2009 was a fairly eventful year for Lincoln and the university, and The Linc was behind every important breaking story. We look at the 20 most visited stories on our website in 2009 and bring you up to date with any developments these stories have taken ever since they were published.

— Reporting by Shane Croucher, Daniel Ionescu, Charlotte Reid, and Rob Wells

PIcturing 2009

20: The £500 debate

In early May, a student started a Facebook group campaigning for a £500 university bursary to be reinstated. Callum Barre’s group quickly grew to over 1,400 members within days. The University of Lincoln withdrew the £500 bursary for new undergraduates entering 2008 and later and many first years fancied the sum. His campaign has not managed to sway the university’s decision.

19: Council votes for No Platform

In the last Student Council Meeting of the 2008/09 academic year, the Students’ Union’s Student Council voted to implement a No Platform policy. There was much confusion over its implications, but it essentially means the SU will boycott any event held by groups or individuals it considers to be fascists. After it was passed, the SU was criticised by Amanda Davidson, then the Council’s chairwoman, for not acting to implement it. It was finally approved by the first Student Council of the 2009/10 academic year.

18: Grooming young girls

In September, a now former University of Lincoln student was found guilty of three charges of meeting a child after sexual grooming. George McClelland, then 25, had approached teenage girls through the social network Bebo.

17: No interest on student loans

The Students Loan Company announced that the interest rate on loans would become 0%, from September 2009 to August 2010. Previously, the rate was tied to Rate Price Index (RPI), a measure of inflation, but this then dropped into negative figures in March. Had The Students Loan Company kept the interest rate tied to RPI, the amount of money graduates needed to be paid back would have been reduced.

16: Fire in the chip pan

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue were called to a kitchen fire in Brayford Quays in October. Four fire engines attended the scene, which caused a lot of damage and meant the entire building had to be evacuated. There were no injuries or casualties. Following this incident, the University of Lincoln started a campaign with the Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, highlighting the risks of drinking and cooking.

15: A libellous Facebook comment

Fraser McFarland, the former chairman of Lincolnshire Conservative Future, found himself in legal difficulties when he libeled the Students’ Union on his Facebook page. The University of Lincoln intervened after McFarland’s comments were reported to the SU. He was forced to publish a retraction on his Facebook profile to avoid legal action by the University.

14: Bloc Party fire alarm fiasco

Attendees of Bloc Party’s gig at the Engine Shed, as a part of their Bloctober tour, were left disappointed after the set was cut short just before the last song. According to the Engine Shed, production smoke had “unusually” set off the venue’s alarms, meaning concert-goers had to be evacuated from the venue.

13: Dizee Rascal cancels and reschedules

Dizzee Rascal’s performance at the Engine Shed in November was cancelled due to an “underlying health problem”. The artist broke the news on Twitter saying he had “a sore throat”. The gig has been rescheduled for February 25th 2010 and tickets for the original performance are still valid.

12: The Carnage that never was

Two Carnage events were hosted in Lincoln in 2009, and despite concern, hype, and disgust from the local community, Lincoln City Council, University of Lincoln, and the Students’ Union, both events caused very little difficulty for emergency services as they passed “without major incident”. The Linc‘s Shane Croucher and Rob Wells were out on the streets following the second event, with both reporting back that it was a quiet, uneventful, and dull.

11: HE spending struck by budget cuts

2009’s budget did few favours for universities, as the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills aimed to save £400 million in spending with cuts. This followed the government’s decision to offer universities 10,000 new places, which was thought to be a way to save spending on student loans.

10: Don’t talk to Frank

The Linc interviewed Danny Kushelick, founder of the Transform Drugs Policy Foundation, to dig beneath the surface of anti-drugs rhetoric. Kushelick told us about the industry built on the criminalisation of drugs, and that most politicians, off the record, disagree with the war on drugs.

9: The SU’s Agenda, or real accountability

A motion was submitted to the Students’ Union’s All Student Meeting, held on November 17th. It would have limited The Linc to 30 minutes of the SU’s time per week, in an attempt to severely restrict The Linc‘s ability to get answers from the SU. Alongside that, the Union also printed their own propaganda newspaper, The Agenda. Thanks to its readers, the motion against The Linc was defeated, and in the December issue the SU was subjected to a thorough fact-checking and analysis of their accounts.

8: University buys Lincolnshire Echo building

In May it was revealed that the University of Lincoln was buying the old Lincolnshire Echo building. The deal went through, with the building being refitted in order house the Business and Law faculty, and will be named the “Chiddick Building” after Professor David Chiddick, who retired as vice-chancellor at the end of 2009. The Lincolnshire Echo moved into the ground floor of the recently-constructed Witham Wharf, on the other side of the railway tracks.

7: Bringing Lincoln into fashion

Graduating Fashion Studies students from the University of Lincoln displayed their three years of work at the 2009 Lincoln Fashion Show in May at the Engine Shed. This was the show’s second year, after 2008 year’s much-praised event. The work of 27 students was shown, to over 1,500 guests present at the event. See photo highlights of the show in the link below.

6: Student Council chair slams Students’ Union

At the end of May Amanda Davidson, then the chair of the Students’ Union’s Student Council, wrote an open letter criticising the SU for its failure to do much of anything. Her 1700-word letter took the SU’s six full-time officers to task for missing deadlines set by the Council and for failing to deliver on key manifesto promises. Read the full letter here (pdf).

5: Mary Stuart is the new University of Lincoln VC

Professor Mary Stuart has been appointed the new vice-chancellor at the University of Lincoln.  She took over the role from the current vice-chancellor, Professor David Chiddick, who retired. Professor Stuart, who took up her post in November, was deputy vice-chancellor at Kingston University, where she was also acting vice-chancellor. She is a former pro vice-chancellor at the University of Sussex.

4: All eyes on Waddington Air Show

Thousands of people flocked to the RAF Waddington International Airshow in July. About 100,000 people were at the show, as the hot weather and clear skies defied forecasts. Waddington, 4 miles outside of Lincoln, is home to the RAF’s intelligence and surveillance aircraft. The star of the show was expected to be the Avro Vulcan XH558, whose £7 million, 14-year repair work finished last July. However, the Vulcan was unable to take to the air as its flight permit expired just before the show, on the day after the aircraft arrived at Waddington.

3: EDL protest and Lincoln’s hooligans

Ahead of the English Defence League’s demonstration in Nottingham on December 5th, The Linc uncovered the intentions of some of Lincoln’s football hooligans to attend. We exposed some members of the EDL’s Lincoln Division’s Facebook page for making racist comments, and  uploading pro-BNP, pro-Combat 18, and pro-hooliganism material to the page.

2: Not a sunny Beach Break

The student festival Beach Break Live moved from just outside of Newquay to Port Lympne, in Kent, because of “site problems” said the organisers — causing havoc among those who already booked their travel accommodation arrangements The gig included performances from The Zutons, Dizee Rascal and Ladyhawke. No full refund for travel and accommodation was made by the organisers, but they will recieve a discount towards the event in 2010.

1: What students get up to in their spare time

The Linc revealed in February how two students have become wildly popular on a website featuring homemade adult films, Xtube. Over two and a half million people have so far watched the film in which the two men are engaged in sexual activities while in their university accommodation. The story caused controversy among some students, with several interesting points made in the comments.