Sandwich train hits buffers

June 13, 1997

Glasgow Caledonian University has confirmed that overseas trips and the use of university transport are being investigated as part of an inquiry into alleged misuse of public funds by senior staff.

John Sizer, chief executive of the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council, is investigating the allegations of mismanagement on behalf of SHEFC and the National Audit Office.

The THES has obtained a letter sent by staff to Professor Sizer, warning of fears that his investigation will not reach departmental level. It urges him to examine various incidents, including "anomalous trips" made by a former member of staff.

A university spokesman said: "These issues are a subject of the SHEFC inquiry which the university fully supports, and it is not proper to comment while the investigation is ongoing."

The staff letter to Professor Sizer states: "You will appreciate that already there is feverish activity in creating a smokescreen which is hoped to be of sufficient density as to prevent many irregularities from coming to light."

It claims one "allegedly cash-strapped" department bought a model steam train that "has no function other than to be a receptacle for sandwiches".

The spokesman said the model had been used in a series of projects and had been put on display stands to stimulate interest in engineering.

The letter also claims the university "settled out of court" in the case of three engineering department staff who had individually threatened to go to an industrial tribunal. The spokesman said agreement had been reached through the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service in each case.

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