Ghost of the past and future

By Emily Doughty

Welcome to Durham! Or welcome back to Durham those who are returning for their second, third, fourth, or even more years. With the return of students to Durham we look to the new year and all it will bring.

 We are always told that a new year represents a new start in our lives. We sing Auld Lang’s Eye, make wishes for the new year, and try to make a new start. A new academic year represents that for many. New course, most likely a new house, a new year to try new things in an environment that is becoming slightly more familiar. 

However this year it is hard not to feel like we are haunted by the ghosts of the past year in a Dickensian-style story as we return to the city. 

As you are reading this the University and College Union (UCU) are taking strike action, only weeks after the marking and assessment boycott was called to an end in a way that can only be described as a whisper, not a bang. The issues that they began striking two years ago to fix are far from being solved and, depending on a vote on reballoting in September, we will likely face another year of action. The ghost of potential strike action looms over students, many of whom have never experienced an academic year without action.

it is hard not to feel like we are haunted by the ghosts of the past year in a Dickensian-style story as we return to the city. 

 Even the impact of action last year holds a stark reminder on students. Even despite the boycott being called off many people who have returned to Durham still don’t know their marks. Some students who return to Durham may not know if they had passed the last year, and have returned to Durham with a question mark over what will happen when those marks finally come in. 

And cast your mind out to the current students/graduates who despite completing their degrees are still counted as students with the full privileges of being a student until they get their degree marks back. So despite most having moved onto the next stage of their lives, they are still tied to Durham, like it or not. 

We also are facing ghosts of what is to come. The ever looming elephant in the room of student housing is a conversation that may be hidden for now but will soon make itself heard. While in this edition we report that the housing market has slowed this year, the fundamental truth remains; there is not enough room in this city and while the housing market may be taking time to explode, once it does, it will go off with a bang. 

While we are haunted by the ghosts this year, it is important to remember the power of the student voice in getting change. We have seen this in Durham with student societies working hard to bring changes to the community we live in either through direct action or through volunteering to make a difference. But one way this is done is through student media. 

They are still tied to Durham, like it or not

Over the last year the Palatinate team in every section has worked to give students a voice. Our news and investigations section has worked tirelessly to make sure every element of Durham is held to account and no stone has been left unturned. Our comment team has made sure students have a voice. Politics has highlighted stories from not just Durham but nationally and internationally, allowing students to speak about their passions. Andy Burnham and Max Fosh have been interviewed by our profile section asking the big questions. SciTech helps explain the scientific discoveries that power not only Durham but the world. Keeping us entertained, satire also helps make commentary on all aspects of the student life as puzzles keep our brains sharp. And sports, last and not least, not only reports on all the sports in Durham but runs investigations into it, holding one of the biggest parts of Durham life to account. 

This does not even include our Indigo section or our TV wing PalTV, who both work tirelessly to bring high quality journalism to everything they do.

 So if you are interested in journalism, or just want to get involved in improving your writing please sign up to contributor groups, respond to our applications for Ed Board and sign up via the SU website. Palatinate is a newspaper for students, helping us continue making our mark on Durham even when our present is still haunted by the future and past

Illustration: Sophie Hart

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