CV row hits Durham college status

November 8, 1996

The University of Durham is to review its relationship with one of its colleges after discrepancies were found in the principal's academic record, writes Harriet Swain.

Inaccuracies in a work permit application and a Who's Who entry for Duane Arnold, principal of St Chad's College, which came to light last month, have raised concerns at the university about its control of college business.

Dr Arnold has now taken a three-month leave of absence with his wife, Janet, the university's part-time director of development. Both remain on full pay. It is not known whether either will return to their posts after that time.

The Rev Jeffrey Astley, vice principal of the college, will serve as acting principal.

St Chad's, a Church of England foundation, occupies a unique position as an independent residential college for students, with its own buildings and charitable status, its own Higher Education Funding Council for England budget and separate responsibility for student services, while still being recognised as a college of the university. Staff appointments are decided by the college council but must receive university approval.

A university spokesman said: "It seems an appropriate time, while the principalship is on hold, for the college and university to get together to see if anything needs updating in their relationship."

He said it was too early to say whether closure would be considered. "It would be a very drastic step and not particularly welcome since it has nearly 300 students," he said. "We are doing all we can in this to minimise the impact on staff and students."

Dr Arnold blamed discrepancies in his record, which appeared to improve on his qualifications, on clerical errors. The spokesman said: "They were clearly of an order that caused concern through the university and still do."

The decision to review the relationship between college and university will be considered by the college council on Monday.

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