Letter: Lessons of Swansea

January 19, 2001

The story about the dismissal of Swansea University student union manager Nick Tregoning (For the Record, THES, January 12) raises a number of serious issues.

The student sabbaticals summarily dismissed Tregoning alleging incapacity without presenting any evidence and without going through disciplinary procedures for student union employees.

Under the law, a claim of incapacity must be investigated. If it is found to be justified, the employer must take measures to allow improvement before there is any question of sacking. None of this took place, and Tregoning was denied an appeal.

An appeal to Swansea University, the student union's paymaster, was also denied, and this despite the large sums of public money in damages and legal fees now faced by the student union.

It cannot be right that student union funds are vulnerable in this way. It also cannot be right to pass the responsibility for employment matters to a small group of generally unqualified and inexperienced individuals in positions of temporary tenure.

Institutions must carry a responsibility for supervising the financial and employment affairs of their student unions.

Michael Cohen
University of Wales, Swansea

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