University donor’s oil company fined for toxic dump

first_imgTrafigura co-founder Graham Sharp retired from the company in 2007, and established the Helsington Foundation, a trust that has given the university £3.25m to fund a new summer school programme at Oxford to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Trafigura was fined £840,000 by a court in the Netherlands for illegally exporting tonnes of toxic waste and disposing of it in the Ivory Coast. 30,000 people are believed to have fallen ill as a consequence of the disposal. Sharp graduated from St John’s College in 1983 with a first-class honours degree in Engineering, Economics and Management. The prosecution against Trafigura, which is considering an appeal, argued that the company had put “self-interest above people’s health and the environment”. The company has previously paid £32m compensation in an out-of-court settlement to those who required medical treatment. In another settlement, £100m was given to the Ivory Coast government to help clean up the waste, although Trafigura did not officially admit its liability. A spokesperson for the university said that the Helsington Foundation is “entirely independent of the company with which Mr Sharp worked”. Sharp said of his donation, “I want to help with initiatives that reach out to those pupils who have ability and aspirations but aren’t able to fulfil those aspirations. I named the foundation after the outward bound centre I went to with my old school – a place that helped widen my education.” The University announced the donation in April 2009, and the summer schools started earlier this month. The programme, which currently has 500 places, is set to replace the Sutton Trust summer schools, and aims to offer 1,000 places by 2014. Oxford University has accepted more than £3million in donations from Graham Sharp, a St John’s College alumnus and co-founder of Trafigura, an oil trading company that was convicted last Friday of criminal charges over a 2006 environmental scandal.last_img read more

Hilda’s library closes the night before Classics mods

first_imgSt Hilda’s library closed three hours early on Sunday evening, with students only informed of the move that afternoon. The college made the announcement in a brief email, “Due to circumstances beyond our control, the college library will need to close this evening (Sunday 2nd March) at 10 p.m.” This is several hours early than the usual closing time of 1am.The email, sent at 2:47 pm and signed by Maria Croghan (Hilda’s librarian), added that the move was made “with sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused”. There is a strong possibility that those with exams will have had to make significant changes to their final preparations. Some classicists have voiced their discontent at the measures.One second year at another college noted, “Realistically it’s only an inconvenience for the vast majority of the student body, but if you have to take some of the hardest exams in the world the next day, you really want to avoid any disturbances at all”.The exact cause of the library’s closure is not known at this point, the full details of why the library was forced to shut are expected to emerge in the near future.last_img read more