I am a senior lecturer at a UK university who has been in post for more than 10 years. Until two years ago, I would have paid scant attention to the story “PhD scholarship appeal bid fails” (News, March) as I had absolute trust in institutions such as the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.
In 2012, however, I became aware of just how the OIA operates from the “student side” when my wife took a complaint to the OIA. Our experience can be summarised by the same words used by the student in your article: slow, biased and inclined to take the university’s word as gospel. In my wife’s case, the OIA not only completely believed everything the university threw at it (even when something it said blatantly contravened university regulations), it also ignored an indisputable mathematical error that the lecturers made in marking a module. It took 15 months for the OIA to superficially dismiss the case.
My wife considered taking this matter to court, but the stress of the situation was having an enormous effect on her, and we did not want to spend more time (years, probably) dwelling on these issues. We have had to accept that the system is not fair, and we have tried to put it all behind us.
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