A modern building made of plate glass and metal framing

Recap: other news from during the vac

Oxford provided the setting for a variety of news stories across the vacation.

Here are some of them:

Drama at Star Wars Screening

Hundreds of Star Wars fans had to be evacuated from a much‐anticipated midnight screening at the Odeon cinema on George Street. The audience were evacuated after the activation of the fire alarm system at the site, people at the screening reported hearing a loud noise as the film suddenly cut out. The audience returned to the screening but with the film unable to be restarted were sent home after an hour.

Frideswide Square Revamp

The square, next to both Oxford train station and the Saïd Business School has reopened following a redevelopment designed to create a better space for pedestrians. There have already been problems however as a large amount of chewing gum has already been deposited on the pavement meaning that Oxford City Council will have to fork out again in order to clean it up. The Oxford Student reported earlier this year on the fears of some bus drivers that the new bus lanes in the revamped square were not wide enough and therefore dangerous. Oxford City Council subsequently denied the claims arguing that the bays were safe and of a reasonable size.

Blavatnik School of Government Opens

The new site of the Blavatnik School of government on Walton Street in Jericho finally opened its doors following the conclusion of the £75 million project to construct the new building. The School of Government has previously been based at various temporary sites around Oxford since it was founded in 2012.

The building has already been accredited as having a very low environmental impact but its financing has attracted controversy after a group including academics and Russian dissidents signed a letter in the Guardian criticising the University of Oxford for accepting a significant donation from the school’s namesake Len Blavatnik accusing them of failing to adequately investigate Mr Blavatnik’s background. The University of Oxford subsequently denied the accusation arguing that the process for scrutinising donations was robust.

Oxford and Cambridge Criticised

Both the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge have been criticised following a report from the Social mobility and child poverty commission that both universities were failing to increase their intake of students educated at state schools. The report identified a number of colleges that were failing to offer even half of their available places to pupils from the state sector. Figures in the report indicated that around two fifths of students admitted to Oxford and Cambridge were educated at private schools.