The Reporter
Issue 489, 24 March 2003
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Send your letters to editor of the Reporter, Vanessa Bridge. Email or send by internal post to press office, 12.67 E C Stoner building


Geographical queries (Dick Knight, language centre) – Leeds bid for ‘Oslo of the north’? (Reporter 488) Some mistake surely! Oslo of the south, perhaps? (and Alec McAllister, ISS) – At 59° 54’ N, isn’t Oslo far enough north already?

‘Or’ should that be argent? (John Lydon, biochemistry) – Whilst attending a lunchtime concert in the Great Hall recently, I found my eyes wandering over the interior décor, as they tend to do on such occasions, and they lit on the University crest in the middle distance, above the stage. The proper crest that is (i.e. the one with the helmet, sphinx and whatever the curly cabbage leaves at the sides are called) not the tatty modern beer-mat version. However there is something wrong with it. The field vert was OK and the white roses, but I distinctly recall mention of three mullets argent in that strange menu French which passes for heraldry, and these mullets were distinctly or. In an academic environment like this, where in some quarters a split infinitive is still regarded as a hanging offence, it is some achievement to get our own shield wrong.

Time for tea?
(John Smurthwaite, Brotherton Library) – ‘Stands the Church clock at ten to three?’ Rupert Brooke would certainly feel at home in the refectory, where it has been ten to three by the clock for many months now. (Unfortunately there isn’t honey for tea.) Perhaps if we all eat at the refectory more often, catering services will be able to afford a new battery for their clock. Who knows, we might even get another clock for the south end.

Rules of parking (Andrew Dye, electronic engineering) – After having read and re-read the new policy for visitor parking notification enclosed in the last Reporter, I am somewhat confused as to the purpose of the new rules. How will security verify that a visitor is not a student or unconnected member of the public when visitors, according to rule two, ‘need not be pre-notified to security’? I assume this means that anyone can identify themselves as a visitor, pay £2.60 (considerably less than parking anywhere else in Leeds city centre) and gain access to the campus. So why must I, as a member of staff, show my ID for the privilege of paying the same charge? I cannot see how this new policy benefits staff paying to park on campus. I can see, however, how it will generate more revenue as the car parks will no doubt be full by 8:30am every day with ‘visiting’ students and members of the public working nearby. I am also intrigued by rule 11. Maybe my view is somewhat skewed by being on the waiting list for a permit, but surely any member of staff using their permit for less than 50 days pa should relinquish it to a member of staff who will put it to good use 20 days a month not 4?

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for staff, Professor Diane Shorrocks-Taylor replies: The new visitor parking policy aims to simplify procedures and avoid frustration for visitors. With over 400 campus visitors each day, a pre-notified system is no longer practical, hence the decision by Senate and Council to ask all visitors to pay. They can be reimbursed by departments, and on a city centre site, paying for parking is the norm rather than the exception. Staff will be asked to show ID cards to help avoid admitting students and bogus visitors. Any increased revenue from parking charges will support green travel plan initiatives, which should benefit all staff. Retired staff are allowed to renew their permits, but if permits are not used five days a week, this leaves more visitor capacity, which is in great demand. Departments should advise visitors (including staff) that the demand for parking exceeds supply, and places cannot be guaranteed: public transport should be considered. Some departments have suggested pre-paid vouchers for parking which could be sent out to visitors in advance. However, this is not possible, since a parking place cannot be guaranteed. It would cause anger and frustration if a visitor with a voucher had to be turned away due to a lack of space. This is a situation that we must learn to live with, whether visitors are asked to pay or not.

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