Anger over new deal for Durrands

John Tarrant, deputy vice chancellor of the University of East Anglia, will become vice chancellor of Huddersfield University in October, it was announced this week. But controversy is brewing on the campus again over a new deal offered to former vice chancellor Kenneth Durrands who left the university last year aged 65 after a long and damaging dispute.

Professor Durrands has been offered in the region of Pounds 150,000 as a severance package, far less than the previous deal worth more than Pounds 500,000 vetoed by the funding council, but still too much as far as some members of the university are concerned.

The Higher Education Funding Council said it would not be taking any action over the revised offer. Staff are demanding to know whether Professor Durrands was dismissed or whether he resigned and on what basis the new offer had been made.

Students also expressed their concern. "There is still a problem of accountability here," said Graham Hellawell, president of the students union. "This deal is completely out of order considering the background to Professor Durrands's departure." A 98 per cent vote of no confidence preceded his departure after elected staff members were removed from the governing body causing uproar.

David Lock, university secretary, would not confirm details of Professor Durrands's new offer but said: "The university council met on December 16 and gave further consideration to the terms on which Professor Durrands was to leave the university. Agreement was reached on what he should now be offered and HEFCE has been informed of the proposed terms. They have indicated there are no grounds for intervention."

Meanwhile two members of the council, president Peter Fielden and Frank Barr, are to stand down in March. The incoming vice chancellor will take over on October 15, 1995. Dr Tarrant, a geographer, is a graduate of Hull University where he was also awarded a doctorate. He has held posts in the US and New Zealand and has been at UEA since 1968.

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