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Human Rights Abuses in Welsh Universities – Petition to the European Parliament

September 18th, 2010 · No Comments

Petition to the European Parliament

We have a Peoples Petition before the National Assembly for Wales on Greater Public Accountability in Higher Education.

This peoples petition process seems to have been set up for people to petition about the need for an extra bus stop at the end of the road. The Welsh Assembly obsessed with gaining more powers from the UK Parliament clearly does not want any issue of failure in government to reach the news. So any serious maladministration, academic and financial fraud, refusal to comply with procedures etc inside Welsh Universities is considered a personal issue and cannot be heard by the Petitions Committee.

I received a questionnaire concerning the petitions process and so I did a bit of research. It seems the only way to bring attention to the appalling abuse of students and staff inside Welsh Universities is with a petition to the European Parliament.

The petition before the Welsh Assembly has been useful in that everything they claim to be a complaints process, whistle blowing safeguard or audit for the proper use of our money has been shown not to work.

Never Mind the Human Rights Abuses its the Economy Stupid!

While these issues are before the Welsh Assembly the same thing applies to the whole of the UK which is the European member state and while the European Parliament cannot take action bringing this to UK governments attention.

To paraphrase a former Prime Minister Gordon Brown one of the cornerstones of a successful UK economy is a strong university base. Now that UK universities have slipped down the world rankings negative world wide publicity of human rights abuses would have an effect on the UK economy and therefore guarantee results.

To the Petitions Committee National Assembly for Wales UK

Here is my latest letter to the Welsh Assembly which outlines the Human Rights abuses, the most important being under Article 13 we have the right to an Effective Remedy.

I have completed the questionnaire on the Petitions process however, I am greatly concerned about the progress of my petition.

The Committee considered an update to this petition on the 13th July 2010.

The Committee agreed to:

  • Write to HEFCW to seek their views on the petition, in the context of their Corporate Plan which seeks to strengthen governance in the sector;
  • Write to the Minister for Children, Education and Lifelong Learning to seek his views on whether the governance review could incorporate the 13 points listed in the petitioner’s correspondence;
  • Write to Higher Education Wales to seek their views on the issues raised;
  • Write to the University and College Union, and the National Union of Students to seek their views on the petition.

I would be grateful for an update as I seem to be ignored and obstructed by those mentioned and who have a responsibility in these issues. The main systemic problem is that those with a responsibility are only accountable to each other and not the public.

Further to the Questionnaire I wish to rise the point that the Welsh Assembly Peoples Petitions process falls short of the standards set by the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament.

Please note that I should be able to submit a petition on a matter of public or private interest as stated in item 2

1.    “Any citizen of the European Union, or resident in a Member State, may, individually or in association with others, submit a petition to the European Parliament on a subject which comes within the European Union’s fields of activity and which affects them directly. Any company, organisation or association with its headquarters in the European Union may also exercise this right of petition, which is guaranteed by the Treaty.
2.    A petition may take the form of a complaint or a request and may relate to issues of public or private interest.
3.    The petition may present an individual request, a complaint or observation concerning the application of EU law or an appeal to the European Parliament to adopt a position on a specific matter. Such petitions give the European Parliament the opportunity of calling attention to any infringement of a European citizen’s rights by a Member State or local authorities or other institution.”

Therefore I wish to complain that my personal grievances where they relate to my rights as a European citizen as set out in the Treaties have been censored from the Petitions Committee.

As a preliminary to submitting a petition to the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament, I wish to make a formal request include in my petition before the Welsh Assembly the violation of my human rights as outlined in the Human Rights Act and the European Charter on Human Rights.

Briefly the violation of my rights are as follows:

Article 9 – Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

While at the University of Wales Lampeter I was victimised as a result of acting out of thought and conscience regarding the way in which mature students and disadvantaged single parents were being treated. This victimisation was and still is being perpetrated directly and indirectly by the Church in Wales and the Archbishop of Wales by his involvement in politics.

Article 10 – Freedom of expression

I should be free to express my views on the maladministration, perversion of student complaints procedures, academic and financial fraud at the former University of Wales Lampeter and the University of Wales in concealing the conduct at Lampeter. However, I have been threatened with legal action by both institutions the psychological damage caused by misuse of the libel laws is no different from having people beaten up in a dark alley. Requirements to sign an undertaking never to repeat what has transpired means this practice is kept from the public. This despite the fact that universities are public spending bodies and therefore any comments are subject to privilege under article 10.

Article 6 – Right to a fair trial.

This applies to both civil and criminal law, however the exclusion of student complaints from the courts has led to a general concern about the issue of equality at arms. This not only applies to perverting the student complaints scheme, complaints are ignored while universities then take action against the student in the courts whereby any counter claim is excluded. The use of the insolvency laws whereby a student owes the university more than £750, driving them into bankruptcy and therefore preventing them from taking any court action while they are still a bankrupt is an example that creates a high suicide risk. This behaviour is common practice, in short universities flout the rules with impunity and then hide behind the law.

Article 14 – Prohibition of discrimination

Further to Article 9 there was a practice at the University of Wales Lampeter of discrimination against mature students and single parents. There was further discrimination against those who expressed this opinion.

Article 13 – Effective remedy

Article 13 provides for the right for an effective remedy before national authorities for violations of rights under the Convention.

So where is it?

  • The Education Minister claims he has no author to intervene in a university which is a designated public spending body.
  • The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales HEFCW disregards complaints of financial irregularity with impunity about which the public have no right of complaint.
  • HEFCW can also withhold funding from a university to ensure compliance but from the evidence I have submitted it is never going to happen.
  • The public are banned from making any complain to the Auditor General.Student complaints are not allowed in the courts.
  • The Office of Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education refuses to make any inquiry into any allegation leading to a loss of institutional reputation.
  • Student complaint procedures are perverted by universities with impunity.
  • The former and current Bishop of St David’s as Visitor the University of Wales Lampeter have abused their position to conceal abuses under the other violations.
  • The Quality Assurance Agency QAA has ignored its own institutional reviews to justify its refusal to investigate under its cause for concern process which in any case can be, and is, ignored by universities with impunity.
  • On this issue there is evidence that the QAA’s claim to be powerless maybe untrue, past intervention was subject to political interference which forced the resignation of the QAA’s CEO and I suggest the same is happening regarding these issues.
  • The University of Wales also ignores complaints that include financial and academic fraud to prevent public awareness and referral to the Independent Adjudicator but for reasons above that would not provide any effective remedy.Complaints of a criminal nature are obstructed for all the above reasons, making this elite above the law.
  • The conduct of the Church in Wales as a private organisation exempt from public complaint in the governance and as office bearers of higher education institutions, also acts as an effective obstruction to any remedy made worse by the involvement of the Archbishop of Wales in politics.

By the actions, statements and omissions of all the above no effective remedy exists, moreover, the refusal of the Assembly and Assembly Members to hold the executive and this elite to account is an admission of the failure of the democratic process.

There are other issues which I have omitted which are subject to legal advice prior to taking action against the merged Trinity St David’s and may soon become sub judice.

The whole point of my petition was to address the above issues not only in the public interest but also as a matter of the little people being heard in accordance with their basic human rights, in this instance the two are one of the same.

You cannot claim your rights are being violated unless you also provide evidence of your personal grievances to justify your accusations. In my view to separate the human rights issues from strictly public matters and hence prevent them from being heard is an act of concealment.

I look forward to being able to address these issues with the Petitions Committee sometime soon and that the review of higher education governance will also consider these matters accordingly.

Please note that petitions give the European Parliament the opportunity of calling attention to any infringement of a European citizen’s rights by a Member State or local authorities or other institution, it cannot take any action. Given the extent to which these matters are hidden from the public by gagging the victims of human rights abuses, it is perfectly reasonable to expect the Assembly to do the same.

Please bring this to the attention of the Committee.

Trevor Mayes.

Tags: Human Rights Abuses in Welsh Universities - Petition to European Parliament