DMU students urged to use testing facilities before going home for Christmas

By James Wynn

Students at De Montfort University have been urged to use off-site testing facilities ‘at least twice-weekly’ before returning home for Christmas next month. 

In an email sent to students on Tuesday (NOV17), the university said students should be getting tested ‘regularly’ at a test centre in the Watershed building on Upperton Road. 

The tests, which are part of the government’s ‘lateral flow’ trial scheme, aims to test as many asymptomatic people as possible, with the aim of catching the virus before people spread it unwittingly. 

The pilot was trialled at the end of October at DMU by a small number of students, but the scheme is now readily available to all, with the aim of getting all students home for the Christmas holidays.

“Get yourself regularly tested (at least twice weekly) from now until your planned departure date. We’re providing free asymptomatic Covid-19 tests which give results in approximately 30 minutes,” the email said.

All DMU students returning home will leave between December 3 and 9, as part of a government plan to allow students to spend Christmas with their families.

Reports in September suggested that some students could be told to stay in their university accommodation over the festive season, but in the face of a fierce backlash from students and mental health charities, a testing plan was rolled out last month. 

“We strongly encourage you to book a test as close to your scheduled departure day as possible. A negative result will give you and your friends and family the reassurance needed to return home safely and prevent any further transmission of the virus,” the email continues.  

“We have requested of the Department of Health and Social Care that our testing centre remain open over the weekend of 5-6 December and after.  Until this is confirmed, you should plan to have your test no later than 4 December if your travel window is after this.

“If you test positive at this point you will need to remain in self-isolation for ten days in your term-time accommodation. Once completed, you will still have enough time to make it home for the holidays.” 

Video: De Montfort University student grabs gold for campaign to solve United Nations sustainable development goal

By Alexander Hodgkins-Jones

Veronica Heaven announcing the winners on Tuesday (NOV17)

A De Montfort University student is celebrating after she was announced as a winner of a national ‘sustainable futures’ competition on Tuesday (NOV17) as part of an initiative called Brief Cases.

Jade Burrell won the gold award in the Sustainable Futures: Design and Print category for her beach-saving campaign ‘For Shore’.

The Brief Cases scheme, which is run yearly by The Heaven Company, tasks university students from across the country with producing a video, print and social media campaign around one of the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals.

For Shore targeted goal 12, responsible consumption and production.

The 20-year-old communication arts student was shocked to win as she hadn’t felt her work was worthy of submission to the competition.

Luckily one of her tutors, Jenny Hibberd, saw the value of the project and submitted it on her behalf.

Jade said: “When I heard my name and saw my project, I couldn’t believe it.

“I didn’t know how they had got it, but there it was. I am so happy though.”

Jade Burrell with her beer mat concept which was a hit with the judges

Of her concept, Jade said: “The beaches are depleting due to sand consumption and the idea behind For Shore is to recycle used glass bottles by turning them back into reusable sand.”

Jade also had the clever idea of using beer mats to spread the message of the proposed campaign.

“Drinkers would hopefully see the mats and think to donate their empty bottles,” she said.

“And it would give pubs an incentive to work with us.”

Fellow DMU classmate Callum Dingley secured a bronze award for his campaign aimed at housing the homeless.

Veronica Heaven, founder of Brief Cases, said: “[Our] projects are underpinned by the message of sustainability – and this year has been no different.

“We wanted students to show that creating design and print can be commercially viable, engaging and exciting and at the same time have a future focussed approach.

“We had so many amazing responses and a wonderful range of project outcomes.”

Communication Arts lecturer John Coster told Jade on Monday (NOV16) to watch the show when it premiered the following day as she may be “surprised”.

The pandemic forced the show to switch from an in-person event to a pre-recorded awards video.

“Through this whole period we’ve been reminded about the need and the importance of humanity and being able to care,” said Veronica.

Information about next year’s Brief Cases competition can be found here.

Nearly half cases of violence and sexual offences in Leicestershire are closed without convictions

By Beatriz Abreu Ferreira

More than 40 per cent of cases of violence and sexual offences reported by Leicestershire Police this September were closed because suspects could not be identified or prosecuted.

Figures from September show that 1,291 out of 3,141 reports of violence and sexual offences were closed as Leicestershire Police were unable to identify (258) or prosecute suspects (1,033). 

Figures from September 2020 Source: data.police.uk

Another 1,457 cases (46.4 per cent) are still under investigation. Some reports (65) were followed up by another organisation or had a local resolution (67).

Many investigation outcomes (94) or formal actions taken (85) were not disclosed as they were not deemed to be in the public interest.

A proportion of 1.9 per cent of the reports (60) are still awaiting court outcome.

The majority of cases happened in Leicester (652),  Charnwood (175) and North West Leicestershire (128). 

Figures from September 2020 Source: data.police.uk

Rushcliffe (1), Rutland (15), and Oadby and Wigston (31) were the areas with the least number of reports.

Violence and sexual offences are the most common reason for criminal reports made by Leicestershire Police (36.7 per cent), followed by anti-social behaviour (13.5 per cent) and public order offences (11.3 per cent).

Figures from September 2020 Source: data.police.uk

Violent crime is one of the few categories of crime which has seen a big increase in the number of reports compared to the same period last year. 

Source: UK crime stats

 In September 2019, a total of 2,513 cases were reported in Leicestershire, compared to 3,126 in the same month this year.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, the senior institution to inspect and report on the efficiency of police forces, judged Leicestershire Police as ‘Good’.

 “The force is good at investigating crime,” the report said. “Investigations are handled by appropriately-trained staff, and the case files we saw were of a high standard. There is a new crime bureau for cases with few lines of investigation, which has taken pressure off other investigators. The force offers a good service to victims and prioritises their needs.

“Leicestershire Police is also good at protecting vulnerable people. It has strong relationships with other organisations working with those in need and a well-established training programme. The force is currently dealing with more crimes, and receiving more referrals linked to vulnerability, than it ever has before, but it is taking measures to deal with this demand.”

Enjoy the Chap Hop and Cheese event from the comfort of your home

By Beatriz Abreu Ferreira

The cheese experts Homage2Fromage will be hosting the popular Chap Hop and Cheese event online from the National Space Centre on Saturday (NOV21) from 7pm.

Due to the current social distancing restrictions, the organisers of the event decided to host an online session for the traditional evening of conversation, music and (lots of) cheese.

This year, the guests are Mr B, Professor Elemental and Tom B Wild.

The popular rappers and entertainers promise an evening of good music and comedy.

To make sure everyone can enjoy the session while tasting some good cheese, Homage2Fromage is selling cheese boxes which can be purchased here.

For more information about tickets and the event please visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/1263519634032545/

Campaign launched to change the name of De Montfort University

By Adam Dutton

A campaign has been launched by the Executive Officer Team to change the name of De Montfort University after it was found Simon de Montfort held anti-Semitic views.

The Executive Officer Team is part of the DMU Students’ Union and this campaign is part of their yearly joint objective scheme, which aims to campaign for a lasting change to the University.

The Executive Officer Team posted a statement, which said: “As your Executive Officer team at De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU), we always strive to improve your student experience and hold the university to account when we believe improvements need to be made. 

“Every year, as a team we decide and agree on one joint objective to make long lasting change following conversations with students. This year we have chosen a project that we truly believe will leave a legacy that we can be proud of.

“De Montfort University (DMU) is named after Simon de Montfort who although he is known to be the Father of what we would call modern day democracy, was also known for his anti-Semitic views and hatred towards the Jewish community.

“De Montfort is not a name we should be promoting. This is not a name we say with pride. It is not reflective of our core values and beliefs.”

Simon de Montfort is often regarded as the father of democracy and he became the Earl of Leicester in April 1239.

However, it is his anti-Semitic views which make the use of his name challenging. He expelled the small Jewish population from Leicester in 1231.

His followers also massacred a number of Jews in Derby (1262) and in Lincoln (1265).

The campaign uses these factors for the main reasons for change.

The support for change is there from a student stance, too.

Zoaib Kitabi, 22 and a DMU student, said: “The idea of changing the name is good, it shows that they are thinking.

“They’re trying to be current and accepting and I think a lot of people can appreciate that. I’m interested to see what they change the name to.”

The proposed name change, if successful, is set to be introduced in December 2023.