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UNIVERSITY OF SALFORD BEGS GRADUATE DONATIONS AFTER BLOWING FORTUNE IN COURT
 

Star date: 21st February 2013

AFTER BLOWING FORTUNE ON FAILED GARY DUKE LIBEL CASE SALFORD UNIVERSITY ASKS GRADUATES TO FUND POOR STUDENTS

After blowing an estimated fortune of over £100,000 on a failed libel case against former lecturer Dr Gary Duke, the University of Salford is now begging funding from its graduate `Class of 2013' to help poor students get a degree.

Gary Duke has called the move "remarkably bad taste" and says that the sum spent on pursuing him in the courts could have put "ten students from underprivileged backgrounds through university for free".

Full details on this and the call for a Public Inquiry click here…


The University of Salford is asking graduates, who have already had to pay increased tuition fees, to donate to a fund to help poor students get a degree – despite blowing what is believed to be in excess of £100,000 on its recently failed libel case against former lecturer Dr Gary Duke.

On it website, Salford University reveals that it is running a new Graduation Giving Campaign for the Class of 2013 for its Salford Advantage Futures Fund…  "a new fund which will provide help for students to access development opportunities" (see here)

"This campaign gives final year students the chance to make a difference at Salford before they leave" it explains "...By contributing to the Graduation Giving campaign, students who are coming to the end of their time at Salford can help ensure that new students can benefit from the same opportunities as those who have gone before them.

"Each donation is more than an act of generosity" it adds "it is evidence of the pride that our students take in being a member of the University of Salford, and the shared belief that everyone should have access to the same opportunities, regardless of their circumstances."

Gary Duke, who lives in Eccles, spent three years fighting a libel case brought against him by the University of Salford, which was labelled by the judge "an abuse of the court's process" (see here) and official University estimates of the legal costs seen by the Salford Star show a total of £113,462.

Now Gary Duke has slammed the University's appeal to graduates to fund poorer students…

"In my opinion this is in remarkably bad taste in light of the likely £100,000+ cost of Vice Chancellor Hall and Deputy Vice Chancellor Graves' failed libel claim" he says "The best way to ensure 'that others should be able to benefit from an education, regardless of their circumstances...' would have been to have used the vast sums they've wasted on this failed libel claim to put ten students from underprivileged backgrounds through university for free."

Gary Duke has now officially written to David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, calling for a Public Inquiry into the spending of vast amounts of public money on what the libel judge called an action "purely for the purpose of the University's obtaining an injunction to stifle criticism of Dr Graves and Professor Hall (for that is what it is about)."

`Professor Hall' is University of Salford Vice-Chancellor Martin Hall and `Dr Graves' is Deputy Vice-Chancellor Adrian GravesIn the letter to David Willetts, Gary Dukes writes…

"Since 2009, under the leadership of Vice Chancellor Hall and Deputy Vice Chancellor Dr Graves, many hundreds of academic and non-academic positions have been lost to redundancy. The rationale for such swingeing costs was to save money, particularly in this current economic climate and the introduction of full £9000 a year tuition fees by the Vice Chancellor and Dr Graves. Yet it is clear that since the serving of the 'Letter of Claim' on March 5th 2010, Professor Hall and Dr Graves have used University funds – public money – to launch and maintain this civil action.

"I believe that given the current economic climate, the loss of hundreds of academic positions and the raising of tuition fees at Salford, that the actions and conduct of Professor Hall and Dr Graves in launching this libel claim in the name of the University of Salford using public funds, must warrant a full investigation" he adds "Any reasonable person may conclude from reading Mr Justice Eady's comments, that this is a misuse of public funds."

Meanwhile University bosses are happy to pass the graduation caps around, begging donations to help others `benefit from the same opportunities as those who have gone before them…'

 

 

 

Student wrote
at 21:58:09 on 16 May 2013
This is shoddy journalism. If some REAL research was undertaken then you would of found out that the University runs campaigns year-on-year for the Alumni fund. What is new is the 2013 campaign. What you are claiming here, or at least suggesting, is that these donations are a result of court case, which is clearly wrong.
 
wrote
at 23:02:24 on 25 February 2013
Entirely unfounded claims here.
 
UoS wrote
at 12:11:39 on 23 February 2013
Professor Hall and Dr Graves are not lawyers. Martin is a distinguished archaeologist and Adrian is a distinguished economist, however in matters of law they are reliant on the advice of others. I will assume there must have been a conversation between them and counsel in which the question was asked whether the claim needed to be brought in the name of the individuals or of the corporate University. I am going to guess that the advice was that the law allowed the latter approach. Put another way, I would be very surprised if they did not a) seek advice and b) act on the basis of that advice. Since neither are lawyers, and did not draft the legal submissions themselves, I do not think any other conclusion can be drawn. Again I repeat, the problem in the end proved to be with the mechanics of bringing the claim with the University as the claimant. The case was not decided on its merits, as there was no trial. Had there been a trial, they might well have won (although equally they might well have lost). So three questions. Was there a reasonable basis in law and in fact for bringing the claim? (Yes). Did they act on advice? (Yes). Did they know at the time the claim would be thrown out as a jameel abuse on the grounds given by HHJ Eady? (No). At the time they initiated the claim, I think it would be fair to say they acted reasonably. The problem, of course, comes down to the quality of the advice they received, and that raises a separate question of blame. Has the solicitor given negligent advice? Were Adrian and Martin unwise to accept his assessment, in the absence of having sought out specialist defamation counsel? All unknowables, but it seems to me the responsibility for the disaster that follows ultimately rests with the instructed solicitor, who undertook a claim on a matter in which he is simply not an expert and evidently proved to be proceeding on a fundamental misunderstanding of what the law would allow. Away from this there is the question of whether it was wise to keep spending money, all the while knowing it could never be recouperated through a costs order and any damages awarded were never likely to be paid. That is somewhat hubristic, and the figure given in the article suggests a total failure to keep costs under control. For this Professor Hall and Dr Graves should think long and hard about their behaviour. The honourable thing to do would obviously be to reimburse the University, given the comments of HHJ Eady. I doubt they will do that. Again, they are not dictators - they rely on advice, and they are subject to the supervision of University Council. That raises yet another problem, in that one of those very members of the Council that is supposed to supervise them was the instructed solicitor in the case. That is a fundamental defect of governance as the impartial trustees did not seem to keep proper oversight of University expenditure and allowed this claim to run rampant even when it was clearly money that would need to be written off. Sadly nobody comes out of this well.
 
Bernard wrote
at 18:39:17 on 22 February 2013
Here's a cunning plan for you. Why not take some money from the mega rich, you know those driving around in bentleys & wearing £20k watches & pay for poor students or even all students to have a decent education. We ahve come to a stage where everything is seen as a commodity. Education is a right not something to be bought & sold.
 
Pamela Welsh wrote
at 16:30:31 on 22 February 2013
Hi Stephen // Please forgive me for being a bit controversial, but I'm not sure this is such a bad idea after all. Please let me explain a bit about my background - I grew up in a very working class home just outside Belfast. I'm not pleading poverty, because there were people considerably worse off than me and my family. But money was tight and I suppose you could have called us poor. // I did well at school and went to university - I went away to England, which was quite a big thing in those days and involved considerable expense. Money for books and photocopying, rent and clothes, heating etc, wasn't easy to come by, even though I worked full-time in the holidays, often in low-paid jobs. I'm not ashamed to say that I had to rely on grants and bursaries from the university and was very grateful for them. // My degree opened doors to me that had previously been closed and I couldn't have afforded it if it hadn't been for those grants. I'm hardly rich now and I'm still paying off some of that debt (despite it being 10 years ago) but I recognise the value of my degree means that I earn more than I previously could ever have done without it. // So when my university come knocking, asking for money, I give it willingly. It might be only £20 here or there, but it's important to me to be able to support someone the way I was supported, to give something back. To me, that's was socialism is. // So while I completely appreciate the anger felt by Gary Duke and think he's entirely right to feel aggrieved, I just think they are separate issues. If you take Gary's case out of the argument and pretend it had never happened (if only), then I'd argue that the university should be doing this anyway. // Anyway, that's just my thoughts.
 
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