Reporter 417, 23 March 1998


Letters

Manifest success

Stephen D Clark
Fixed-Term Contract Staff Member

Can I say how pleased I was to see manifestos distributed with the recent Senate election papers, as suggested in my letter to the Reporter in issue 389. Whilst not claiming any proprietary rights in this matter, I also note that my suggested limit of 200 words has also been adopted.

I, and I am sure many others, would be interested in whether this innovation has increased the turnout over previous years' elections. Could the Secretariat supply us with the figures on ballot papers returned (not the number of votes cast, since individuals may choose to vote for a different number of candidates) so we can see if this innovation has increased turnout?

As Mr Clark points out, the only reliable comparison is provided by the number of ballot papers returned and, unfortunately, this information is not available for previous years. We would welcome comments on this innovation - Editor.

Smokescreen

Dr Alan Bullock
Department of Italian

No one with an ounce of fellow-feeling could fail to sympathise with Anne-Denise Worsnop's letter about smoking and cancer. But she does herself and those who agree with her no favours by comparing smoking in public with drunken driving.

Drunken driving is illegal and punishable accordingly; smoking is not, and to suggest that people who smoke in public should be similarly prosecuted is tendentious as well as inaccurate.

A more rational and practical approach would be to examine whether the University is a public place 'within the meaning of the Act' or whether it should be seen formally accessible only to its staff and students. In the event it could presumably legislate to ban smoking; if not any such ban would presumably itself be illegal.

Wrongful wording

Christopher Hammond
Department of Materials

It is a matter of regret to have to point out that the word knowledge, in both the heading and text of the piece on the Edward Boyle Library (Reporter 415), is incorrectly and improperly used. The OED provides a number of definitions, perhaps the one most relevant to the situation in a University is "Intellectual acquaintance with, or perception of, fact or truth; the fact, state or condition of understanding."

This is entirely different from information, its organisation or management, or whether it is provided in paper or electronic form. There is no such thing as 'global knowledge network', the word to be used is information. How the two are related is quite another matter.

Out of Africa

Professor Hugh Glover
University of Port Elizabeth South Africa

Thank you so much for the Leeds Reporter which I receive on a regular basis. I worked closely with Geoff Wain and his colleagues for over 10 years, where they assisted in promoting quality improvements in primary mathematics in South Africa. I also spent six months at Leeds in 1990.

I therefore enjoy keeping up to date and wish to thank you and your university for the positive contribution you continue to make.

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