Cash-troubled university loses second top man

September 12, 1997

TROUBLED Glasgow Caledonian University has lost a senior manager in a wave of early retirements.

Brian Fraser, senior assistant principal with responsibility for human resources and the university's international office, retired along with more than a dozen others before changes in pension regulations came into force last week.

Dr Fraser, aged 54, who also taught part-time, will continue to be industrial relations adviser to the Conference of Scottish Centrally Funded Colleges which includes new universities.

A university spokesman, asked whether Dr Fraser's departure was connected with a Scottish Higher Education Funding Council inquiry into alleged misuse of public funds, said: "The SHEFC inquiry is ongoing and the university cannot comment at this time." Dr Fraser also declined to comment on his departure.

University principal Stan Mason unexpectedly gave up his post four months ago, just as SHEFC chief executive John Sizer announced he was making a detailed inquiry into "propriety, accountability and value for money" at the university.

The council has refused to outline the allegations, but the university confirmed that the investigation includes overseas trips and the use of university transport.

SHEFC is shortly expected to send a report to the National Audit Office, which could potentially lead to a Public Accounts Committee hearing early next year.

A former SHEFC member, John Darby, is to chair a further inquiry into allegations of academic malpractice, launched by Scottish education minister Brian Wilson.

Professor Darby, former assistant principal of Napier University, will head a four-member panel, including Robert Bomont, former secretary of Stirling University, James McVittie, a lay member of the university court, and David Harrison, assistant head of the engineering department. The allegations centre on a group of radiography students allowed to take a third resit in one subject in 1994.

Vice principal John Phillips said the university would cooperate fully with the inquiry, but has condemned the allegations as "mischievous, almost scurrilous".

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