Visitors belong to a bygone age

January 21, 2000

Once again the acceptability of the role of the visitor is called into question. Surely it is time to accept some facts.

First, that there is no system of visitatorial powers but merely a collection of very variable visitors. Second, that even relatively well-resourced visitors are becoming overwhelmed by volume. Third, that the simple application of seeking to establish a principle (surely, equality of treatment for all students) with a policy flowing from this (a single process in the system for academic appeals and complaints), will lead to the conclusion that it is time to legislate to change the law.

Until there is a general recognition of this and action is taken, the system will continue to encounter problems, to be viewed as unfair and outdated and to alienate much of the student body.

There is also the potential for remedial action being required, depending on the interpretation and application of the Human Rights Act.

Tim Birtwistle School of law Leeds Metropolitan University.

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