March 23, 2001

Senior don leaves LIPA

'This week Paul Kleiman told staff he was no longer able to respect the "abilities, qualities and values of those who purport to lead" LIPA'

Another senior figure has quit the "Fame" school set up by the former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney in protest against management and accountability problems reported over recent months by The THES .

Paul Kleiman, head of assessment and head of performance and design at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, handed in his resignation last week as funding chiefs demanded improvements to ensure that the institute can properly account for public funds.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England confirmed this week that LIPA's council had finally accepted its audit report after months of wrangling over the findings. Hefce said LIPA had already implemented some of its recommendations, but it will "continue to work with LIPA on the implementation of the remainder".

The Hefce audit appeared the last straw for Mr Kleiman. In a letter to governors earlier this year, he complained that a restructure had merely given people in top jobs "grander titles" and that the audit "remains concealed". This week, he told staff he was no longer able to respect the "abilities, qualities and values of those who purport to lead" LIPA.

Mr Kleiman joins a growing list of senior figures who have made a stand over their concerns. The THES reported last month that Ian Gardiner, staff representative on the governing council at LIPA, had resigned from the council. Mr Gardiner followed former council member and chair-elect Patrick McKenna. And former director of learning Dave Price resigned earlier this year.

LIPA managers, however, seem more concerned about identifying and punishing the staff leaking to The THES than in listening to their concerns. An inquiry into how The THES obtained the draft Hefce audit report and a copy of Mr Gardiner's resignation letter has been launched by LIPA's lawyers.

LIPA's chief executive, Mark Featherstone Witty, said Kleiman's letter was "inaccurate" but would not comment further.

Southampton settles discrimination claim

Southampton University has settled a race discrimination claim by maths lecturer Yoosef Maghsoodi.

The THES reported late last month that Dr Maghsoodi had been subjected to spurious disciplinary action after he raised formal complaints that he was being passed over for promotion and had been allocated higher teaching loads than white colleagues. Numerous allegations against him were thrown out by a pro vice-chancellor who found that the disciplinary procedures had been breached and that there was insufficient evidence.

Southampton had said it would contest the allegations, but said this week that all claims have been settled.

Middlesex defaults over settlement

Middlesex University has defaulted on a court order to pay £40,000 to a former administrator in settlement of a legal claim. The university could face a visit by the High Court sheriff to recover the bad debt.

The THES reported last week that Middlesex had settled a claim by Pauline Foley that it breached its duty of care towards her. The court would have heard that the university's senior managers had decided to reject Ms Foley's bullying claim against a pro vice-chancellor more than two months before her final-stage grievance had been heard.

This week Ms Foley's lawyer, Anthony Abrahams of Heald Heffron in Bedford, confirmed that Middlesex had not paid the money within the agreed 28 days. Ms Foley had received £10,000 paid into court at the time, but the remaining £30,000 is outstanding. Mr Abrahams confirmed that he had been instructed to initiate proceedings to recover the unpaid debt.

Middlesex said its insurer's solicitor was dispatching the cheque but was unaware of the court action and debt recovery process.


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