Letter: Happy relationship

March 9, 2001

Matthew Chapman criticises Liverpool University's accreditation of Trinity College degrees in his article on British universities validating degrees from foreign institutions ("Risks in overseas liaisons", THES, February 23).

I have been involved in the Trinity-Liverpool tie-up for five years and would like to answer some of Chapman's points.

He labels Trinity "a brash fundamentalist institution" and quotes a former teacher, Walter Witty, who made sexist remarks. Witty, in fact, had a peripheral relationship with Trinity and never spoke for the institution. Trinity is by no means "fundamentalist": as a theological college, it has a doctrinal statement roughly equivalent to the Apostles' Creed.

Chapman says that "last year the Indiana college became embroiled in a plagiarism scandal". Years ago, a faculty member used material without adequate acknowledgement in the preparation of teaching tapes. When this was brought to his attention, he withdrew the material.

Chapman claims Trinity "is happy because it has succeeded with Liverpool where it has failed in the United States". In fact, Trinity is conscientiously engaged in the lengthy process of obtaining regional accreditation in the US.

"Liverpool is unapologetic about its relationship with Trinity and claims to have been rigorous in its procedures when setting up the link," says Chapman. And it is unapologetic because of its rigorous and continued vetting of Trinity.

John Warwick Montgomery
Vice-president for academic affairs - UK and Europe, Trinity College
and Theological Seminary, Indiana, US

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