The Oxford University Students’ Union has been strongly criticised following a decision to ban a company from the Fresher’s Fair because it is not in their own commercial interests.Beyond Oxbridge is an independent careers website providing job vacancies, internships and careers advice for Oxbridge students and graduates. However, OSSL, OUSU’s business arm, also have a similar website, called Oxbridge Careers.OUSU claim that the two are in direct competition and have therefore banned them from the fresher’s fair – despite having initially granted them a stall. Members of the Beyond Oxbridge team have expressed outraged at the decision, saying that it has left a “bad taste” in their mouths.They also criticised OUSU for being “hopeless” and for “picking fights to try and demonstrate their own importance.”One law student from Merton added, “I think it’s OUSU just trying to throw its weight around to try and get a bit more recognition.”Beyond Oxbridge was initially granted a stall by Jake Leeper, organiser of the Freshers’ fair, but the offer was later overturned by Ed Batty, the advertising co-ordinator for the fair.An OUSU representative told Beyond Oxbridge managers that because their company ran in direct competition with Oxbridge Careers, they would not be allowed to sign up new students at the Freshers’ Fair.The representative stressed that this was not intended to single out Beyond Oxbridge, but was in line with OUSU’s firm anti-competition policy.Jessica Bland, part of the Beyond Oxbridge team expressed her anger at OUSU’s actions, suggesting that theirs was a venture that the Students’ Union should be supporting.Bland also questioned OUSU’s claim that the sites are even in direct competition, citing a lack of content on Oxbridge Careers.“They haven’t filled the site with anything,” she said. “They may do very soon, but right now it’s not populated, it’s not providing the service they said it would do.“And if they’re not providing the service then why exclude another graduate-run website that is providing it?“OUSU tried to shut us off immediately, there wasn’t a negotiation, they just said ‘no you can’t have any contact with students’, even if we were willing to pay to have a commercial stall like every other commercial company.“We thought this was something that needed to be there because it wasn’t there. To suddenly have part of the university turn against us left a bad taste in my mouth in my last few weeks at uni.”OUSU President Lewis Iwu admitted that the decision had been taken in line with their “anti-competition policy,” which is in place to ensure what is commercially best for the organisation. He stressed however that this was not only reason the booking was overturned. “We have a strong anti-competition policy because we also provide a service through the careers handbook and the website,” he said.“We don’t allow people providing a similar product to what we’re providing to provide that at the Freshers’ Fair.“We’ve had discussions in the OSSL board, and the board as a whole felt that there was a conflict between the aims of OSSL and Beyond Oxbridge.”Iwu also claimed that another reason for Beyond Oxbridge’s exclusion was “to ensure that there are no conflicting messages presented at the fair.”He said that the overturning of Leeper’s decision was a routine review of the bookings for the Fair that was conducted throughout the summer.He denied that OUSU was officiously stamping on student enterprise, saying: “across OUSU we recognize the importance of student enterprise but that doesn’t mean that sometimes we don’t have to take a holistic approach and it might mean enforcing our anti-competition policy.”However, Iwu has been criticised from within OUSU. An OUSU College rep who wished to remain anonymous said, “the Freshers Fair should be about helping new students to get involved in university activities, not an exclusive promotion exercise for OUSU-sponsored enterprises.”
By Brian Homewood(REUTERS)-FIFA has proposed merging the CONCACAF and South American qualifiers as part of its plans to expand the 2026 World Cup, a leading official from the region said in a newspaper interview.Venezuelan Football Federation (FVF) president Laureano Gonzalez said the idea for the merger had come from FIFA president Gianni Infantino.Gonzalez, who is also a vice-president of CONMEBOL, the governing body for South America, said it would want at least 14 places at the finals for the two regions combined before accepting the proposal.CONCACAF represents North and Central America as well as the Caribbean.The FIFA Council is due to vote tomorrow whether to increase the number of teams at the finals from the current 32 to either 40 or 48 from 2026. FIFA will decide at a later date which regions will be awarded the additional slots.CONMEBOL currently has four-and-a-half places at the World Cup for its 10 members while CONCACAF, which has 35 FIFA members in its ranks, has three-and-a-half places.“There is a suggestion from Gianni Infantino to unify the CONMEBOL and CONCACAF qualifiers,” Gonzalez told the Venezuelan sports daily Meridiano.“This would have support if they gave us more places. At the moment, we have seven between the two confederations, plus two half places,” he said.“If this went up to 14, similar to what Europe has for more or less the same number of teams, the idea would catch on on the continent.”FIFA could not immediately be reached for comment. Europe currently has 13 places for 55 teams, plus one for 2018 World Cup hosts Russia.CONCACAF is also a leading contender to host the 2026 World Cup, possibly with a joint bid involving at least two out of the United States, Canada and Mexico.Gonzalez also said there was “a spirit” in the region in favour of holding a repeat of last year’s Copa Centenario in 2020, but with 24 teams instead of 16.The Copa Centenario, which celebrated the Copa America’s 100th anniversary, was a special tournament in addition to the regular Copa America.The Copa America is played every four years in the year following the World Cup and traditionally features 10 teams from CONMEBOL and two from CONCACAF.The Centenario, however, took place in the United States and featured six teams from CONCACAF plus the 10 from South America.CONCACAF also has its own biennial tournament, the Gold Cup, staged in odd-numbered years.Gonzalez said officials were in favour of another extra tournament in 2020, with a similar makeup to the Centenario but under a different name and with the format increased to 24 teams.“Obviously it wouldn’t be called Centenario,” said Gonzalez. “Our Copa America would continue to be played as usual.”Such a tournament may face opposition from European clubs, where many of the region’s top players are based.
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisALPENA, Mich.— Fireworks will go on this year for the annual 4th of July show in Alpena if allowed by Governor Whitmer. The City of Alpena made the decision in a 3 to 2 vote despite concerns surrounding COVID–19.Residents were able to raise $14,000 and Lafarge has matched those funds up to $12,000.Council and community members both had different opinions about continuing with the original date and those opposed suggested pushing the fireworks show back to as late as September.Alpena Mayor Matt Waligora and others in favor of having the show said many residents are in support of the 4th of July date. Waligora says,” The decision to implement social distancing and requiring residents to wear masks will be determined by state government.”Residents will have the option to either stand outside or view the fireworks from the inside of their vehicle.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisContinue ReadingPrevious Community organizations rally together to raise money for familyNext Black accepts position at Thunder Bay Junior High School