Let the law decide

November 5, 1999

I have often told the MP who is representing the case for a fair student appeal system that for this government to ask the Quality Assurance Agency to administer complaints-appeals procedures is like asking company quality controllers to run trading standards. They have different functions and interests.

The QAA is too easily influenced by the Committee of Vice-chancellors and Principals to design a fair complaints procedure.

To suggest that a member of the governing body is "independent" is naive: that university dealings with appeals should be "timely" without specifying is negligent; and that "informal resolution should be an option" is wilful stupidity.

I recently resolved one problem with a university in one month by force of law; I should have been able to resolve my case for a student appeal by force of law nine years ago. Students now vote and pay fees. So in the 21st century, give students cheap, quick access to the law through a modified small-claims style court.

Chris Floyd


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