Victory for film student

June 23, 2000

A black student who claims he was unfairly removed from his degree course after blowing the whistle on racism and mismanagement at the London Institute has had an appeal against his exclusion upheld.

The institute's appeals sub-committee has ruled that there were "material irregularities" with the decision to exclude Brian Moore from the final year of his film and video course at the media school of the London College of Printing.

The committee has ordered the reassessment of Mr Moore's work, and has called for a series of improvements to assessment procedures.

The THES reported in April that complaints made by Mr Moore before his exclusion had been largely vindicated. His allegations that members of staff at the college had made racist comments in conversations led the institute to review its equal opportunities policies and to concede to the Commission for Racial Equality that "there is room for improvement on racism awareness for staff and greater guidance could be given". College head Will Bridge apologised to Mr Moore for "regrettable incidents" involving media school staff and set up training programmes for staff.

Mr Moore's complaints about the assessment of his work had also led to an apology from the media school dean, Sally Feldman. Mr Moore had been incorrectly told that one of his essays had been second-marked after he had complained about his grade. Ms Feldman said: "I deeply regret that this has happened and am very sorry you were treated in this way... second marking in the case of second-year essays is not our policy."

But despite Mr Moore's claims that he had been victimised for complaining, the college said he had been removed from the third year of his course on purely academic grounds, because his work had been submitted late, was sub-standard and there had been allegations of plagiarism.

Although the institute's appeals sub-committee did not address Mr Moore's allegations of victimisation, it has reported that the college breached procedures when it excluded Mr Moore. "The board of examiners for the BA in film and video should reconsider its decision on Brian Moore because of material irregularities in the exam board process," the sub-committee's report said.

The sub-committee found that students "had not been clearly informed as to the exact assessment requirements or as to the re-submission deadline (for failed course work), and that letters to students (about assessment) did not have the authority of the board of examiners".

The sub-committee also found that the deadline dates for the submission of late student work "had not been properly recorded by the Board of Examiners". It also said that the college failed to follow the institute's formal procedures on alleged plagiarism with regard to accusations against Mr Moore.

The sub-committee made four recommendations to improve practice. It said that the "BA film and video course should review its internal verification procedures"; institute schools "should ensure that all course handbooks must be complete when issued"; school deans should chair all boards of examiners; and "a senior institute manager should attend the forthcoming board of examiners for the BA film and video as an observer".

A spokesman for the institute said that the appeal had succeeded purely on procedural grounds and that the alleged racism "had not come up".

"The process had not been followed to the letter," he said. "He will be given another chance to submit his work."

Mr Moore, who did claim victimisation as well as procedural irregularities in his appeal, has written to the institute demanding a response to his victimisation claim.

Phil Baty

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