Eleanor Sharman, Author at VERSA

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It’s almost like they want us to write this… In my dreams, it’s all just a joke. A really upsetting joke. Oh, OUSU. Reliable, dependable… Read More ›

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Clare College, Cambridge has drawn fire on social media for hosting a charity event aimed at ‘simulating poverty’. The event, run by non-profit group Giving What We… Read More ›

Archive:

Dear freshlings… You’ve probably heard some interesting things about welfare in Oxford. Everyone here is fucked-up to hell, everyone here has the time of their… Read More ›

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Two VERSA writers have obtained exclusive access to OUSU’s plans to end oppressive discourse in Oxford – and, to their own surprise, are completely enamoured … Read More ›

News:

No Offence, a new magazine founded by Oxford students, has been banned from Freshers’ Fair lest it…’cause offence’. VERSA extends a warm welcome to the… Read More ›

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I love holidays. The spirit of adventure they embody, the excitement, the unexpected! Live on the edge, take risks and confront your fears! That’s why,… Read More ›

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Coke hero to Coke Zero: the NUS makes yet another bold stand to defend students, with an attempt to ban SUs from consuming carbonated oppression The… Read More ›

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We might not have caused it, but nor do we get a free pass to blame others Oxford is such a busy city! Cornmarket on the… Read More ›

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There is, as BuzzFeed would put it, a weird new trend in women’s rights activism. The starvation and violence of suffrage campaigns, the powerful liberation movements… Read More ›

News:

For 24 hours nobody knew who was hosting A$AP Rocky – it’s now descended to tit-for-tat infighting On Sunday evening at 20:17, Annie Teriba created a… Read More ›

Scientists Discover Welfare Tea Reduces Risk of Depression by 200% VERSA

Scientists at the Tetley Faculty for Psychological Research have, for the first time, found a conclusive correlation between the consumption of Earl Grey Tea and the prevalence of adolescent onset depression.

The discovery, which has been hailed as ‘a cure’ and ‘the biggest thing since the polio vaccine’ was announced today by Drs. Peter and George Tipps, the twin researchers responsible for that pyramid shaped bag. When asked about their success, the brothers claimed the idea came to them when Oxford Welfare Reps told them of the restorative powers of Twinings, which has been used in shamanic healing and pagan religious ceremonies for millennia.

However, not everyone seems to be happy and the research has not been without its significant criticism. Lobbyists from the Bourbon Institute claim that the research data has been contaminated with that of a separate biscuit related trial, whilst that one prick from your course who only drinks artisanal coffee is absolutely fuming.

Nevertheless the landmark discovery has proved life-changing to anyone who needs to bulk out their CV with a JCR position. One Welfare Rep commented that it was ‘a monumental relief’ to see all their hard work have such tangible results at last – rustication is now down 70% this year. The Tetley Faculty, meanwhile, has since been granted an additional grant to further its research into ascertaining precisely how funny dental dams actually are.

Tags: fake news — food — tea — welfare

No one leaves Oxford a virgin: College Families have F*cked Us All VERSA

The Oxford student body woke this morning to find their world shattered – and yet, oddly resolved – by information leaked from the Experimental Psychology Department. It has come to light that the College Family system, disguised as the institution’s best attempt at ensuring student welfare, is in fact perhaps the most invasive and scarring psychological experiment of the 21st century.

Since the 1970s, infamous as the age of dissent that spoke out against social norms, Oxford’s Experimental Psych Dept. has manipulated the University’s conscientious, oppressed adolescents into expressing desires they didn’t know they had. College families were not the inspired idea of a trail-blazing Welfare Team: the College Family Experiment is inspired by the Oedipus and Electra Complexes, presented by Freud and Jung respectively.

Figures leaked from the studies of Dr Nicholas Riviera, head of the psychological investigation, show that in recent years, the average student has proved 60% more likely to demonstrate sexual interest in a college parent than any other peer. 57% of students have slept with a college parent/sibling before the end of their first year, with a higher figure of 84% for lesser sexual encounters. Dr. Nick admitted in his public apology that such information had been gained through forensic analysis of Welfare Pidge supplies and their depletion, as well as monitoring individuals and couples via cameras in the Pidge rooms, JCRs, and College Bars. Explaining why Oxford is a particularly apt environment for such an experiment, Riviera states, “Oxford students are often pushed to the very limit of what they can handle. The need for extreme self-discipline in the academic sphere, and often the demands from non-academic spheres such as sport, drama etc., lead to a breakdown in capacity for the self-repression of sexual desire”. “Bops, too, are very telling,” he adds.

The Experiment was not simply investigating whether these socially unacceptable desires, said by Freud to be innate to all human beings, would surface, but also what the consequences of acting upon such desires would be. Victims of the experiment – those drawn into sexual relations with people arbitrarily ascribed to them as devoted answerers of all their questions and designated carnation suppliers – cannot explain the perpetual and all-consuming anxiety they suffer. Whilst college counsellors sit through meetings with students who struggle to find the cause of their inexplicable trauma, recommending SANE Workshops and sleep deprivation talks, excuses overheard at increasingly frequent and frequented Welfare Tea include “essay crises”, “hangovers” and “lost IDs”.

The tragedy is, of course, as the Experimental Psych Dept. well knows, that we can’t get rid of our id, but we have lost our ego.

Versa News, Author at VERSA

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VERSA | I shat on a copy of the OxStu and gave it to a doctor

For the past three months, extended periods of time spent outside the vicinity of a (crucially, regularly cleaned) toilet have proved a challenge to my continence. What started out as a pleasant, even relaxing procrastination habit has continued and progressed, and I now fear the hours in the upper Rad Cam, when a dash to the bog if poorly-timed can cost you your underwear. Or your desk space.

Yep – I cannot stop shitting.

It began with tri-daily trips to deposit happy type 4’s on my throne in staircase 4 (everyone has a favourite College crapper right?!). For those of you unfamiliar with the Bristol Stool Chart, the Richter scale of defecation, 4 is smooth and perfect, every scat-lover’s dream, while 1 is like rabbit droppings, and 7 is entirely liquid. Like a seismometer on a Space Shuttle, I left 4 behind long ago and have oscillated between the two extremes for most of Hilary.

“Do you have irritable bowel syndrome?” asked the advert looking for participants for some endoscope-laden study. I bloody well could have, but before agreeing to prostitute my large intestine for modern science, I headed for the GP. Returning home with three pots to poo in, I struggled to get my head round the practicalities of the task with which I was presented. How do you get the poo in the pot? Do you piss before or after, or even risk going during the act of privy-mounted acrobatics? The plastic jars were simply too small to aim directly into, but the faecal sample couldn’t touch the ceramics of the toilet. Crisis.

Natalie Bennett is having a bad week.

There was only one solution. After urinating, and having opened the pots in preparation, I unfolded this week’s OxStu onto the toilet, attempted to squat, and shat on Carolina Bax’s article Collections, what’s the point? (sorry Carolina). Scoop, screw, wipe, finished. In transparent path lab bags in front of me were three pots of fresh faeces.

Only once they were quadruple-bagged and camouflaged behind a Sainsbury’s logo did I dare leave the safe confines of College and head to the GP, jumping red lights and pedestrian crossings to minimise all chances of bumping into my tutor or estranged ex. Safely at the surgery, my bundles of joy joined the other samples to head up to the John Radcliffe, where some poor soul will spend a morning staring down a microscope at them. I hope it’s worth it.

History student baffled by lecturers strike: ‘We had lectures?’ VERSA

Humanities students across the university have been left scratching their heads this week over the developing story of the UCU lecturers strike. Most students, it transpires, were unaware that the university even offered lectures in their course, let alone that those conducting the seminars received payment and benefits for the service.

VERSA interviewed one undergraduate, Ned Ligent, who appeared optimistic about the situation, commenting “It’s not like I could get out of bed before 12 anyways but now when I sleep in I’m a socialist martyr”. His friend, Les Surely, chimed in that the strike had surprisingly saved him a fortune on doctor’s bills: “all those sick notes from the private GP were beginning to rack up”.

Exam Schools, three days prior to the strike

Still, not everyone was best pleased and students took to the streets surrounding Radcliffe Square to protest in support of their striking lecturers. One ‘activist’, Iona Trustfund, expressed her ‘profound sympathy’ for the ‘abuse and inhumane conditions’ endured by lecturers unable to retire to the South of France at age 55.

The general picture, however, has been one of apathy and bewilderment. The government has yet to officially comment, save for Jeremy Hunt calling us all a bunch of snow-flake tossers. The strike is expected to continue until March, at which point normal lecture services will resume and that spotty neek from your course will continue to email round the almost hieroglyphic etchings he calls notes.

HUMBUG VERSA

***THE PICKS OF THE WEEK***

Best theatre – Little shop of horrors

Staged musical based on a film. Very challenging, but reviews praised it as ‘horrifically hilarious’.

Best talk – Heston Blumenthal at the Oxford Union

Sadly he didn’t cook anything, but hey ho

Best night out –

May Day. Bullingdon for the most #edgy, O2 for all the rest of common mortals.
As every year surreal bridge scene with a mixture of families and drunken – high students pretending they had had the best night of their lives but secretly dreading their morning tutorials.

Best ball…

A busy night for the rad cam – tough competition between Brasenose, Keble, Balliol and Hilda’s. Balliol. (not biased or anything..)

Peak of the week  – Emmanuelle’s 114th birthday party.

The most exciting moment of most Oxford students’ year: the opportunity of celebrating the birthday of Regent Park’s tortoise and contribute to raise money for Meningitis. 2.2K participants.

A couple meme’s for tha week –

An exciting overseen…

And an overheard everyone can relate to

And into third week we sail… isn’t time flying?!

VERSA | Oxford’s most eligible bachelors 2015

#10. David Barker

Do you want to to see more?

Current Editor-in-Chief of the VERSA Finishing School The Oxford Student, David is perfect for anyone who wants to say they dated a BNOC but doesn’t want the drama that comes with Oxford fame. I mean, who actually reads the OxStu? We certainly don’t.  However, VERSA worries that Barker would be all work and no play, obsessing over his beloved paper and constantly chatting about the layout of the Fashion section or the standings in the JCR football leagues. Soz bae, print journalism is dead, but we hope that your inclusion on this list can at least resurrect your love life.

#9. Alasdair Lennon

Almost as steamy as our #1. Nearly there Ali

Vice-President for Welfare at VERSA’s favourite institution, Ali’s job means he knows all about looking after people. We’ve heard that he’s actually pretty fun (for an OUSU Sabb), something we weren’t sure was actually possible. If he’s anything like a college welfare officer, he’ll have his pick of the sexual health products to make that night even more special. Want someone to really take care of you? OUSU’s Mr. Welfare might be your man.

#8. Jan Nedvídek

Look at the passion in Jan’s face

Golden boy of the Oxford Right, OUCA Pres Jan is one of the biggest names on campus. Famous for his collection of red trousers and for rarely being sighted in a t-shirt, this LGBTory has a particular style that he pulls off oh-so-well. VERSA’s favourite eastern European’s stock rose even higher with an eye-catching speech at the Union last week. Move quickly if you want to Czech him out.

#7. Dom Applewhite

You’ve probably not heard of Dom, but he’s a Big Deal™ in the Oxford theatre scene. You might recognise him from his role in the Inbetweeners, and his other film credits also include Les Mis and the King’s Speech. And he’s a musician to boot. If you’re looking for a rising star in your new beau, this New College actor is a good pick. In his time at Oxford he’s starred in Romeo & Juliet and West Side Story…screen, stage, and music, more do you want?

#6. Stuart Webber 

The sole survivor from last year’s list. Oh, how quickly the Oxford BNOC mill turns, how cruel the winds of time. VERSA imagines that next year Webber will have gone the way of the rest. President-Elect of the Oxford Union, dating ‘Snakey’ (the origins of this nickname we will leave to your imaginations) into next term would make his lucky consort First Lady of the Oxford Union, which comes with all sorts of perks. With over 1000 ‘close and personal friends’, though, Stu might not have much time to keep his consort happy which is why the next Union Pres stays at #6.

#5. Joel Hide

We all love a bit of monochrome

New President of Oxford’s LGBTQSoc and according to the OxStu’s BNOC list, a self-confessed member of the glitterati. Joel is often found on the dance floor in Plush, but away from the bar he even had the charm to persuade strangers to get him to Brussels for free in last year’s RAG Jailbreak. One VERSA staffer only got to Portsmouth, so we’re pretty impressed with that effort. As Pres of LGBTQSoc, Joel might even be able to get you Q-jump for the society’s new night, Skittles, which we’ve heard very good things about; that alone would make Joel a catch, the rest just adds extra shine.

#4. Morgan Gerlak

He likes teddies too..

Morgan has some big – uhh – shoes to fill taking over the coveted role of residential sporting heartthrob OUBC President from Stan Louloudis. And you know what they say about men with big shoes. This Blue is guaranteed to row your boat, although any lady that wants a piece of this hunk of rower will have to put up with early morning starts and constant Rowing Chat™. However, any consort of a Blue gets the eternal bragging rights and respect from VERSA for bagging such a catch.

#3. Deon Fang

Seen here leaping out of a Christmas present at 2:46, Out Of the Blue’s new President would be a treat for anyone. With international trips to spare with OOTB, Deon would be perfect for anyone looking for a well-travelled date. If his predecessor is anything to go by, expect recognition from A-List stars to come pretty soon. Raising thousands for charity and that unexpectedly deep voice mean Deon is definitely one to take home for Christmas.

#2. Chris Williams

RAG President, Oxford TedX President, half of the club-night duo El Dorado, Chris has fingers in more pies than we can count. We also hear he spent his gap year surfing, so expect surfboard skills both at the beach and in the bedroom. Your best chance at catching our #2 bachelor for a chat and whatever follows is probably at his Back to the Future party on Wednesday night. Not so sure about the white hair though Chris.

#1. Ssuuna Golooba-Mutebi

Dat steam

Officially “Oxford’s Steamiest Man”, according to the Tab (one occasion they actually got something right), there’s something about the way Sssssssuuna photographs none of our other bachelors can quite match. He knows how to party too, and Ssuuna is known for his impressive bop costumes as one of John’s Entz Officers. Fancy something classier than a bop? Ssuuna has you covered: he’s Union Secretary, so expect plenty of black-tie dinners too!

Unfortunately VERSA can’t give you the phone numbers for any of our bachelors, but we wish you luck if you fancy yourself as the new partner of any of these eligible chaps…

VERSA | Hacked off: Sullivan subject to Raine of terror as Union chat Spiros out of control

Last night on the Facebook page of estimable institution the Oxford Union, chaos broke out amongst Oxford’s elder hack scene. Words were said. People got cross. The carnage was gruesome.

The post in question was the Union’s apology over its now-infamous cocktail cockup. As VERSA observed, the apology included a note of thanks to the “Oxford branch of the Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century” group. The response to that was…predictable:

Aww. Young love.

Bless. Some lighthearted banter at the expense of student communists. We can all carry on with our respective evenings. But suddenly, Ben Sullivan (the honourable ex-President, Christ Church), strode into the fray:

But Barnaby, that’s SHOCKING.

Consider this some more free publicity, Barnaby. A pity about the ‘like’ ratio.

But, apropos de rien, a new name was mentioned. A name known only in whispers at OUCA events (which he still frequents) – a name echoed through the corridors of…well, not quite power, but you get the picture.

Was it a bird? Was it a plane? No, it was (lower your expectations) notorious “Cherwell” columnist and political enigma Zachary Spiro.

Zachary? Zachary “too sexist for OUCA” Spiro?

Hmmm. Bold claims, Sullivan, bold claims. Sadly, the image depicts only the final paragraphs of Spiro’s expert non-apology.  Let’s get that letter in full, shall we?

This leaves us with so many questions. Why are your sentences paragraphs-long? Why have you spelled ‘led’ two different ways? Why do you hate women?

Oh dear, oh dear Mr. Spiro. “A promise is only as good as the word that speaks it.” We’re not sure what that means, but it sounds broadly synonymous with “I’ve ruined my own career”.

Debate got progressively more heated. Screenshots were exchanged. People were tagged. Sadly, we can’t be bothered to publish any more, because it becomes about as fascinating as rowing chat.

Tagging your friends to back you up isn’t impressive.

Ok, that was the last one, we promise. We’ll leave you with this standalone gem:

Is that a challenge?

VERSA has great respect for Oxford’s dwindling population of still-somehow-clinging-on-to-relevance Union hacks. We wish each of them the best in their endeavours to get a life.

VERSA | Fiery Union debate on colonialism leaves fresher smelling smoky

As Alpha Lee (St. Catz) stood to speak in opposition of the motion “This House believes Britain owes reparations to her former colonies,” banners were unfurled by pairs of students on the benches behind the debaters. Lee, however, continued unfazed, and Oblivia Merrett olivious.

Students revealed messages reading “BRUTALITY SHOULD NOT BE DEBATED” and “WHO WILL SPEAK FOR ME?” Union security approached one pair, but failed to persuade them to desist. Secretary’s Committee member Ryan Tang eventually pointed out the elephant-in-the-room in a point of order.

Tang’s challenge to the student was met by claims that they were not breaking Union rules by engaging in “non-auditory and non-violent protest.” With points of order flying, Merrett diffused the situation by insisting they obey the custom of sitting whilst speakers were standing, but allowing them to keep the banners up.

A man in a very wavey shirt, feat. background protestors.

The hashtag #RhodesMustFall identified the protestors as part of a coordinated movement. Before the debate Union security had removed dozens of leaflets bearing the slogan, which had been slipped inside debate sheets. He failed however to halt the distribution as students left the chamber.

Some leaflets survived the cull

Tensions remained throughout the debate, with repeated points of information raised against opposition speakers. During the floor debate, one of the protestors took to the microphone for a impassioned 5 minute speech, punctuated with frequent outbursts at those who challenged her.

The final opposition speaker attempted to engage the protestors, addressing the sign reading ‘WHO WILL SPEAK FOR ME’ by claiming that he spoke for the protestors – one of whom retorted with “No, I speak for me!” (Leaving VERSA to ponder why she asked the question in the first place.)

Debate continued in the union bar, where a middle-aged man publically called Annie Teriba a “black barbarian.” The resultant altercation involved Teriba leading the protestors from the building following hints of retaliation. One protestor grabbed a passing whisky and attempted to drench the man in question. Unfortunately for her and for unsuspecting Brasenose fresher Edward Howell, he dodged her throw, leaving Howell smelling like a Scottish distillery.

At VERSA we like a bit of fire in our debates, and the smokiness of the drenched fresher after his chance encounter with the protestors meant we weren’t disappointed. Sick burns all round.

Tags: black — colonialism — debate — Oxford — rhodes — Union — whiskey