For the record

September 7, 2001

Allegations may spark action at St Andrews
St Andrews University may take action against a staff member who reportedly claimed that she had been intimidated, bullied and sexually harassed by principal Brian Lang.

An inquiry by a university court group has ruled that Dr Lang has “no case to answer” in the wake of allegations reported in newspapers. The principal wrote to staff refuting the allegations, which included profligacy with university funds.

Events and sponsorship officer Elaine McGonigle, who is on sick leave, is understood to have made the claims in a statement to the personnel office.

Students asked to vote on rejoining NUS
St Andrews students’ association may rejoin the National Union of Students. This autumn, students will be asked to vote in a referendum on reaffiliating to the NUS.

The students’ association has not been an NUS member since the 1970s. The leadership opposes rejoining. Vice-president (communications) Richard Poet said: “A recent annual general meeting unanimously passed a motion not to reaffiliate to the NUS, and that is how we expect it to go.”

Paisley degree kicks off with radical cheek
Robert Burns and a lion rampant cap badge have merged with the famous portrait of Che Guevara to promote a new Paisley University MA under the slogan “Scottish culture - is it still revolutionary?” Paisley’s School of Media will launch the one-year degree in Scottish creative and cultural industries this month. The image was devised by Glasgow’s Atalanta advertising agency.

‘Onerous’ financial aid transfer rules to go
The Department for Education and Skills is abolishing some of the “onerous and time-consuming” rules governing loans and fees for students who transfer from one institution to another.

From autumn 2002, the institution that is losing the student will no longer be able to block the transfer of financial support.

Youthful quarter take up study
New insight into participation comes from the Youth Cohort Survey. It seems that less than a quarter of the UK’s 21-year-olds were in higher education in autumn 2000. Participation in education at 21 was closely linked to activity at the age of 16. More than a third of those in full-time education at 16 were in full-time education at 21, compared with less than 1 in 20 of those who were working aged 16.

Teaching study’s top two leave their posts
The director and his deputy of a £23 million study of teaching and learning practices have stepped down. The contracts of Charles Desforges and John Kanefsky, both of Exeter University, will not be renewed by the Economic and Social Research Council’s Teaching and Learning Research Programme.

Bilston inquiry finds no impropriety
Police have ended a two-year investigation into allegations of financial impropriety at the former Bilston Community College, concluding that there is no evidence of criminal activities there.

The Further Education Funding Council called in the Serious Fraud Squad when leaders of the college were accused of fiscal mismanagement after it closed in 1999 with debts of £10 million.

The leader of Wolverhampton City Council wants an inquiry into the decision to shut Bilston.

Students spend longer in the parental purse
Young students are financially dependent on their parents for the whole of their undergraduate years, according to a survey.

The study, by Alan Lewis of the University of Bath, found that the average predicted age of financial independence in the general population is 19 years, five months. This rose to 20 years, eight months for higher-income households, and to 22 years, five months for households with offspring in higher education.

UUK presses case for university museums
Universities UK met treasury minister Paul Boateng this week to seek equal treatment for university museums and galleries. University museums fall outside new rules that allow museums to grant free entry without losing VAT exemptions.

Baroness Warwick, UUK chief executive, said: “Universities UK was dismayed to learn that university-run museums and galleries might not benefit from the regulation change because universities, rather than the government direct, fund them.

Investors get inner-city facts and figures
Ulster, Aberdeen and Glasgow universities are helping an effort to encourage private investors into rundown inner cities.

Backed by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, they aim to create an index that allows investors to estimate gains from areas set for revamp.

Researchers at EBI can seek UK council cash
Researchers at the European Bioinformatics Institute near Cambridge will be allowed to apply to UK research councils for funding.

The EBI had been ineligible for such grants because it was seen as a European organisation. The Medical Research Council pays the UK’s £4.2 million contribution to the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, the EBI’s parent organisation.

Aberdeen joins Europe’s agri’ elite
Aberdeen University has joined a league of leading European agricultural institutions.

It signed a deal with institutions from Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden to share expertise and costs in developing and delivering degree programmes. The institutions will recognise each other’s courses, and students will be able to move between them.

Book borrower makes amends after 24 years
A student with a guilty conscience has returned an overdue library book to South Thames College in London 24 years late.

The book - Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century , by Eric R. Wolf - arrived in a package with an Algerian postmark. Former student Mohamed Bokreta blamed his tardiness on “juvenile and youthful wicked whims”. He said had been thinking about the afterlife and was preparing himself by “putting aside all signs of greed, selfishness, ego and lust”.

He added: “I am seeking both apologies and pardon from my dear friends, the respected college principal and his brave librarian staff.” The college has waived the fine.                  

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