We have students’ backs

January 16, 2014

In reference to Daniel Sokol’s letter “Legal allies in student David v Goliath battles” (2 January): in my experience, student advisers almost always assist in “the drafting of the critical ‘appeal statement’ ” and have no difficulty in dealing with the “intimidating environment of a hearing” or in standing up to the chair of the panel (as they are independent of the university). I should know. I have been employed to do exactly these things for the past 15 years. I have no idea what Sokol’s “experience” is in this matter, but to say the least, I am sceptical that it is representative of the facts.

We are not legal professionals – but we are usually much more familiar with internal institutional processes than an external legal professional would be, and more than capable of providing professional advice and assistance in appeals, discipline and complaints processes.

Sokol may have a point about permitting legal representation – but if he is so upset about the implications of having his honorary lectureship withdrawn, he should perhaps be more careful about running down the work of others in public; and if he is so concerned about the welfare of students, he should not so casually denigrate the efforts of those who have spent many years working towards it.

Iain Cupples
Student advocate (education)
University of St Andrews Students’ Association

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