Reporter 451, 8 May 2000


Letters

Good housekeeping?

Lesley Aitken
School of Dentistry

I understand that the University is facing a deficit at the end of this financial year and that resource centres are being requested to limit non-essential expenditure until August.

Every day, for many years, I have seen a profligate waste of resources around the University. There could be a significant reduction in the electricity bill if lights were turned off when rooms were vacated for any length of time. Some of the savings could be returned to staff as a Christmas bonus for helping to reduce overall costs!

Stationery is another area where housekeeping is poor. Why use an expensive letterhead for a note to a colleague in another department when a computer-generated memorandum is sufficient? After all, it’s the content that is important! Why use a new white University logo envelope to send a communication to ‘the centre’ or a head of department? However important the individual, he/she is unlikely to open it him/herself! More widespread use could be made of the University’s cost-effective system of re-usable internal envelopes or recycling those received from external sources.

The recycling bins are full of unnecessary photocopying - use it as scrap paper. Subject Review has made a significant contribution to a reduction in arboreal resources. Do staff really have the time or the inclination to wade through a rainforest of papers several inches thick for a meeting which could have a time limit imposed upon it to enable staff to return to more productive work?

However, staff will only respond to the imposition of major cost-saving measures if these are linked to remuneration, otherwise it will all be so much wasted hot air!

Recycling has risks

Tom Letcher
Departmental Support Unit

Re. ‘Why chuck it out?’ (Reporter 450): as I understand it, under the 1998 Data Protection Act, the University remains responsible for personal data held on old PCs after they’ve been disposed of (even if by way of an agent).

The University ought to have guidelines on what happens to old machines (perhaps to re-format them?), so as to avoid any of the unfortunate tangles other bodies (notably accountants!) have found themselves facing. Have we such a thing?

It may be that the relevant sections of the Act are yet to come into force, or that universities are given some extra leeway. This will need facing up to at some stage.

However laudable the issue of recycling, apparently other bodies have already found destruction to be the most economic option.

A matter of choice

David Shaw
Centre for Joint Honours in Modern Languages

Vic Rogers-Gentile’s letter (Reporter 450) about car use was presumably meant as a joke. I just love his witty observation that ‘the millions of motorists are the majority in England’, and that their interests should therefore ‘come before the minority of public transport users’.

We look forward to the same happy logic being applied to Sun readers. It is a truly splendid nonsense to represent the motoring ‘majority’ as a homogenous mass united by the urge to use their cars whenever possible.

I’m a motorist. My interests should therefore be respected. Dr Rogers-Gentile says so.

But I choose to cycle daily to the University (from Bramhope). It is therefore in my interest to campaign for more bike/cycle lanes from which cars will be excluded, not to mention secure cycle storage facilities on the campus.

Nice to have your support, Vic!

Time for fairer deal

Richard Bell
Civil Engineering

The Government guidelines for pensions offer two schemes, i.e. a ‘sixtieth’ and an ‘eightieth’. They are, they tell us, equal, in that although the 60th scheme does not give a lump sum but a larger income, and the lump sum from the 80th scheme when invested should give an income top-up that will equal the 60th scheme.

With this in mind, why is it that the people in the University pension scheme are forced to have the 80th scheme? I would welcome the choice to have a 60th scheme (which I prefer) when I retire.

How many other people would like to be on the 60th scheme - and why do we not get a choice? Is there a financial advantage to the pension scheme, in that the index-linked payout will be less of a burden with an 80th scheme?

If we were on a 60th scheme, then all the income would be index-linked and our future years would be more financially beneficial. Should we have a vote on this?

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