Garvey findings: IT Tralee governors will no longer study there

A change to college rules in the summer means governing body members at IT Tralee can no longer study for degrees there.

The investigation panel which first considered a complaint of plagiarism against Flan Garvey did not find any conflict of interest in him studying for a master's at the college while also chairman.

The panel which reported yesterday said it could not understand why the committee that hears appeals of academic matters should be chaired by the governing body chair or his nominee, given that the chairman is not required to have academic expertise or relevant experience like a legal background.

“The institute’s recent history makes the role of the chair of the governing body on this committee more unaccountable, even though, under new arrrangements recently adopted by IT Tralee, no member of the governing body may register for a degree of the institute,” it said.

The college’s academic council will complete a review of the committee’s membership by next June.

In Mr Garvey’s case, the appeal committee was chaired by ex-president of Dublin Institute of Technology Professor Brendan Goldsmith, on the nomination of ITT’s deputy chairman. It did not accept the external investigators’ finding that Mr Garvey’s masters degree award was unjustified, which could have led to it being revoked, because it said rules on plagiarism were not properly explained to students.

This was one of a number of deficiencies highlighted in postgrad research assessment procedures that prompted the external review published yesterday.

The case was brought to college authorities’ attention in a complaint by 36 academic staff in November 2012. The Teachers' Union of Ireland branch on campus voted no confidence in Mr Garvey’s chairmanship in May, shortly before he announced he would resign as chairman at the end of July.

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