We’re keen to receive your letters on a wide variety of topics, from campus life to political and social issues in the wider world. Please note that all letters will be published at the editor’s discretion, and may be edited for brevity. The letters policy is available online.
or post to: Reporter, room 12.72, Employee Communications, E C Stoner Building
A GROWING CONCERN
Is the Reporter able to offer an explanation for the cutting down of trees outside of the Union and nearby buildings? These were one of the few remaining photogenic features of the campus, and will be a great loss. They also offered a habitat for birds and other wildlife.
Is the University on a mission to gain entry into the league table of top 50 ‘World's Ugliest Campuses’? If so, they are going about it well. It may be time for Tree Preservation Orders to be placed on the few remaining trees on campus, before Leeds becomes a lunar landscape dominated by revolting concrete constructions in the name of ‘progress’.
I hope the trees were not cut down for safety reasons, and that the likely subsidence when the roots rot does not cause expensive damage to some of the more attractive buildings on campus.
Dr David Bond
School of Earth and Environment
Both the Charles Morris Hall and Earth and Environment extension involved developing protected green space under Leeds City Council planning policies. The Council agreed that the current development work in University Square, which will replace and improve the green and public space on campus, was a suitable replacement.
Members of the University were given the opportunity to view the original proposals and gave very helpful comments, including some concerns about the loss of trees. However, the cherry trees were planted in the 1950s and some had already had to be replaced because they were at the end of their life. The 12 existing trees will be replaced by a new tree avenue of some 36 new trees. We hope that the new trees will flourish and provide an enhanced environment for all campus users – including the birds and wildlife. Further details of the scheme are available on Campusweb.
THE LEEDS FAMILY
Dear Professor Arthur
I received my diploma from you at 1.45pm in the Great Hall on 17 December.
I am writing to thank you and all your staff for making it a very special day and to mention two staff members in particular. I should explain that I was one of the graduants who uses a wheelchair and owing to the inclement weather coming over the Pennines we were late and somewhat lost.
I stopped and asked for directions from two of your cleaning ladies Ruth and Hazel who work on the lower ground floor of the Parkinson building. They both put their mops to one side and whisked us to get our tickets and robes, pushing me up the many ramps, showing us the very well-hidden lifts and shortcuts and getting us to the Great Hall on time. This wasn’t their job, they could just have pointed us in the right direction but they took real care of my wife, who is also disabled, and me. What came across was that they felt part of what was going on and not a little proud of us who were graduating. When I came out after the ceremony they were waiting like a couple of Yorkshire aunties to wish us well and check that we were OK.
So when you spoke about “the Leeds family” in your speech it didn’t ring hollow to us, as so many of these things often do, because we had seen it ourselves that day. It wasn’t their job to be the face of your University that day but they acted as if it was and they did not let you down. I have no real idea how to find them but I hope you can somehow let them and their managers know that they contributed to my graduation in a very special ‘family’ way.
Very best regards
As a result of receiving this letter, the Vice-Chancellor has written to the two colleagues concerned – senior supervisor Ruth Hindmarsh, and cleaner Hazel Kershaw – personally thanking them for their help. He said: “It is truly heart-warming to see the lengths you went to in order to ensure that this student and his wife managed to fully enjoy what must be one of the most important days in a person’s life. It is not everyone who would have taken the time to do something that does not fall within their work remit and your quick thinking is a credit to you both and the University.”