“There is a lot of positive stuff that’s come out of it, there’s been a lot of people connecting with each other”
The Transgender Day of Remembrance is held in November every year to remember the lives lost to transphobic violence. This year in Sheffield it was commemorated with a candlelit vigil in Hallam Square where speakers gave moving tributes to those both living and dead.
The first ever commemorated transperson to be remembered was Rita Hester, who was murdered on November 28th, 1998. It was her memory which spurred the creation of the day, as a way to increase trans visibility and make others aware of the violence and discrimination which the community faces every day.
The event was organised by SAYiT and T-Boys, both of which are charities specialising in supporting young LGBT+ individuals within Sheffield and the surrounding areas. Members of the students’ unions and ASPECS (a support group for LGBT+ people with autism) were also present and made their voices heard- literally, as the event included both a minute of silence to commemorate and respect the dead, and a minute of noise to ensure that transpeople do not go unseen and forgotten in our society.
SAYiT volunteer Lee Lester, 33 said: “We also need to show visibility, we don’t need to be silenced. We need to be present and be unashamed and by doing that it sends out a message to the community.”
“There is a lot of positive stuff that’s come out of it, there’s been a lot of people connecting with each other, finding groups they can go to, sharing mutual interests and that’s what community is isn’t it?”
The event went smoothly for the most part, with supporters from across Sheffield gathering to pay their respects. While the occasional transphobic remark could be heard, for their part the speakers all did their best to remain calm and dignified.
“It’s not very nice sometimes to stand in a public space and risk the consequences. You are never quite sure what could happen and tonight proves that. There were a couple of people that did shout some stuff as they went past. It was very well handled but it does prove that it could be quite an intimidating environment for people. To see that many people that were comfortable to be there shows we are doing something right,” said Lee.
T-Boys is a group which specialises in the support of AFAB (assigned female at birth) individuals who identify as transgender or questioning in some way, and additionally can also support the families of these individuals. They can be contacted through email or their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/tboysyorkshire).
SAYiT (Sheena Amos Youth Trust) run several different projects, including Trans*formers, a group for young transpeople, and Off The Scene, a support group for LGBT+ youth 18-25 years old. Their phone numbers and email address can be found on their website (http://sayouthtrust.org.uk). It runs on a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night. It is based at Scotia Works on Leadmill road and has been running since 1999.
Lee said: “It is a safe place to come and hangout with people who are a little or lot like you, and just kind of really normalise being LGBT+ because it’s perfectly normal. It’s our job as workers to empower these young people to realise that it’s absolutely fine to be who they are.”
Vicky Laylor, 40, is a black transwoman who became a volunteer for SAYiT after supporting the community through social media. She was one of the many speakers at the remembrance event.
“Sheffield itself is a diverse city. We are quite culturally rich. But there’s one side of Sheffield that is supportive and open minded of LGBT but then you can go to another side of Sheffield and its like little Britain.”
Vicky has also done talks at secondary schools and plans to do more. She says some schools are very supportive but others seem to be afraid of what parents may think.
“I think it’s the student community that keeps Sheffield moving in the right direction for LGBT support as we have two big universities’ here.” She said.
“Learn a new language, see a new city and really get to know it, make new friends from around the world”
The Erasmus+ program exchange was created 30 years ago. Since then, 4 400 000 higher education students enjoyed this opportunity during their studies. Dr Matthew Stibbe, who teaches twentieth-century German and European History at SHU, is from the first generation of Erasmus students. He went for two semesters in the Humboldt University in Berlin, in 1995-1996. He answered our questions in order to share his experience with us, and his view on the Erasmus program. He also explains what it brought him, personally and professionally.
– Why did you choose to do it? Was it difficult to leave?
I was a PhD student. I wanted to spend a year in Berlin researching in archives, but I also wanted a community around me, a social life, interaction with others, and a chance to have German lessons and do a history module at the university.
– What did it bring to you (professionally and personally)? Any regrets? Would you choose to do it again?
I learned to speak German fluently, which was important to me professionally. I made new friends. I saw Berlin at a moment of transition from divided to reunited city. I did my research and finished my PhD. In my first academic job, I taught a module on the history of Berlin and took British students to that city. Because I knew the city very well, I could show them around and take them to the best historical sites. No regrets, I would do it again.
– What is THE Best Memory of your time there?
When I realised that I could speak German fluently. This came more easily to me at the Humboldt University because at this time, most of the overseas students were from Poland, Romania and Russia. They could not speak English – so we all had to speak German. British Erasmus students at the Free University in old West Berlin told me that everybody used English there – so it was harder to practice German.
– Was it sometimes difficult? What helped you there?
In the mid-1990s there was no internet, no email, no mobile phones and no phones at all in the halls of residence I lived in old East Berlin. It was difficult to have a social life without any of these means of communication. Also, in those days students in the UK could not have credit cards. I had to open a bank account in Germany which is very complicated. Even harder was working out how to close the bank account after I had left.
What helped me was the support of other exchange students, and being determined. And Really liking Berlin a lot.
– Would you recommend to your students to go? Why?
Yes – learn a new language, see a new city and really get to know it, make new friends from around the world.
– Do you think that enough British students are using this opportunity?
No – Britain tends to take in more exchange students than vice versa. Partly this is to do with language – English is a world language, British students do not learn other languages easily (or willingly).
Erasmus was created in 1987 by the European Community, to promote student mobility in Europe. This year we are celebrating its 30th Anniversary.
Its name comes from the 16th century humanist, Erasmus, and also means European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students. It allows student to study in a foreign university but still getting their diploma from their home university, or achieve a degree at two universities at the same time.
It is an opportunity that is largely appreciated professionally, and has a big personal impact on each student. The programme has expanded during the last 30 years, and now concerns internship, sports, or even professionals.
Also, it is not only limited to Europe anymore, with the creation of the Erasmus Mundus exchange program few years ago. This expansion resulted in the new name of the programme: Erasmus+. Since 1987, 9 million people have participated in an Erasmus exchange, 4,400,000 of which were higher education students.
Each year, the number of participants increases, and for the academic year of 2017-2018, it is 347,100 people. A lot more compared to the 3,000 in 1987. French students are the first to volunteer for an Erasmus+ exchange. The program remains quite selective but is currently expanding.
With the programme itself, the so-called ‘Erasmus Generation’ born. Indeed, during the last 30 years, young people have developed a special way of thinking due to the impact of the European mobility, which is becoming a common part of their lives and education.
Also, couples were formed and 1 million ‘Erasmus Babies’ were born since 1987 which is a strong testimony of the impact the exchange programme has. During the last 30 years it helped to develop in the last and our generation a feeling of European citizenship.
The programme offers a lot of different destinations, depending on intern universities agreements (yes, not everyone is given the chance to study at SHU). Student’s favourite destination are Spain, followed by Germany and France. Great Britain is at the 4th position. The programme is especially developing and getting in popularity in eastern and northern countries.
Erasmus+ also involves financial aides and scholarships on a European and local levels. The point being to promote this kind of mobility and to make it more accessible to a larger number of students. The amount of the Erasmus scholarships depends only on the living cost estimated in the foreign country against the home country. In 2018, the programme and the European Union are planning to raise those amounts. The budget for the whole program for 2014-2020 is of 14.7 billion euros.
The place of Great Britain in the programme after the Brexit has not been decided for the moment. For now, everything remains as planned.
To celebrate the 30th Anniversary, we can find in the whole Europe different kind of events and exhibitions, involving governments, and even student organisations like ESN (Erasmus Student Network). The points is also to promote the programme especially with the concept of the Erasmus Generation. Many books also came out, summarising several students testimonies.
To start HMedia’s new ‘Club of the week’ sports feature, we thought we’d kick things off with a real classic of University sports, namely, Mens Rugby Union.
Hallam RUFC’s success over recent seasons prompted them to be first pick after their 1s won Northern 2B last year, whilst also winning the conference cup, with the 2s also gaining promotion.
We sat down with 1st team mens captain, Josh Britton, to ask him how he thinks RUFC is doing at Hallam.
How are you finding Northern 1A this year?
“We’ve noticed that 1A is a lot more physical, you’ve got the bigger teams and more 1st teams in there”
“Last year we had quite a big side, but then we’ve lost a lot of third years to placements, so a lot of the 2nd year boys have stepped up, and they’ve done really well, but they’ve noticed now that theres a big change in how different the leagues are, so the league we’re in now is a very competitive and physical league”
How well do you think Rugby Union is progressing at Sheffield Hallam?
“Oh yeah, a hundred percent, we’ve had two league promotions and one conference cup win”
“I’ve had a lot of injuries which have put me out for a bit, but from what I’ve noticed is that Hallam Rugby has become bigger, numbers have become a lot bigger”
“We’ve had a bigger influx on freshers coming in, at the freshers fair we had 130+ sign ups, which is really good for us because we needed the numbers after everyone had left last year”
How are you finding your first year as captain?
“It’s a new step for me, I haven’t really captained a side before, but it is a good chance for me to work on my skills and help out the team”
How are you guys feeling about Varsity for this year?
“Varsity is always a big game, it’s weird because you forget everything thats happened in the league and just focus on varsity, thats what I want the boys, all three teams to do”
“Whatever happens in the league just focus on Varsity, obviously its a big day and it’s great to get revenge on Uni Of, which I think we can do”
How big is the difference in quality between us and Uni Of?
“In terms of quality I think we’re there, there’s just little things we need to build on, which is probably the same for them”
“We played them earlier on and lost 10-0, but the game didn’t justify that, we should’ve put points on them, we’ve had big injuries and boys away on placement as well, so they’ll be back for Varsity as well which is good”
(Named and shamed by 1s captain Josh himself)
Who’s the fastest player you’ve seen? Jordan Hamilton
“Jordan Hamilton… but it pains me to say that”
“This’ll go straight to his head”
Who’s the slowest player you’ve seen? Harry Thompson
“Without a doubt”
Who can’t handle their drink? Finlay Smith
“I’ve seen him in some bad states”
Who can drink for days? Lewis Bloor
“Lewis can drink quite a bit”
” Everyones basically the same”
Who loves themselves the most? Jordan Hamilton
“Reckons he knows everything”
Future captain? Angus Raj Learmonth
“There’s a lot of chance for second years next year to step up…”
“I’d say Front Row Angus”
It is common in Europe, to remember the end of the First World War and the fallen. But all countries have different customs and habits on this day. As a French student living in Great Britain, I notice some of them.
First of all, in France we celebrate the end of the war on the 11th November when here, it is common to commemorate it during on this day and on the following Sunday (Remembrance Sunday).
One of the main and most obvious differences is that, in Britain, already the week before, most people can be seen wearing a Poppy, as a reminder and homage to the war heroes. In France, the 11th is the only moment when we really remember and celebrate the date, and it slowly getting forgotten.
Indeed, the majority of people who experienced the First World War have passed and our generation sees it as a historic fact that does not have an impact on them. Most of them do not feel concerned by the past happening, and nowadays, patriotic feelings tend to disappear.
Despite the presence of the same idea in France, only a few people, a small minority, might be seen wearing a cornflower on Remembrance Day. Actually, it is often considered by people as a free day more than anything else. Each city has its own memorial and organizes a quite discreet ceremony on the 11th November but people rarely attend it.
There is also a national ceremony with the President of France, in Paris at “l’Arc de Triomphe”, broadcasted on the national television. There are other activities organised by different organisations, regions or city but they are not really popular. In Britain, one minute of silence in the whole country is held every year at the precise moment the war stopped 99 years ago. And on Sunday, like in France, there are several commemorations and ceremonies in the whole Britain.
Despite the fact that Britain was less directly impacted during the war, its way to remember on the 11th November has a deeper meaning and touches the whole nation. I am French but I think that my country should take example of Britain’s Remembrance Day.
“We must get to the bottom of people deliberately voting twice”
It’s known that the large majority of students in the UK voted remain in the European Union Referendum, 75% of young people wanted to stay in the EU; to be precise.
But… How many of these students voted twice?
When you vote in Britain, there’s a relaxed feeling towards it as you’re trusted to follow the law and legislations that support it.
But, as Sir Eric Pickles’s review of electoral fraud suggests, the ballot is not nearly as secure as it should be. Most students are registered to vote in their home town AND in their university’s constituency.
Charles Moore, a reporter for The Spectator, followed out an investigation to prove that the voting rules are too lax. He was able to vote in both London, his home-town, and Essex. He voted to leave the EU at his Essex polling station, then caught a train down to London, walked into his local polling station where he presented his polling card and was unchallenged.
Mr Moore walked into the booth and wrote on the ballot paper ‘I am spoiling my ballot because I have voted already. This second vote is my protest at how lax the voting rules are.’
Here in Sheffield, a first year student at The University of Sheffield at the time, William McConnell, was one who came forward stating that he was able to vote twice. He had to vote via a postal vote as he was not in the area at the time of the election, although he phoned up his local constituency criticising the fact that he had the resources and ability to vote twice, meaning many others would of had the opportunity also.
William explained how when he phoned up he mentioned how he had the option to vote twice, the council representative responded with “unless you’re reporting one specific case, this information is unactionable.”
Many Leftwing students have also boasted on social media about voting twice for Jeremy Corbyn in the latest General Election here in the UK. Meaning Corbyn didn’t even do as well as everyone thought.
More than 1,000 emails were sent to the watchdog by members of the public over the issue, while 38 MPs also complained about the alleged crimes.
Conservative Karl McCartney, who lost his Lincoln seat in the election, told the Daily Mail: “We have screenshots of students on Facebook saying that they voted twice.
“Potentially, this was a factor in my defeat. Of the 3,200 who registered to vote in the last 24 hours, 500 were already registered.”
Meanwhile, Heather Wheeler, Tory MP for South Derbyshire, told the paper that some students had admitted to voting up to four times.
The Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom, said: “We must get to the bottom of people deliberately voting twice, which I understand is illegal.”
“We need to investigate that and ensure that parliamentary democracy, for which this country has been famous—this is indeed the mother of all Parliaments—upholds the rights of one person and one vote.”
Although, this was back in June and nothing has been said since. Is it going to be resolved, preventing those who voted twice to do it again?
On Saturday 11th November, Plug will play host to The London African Gospel choir who will perform Paul Simon’s Graceland LP in full.
Along with a troupe of accomplished musicians this well renowned group of singers have headlined sell-out shows across London, from corporate and private events to the biggest stages of the city, including the O2 Arena.
The LAGC’s main mission is to “popularise African influenced gospel music within the church and the secular world”, but having worked with musicians such as Emile Sande, Mumford and Sons and Annie Lennox, they are no strangers to popular music and a party atmosphere.
Paul Simon recorded Graceland in South Africa in 1985-6, working with township musicians during Apartheid. The album has since sold over 14 million copies worldwide, and is listed on many most influential album lists, included that of The Rolling Stone Magazine.
It is credited as one of the main albums to help popularise African music in the western world, transcending racial and cultural barriers by mixing pop, rock, zydeco and mbaqanga.
This event will be an unmissable opportunity for fans of all ages and backgrounds to celebrate one of twentieth century music’s best achievements.
Tickets are still available via: https://www.the-plug.com/events-and-tickets/313494/london-african-gospel-choir-perform-paul-simons-graceland
The number of victims of hate crimes and harassment is constantly rising and university students are among the most impacted. Sheffield Hallam University have responded to the recent rise in harassment across the university and has been awarded for their efforts.
What exactly are hate crimes and harassment? “A criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity”
Harassment, is an aggressive pressure or intimidation, that is often underestimated. Many people are victims, often without even realising it, while others refuse to talk about it.
Jo Johnson, the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation said: “Hate crime of any kind has no place in our society or on our campuses, and we expect universities to take a zero-tolerance approach to this kind of harassment, whether it takes place online or in person”.
For those reasons, SHU’s work is a part of the National initiatives such as the Hate Crime Awareness week. The point is, to make people know and understand what it is and how to fight it. The Student’s Union has also been recognised as a reporting centre to provide help to students that are victims of Hate crimes and harassment, and to find a solution for and with them.
SHU’s initiatives are led by Martin Corway, working alongside the ‘Don’t Stand By’ project. The project involves people through different projects and activities designed to increase awareness, and to talk more about it. Its point is to cause a reaction and student engagement in something we do not know enough about.
They also intend to collaborate with students, who are the main victim in the struggle against Hate Crime and Harassment.
It is this work to prevent and protect students that has been recognised and awarded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) Catalyst fund. The funding will help SHU to continue organising the activities and project to prevent and fight against hate crimes and harassment.
There are plenty of people ready to listen and help students here in SHU, so if you are a victim or just think that you are, if you know someone suffering from it, do not hesitate to talk about it.