April 06, 2008

Ban on [university] student who spoke out on the net

A student who criticised Anglia Ruskin University has been suspended. Disgruntled Naomi Sugai has also been threatened with legal action over her "unfounded" comments on a website.

Naomi posted a video on YouTube complaining about a number of blunders on her £4,750-per-year MA course in management. Her complaints included classes being cancelled without warning and not being able to take advertised modules.

The university has now threatened to sue her over a statement on the site - and warned the 24-year-old security guards will remove her by force if she tries to enter its East Road campus.

Miss Sugai said: "I am really annoyed about this, and I'm not going to take it lying down. The course has not been like they made it sound and, by bullying me more, the university is only making this worse."

She did not remove the offending statements about a member of staff as requested and Steve Bennett, the university's secretary and clerk, warned Miss Sugai: "Should you attend the campus during your suspension, security staff have been instructed to remove you and, if necessary, seek assistance from the police.

"Given the seriously defamatory nature of your comments this matter has also been referred to our solicitors."

Earlier this month, Miss Sugai of Bosworth Road, Cherry Hinton hit out at the "slow and inefficient" university, threatening to report ARU to an independent adjudicator.

The letter from Mr Bennett said: "I wrote to you on March 17 and warned you unless all unfounded allegations were removed from your YouTube site you would be suspended. I regret to note that you have not removed this content.

"I must therefore advise you that you are suspended pending disciplinary (and potentially legal) action against you."

Miss Sugai told the [Cambridge] News she never received a warning about being suspended, and is now taking her own legal advice.

The video has been viewed more than 900 times, and she has been contacted by a number of students with similar concerns.

An earlier letter from Prof Martin Reynolds, pro vice chancellor of the university's Ashcroft International Business School, said: "We would appreciate a response to our request to remove the video. "Its contents are potentially distressing for other Anglia Ruskin students and it undermines the programme you are studying."

After being contacted by the News, Mr Bennett said the suspension was not for complaining, but in response to "serious unfounded allegations against a senior member of staff".

He said: "On March 17, I wrote to the student and asked her to remove the allegations within 48 hours, otherwise she would be suspended forthwith. "As the remarks were not removed, I wrote to her on March 20 informing her that she was suspended pending disciplinary action."

The news comes days after emails encouraging staff to allegedly "bully" students into giving it good ratings in the National Student Survey were leaked to the News.

After propping up the Sunday Times league table, partly due to what vice chancellor Mike Thorne described as "very poor" reviews from undergraduates, he asked staff to advise students positive responses would improve the prestige of their own qualifications. He wrote: "It does occur to me that we need to ensure students are aware of the relation between the grades they give and, thanks to the league tables, the perceived value of their degrees."

Story from: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk

Check the YouTube video and further comments


Red said...

Shameful conduct on the part of the university. Extra shameful because they've taken an opportunity to look at their programs and fix the things that need fixing, and have decided, instead, to look bad in the public eye for abusing a young woman student for bringing issues forward. Don't the leaders there see how bad it looks to attack a student, while avoiding accountability questions? Ridiculous.

Thanks for helping bring attention to this abuse by a university that should be avoided. Buyer beware.

Anonymous said...

Contact Anglia Ruskin University -

Propectus and contact details for the MA in Management:

General ARU contact:

Naomi said...

I clicked on the link that anonymous has posted and it is even now, after all this, they are advertising the course as having a "range of option modules". Just to prove a point I am going to go back to the uni in sep and ask the new intake of students whether they are allowed to choose any modules.

My whole uni life has become a massive farce...