Medicine under fire at St Andrews

July 24, 1998

St Andrews University is insisting that the quality of its medical graduates is not in doubt in the wake of allegations of low standards, student cheating and disruptive behaviour.

A leaked memo from four members of staff to Steve Homans, head of St Andrews's school of biomedical sciences, alleges a complete breakdown in discipline, with staff subjected to bullying and intimidation, and poor students allowed to achieve borderline results.

They highlighted an incident in a first-year anatomy practical when "students were seen throwing pieces of pig heart and lung at each other". They also alleged a student had admitted cheating during an examination. Despite complaints, no action was taken over either incident, and the student passed.

A spokesperson for the four staff, one of whom has resigned in protest, said: "Dreadful failures are made more acceptable and outright fails are moved closer to borderline."

A spokeswoman for the university said it was seriously concerned about the allegations, and was thoroughly investigating all aspects of them.

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