

It will be rather hard, if not impossible to recruit and motivate a Black Hole team without the presence of a mascot. This would lead to a somewhat dull stalemate given the current lack of information about the whereabouts of Theta, and the uncertainty surrounding Spanner

PS what happened to Bolt?

Nov 08 2005 19:52

Last I heard of Bolt was that it was safely returned to the C&G office - then a couple of weeks later, someone decided to find it in there. Haven't heard anything since, but it's a bit unfair for mascotry if mascots are hidden away and not on view. So can we have our Theta back now?

Nov 09 2005 03:33

hear hear He who knows all.

Come on, you tight buggers at C+G!! Give us back our mascot and we'll whup you good next term at the game of kings that is mascotry.

Nov 09 2005 16:15

Theta's ransom was issued last year.

It has now increased to ?250 to be given to RAG from the RCS.

Or you could attempt to come along to a bar night....

Nov 09 2005 19:59

Trojan Horse, may I remind you that the rules of mascotry state that to issue a ransom, the club must have a violate mascot (and show it at a minimum of 2 events per term).

Thus, the ransom issued was invalid.

Nov 09 2005 23:04

It is also invalid as Theta is NOT a violate mascot. Therefore, whoever took Theta is guilty of THEFT. Yes, that's right, a student of Imperial College has stolen some of Imperial College's property.

44. bob   
Nov 10 2005 12:28

Well PhysSci made about ?200 quid (possibly more) for RAG last year and I'm sure LifeSci managed at least a tenner so why don't we jsut call it quits?

45. Seb   
Nov 10 2005 13:06

The RCSU does not exist, Trojan, so it's rather difficult to issue a ransom. On the other hand, the RCS does but it isn't a student body.

Nov 10 2005 17:26

THEFT, eh? I suggest to Dan Lehmann (if he is indeed the culprit) to contact the Vice Pres of one of the current science FUs and offer to give it back, before they bring out the lawyers!

So, are the C+G ones violate?

What about the RSM mascot?

47. Dan   
Nov 10 2005 19:03

Dear RCS people,

Having read Live! for the first time in a few months (there is finally some news here... - not like the old days), I came across this thread.

I am afriad to shatter your grand plans that I have Theta, but it is not true. I saw Theta once, over 18 months ago, when it was sitting in the old RCS office, now the Kart garage, whilst with Ed Piggott.

Then whilst both Ed Piggott and myself were away, it disappeared, and I have not seen it since.

I did hear about the ransom last year - and I did help communicate it to the Phys Sci group as they were then, as I was hoping mascotry might restart itself, and it seemed quite a laugh.... - But no it is not me.

Anyway my final point to the RCS Enthusiast is that Spanner and Bolt have appeared at bar nights, Fresher's Fair, and the Engineers Ball. I should think they will also appear on BBC1 this Saturday - so all those Black Hole and RCSU people can see them along with 11 million others. That makes four events if I can count right..

Nov 10 2005 20:52


Thank you for your reply. So, who did you help communicate the (invalid) ransom the PhySci from?? So, the C+G mascots have fulfilled one of the criteria for a mascotry club, but not the most important one of actually being violate!

To The Trojan Horse,

Do you in fact know the whereabouts of Theta, or are you just all talk? If you do know where it is, please contact one of the FUs and they will be able to come to an arrangement with you.

49. RSM   
Nov 11 2005 14:18

The C&G mascots are definitely violate!

Spanner enjoys all his little visits to the RSM office.

Nov 12 2005 19:50

And when RAG nicked spanner last year a ransome was paid rather than reporting it as a crime, sounds violate to me.

p.s. Anyone notice theta at the Lord Mayor's Show today, sitting on the back of Jez the fire engine which is an RCS mascot as well. Stolen??? Didn't look like it to me!

51. Dan   
Nov 12 2005 20:44

Alas due to the poor BBC coverage (why do they only cover 30% of the floats??) I was unable to see Theta.

However since RCS Motor Club is run entirely by C&G people, I assume the Trojan Horse were out in full force. Quite ironic really when you consider that Theta was made on the RCS Motor Club lathe in 1975.

RCS Enthusiast - looks like they have risen to the bait - now all you need to do is either pay the ransom or the black hole could of course attempt to get it back by force - although the latter does seem unlikely.

Nov 14 2005 11:05

Our organisation believes that mascotry should be conducted in a fair way when a new union for the scientists is formed. We believe that the manner in which Theta was taken was questionable.

To this end, we have Bolt.

Bolt will be released if ONE of the following conditions is met:

* C&G donate to RAG the same amount as that required by The Trojan Horse for Theta. The Trojan Horse may revise their ransom downwards.


* Theta is handed to the Union president for safe-keeping, where it will remain until the new union for the scientists is formed. At this point Theta should be handed to the president of the new faculty union.

The Black Horse is watching.

Nov 14 2005 15:24

Dear Black Horse,

I'm all for fairer mascotry. Specifically all unions must have a violate mascot in order to take anothers. As you are an individual and not a faculty union you have broken the rules aswell.

Return Bolt or you will be round-ponded!

The White Knight is waiting

Nov 14 2005 15:40

You have made the mistake of assuming The Black Horse is just one person. Additionally, you have made the mistake of assuming there is no faculty union involved.

The Black Horse has both engineers and scientists as members. Consequently, we have 3 mascots which can be violated, one of which we currently hold.

Should Theta be passed to the central union (who have our contact details), Bolt will be returned.

We will offer another alternative. We have already put it to you that we have violate mascots of our own, being a cross-faculty group. However, the other requirement is that the mascot goes on display at an event.

There are undergraduate interviews taking place in various departments on Wednesday afternoon. Bolt will be on display at one or more of these sessions for a brief period to be determined by us.

Should a representative of Guilds or Life/Phys Sci arrive and give the correct passphrase, Bolt will be handed to them. The Black Horse can be contacted for the passphrase using the given email address.

Nov 14 2005 16:58

Mascotry organisations cannot be cross faculty!

Why do you "believe that the manner in which Theta was taken was questionable" when you claim to "have 3 mascots which can be violated"?

Nov 14 2005 20:14

White Knight has illustrated the current problem with mascotry: organisations can not be cross-faculty. However, the concept of "faculty" with mascotry is a tricky one. As a result of the faculty structure, RSM is now part of C&G.

If RSM takes Spanner, are they not just stealing from themselves?

The Black Horse wonders if it is time the interested parties got together and determined an updated set of rules to take this into account, at the same time declaring (or redeclaring) their mascots violate.

C&G are now back in possession of Bolt.

The Black Horse wishes all mascotry teams happy hunting in the future!

57. Seb   
Nov 14 2005 21:43

And theta?

Nov 14 2005 22:11

Theta is still in the possession of Guilds.

Note that negotiations with Guilds revealed that donations to a blood bank will be acceptable as ransom, to the tune of ?2.50 per pint. The original (ignored) ransom to PhysSci last year was for 100 pints of blood to be donated. A combination of RAG fundraising and blood donation is an achievable target for the scientists (especially as there is ?50 in the accounts from doughnut sales already).

We also wonder if the ransom might decrease if LifeSci were to appear on the Felix "page 3" ... perhaps Trojan Horse could make a statement on this.

Nov 14 2005 23:11

Old RAG, all of us in RCS Motor Club were proud to display both RAG mascots in the LMS. Seen as all current students are Guildsmen I wouldn't be so sure that Jez hasn't been stolen!

Ed, are you sure Theta isn't violate. As I understand it 3,500 scientists declared Theta violate and nothing's been said since.

60. Seb   
Nov 14 2005 23:48

I believe Theta was declared inviolate by the RCSU as the RCSU was closing itself down.

You can not very well have Theta being a mascott of *two* "CCU's".

Nov 15 2005 09:45


I have searched the RCSU minutes, and there is no mention of Theta becoming inviolate. Since the make up of Life Sci and Phys Sci barely differs from the RCSU (minus a few miners) I suggest you stop sitting on the fence and go and try and get it back from us - after all - it is a game ;)

Nov 15 2005 10:15

In all of this we are forgetting one thing that cannot be disputed - that the RCSU (along with all the other CCU's) ceased to exist.

This essentialy nullified all mascotry agreements, thus mascotry cannot take place. These agreements came into place when college decided things were getting out of hand. The mascotry agrrements were the ground rules regarding how mascotry would be conducted. Therefore, mascotry can only take place between different bodies if new agreements are drawn up and ratified.

Now, to the status of Theta. Theta was declared involate in a meeting of the Executive Committee of the RCSU. This was one of the last meetings of the RCSU I attended. This was after discussions as to what would happen to all of the old RCSU stuff, including Jez's status as mascot and presidential transport, but not Club (as that was, and still is, and internal Club matter). The decision to declare Theta involate and not not give it over to one of the Faculties was decided due to the fact that it was considered to be ubnfair on the other one. It was also an RCS tradition and we decided that it was up to each new organisation if they wanted new mascots and to come up with them. So yes Theta was declared inviolate.

As of August 1st 2002, the RCSU ceased to exist. All items owned or cared for by the RCSU reverted to ICU. This includes Theta. ICU does not currently get involved in violte mascotry (although Mike is the inviolate mascot of ICU). Theta is therefore basically a Union asset for the Union to decide what to do with. So far ICU have chosen not to either give it to one of the Faculties, or to involve itself in violate mascotry. This corresponds not to minutes by the RCSU, but minutes by the ICU.

What it therefore is, and there are no arguments about this, this "violation" as some people call it (although not those in the know) occured around 12 months ago when Theta was an ICU asset and nothing else. This was theft of an ICU asset by members of Imperial College. They have tried to dress it up as violate mascotry, unfortunaely it is just simple theft. There are no ifs, no buts, as it concerns ICU meetings and policies.

If anybody does not understand this, I will be happy to elaborate, either on this website, or by private email.


63. Seb   
Nov 15 2005 11:05

King of Troy:

See Ed's post.

I would try and get it back off you, the slight problem being based entirely off campus in deepest, darkest Oxfordshire.

You are right though, it is a game, which is why you should play by the rules. We don't want to return to the days of running people over to get the mascots, do we?

Nov 15 2005 12:47

I was just waiting for Ed Piggot to sort everyone out! If anyone knows about minutae, he does.

I just wanted to add that contrary to what Black Horse suggests, there was no ransom received for theta by either the President, Vice President, Honorary Secretary or Broadsheet Editor of the PhySci Exec last year, although I cannot speak for LifeSci.

However, that's probably just as well seeing as we wouldn't have done anything about it. We care very little for that ungainly lump of metal - and why should we? Give theta back to ICU and the Ex-RCS hacks to be displayed for historical reasons as part of a CCU that doesn't exist anymore. Let NatSci start afresh with their own mascot if they want to mess around with that kind of thing rather than focus on the more important issues. The number of current students who have actually seen theta can probably be counted using fingers and toes. It's hard for us to give a damn about this lump of metallic history - don't bother trying to ransom it here as there is no-one who will pay.

If you really want some satisfaction from this theft then I suggest you either dump it in the pond or ransom it to RCSA. I don't think they'll be terribly amused though to be honest.

Nov 15 2005 12:49

So, are the Guildsmen now willing to call 'pax' for now, and for us all (Scientists,engineers and miners) to hold a forum, lay down the rules and declare all mascots violate?

Nov 15 2005 13:13

There must be serious problems in the science faculties if there's no time to try and grab a mascot 2-3 times per term, or spend an evening raising some money for RAG.

I'm interested in hearing what these big issues which need resolving are - I don't get to hear much about what goes on in PhysSci.

To me, it sounds like PhysSci would prefer to turn into the faceless, uncharismatic, uninspiring grey suits that everyone is riling against due to the dress code.

College management are stripping College of any character it may have had in the past. We shouldn't let a bunch of miserable gits help their cause.

By all means, focus on important faculty issues. But surely you can find some time for a bit of historical fun?

Nov 15 2005 13:57

Ashley, there isn't a problem in the science faculty (not faculties as previously). There have been umpteen times when people who don't know how much students within science departments get involved in extra-cirricular activities. One event I can remember (albeit through the fog of alcohol) was the end of year party for the Chemistry 3rd Years. That took a lot of effort and was enjoyed by all who attended.

What the problem is that there are groups of students who want to be beareaucrats. They actually think shuffling paper around is an enjoyable hobby. This applies to the College as well as the Union (see the newest edict). This is the problem as they think others should enjoy the mountains of red tape, when in fact most others would enjoy something like going around, and nabbing a large brass spanner, and raise a bit of cash for good causes at the same time.

There are of course other events that could be done - competitive tiddlywinking down oxford street (was a Rag Week Event between CCU's), Morphy Day (inter CCU sport day and general mess around at one point, were plans to revive it in the pipeline) etc. There is no reason they could not be revived, and give the students a laugh at the same time. This is how the new faculty union (or whatever it is) could start to seem alive, not grey and boring.

As for Mascotry, I agree with RCS Enthusiast MkII, a Pax should be called, and a new mascotry agreement should be drafted and ratified by interested bodies within college. I remember reasonablly well what it said, although there are copies in the College archive of the defunct one. Wether the Pax includes handing Theta back or not, that shoudl be decided at a later date.

Nov 15 2005 14:28


Personally, I think the opposite may be true: if there IS time to try and grab a mascot 2-3 times per term then there are serious problems in the science faculties.

But don?t get me wrong ? there?s nothing wrong with having some fun here. I like fun. I would list fun quite highly in my top ten list of preferred activities. It?s just not fun if you don?t really care about the game itself. I should imagine 98% of current science students have never heard of, or have ever seen theta. I should also imagine that these same students wouldn?t be particularly impressed with their elected representatives if they just spent their time running around after a large lump of metal rather than organising events and improving representation structures.

Naturally, C&G officers should spend their time running around after bits of metal ? this is what their students want. I should think that nearly all C&G students have heard of Spanner and Bolt, and so they would will that their representatives uphold this tradition.

This is not some attempt at being snooty and believing that mascotry is base - that somehow scientists are above all that nonsense. It?s just at this stage of the game I think we want different things. Guilds is large and well established, the science faculties are about to suffer another reorganisation to confuse everyone.

Once the new faculty is established I?m sure it will be lots of fun to make a new mascot and join in the game. A little light banter and competition between FUs never did any harm ? perhaps even extreme tiddlywinking. It just seems that it makes sense walk first and then break into a gentle jog later. That?s not to say that trying to raise enthusiasm for a mascot wouldn?t help establish a FU, it just appears that it would be too easy for the science faculty to slip into the mascot waving rah rah rahing and glorified drinking club of old that didn?t represent the people and was sensibly abolished.

I don?t think that makes us miserable gits. It?s just a sense of caution. I?m sure the character bit will develop in time if you don?t think it has yet. Establish and serve first. Mascotise and sing about it later, it?ll be great.

Nov 15 2005 14:33

I've been asked by a few enthusiasts to clarify the constitutional position of mascotry within the RCS at the time of its self destruction:



1. The mascots of the Union shall be listed in Appendix I of this Constitution.

2. Changing mascots and the status of the mascots shall require a two-thirds majority at two consecutive meetings of GenCom, meeting at least ten and not more than twenty days apart.


H. APPENDIX I ? Mascots of the Union

1. Violate Mascots

. A violate mascot of the Union is a mascot that can be "borrowed" by another Students' Union and ransomed back for a sum of money that would be donated to charity.

i. The steel replica thermometer known a "Theta 4" is the violate mascot of the Union.

2. Inviolate Mascots

. An inviolate mascot of the Union is a mascot that cannot be "borrowed" by another Students' Union ? it would be considered theft if it were to be "borrowed".

i. The 1916 Dennis N type Fire Engine shall be the inviolate mascot of the Union. The Fire Engine shall be known as "Jezebel", and shall be the official transport of the Union President.

ii. "Jezebel" shall be entrusted to the RCS Motor Club, who shall ensure that she remains in the best possible condition to represent the Union at official occasions by the President's invitation.

3. General

. The Vice President shall be responsible to the President for the safe-keeping of all mascots of the Union, save for ?Jezebel? as outlined in section 2.3.

i. There shall be two Theta Bearers with the sole purpose of looking after all Union violate mascots on a day to day basis.

ii. The Three-Handled Pot is not a mascot of the Union, but shall be present at all official Union events where the Master of Ceremonies requests it. The "3HP" shall be engraved with the names of the President, Vice President, Honorary Secretary, Academic Affairs Officer and Honorary Junior Treasurer and Publications Officer.

I think it is fair to say that whoever wrote this had too much time on their hands...

Nov 15 2005 14:46

And that document means nothing - it was supercedded as of 1st August 2002 by 2 new faculty unions.

As for the mascotry agreements - that's more akin to policy. It's the same for all parties.

And, Martin - officers should definately not be involved in mascotry. I'd be worried with them doing it full stop. As for ordinary students, that's another matter entirely.

Nov 15 2005 14:51


Isn't it hard for them not to be? According to most FU constitutions it's written that the VP has responsibility for a mascot's welfare.

Nov 15 2005 14:53

John - could you clarify the *Guilds* position on mascotry too?

Nov 15 2005 14:58
Nov 15 2005 15:06

Martin, VP's are perhaps the only officer with any invovlment in mascotry. They are the people with whom negotiations are conducted when a mascot is violated. However, they do not go out with the intentuion of violating mascots - ie. they are not in fact involved with the mascotry side of things, just the ransom, and the consequences if anything goes awry.

Nov 15 2005 15:31

Fair enough then. In which case who are any of us to stop the everday student from having fun nicking each other's stuff? All sounds jolly. If it doesn't involve the FU committees really then perhaps it should be completely seperate.

Why not set up rival mascotry clubs as RCC clubs? That way the people who care about it can write as much constitutional detail as they like and keep everything above board. Also there would be no difficulty in keeping RSM mascotry distinct from C&G mascotry. They won't even need any money - I'm sure all parties concerned could get the number of signatures required to set up a club. I know it's more exciting to be part of a 'secret' club, but I'm sure the groups could come to some agreement about not having to publish a list of members - just need the chair's name for ransom contact purposes.

This way it doesn't interfere with the running of any FU, and the clubs can get up to all kinds of mischief without having to go through anyone who doesn't really give a damn about it.

Happiness for all concerned. All the benefits of rivalry (I can't see any problem with naming each club after the relevant FU) without the bother of the Grey Suited people. The FUs continue to compete with each other in events, but the kleptomaniacs keep their precious metals.

Nov 15 2005 15:39

If the chair of the club was the VP of the relevant FU/CCU/CSC/etc then the rest of the club can still remain secret. I guess it works for the motorised inviolate mascots...

Nov 15 2005 15:49

It certainly does seem to keep the motor people happy. Just think of all the rules they could make up - certain numbers of 'displays' of the mascot per year, definitions of a 'display', compulsary displays at FU events, regulations on time spent off-campus. The FUs seem capable of liaising with the relevant motor clubs to ensure an appearance at their events.

They could even invest in a 'Grand-Slam' trophy for when one club holds the mascots of every other club simultaneously.

How many people reading this have wet themselves?

Nov 15 2005 17:14

Wow. This was a shock. But, as both an old fogey and the last RCSU president, I think I should stick my oar in.

The RCSU dissolved in 2002 so that the union could match the college structure and could represent students as well as possible. It wasn't an easy decision to take, but I felt that the union's first priority should always to be to look after the current students as best they can; historical baggage is further down the list.

Now that the structure has changed, the union needs to change to reflect it. If the union thinks that this is best served by resurrecting the RCSU, I won't have any objections. Yet there are several things that need to be taken into consideration:

  • Firstly, you'll be starting from scratch, not just with new students, but with almost an entire college of people who've never heard of it before. Should you try to get them interested in what has gone before? Or should you start afresh, with a new union that doesn't have the baggage? That's up to the union to decide. The new structure, whatever it is, should pick the bones of the old RCSU for the best bits, but leave the rest for posterity. If you think this includes one or more of mascotry, the motor club, Depsocs, sports, or whatever, that's fine. Just make them work. And leave bits that are better done by other parts of the union to them.
  • If you ever want the new/old union to be a success, you need to make it easily accessible. Take a leaf out of C&G's and the medic's book and put yourselves in a place where anyone can wander in. Basically, the science faculty office is in the wrong place. Move it. Of course, this is easier said than done, but it is not impossible. I was well into negotiations to move the RCSU into Blackett before events took over.
  • Yes, a re-merger would require a change in the constitution, but please don't get bogged down in constituional wrangling: it's petty point-scoring for the sake of it and it's a waste of time. It drove me to despair, quite literally. Just agree that matching the structure is in the best interests of the students and get on with it. Two meetings, max, is all it needs.
  • Focus on representation first. Get that right and the union will become trusted. The fun and frolics are also important, but secondary.
  • Whatever structure you set up, be prepared to take it all down again in a couple of years. Restructures happen frequently, especially at Imperial. Please don't build anything sacred, or there'll be just as much heartache next time it needs to be shaken up.

Now that I've had my tuppence worth, I'm going back to my rocking chair to dribble biscuit crumbs into my cardigan.

79. Dan L   
Nov 15 2005 17:18


The RCSU office is no more. The C&G Motor Club moved in there, and following some pushing by me (yes I am from guilds) we managed to help secure Phys Sci an office in Physics.

Life Sci got an office too - in the BMS.

How things have changed!

Nov 15 2005 18:08


No problem. C&GCU policy on mascotry can be found below:

Presently Spanner and Bolt are both "violate" - at least they were last year...

81. JJ   
Nov 16 2005 12:05

Just looking at at Alex Guites comment: "This story is far bigger than it's affect on mascotry."

Then the rest of the thread is on Mascotry!

Nov 16 2005 12:26

This post has nothing to do with mascotry.



83. Ranter   
Nov 16 2005 17:13

Alex, clearly the students reading live are more interested in mascotry, maybe hacks should get out the office and see where the interest lies???

84. Ruth   
Nov 17 2005 14:40

Ranter, the students posting in the disucssion on Live! may well me more interested in mascotry. They, however, are not generally particularly representative of the entire student population.

JJ, you will notice if you look that there has been some effort to introduce a serious point to this discussion by several people. Unfortunately it seems to have been hijacked by RCS Enthusiast and the various mascotry types as a forum for them to play their games.

Nov 17 2005 15:38

Ruth - there have been mentions of "this is far bigger than mascotry", more important issues, better representation etc etc. However no-one has really mentioned any ways they think a new union would provide better representation, or what the important issues are. Nor have they said how they think a new union should be publicised so students think it actually does something, rather than looking like a big waste of time that occasionally runs some events.

If people would like to dicuss these, lets discuss them. So far none of the people who have tried to inject serious content have tried to discuss the "serious" things - they've just come across with a tone of derision.

If been involved in student representation within DoC and was also involved in the recent QAA audit. I have strong views on representation AND the more fun sides. Let's discuss them.

The first thing I'm interested in is how the staff-student committee system works in Life Sci, with no departments...(or indeed, how depreps work - are they course reps?) What are the proposals for the new welfare structure in the new union? How does the weird life sci structure fit in?

These are the "important" issues that have been mentioned. Discuss.

86. Seb   
Nov 17 2005 16:48

"I should imagine 98% of current science students have never heard of, or have ever seen theta"

And I imagine the same is true of the Phys Sci and Life Sci Exec.

Wheel Theta out for events, I agurantee mroe people will be interested in mascotry than they will be interested in welfare representation until they themselves need taht representation. The problem is, and has been even while the RCSU was around, that without the brand recognition, people forget that the CCU exists when they do have welfare problems.

What representation does a science student need to ICU as a scientist untill they see themselves as scientist subgrouping? They won't see themselves as that subgroup unless the union provides something in itself. You can not create a community simply by professing to represent one.

Build the community and then you can honestly say you represent someone. Until then, you are only representing the very few people that know such a thing exists.

What you are really getting down to is that you feel/felt as an exec offier that your time should be devoted to important things involving paper. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more important for any organisation than ensuring it's survival. That requires attracting intake and ensuring people know the organisation exists. If that means doing silly things, then that is what you have to do.

Guilds is large and well established because it worked hard to get itself well established. It was not so long ago that Guilds was in a terrible mess also. Activities that act to create an identity work well to do this. It's why people mess around with things like flags and national anthems. You can never, ever "establish" yourself by "improving representation structures".

Christ, I've had to do some pretty silly things in my time. Regretably, there are pictures to proove it.


Ironicaly, far from being an RCSU fanatic, I voted to shut it down when I was running Physoc because it had got to the point where (no offence Stuart and Ed) from our perspective it was worse than useless and actually hindering our ability to operate as a Depsoc.

These things have to be built from the ground upwards, as we found out starting our society after over five years (possibly even a decade) or dormancy.

Don't think of Mascotry etc. as an end in itself. It's all about advertising. You make more of an impact by making people giggle about 12 people in silly clothes throwing egg and flour at each other over a six foot themometer than you do by turning up at their introductory lectures and explaining how you represent them to union council. It took me a couple of years to figure that stuff out.

The more people you reach, the more manpower you have. The more manpower you have, the greater your ability to fill positions and undertake new activity. That in turn generates a reputation for competance. I've known several colleagues during my undergrad who ought to have been able to turn to the FU/CCU for help or representation, particularly accademic. Being a hack I tried to point them in the appropriate direction. The endless refrain I would get back "Who?" and then after some exlpanation "What? Those paper pushing a**eholes? How can they help?".

It's not what you do, it's how you do it. As long as people know mascotry is only a bit of fun, rather than the single objective of an FU, it is a powerful advertising and branding tool. You'd have to be crazy not to use it.

Nov 17 2005 17:13

There's seem to be a trend for labelling academic reps as paper pushing a**eholes. Or something along those lines. Now it's true that we do push a hell of a lot of paper. When you sit on more comittees than anyone bar the sabbs (and college committees with papers taking up half your room not pansy ICU papers which *might* stretch to two sides A4) it's kind of hard to avoid. And most students will always turn to their year reps/dep reps first. Academic reps are generally there to back people up if they need to make a particular point or need advice. But anyway.

LifeSci structure will be interesting to integrate. But college wants everything to go divisional eventually so maybe this is their chance.

88. Seb   
Nov 18 2005 09:09

I know accademic reps are important. The problem is, if the people that ought to be going to accademic reps associate them with an organisation which they see as just a bunch of union hacks, they are not going to be interested in going to their accademic rep, or, in the worst case, their dep rep.

I recall it be fairly difficult to try to get some dep-reps to work with the FU's. The Deprep in my third year for Physics point blank refused to have anything to do with the FU on the grounds that it compromised her ability to do her job for precisely that reason. Yet her job only existed within the framework of the FU.

Dep Reps and Accademic Reps are supposed to be part of the same structure. The structure as a whole needs to be recognised and respected by the students so that they actually consider it an option when problems loom over the horizon.

Nov 20 2005 18:23

In reponse to Ashley's point:

"The first thing I'm interested in is how the staff-student committee system works in Life Sci, with no departments...(or indeed, how depreps work - are they course reps?)"

Biology and Biochem are courses, not departments. However, there is still an academic/welfare system in place for each one, encompassing staff from each of the the Divisions.

There is one SSC for each course (Biology and Biochem) and will be one next year for our new Biomedical Science course.

It has continued as usual, is chaired by the senior tutor of the course and is attended by the Course(Dep) Reps and Year Reps.

Confused/uninterested? You're in the exact same position as most of the LifeSci students when it comes to such matters.

As for PhySci, they have only just elected an AAO. Without any kind of handbook/guidelines from the RCSU or previous years Exec. he was thrown in at the deep end, attending high-level meetings without any idea of what exactly he was required to do.

I had the same problem at the start of the year.

The problem seems to stem from poor communicaion between years, very poor handovers and lethargic previous Execs.

Next year, when we merge to form RCSU (and we're going to try or damndest to call it RCSU) - there will be a vice pres for Life and Phys respectively, but only one AAO.

Mascotry responsibilities will go to the VP who wants it most (going by the posts of the miserable PhySci lot, it'll probably be up to us Life Scientists).

Nov 21 2005 09:40

The Postgrad rep structure, on the other hand, may get more complicated, as it looks like there will be one Faculty split between both Graduate Schools...

Nov 21 2005 09:46

A VP for each of the old faculties?

And they look after both finance and activities amoungst their respective departments or are finance and events going to be controled differently?

Remember we may look to return to being an RCSU club if it is properly run, but the first thing I would be looking for is a single person dedicated to finance in the Union.

This is of course if you want Jez as a Mascot. Imagine us at freshers pub crawls though. We can do one hell of a lot for the image of RCSU. Like Seb was talking about advertising.

Nov 21 2005 10:27

Nichola makes a very good point .. are the graduate schools staying the same? It seems a bit bizarre to have one faculty in both graduate schools.

Nov 21 2005 11:38

JJ: Of course we want Jez back!! After having the honour of being transported to our dinner one night on her, I'm sure that the LifeSci Exec will all agree at least. Three Cheers to Ashley for organising that for us!!

The new RCSU will have one treasurer and one events person. The two current presidents are still deciding on how to organise it, so it's all up in the air at the moment. It would be very useful to have a copy of the old RCSU consitution to see how that worked.

If the RCS Motor Club wishes to join as an RCSU club, they will be more than welcome. However, I reckon for simplicities sake you may as well stay with ICU to save on paperwork and to ensure that you will have proper funding.

94. Dan L   
Nov 21 2005 11:41

Don't be stupid. Of course the RCS Motor Club should go back to the RCSU when it recreates itself.

FSUs that are succesfull have clubs (Guilds / Medics) - it is good advertising, and provokes interest in union activity.

If you are thinking about leaving them at ICU I would think again....

Nov 21 2005 14:06

We'd only be happy to move back if it was clear we wouldn't be harmed financially if we did so. It would also depend on which attitude prevailed - if the attitude of the life scientists was the attitude of the "RCSU", we'd be likely to move. If it was the boring grey suits ... well, we're probably better off where we are.

As Dan says, a good "CCU" needs clubs ... few people care about representation until they actually need it. They do care about clubs.

Nov 21 2005 14:07

The old RCS constitution (IIRC), like LifeSci and PhysSci now, just has a Vice President, which judging by the job description is equivalent to what Guilds call their VPA. The finance person doesn't have a VP title, just HJT (treasurer)- VPF&S was a new title brought in by Guilds not very long ago.

From what I've heard about last year's Budget SAC, any appeals on the grounds of "This club's transferred to our CSC/FU so their funding needs to go with them" were approved without argument...

Nov 21 2005 14:10

One other thing - is it an "FSU" or an "FSA"? i seem to recall them starting out as "Faculty Student Associations" ... more recently, "U" seems to have crept back.

Did I sleep through some change?

Nov 21 2005 15:54

The change to FU from FSA was in the minor constitution change the year before last (a little more surprisingly, College Council also approved the ammendment from FoESA back to CGCU in the ICU Constitution).

99. Seb   
Nov 21 2005 16:36

Riding Jez is fantastic. I thought it was comming out to all the events anyway?

Nov 21 2005 16:49

Jez is available for any and all events. Just email or visit

102. RCS   
Nov 21 2005 19:58

But according to this the name (and logo) is an ongoing project for the next two months- which suggests it hasn't been finalised yet.

I suppose all we can hope for is student consultation- then if those students do choose to be called 'Nats' or 'Fons' or some such "modern" "snappy" thing then that's their choice; if, on the other hand, they opt for something else then that will have to stand.

Nov 22 2005 00:09

Voting starts this Thursday.

Introducing the contenders -

In the blue corner we have RCSU (weighing in at nigh on 100 years old, and with a deadly selection of crazy traditions, its the current favourite)

In the red corner we've got NatSci (its lame, dont vote for it)

And of course, the ubiquitous RON.

Bet Now!!

Nov 22 2005 09:14

RCSU should, of course, be in the purple corner... ;)

105. Seb   
Nov 22 2005 11:48

Re the exec paper...

Wow... extreeme competence.

I'm seriously impressed.

Nov 23 2005 15:10


Today at 1300 hours The City and Guilds College Union office was "attacked" by a ruthless group of individuals wearing what appeared to be RCS jackets...

The individuals left a ransom note, which demands the safe return of Theta, and took the C&GCU practice spanner.

The President has responded by issueing a decree than no member of the RCS / RCSU may enter the CGCU office unless accompanied by the Guildsman/women.


107. Seb   
Nov 23 2005 15:58

Nice try for style.

Inteligence failure though.

108. Seb   
Nov 23 2005 15:59

Fooled by CGCU's Wrench of Mascott Distraction.

109. Seb   
Nov 23 2005 16:00

"Wrench of Mascot Deception" I mean.

Nov 23 2005 16:32

Nay, we knew it was but a Spanner MkII!

Thar's too much trickery and doubletalk about the location of our Theta. We wanted our grubby hands on a mascot, and now we have one! However, the minions are thirsy for Trojan Horse blood. If ye want to see your (semi)precious Spanner again, ye'll send us an Electronic Mail and we'll happily trade it in for Theta.


Nov 23 2005 17:52

This is so funny - the amateurs at the black hole managed to take the fake spanner.

All I can see is nice try - muhahahahahaha

Nov 23 2005 18:24

If memory serves, the fake Spanner is made out of Iron or Steel. Last time I checked, the Chinese were paying a good price for stufff like that...

Nov 23 2005 22:50

I have read many e-mails from this page. Maybe it's time people moved on from the past. Imperial College is a great establishment. When I spent so many years there we had the Royal School of Mines. It was rated as the best Mining College in the world, we had the Royal College of Science and some of the degree courses within it were rated as the best in the world, we also had City & Guilds and some of their courses set presidents for the rest of the world.

That was in the early 80s. I loved the traditions each college had. With their mascots and their Motorised mascots. I had respect for all.

Why has IC dropped so far in the ratings of world universities?

WE once finished first in the UK and third overall in the world. Now we are 14th - 28th looking at different tables.

I will go on from this. There are many other things I am disappointed about, but that will come later.

Seaan Davis

114. ???   
Nov 24 2005 09:55

So Sean, are you trying to tell us that because a few Colleges in other parts of the world have overtaken IC in some league tables, we don't deserve the privilege of a bit of fun with old College traditions any more? That we're not worthy to follow the frolicking footsteps of your superior generation?

Allow me to disagree in the strongest possible terms. Indeed, when otehr colleges pick up academic rankings, our heritage and traditions become even more important in setting us apart from them.

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