In the news: Simon Lee

September 19, 2003

Simon Lee, installed this month as vice-chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University, has set himself the task of raising the standard of English usage in his new institution. An academic lawyer and a keen wordsmith, he said it was his role to stimulate debate - for a start, he said, he no longer wished his institution to be known as LMU and insisted its full title be used. He is unlikely to tolerate lapses.

Neither will the former rector of Liverpool Hope University College tolerate academics engaging in what he termed a "whinge-fest".

Although he never took a sabbatical, he said he managed to produce many valuable research papers. "It is not impossible to make a contribution to research while holding down the day job."

His three children are undergraduates at Oxford University, so Professor Lee said he was confident he was close to the student experience. He said he would not shy away from charging differential fees but did not share the view of his predecessor, Leslie Wagner, that they should be set at the highest level. "I want to try to charge the least amount necessary to give students good value for money."

Professor Lee was a Brackenbury scholar at Balliol College, Oxford, then a Harkness fellow at Yale Law School before becoming a law lecturer at Trinity College, Oxford, and then King's College London. He became professor of jurisprudence at Queen's University, Belfast, in 1989.

He has served on government and voluntary-sector bodies such as the standing advisory commission on human rights in Northern Ireland and the Independent Monitoring Board for the Liverpool education authority. He was a co-founder of Initiative 92, which established the Opsahl Commission in Northern Ireland to encourage links between Sinn Fein and the government before it became fashionable.

He is on the board of The Tablet , the Catholic weekly paper, and has written several books on law, morality and ethics.

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