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University of Wales Lampeter Facing Closure - Law firm Eversheds said 'Under the
University of Wales Lampeter Facing Closure

 

PRZOOM - /newswire/ - Llandysul, Ceredigion, United Kingdom, 2008/05/23 - Law firm Eversheds said 'Under the "public benefit test" introduced under the Charities Act 2006 in England and Wales, universities must show that people on low incomes benefit from their activities'.

   
 
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While the university is a charity and as such must comply with charity law, it has exempt status under the Charity Act 1960. This means that any legal challenge to the charitable activities of the church could only be achieved by legal action through the Chancery Division of the High Court by an interested party with little chance of success.

Under the new Charity Act 2006, the exempt status will be removed and they will be required to register with the Charity Commission. They will have their charitable activities regulated by an appointed regulator who has the power to remove charitable status whereby they have ceased to be a defined charity under the Act. With regard to cases of fraud, the charity would be required to take appropriate action to redress the matter and any criminal offences reported to the police. The Commission has confirmed as no principal regulator has been identified, they will act as the regulator of Welsh universities including Lampeter.

This is going to leave the public somewhat confused as to the usefulness of existing regulators the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and its subsidiary the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). The person responsible for corporate governance Mr Dale Hall has said that HEFCW has no authority to intervene on issues of financial mismanagement. The head of the Welsh QAA Mr Mike Laugharne has stated they have no locus concerning issues that directly affect students complaining of false allegations of plagiarism. Although education is a charitable activity, it seems that the interests of academia and charity are clearly not the same.

Times Higher Education quoted Mr John Boardman head of the education sector group at commercial law firm Eversheds who also advise Lampeter, as saying. 'Under the "public benefit test" introduced under the Charities Act 2006 in England and Wales, universities must show that people on low incomes benefit from their activities'.

Mr Trevor Mayes of the Lamp Post has informed the Charity Commission that there is a mountain of hard evidence in support of the claim that Lampeter is no longer a charity. He claims they are actively discriminating against students who complain or from disadvantaged backgrounds and circumstances by means of stitching them up with false allegations of plagiarism. In addition, there is sex discrimination against women in general and single mothers in particular, this all adds up to a 73% drop out rate for some courses.

Eversheds has stated that the University of Wales Lampeter has never admitted any of the claims made by the Lamp Post newsletter concerning the failure of the university to comply with procures in dealing with these matters. However, a senior manager Mrs Connie Matera-Rogers has stated in writing that a complaint made in October 2003 was not addressed until May of 2006. Moreover, the member of staff that the complaint was made against Dr Jill Venus, stated she was not aware that any complaint had been made.

The university has been the subject of a much publicised and unprecedented lambasting by the QAA for a failure of management and procedures in dealing with plagiarism; it seems that the same applies for its failure to comply with charity law and will result in its closure.

The complaint will be made once procedures are in place; Trevor Mayes said the evidence amounts to around 100, 000 words and the investigation will require allegations to be verified and witnesses to be interviewed and will take something like 18 months to complete.

 
 
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University of Wales Lampeter Facing Closure

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