Caledonian faces inquiry

August 1, 1997

GLASGOW Caledonian University has been accused of academic malpractice after it allowed a dozen students to resit their exams three times, writes Olga Wojtas.

The university has condemned the allegations as "mischievous, almost scurrilous", claiming they are inspired by a separate inquiry into alleged mismanagement.

Scottish education minister Brian Wilson has launched an inquiry into allegations of mal- practice raised by local MP John Reid on behalf of an unnamed constituent, a former academic at the university. The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council is investigating separate charges of mismanagement.

Vice principal John Phillips said this week that the latest allegations stemmed from events in 1994 which had already been investigated both internally and externally, resulting in the university's actions being endorsed.

About a dozen radiography students had been allowed to take a third resit in one subject in which no other student group had done as badly, Professor Phillips said.

The university had discovered "enough special circumstances" to warrant a third resit in the best interests of the students, who were approaching their last year of study. Those students who failed the resits did not continue to graduation.

An internal inquiry had investigated the university's procedures and endorsed the move, as had the Royal College of Radiographers, and the radiography board of the Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine, he said.

"I'm very concerned about the way in which this has surfaced after such a long time. We understand that the allegations were made by a disaffected former member of staff," he said.

"It is very mischievous, almost scurrilous, that these allegations have surfaced now. People are taking advantage of the SHEFC audit which has no relation to this."

"It could be very worrying for students who have qualified and are looking for jobs, students who are studying, and prospective students. I want to do everything I can to assure these students that a whole range of independent bodies have looked at the quality of what we do and endorsed us," he said.

Brian Wilson said SHEFC's chief executive, John Sizer, had advised the university to invite a lay member of its governing body to undertake the malpractice inquiry, advised by a small group of external senior academics.

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