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Snippets - 26/05/05

May 26 2005 10:18
Simon Pascoe
Student killed in traffic accident, ICU Shop branding problems, Colours 2004 and more...
A standard "Classic Pique Polo shirt" available from the ICU Shop

A small a quick roundup of news occuring most recently...

Student Killed in Traffic Accident

(from felixonline.co.uk)

Felix writes that around 5.30pm yesterday, a postgraduate student was hit by a coach on Cromwell road at the junction with Queen's Gate in a fatal accident. Apijak Srivannavit was a MSc environmental engineer from Thailand. More details to follow on the Felix website. Live! reminds cyclists to be careful on the road: the IC Bicycle Users' Group are currently putting together a list of Safe Cycling Guidelines.

College attempts to stop "comedy" branding

Two senior staff from College attempted to stop the ICU Shop from selling (what ICU deem as) "comedy" branded goods such as the T-Shirts in the style of Matrix, FCUK and Carlsberg. Trading and Retail committee report that after discussions with Union President, Mustafa Arif, that the sale of these goods shall continue; although they fear this will not be end of the issue.

Colours Certificates 2004

Did you get Colours last year? ICU has finally printed the certificates for those who had Colours awarded. Collect them from the union reception. However, perhaps in a bout of bad luck, at least one appears to have been failed to be printed...

De-stress with live music

During the exam period it's important to take a break every now and then and relax. Next Friday evening sees two of Imperial's largest music societies come together for an end of year concert. Imperial College Choir and Imperial College Symphony Orchestra will be performing in the Great Hall in a joint concert, usually seen only once every three to four years. Look out for posters on the walkway for details!

Got a story? Live! wants you!

In the next few weeks, Live! will be holding its AGM; this is where we elect new editors and other people to manage the service for the next year. If you're interested in getting involved at all, then please send an email to . Of course, if you've heard something newsworthy, please let us know as soon as you can!

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Discussion about “Snippets - 26/05/05”

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.
1. tom t   
May 26 2005 10:42
 

My colours ceremony was just what I've been waiting for. Short, snappy and to the point, I shall never forget the gratitude with which my half colour was handed to me, not even framed, but handily with perforations pre-packed rolled up on a cardboard tube....

Typical - the ENVIRONMENTAL engineer gets killed by road traffic. It's tragic - I do hope the College will exert pressure to get a green travel plan and much better bike routes to College mapped out on the roads.

2. Dan   
May 26 2005 12:35
 

Cromwell Road is extremely dangerous. This is only compounded by the huge amount of left hand drive coaches that use it. It would be interesting to know if it was a LHD coach, since there has been a massive increase in accidents involving these types of vehicles. Also it is interesting to note that there are no speed cameras or traffic light cameras anywhere on this section of Cromwell road. People frequently are doing more than 30mph, and we should even look at a 20mph limit due to the huge number of pedestrians and cyclists around. A lower speed limit would also improve congestion...

Can the campaigns officer, speak to Tfl about getting something done about it?

3. hmmm   
May 26 2005 13:40
 

Cromwell rd is actually the A4 - that's why some drivers reguarly do 40 on it. The local council should definitely do something to slow them down as it enters a residential area.

May 26 2005 14:38
 

I saw this yesterday evening (arbeit much later); the accident happened right at the junction near the pedestrian crossing. All I could see was that it was a large white coach, but I think it was a right hand drive. As the road was closed going into london, looks like they didn't see the poor fellow as he cycled from college heading south.

May 26 2005 14:38
 

tom: lucky you got a certificate! i didnt even get that.

May 26 2005 15:28
 

And what about those people who received colours last year but are now several hundred miles away from ICU and hence unable to pop in and collect them?

7. Seb   
May 26 2005 15:39
 

Or those that recieved them the year before last year and never got them?

May 27 2005 14:17
 

Has anyone seen the amazing buckling walkway outside Dalby Court?

May 27 2005 14:42
 

It's an embarrassment to Imperial that they couldnt engineer a building that doesnt whistle and a walkway that doesnt buckle. Absolute embarrassment.

May 27 2005 18:35
 

Thats what happens when you get cheap contractors in, ah well, wait till it gets cold again and it'll go flat again.

May 27 2005 18:40
 

Joke time:

Anyone hear the one about "- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - " prevents anyone without a dam good lawyer from even thinking bad things about???

12. editor   
May 28 2005 11:22
 

Certain recent Union news cannot be reported here due to the staff-student protocol, and unfortunately we must also enforce this in comment threads.

May 28 2005 11:41
 

Does anyone (Probably a hack, and I'm guessing Mr Piggott may throw in his views here) know if the famous staff student protocol refers to past staff members as well as current??? Or are we into our constitution's grey area again?

May 29 2005 09:31
 

Right, now I've had a chance to think it over, I can give my two cents.

The Staff/Student Protocol (SSP) is designed to ensure the integrity of the ICU, both as a Member led Union, but also as an employer. It is primarily used for current Staff members, however, staff who have been employed by the Union, but did not have their contract extended could still be considered to come under the auspices of the SSP. This is not explicitly stated, however it would be more than possible, in my estimation, to interpret it thusly. However, as needing a hack has quite rightly mentioned, this is an area with a distinct shade of grey. In which case we need an iterpretation of this part of the MoU, which can only be given by the Rector of the College (currently Sir Richard), and therefore I suggest this is done forthwith.

15. Bert   
May 29 2005 15:33
 

Completely off topic rant but......

What the hell is taking ICT so long. Half an hour they said file servers would be down. It going on for 5 hours and I still can't get any bloody course materials.

Damn you .......... ! [insert anyone I can possibly blame]

May 29 2005 15:54
 

I think the patching is next weekend...

All I know is EE had a powercut at 11am this morning and since then the computers have been knackered.

I beleive ICT (according to Security) are working on it.

17. C!   
May 29 2005 20:36
 

It seems to be working now but earlier some EE students (possibly 3rd yr and above who use ugserver.ee?) couldn't log on at all wheras all other students were able to log on but not access file servers.

I thought EE couldn't have a power cut (seen as it has the CHP)

May 29 2005 21:45
 

Blackett had an "electrical blip" this morning, I believe at some time around 1100, which apparantly buggered a lot of equipment and network stuff. I was unable to log in on any computer in the computing lab in Blackett unless I used a temporary profile on the local machine - it couldn't find my roaming profile, and wouldn't let me use a local profile on the machine. That is, when I finally found a computer that was still connected to the IC network. In addition, the course materials section of the Physics site was unreachable, as was all my IC emails (using Outlook and icex.imperial.ac.uk). Last time I checked the computer I was on was working fine though, but this was at about quarter to nine. Does this mean I can blame EE for what happened?

19. C!   
May 30 2005 00:03
 

I blame the film crew that were in Tanaka/Outside EE. No specific reason for blaming them (except they did have a lot of equipment and their own generators were switched off)

20. Sam   
May 30 2005 00:35
 

I believe it was scheduled power maintenance gone wrong, but all I know for sure is that College suffered a complete and total power cut at around 11am this morning. Every computer in the place that wasn't on UPS, went down and in some cases went down hard. Machines that die in this way sometimes take a little massaging to get them back online.

By 5pm almost every service was restored - there's a couple of none critical machines still offline.

To be honest it was restored in 6 hours, on a Sunday and that's pretty good in my book.

21. Dan L   
May 30 2005 09:45
 

EE would be fine if the CHP worked. For the last few months it has been offline, since one of the engines through a 60kg conrod balance weight through the engine sump, back at the beginning of the year....

22. Ruth   
May 30 2005 10:19
 

I assumed it was the power cut occuring mid way through ICT patching one of the servers which totally f**ked that server, so although the backup power supply came on almost immediately it meant what should have been a half hour lack of computers turned into about five hours for people who are on that particular server (such as myself).

23. Sam   
May 30 2005 11:40
 

No,

ICT patched a grand total of Zero servers this weekend. If you are talking about the patching of home directory servers, that will happen on the 5th June (next weekend).

This was entirely caused by a power outage - no-one in ICT touched anything until we all scrambled into work after the servers went haywire.

24. tom t   
May 30 2005 11:43
 

I heard that some solicitors were called in after a decision made on friday. The sheer weight of the letters delivered by the postie caused the goods lift to be overwhelmed which then caused an electrical fault. Since the admin staff that had come in specifically on a weekend to deal with the enormous number of baseless threats had also all switched on their computers at that point, and the fact that CHP is run on some sort of PFI contract that means it hasn't been running for some time, meant that College then suffered what one member of staff called a 'blip'. The subsequent result was several ?millions damage to equipment across campus, but on the up side, the Union has saved some money, so might be able to subsidise some student activities next year after all.

Each cloud has a silver lining.

25. C!   
May 30 2005 14:36
 

I hate to break it to you tom but: No one at Imperial switches their computer off ever!

26. tom t   
May 30 2005 15:06
 

I must be the only one here then with a fully functioning computer!! It always gets switched off at night unless I'm running a simulation or going to remote desktop from home at a later point. I suppose admin staff run simulations and work so hard from home they need their computers on all the time....

27. Ruth   
May 30 2005 15:13
 

So, Sam, seeing as you obvously do know what you're talking about with this (which I admit I don't - I have an allergy to computers) could you explain why I could log in as my boyfriend almost immediately after the power cut but not as me for several hours? We're both undergraduates (although in different departments) so I assume count as non critical and surely therefore the powercut should have affected us both equally?

May 30 2005 17:45
 

I feel a sudden desire to simplify Mr Piggott's detailed waffle about SSP.

SSP governs union staff and student officers/representatives. Ex-union staff are not union staff and hence are not governed by the protocol (or conversely, protected by it). Just as ex-union officers are not union officers and thus not governed by it.

'Nuff said.

May 30 2005 19:04
 

Let's try this then:

Did you hear that "- - - - - -" has been "- - - -" by the "- - -"?

May 30 2005 19:07
 

Getting back slightly on topic, an interesting read is here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4591321.stm. A pity that it is still so high...

Ruth: Don't let ICT hear you say that you "logged on as your b/f"!!!

May 30 2005 20:48
 

Sam "....College suffered a complete and total power cut...." - only if you were the wrong side of Prince Consort Road! Beit seems not to have suffered - at least according to my server logs.

32. ...   
May 30 2005 22:49
 

ed, are we allowed to ask or discuss a member of staff who has left the union then?

33. Bert   
May 30 2005 23:21
 

Now I actually know the facts I feel I should apologise to everyone in ICT and say thank you for doing such a wondeful job.

Hugs

x

May 31 2005 08:30
 

Dave... now come on. We all know the architecture of the College power system. Beit is fed from the London HV network (SS under Royal Albert Hall), whereas college has it's embedded generation and is fed from a different circuit. It has advantages, and disadvantages... remember Fresher's Friday 2003???

And Sam... WHY are all the servers on UPS???

35. Sam   
May 31 2005 08:38
 

Simon,

I presume that question was meant to be "why aren't all...servers on UPS" - the answer would be capacity. Only the critical servers are on UPS - this means the College Financial system. Most of the fileservers are also on UPS, but there's a fair number of them, and no-one has yet suffered monetary loss by missing out on getting their email for 5 minutes.

Ruth,

1 - you shouldn't be logging in as your boyfriend.. tut. tut.

2 - It depends where his home directory is stored - most of the servers went down and came back fine - it was just one or two and a few network switches that didn't come up automatically. I think it took the guys responsible a while to work out what exactly had happened to them, check them for damage and bring them back up tidily.

Dave,

Shutup! :oP

36. Ruth   
May 31 2005 09:32
 

Thanks Sam, I think my boyfriened and I are on different servers (I remember I got the new version of outlook ages before him) so that would explain it.

I wouldn't normally have logged in as him, but when I have a 25 page coursework due, on Sunday was only 4 pages into it and needed a college internet connection to get at the requisite journals it seemed the better option. And he did offer it to me, to stop me getting stressed and fainting (a favourite trick of mine when stressed) as there was no chance of getting an extension on this!

37. tom t   
May 31 2005 10:14
 

Ruth, Sam

"Only the critical servers are on UPS - this means the College Financial system."

Indeed. students missing deadlines ain't critical, but not keeping tabs on which student has / hasn't paid his ?10,000 (soon to be) tuition fees CERTAINLY is ;-)

May 31 2005 11:57
 

I love how cynical we are! :)

39. Anon   
May 31 2005 17:13
 

So if the SSP doesn't apply, what is there to stop the reporting of the departure of a certain member of staff on Friday? Or is a fairly significant event in ICU life not reportable on live these days?

May 31 2005 17:48
 

9. The maintenance of the integrity of the ICU as an employer precludes staff matters, either related to work or personal matters, from being discussed in any open forum of the Union.

11. The officers of the ICU shall not permit discussions relating to the conditions of employment, performance or conduct of members of its staff in articles, correspondence or other publications produced under the auspices of the Union.

The departure of a staff member is still a staff matter, and relates to terms of employment from the above list if nothing else: these details are kept private partly for the benefit of harmonious working between other staff members, without drawing comparisons. Furthermore, a change in tone regarding a departed staff member, from "Come back!" to "Good riddance!" or vice versa, would carry inferences about the performance or popularity of their successor(s).

41. Ruth   
May 31 2005 18:32
 

But Nichola, can you not report the event as a statement of fact about something that has happened within the union without breaking staff student protocol? Surely it would only be breaking staff student protocol if you used the article to slag off/praise a particular member/former member of staff.

May 31 2005 19:27
 

No, the MoU precludes discussing "staff matters" in general, including terms of employment as well as performance and conduct. Even reports just on staff comings and goings come under closed business in Exec: anything performance-related for individuals doesn't even get that far.

Jun 01 2005 09:18
 

Another one...

Did anyone hear the one about a certain Dr Tanaka who has just been arrested for fraud and never actually paid for a certain building that stands on exhibition road?

Jun 01 2005 10:01
 

Nichola is mostly correct, while an ex-staff member is no longer subject to or protected by the SSP, anything that relates to while they were a staff member is.

That said, it is a matter of interpretation as to whether such a matter can be written about in matter-of-fact terms without commenting on staff performance, which is the real issue in the SSP.

45. Bob   
Jun 01 2005 10:54
 

Well...

I'm no constitutional expert but seeing as a memo was circulated to all union staff (I believe) the issue obviously isn't THAT confidential. So surely it could be reported though not discussed.

Jun 01 2005 13:01
 

Gives College communications something more important worry about than branding use on Union merchandise.

The noise from the lego brick isn't the building whistling, it's their screams.

Jun 01 2005 13:29
 

Regarding the situation everyone has heard rumours about, I advise you to look at a message next to the photocopier in the Union offices, which says things quite contrary to the rumours here.

I feel that at the moment, taking a stronger viewpoint on the MoU and SSP means that Live! should not report about staff issues unless we have concrete indisputable evidence, and that is certainly not possibily the case here.....

49. Cmon   
Jun 01 2005 14:19
 

But surely, an event is factual and cannot be classed under protocols, i.e. "the sun rises in the east" - this happened this morning, so also, "the rector went home last night", similarly some staff members left us.

Also, just wondering what are the remafictations if any, if a normal student like me were to announce said piece of information on Live!, I am sure it would be sometime before any of the editors would pick it up. Am I liable to "Legal Action"?

Jun 01 2005 14:41
 

Might I therefore suggest that if Live are advising people to view a notice in the union office, they should go so far as to publish that notice...

This is all a bit ridiculous.

Jun 01 2005 14:43
 

First of all has anyone asked for a press release from the union - I doubt it.

Secondly the memo next to the photocopier is wrong, since another memo is in circulation contridicting the first one.

Jun 01 2005 21:08
 

Don't you guys have anything better to do with your time? What is all this nonsense about the MoU? If you want an interpretation why not ask the person who is responsible for it rather than semi-speculating.

Of course you can report a major staffing change as a matter of fact. Edward Lord has resigned as Permanent Secretary, with effect from 31 May 2005. There you go.

What I can't allow, in order to protect ICU as an employer (and to protect the rights of our employees) is to permit public disucssion of the performance or terms and conditions of any individual staff member. That must mean no discussion of his performance whilst he was employed and no speculation as to why he might have left.

Ultimately you have to recognise that the staff are there to do the officers' bidding. If you are unhappy with what the Union's staff are doing you must take it up with the officers - the formal channel in case of dispute being that you come and see me. Union officers must take responsiblity for what the staff do in their name - and that means that if we are unhappy with what they do in our name it is also our responsibility to raise our concerns and resolve them in within the staff line manangement structure.

That's all I'm prepared to say. And it is also all that is anyone's business. Personal matters relating to any individual's employment must always remain confidential. If we can't do that as a Union then, aside from legal difficulties, no-one would want to work for us and we wouldn't be able to attract the calibre and quality of staff we need to provide value for money to our members.

Jun 01 2005 21:11
 

Umm... and my dear editors, if you genuinely want to endeavour for Live! to be a news publication rather than a hack zone full of 'in-jokes' that ordinary students are unable to decipher, perhaps you might want to turn off the auto-substitue '-----' feature?

Jun 01 2005 21:27
 

Right, having finished my finals and so not having to leave the forums unguarded until 12.30pm every day (during which time it's fairly certain that comments would appear breaching anythhing the article itself didn't), I've posted the 3 sentences I can post on this matter. Free lollipop available to the first person who hasn't heard by other means anyway.

55. Dan L   
Jun 01 2005 22:10
 

Mustafa,

It is strange that such a piece of news has not been made public sooner. It is important to students to know who they should speak to while we await a new union manager.

Jun 01 2005 22:47
 

"why not ask the person who is responsible"

"It is strange that such a piece of news has not been made public sooner"

Sorry.

I'm not one for playing the "degree" card but on this occasion I must, I've had wall-to-wall finals this fortnight and neither story was going anywhere before this evening and so I decided against dropping a further grade for a single story. (Sabbs don't have a monopoly on sleep deprivation)

Our AGM will take place in a fortnight, where you can hold us to account properly if you feel it necessary. Details to follow.

57. tom t   
Jun 02 2005 10:20
 

Well Mustafa you've broken the silence, so I will.

You start your rant with the usual Arif style 'c'mon guys you're all wrong, hey I'll tell you what's right and wrong' spiel, accusing posters of "nonsense" and having "anything better to do" with their time.

You then say that 'to protect ICU as an employer' no discussion may take place about staff conditions, for example. Yet in the real world, in which you'll soon find yourself, discussion regularly takes place about public figures and their performance, salaries etc. Sir Richard Sykes is a good example. How much he earns, what he did at Glaxo, what share options he might own yada yada yada. All of this is regularly discussed and available in the public domain. Your MoU is just a shield you use against criticism, criticism which may be entirely justified.

"If you are unhappy with what the Union's staff are doing you must take it up with the officers - the formal channel in case of dispute being that you come and see me."

Quite. That I did as well. But unfortunately you were so dead keen to ignore my concerns in the accountability motion and you subsequent response that I felt it necessary to take my concerns (largely about you) to Council Chair. At this point, my concerns were officially known to a very limited number of people.

It transpired that you published my letter on your Union website in full, whilst I'd received notice of intended legal action for defamation (that is, publicly publishing untrue allegations) against me from the very person I can't talk about since that person is protected by the Staff Student Protocol, inspite of his unexpected departure. Sadly, it seems the students (members) at the Union aren't so dear to your heart, since any protection afforded to students by the protocol has been roundly ignored by you, whilst you slavishly made management and financial decisions before the September term had even started.

The culture of intimidation against which I've found myself speaking out this year has disturbed myself and other students to the very core. I hope the new line management structure that must surely ensue will take account of the need for accountability, as well as free up future Presidents to engage in some representation and strategic thinking, whilst the new Union Manager does just that. Manages.

Good luck ICU.

Jun 02 2005 11:20
 

Tom,

1. I have never printed any letter of yours on the web. The Council Chair might have done (since your letter was addressed to him) but that's something for you to take up with him.

2. I have actually worked in 'the real world' and there you don't talk about staff performance in the way you want to either. It is confidential with your line manager. It should not be openly discussed as that can be ground for constructive dismissal at an employment tribunal. All actions I have taken have been fully in consultation with, and following the advice of, the professionals in the College HR department.

Jun 02 2005 11:22
 

And by the way, Tom, the rules for company *directors* (as opposed to employees) are completely different. That's why Sir Richard's salary at Glaxo was public domain but your average manager's is most certainly not.

Jun 02 2005 12:53
 

Right, as promised:

AGM 2005, Tuesday June 14th, 6pm, Guilds Office. Elections, reports and anything else anyone wants to raise.

Followed by dinner at Giraffe.

Jun 02 2005 17:09
 

The real issue that Tom is making, and seems completely true, is that the President has been using the staff-student rules that govern student officers as a weapon against students - to stop students demanding that the rules governing staff are upheld. All year.

Anyway, well done ICU on a fantastic year of democracy, accountability and imagineering.

62. tom t   
Jun 02 2005 17:35
 

Basically, yes I agree with 'what does a'.

in reply to Mustafa: You are (ultimately) responsible for the agenda of Council meetings, where my letter appeared in its full form on the website. The fact that the Chair was acting ex cathedra when he got the then Permanant Secretary to publish the agenda is merely an artefact of the obvious point that you were yourself implicated in the motion of no-confidence (see regulation 4, item 9). So yes, you were responsible for publishing my hitherto private letter in the public domain.

Re your taking advice from College HR dept:

I contacted College HR some time back about various issues and they kindly sent me a copy of the recruitment and selection guidelines (pack B) they issue. I offered this to you in a hastily convened executive meeting after you told me that you hadn't read it, but you haughtily dismissed my offer saying the Union's procedures were better than those used by College(!). Shame that events haven't really born that view out in the longer term.

63. ...   
Jun 04 2005 13:01
 

Back to the off topic discussion about powercuts... why was there another power cut yesterday?

64. Sid   
Jun 04 2005 13:48
 

Yes, we had an exam at that time and according to Prof. Cheung it seemed to be campus wide.

65. Ruth   
Jun 04 2005 16:01
 

We were trying to find our way around our department computer room (which is in the basement and therfore pitch black once the lights and computers go off) using the light of phones. :)

Jun 05 2005 10:56
 

But being Health and Safety conscious the college's emergency lighting kicked in immediately and guided you safely to the nearest exit, right?

67. Ruth   
Jun 05 2005 16:54
 

Of course...yes... ummm... I assume we just couldn't see it!

But at least I wasn't stuck in a lift like a friend of mine was! That would have scared me s**tless.

Jun 05 2005 20:08
 

1) one of my colleagues was in the shower when it happened - there is no emergency lighting in Mech Eng showers.

2) it took out everything west of the Strand for about 15 minutes apparently. Scary stuff.

Jun 06 2005 11:29
 

And, even worse, it has scrambled the mech eng vending machine and I am without chocolate- does anyone have some spare deutch marks?

70. C!   
Jun 07 2005 11:35
 

On a Health and Safety related note - what's the proper way out of the Tanaka building?

1. In the main part (route from front entrance to back entrance) I don't see a single green 'Fire Exit' sign

2. The only non automatic doors are either side of the rear automatic doors and they don't seem to open without a lot of brute force / scraping across the ground

3. The hideous automatic doors don't work in a powercut

4. The front automatic doors close x seconds after someone swipes out at night /weekend so if there is a crowd of people walking out they actually physically hit people (the sensors seem to be switched off at night)

71.  
Jun 08 2005 12:41
 

Green break glass - failsafe. Just like just about every other automatic door in college.

72. bore   
Jun 08 2005 12:47
 

And like most automatic doors you can probably push them open anyway.

Why do you think most of the automatic doors in college don't work properly? SAF anyone...

73. ...   
Jun 08 2005 18:59
 

I thought the green 'glass' push to open door thing was in case of swipecard failure. Is there a battery backup aswell?

Jun 15 2005 00:17
 

I guess the patients at St. Mary's should watch out!

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