Laurie Taylor column

December 3, 2004

The new student complaints watchdog - the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education - has paid compensation to students in all of the appeals it has so far upheld.
Times Higher, November 26

THE INDEPENDENT ADJUDICATOR FOR HIGHER EDUCATION

Summary of Recent Judgements
* £1,500 to Natasha Gormley (English and related studies. Macclesfield University).

The Adjudication Board decided that the departmental decision to lock Ms Gormley in the photocopying room until she had finished her project on Middlemarch and the Industrial Revolution was "bordering on the inhuman" and not justified by the assertion that Ms Gormley had a long record of "absconding".

* £850 to Anna Singleton (Chemistry. Old Sarum University).

The Adjudication Board decided that Ms Singleton was justified in claiming that her class of final degree had been affected by the department's decision in her final year to change its title from the Department of Chemistry to the Department of Forensic Science and Murder.

The head of department's response to Ms Singleton's complaint ("If it's good enough for Amanda Burton it should be good enough for you") was regarded by the board as "unhelpful".

* £8.50 to Jamie Phillips (Media and cultural studies. University of Poppleton).

The Adjudication Board decided that Mr Phillips had been "unreasonably deprived" of 20 marks for "plagiarism" on Dr Quintock's reading television course when there was adequate evidence that the plagiarised material had already been plagiarised by Dr Quintock himself.

The board said that its minimal award had been based on the judicial principle that "two wrongs don't make a right".

Rejected appeals
* Mike Preston (Department of Almost Anything. Warwick University).

The Adjudication Board decided that Mr Preston's claim that he should have been awarded a first-class degree because everyone else in his year had received such an award was "vexatious". While it was true that the proportion of firsts awarded was more than twice the national average "that didn't mean that everyone could have one".

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