Reporter 439, 27 September 1999

In the news

Undoubtedly the biggest media frenzy since the last Reporter was the saga of Professor Vic Allen and Dr Robin Pearson who were accused of spying for East Germany while at Leeds. The story featured in every national and local newspaper and all TV channels, following the broadcast of the BBC2 series ‘The Spying Game’.
The first in this series was based on Robin Pearson, who completed his PhD at Leeds. The programme also featured an interview with Professor Zygmunt Bauman, emeritus professor at Leeds and whom Pearson was accused of spying on.

The Independent, Times, Daily Telegraph, Yorkshire Post and Guardian all featured the research into the mating rituals of dinosaurs by Professor McNeill Alexander. Professor Alexander described how dinosaurs indulged in beauty contests, sporting a bizarre range of crests, ruffs and frills.
He spoke at the British Association festival of science in Sheffield where he described challenges between males across distances the length of a cricket pitch, where he said "Diplodocus moved its tail from one side to the other until it went supersonic."

BBC Look North, Calendar, Yorkshire Post and the Yorkshire Evening Post all reported the University was fined £12,000 for polluting two becks with red diesel. The University admitted the offence and offered an apology, saying, "The apology offered is unequivocal. It offers no excuses and is not half-hearted."

Healthcare Studies’ Claire Hale received backing from the Equal Opportunities Commission in the fight for her daughter to be allowed to wear trousers to school. The story featured in the Guardian, Independent, Times, Yorkshire Post, Times Educational Supplement, Daily Telegraph, Yorkshire Evening Post and a large spread of regional publications.

Professor Hale was pleased by the commission’s support saying "the fact it is willing to support us means they think we have a good case."

The Times Higher Educational Supplement reported on the now infamous Leeds 13 fine art students whose appeal against their final degree show mark was successful. A University spokesperson told the THES "The committee on applications has given careful consideration to an appeal by seven students and as a consequence, marks given to all 14 finalists have been revised." Their mark for the final degree show was bumped up to a first.

Finally, Professor Tony Wren’s research on buses has been featured even further afield. The New York Post followed up on his research into bus timetabling and interviewed the professor about why buses turn up in threes, the paper concluding simply that, ‘there are too many damn cars in the way.’

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