Magazine article Times Higher Education

PhD Scholarship Appeal Bid Fails

Magazine article Times Higher Education

PhD Scholarship Appeal Bid Fails

Article excerpt

Leeds postgrad who had award revoked criticises eight-month wait for OIA ruling. Paul Jump writes

A former PhD student who says that she has been battling deportation, eviction and poverty while awaiting a decision from the Office of the Independent Adjudicator has had her appeal against the removal of her scholarship rejected.

As previously reported in Times Higher Education, US student Sanaz Raji was awarded a three-year doctoral scholarship in 2009 by the University of Leeds' Institute of Communications Studies. But the scholarship was revoked in August 2011 on the grounds that she had made insufficient academic progress.

After exhausting Leeds' internal procedures for appealing against the decision (arguing, centrally, that her supervision had been inadequate), Ms Raji appealed to the OIA last July. She argued that the university's decision had been unreasonable and that it had failed to follow its own procedures during her appeal, most significantly by not arranging a meeting between her and the assessment panel.

On 14 March, the OIA dismissed her claim. It said that she was given a "reasonable opportunity" to put her case to the panel, and the university "carefully considered" her concerns about the suitability of her supervisors, for whose alleged bias against her there was no evidence.

But the body declined to revisit matters of "academic judgement", such as whether she had made satisfactory progress or whether her supervisors had the necessary expertise. …

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