If it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, is it a duck? Yes. So if there is something that looks like a barrier to applying to Oxford, and seems to act like a barrier to applying to Oxford, is it a barrier? Not always. The £10 application fee for undergraduate admissions quacks because it is a barrier. But we should be wary of throwing out babies out with the bath water. Or, to hideously combine these already out of control metaphors, rubber ducks with the bath water. There are some extra processes built in to applying to Oxford, like aptitude tests and interviews, that look like a barrier to applying, seem to act like a barrier to applying, but aren’t a barrier to applying. So why don’t they quack?The short answer is that some perceived barriers benefit applicants: they allow Oxford to gain a much greater understanding of a student’s potential, so the University can confidently choose the very best from the brightest. Working out who is really, really good, rather than just really good, when everyone who applies has perfect grades and a treasure chest of extra curricular achievements, is a challenge to say the least. Few universities benefit from this challenge. Oxford needs different admission processes to meet this challenge.By barriers, in the context of admissions, I mean things that block the progress of students of greatest potential, whatever their background. For Oxford to admit the best from the brightest, it must invest in extra stages to get rounded pictures of applicants. After all, academic potential cannot be accurately represented by a series of past achievements printed on a piece of paper. Therefore the University invests more time and energy than other higher education bodies rigorously interviewing applicants. The interviews allow tutors to stretch potential students’ thinking, to analyse their motivations, and to assess whether they will respond successfully to tutorial teaching. Candidates will not receive adequate care and attention from tutors if there are ten people being interviewed per place. To ensure tutors can conduct meaningful interviews, aptitude tests are used in some subjects to help short-list candidates to approximately three per place during interviews. This also prevents students with no chance of getting an offer wasting time and money coming to Oxford. This guarantees that the University admits the very best from its talented pool of applicants.Charging £10 to apply to Oxford quacks, waddles and swims like a duck, and is one that should be shot. The fee is a barrier that discourages students from applying to Oxford, because they see the application as a costly gamble. By charging students to apply, this university encourages a false assumption that life here is more expensive than everywhere else. Considering the relatively small sums it raises, compared to the millions the University invests every year into its access work and bursaries, there is no reason why the University should undermine its good work on outreach by demanding that prospective applicants buy the opportunity to be considered by Oxford.It is inevitable that this fee will go – Oxford is the last remaining University to charge for this – but its demise is also desirable. I believe applications will increase as more talented students apply speculatively; after all, it won’t cost them anything to do so. This will help our work widening access and making sure Oxford University admits the best students, whatever their school, and whatever their background.James Lamming is the Vice President of OUSU.
– claims he never heard of WarlockAfter just over one week on trial for the alleged shooting to death of Dexter Griffith at East Ruimveldt, Georgetown, on September 29, 2015; the accused, Delon Henry, called “Nasty Man”, is likely to know his fate in the coming days.At Tuesday’s hearing, the prosecution closed its case and defence called no witnesses. However, the defendant took the stand in an unsworn statement, telling the court that he knows nothing of the murder allegation and that he does not know the place called Warlock where the shooting occurred.“I come from till up de East Bank. All de officer dem question me and I said I did not know about this murder. I did not shoot anybody,” Henry observed.Before taking his seat, Henry claimed that the Police assaulted him, noting that he has always denied killing Griffith.Delon Henry, called “Nasty Man”However, Police Corporal Munilall Persaud testified earlier that he assisted Police Inspector Simeon Reid in conducting the photographic identification parade on October 6, 2015, at Criminal Investigations Department Headquarters, Eve Leary, Georgetown.Persaud told the court that he laid out 16 photographs, noting that witness Keswhan Griffith, brother of the deceased, selected the number ‘10’ photo which was that of Delon Henry. The detective claimed that at no time did he or anyone in his presence assist the witness in his selection of Henry’s picture.The younger Griffith had testified earlier in the trial that he witnessed “Nasty Man” shooting his brother on that fateful night. One day before he participated in the ID parade, he saw the picture of the suspect in the State newspaper and made contact with Police.When Corporal Persaud was cross-examined by defence Attorney Adrian Thompson, he maintained that he had no concern with conducting the ID parade the next day with Griffith after the witness related what he saw the day before. Persaud said if he had a problem with his senior’s instructions, he would comply and then complain but he saw no need to make a complaint against Inspector Reid.Meantime, Police Prosecutor Neville Jeffers who conducted Henry’s Preliminary Inquiry, read the evidence of former Police Constable Maxwell Grant who resigned after never assuming duties after proceeding on leave. According to Grant’s deposition that was tendered at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts, the Constable’s evidence confirmed that five spent shells were recovered from the scene.Grant had related that the evidence was retrieved, placed in bags and handed over to then Police Sergeant Eon Jackson who has tendered the exhibits at the Magistrates’ Courts. However, Jackson, the ballistics expert, revealed on Monday that he was unsuccessful in his attempts to locate the spent shells.The case concludes before Justice Sandhil Kissoon who will soon put the matter to the jury to deliberate on Henry’s fate.According to reports back then, after being shot, Griffith reportedly walked a short distance in an attempt to escape from Henry but eventually fell unconscious to the ground, while his assailant escaped. Prosecutors Lisa Cave and Orinthia Schmidt are prosecuting the State’s case.