University lecturers refuse to provide references to graduates

At least two University of South Wales lecturers have refused to provide references to graduates who have sought to get on in academic and professional life.

One of them, Doctor Mike Reddy, complained of having a reference request from a student who graduated in only 2002 and claimed a colleague complained of one from someone who graduated in 1994. Another lecturer, Professor Guoping Liu, refused to provide a student who graduated from the faculty he was in, simply because he did not know the student personally.

Doctor Mike Reddy refused to give a reference to a student who graduated in 2002.
TURING HIS BACK: Doctor Mike Reddy refused to give a reference to a student who graduated in 2002. Courtesy: Obtained from thisismyjoystick.com

Doctor Mike Reddy, who is a senior lecturer at the University of South Wales, posted to Twitter his discontent with giving references to students who studied modules on a degree he delivered in 2002. “How old have you had reference requests?“, he asked. “Today I had a student from 2002,” Doctor Mike Reddy continued. “My office mate had one from 1994 the other day. Neither ok,” he concluded.

Professor Guoping Liu refused to provide a reference for a graduate of the same faculty of him because he didn't "know" them.
DON’T KNOW DON’T CARE: Professor Guoping Liu refused to provide a reference for a graduate of the same faculty of him because he didn’t “know” them. Courtesy: Obtained from the University of South Wales.
Councillor Jonathan Bishop is a prospective candidate in this year’s Welsh Assembly elections, where he plans to raise awareness of his policies on education reform. “It is disgusting that Doctor Mike Reddy is refusing to provide references to students who studied on programmes he designed or delivered,” he said. “I had a similar problem with Professor Guoping Liu who wouldn’t sign my nomination form for the IEEE because he said he didn’t know me, meaning it took me longer to get SMIEEE” he continued. “Both Doctor Mike Reddy and Professor Guoping Liu, and any other lecturer funded by the Welsh tax payer, are a total disgrace if they are not willing to do all they can to help the university’s students and graduates get on in the world.
It will be part of my election campaign for the Welsh Assembly to require universities to provide value for money.
How is it value for money for Doctor Mike Reddy to have outputted less than 10 academic papers since he got his PhD in 1999?
And equally, if Professor Guoping Liu is not willing to help Welsh graduates reach as high a status in an international body like the IEEE at the same time as being paid by the Welsh tax payer, then he should go back to China where he will likely be welcomed by other human rights deniers.

Councillor Jonathan Bishop says that Doctor Mike Reddy is being unfair to his former students. “My last degree was awarded in 2011 by Aberystwyth University, and they have given me references since then as many universities require a reference from the institution where your last degree was awarded and so if the last degree someone got that they were taught by Mike Reddy was 2002 – when I was awarded my first degree – then he should provide references until that person is awarded another degree.
“It is disgusting that universities talk about ‘commencement’ at graduation ceremonies, yet in the case of Doctor Mike Reddy and Professor Guoping Liu, they have no intention of aiding with that.

Youth environmental project to come to Llantrisant

An innovative environmental project is set to expand its reach to Llantrisant, it has been revealed.

The Emotivate Project is set to expand its reach from Llantwit Fardre into Llantrisant in Wales as part of ambitious plans to link young people the two areas with other youths in Cam and Dursley in England.

These young people helped design and paint the murals displayed at the St Dyfrig's Underpass in Treforest.
YOUNG AT ART: These young people helped design and paint the murals displayed at the St Dyfrig’s Underpass in Treforest. Courtesy: Jonathan Bishop Limited.

The Emotivate Project was highly commended by Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council in 2014. It was the brainchild of Councillor Jonathan Bishop, who is also seeking election to Llantrisant Town in Wales and is already the parish councillor for Lower Cam in England, hoping to combine the two roles. “I hope that by being the local councillor for both communities I can make this project happen in a more ambitious fashion,” he said. “I have been a local councillor for 25 per cent of my life and as I have already run this project in Treforest and Llanwit Fardre, having served on the councils in both those areas.”

The Emotivate Project gives young people the chance to develop their understanding of the history area at the same time as improve their IT skills in order to design and paint a mural reflecting their ideas of the area’s past and present and what they want the future to be like.

Mark Beech is the Chief Personnel, Strategy & Quality Officer at the Crocels Community Media Group, which the project is being run under the auspices of. “I am really pleased that Councillor Jonathan Bishop will be running our highly commended project, not only in Llantwit Fardre as planned, but Llantrisant also,” he said. “Being a historian myself, I am confident that Jonathan has designed a programme that will energise young people to have the passion for the history of Llantrisant and Llanwit Fardre that he has.

ART ACTION: Jonathan Bishop coordinated the restoration of the underpass in Treforest as part of the Emotivate Project. Courtesy: Jonathan Bishop Limited.
ART ACTION: Jonathan Bishop coordinated the restoration of the underpass in Treforest as part of the Emotivate Project. Courtesy: Jonathan Bishop Limited.

Councillor Jonathan Bishop said his project would help bring both communities in England and Wales together, promoting fellowship between the two nations. “Being a Freeman of Llantrisant I am proud to stand for election in the town,” he said. “My grandfather founded the Llantrisant Workingmen’s Club, former Council Chairman Ivor Jacob is a relative, my Great Aunt Lottie was a musician in the town, my great grandfather was a carpenter who worked on the Parish Church’s roof.
This project will be going ahead whether I win or lose, and there is so much the communities have in common without having to share the same councillor.
We have the Billy Wynt in Llantrisant, and Cam has Cam Peak.
We have the Cwm Coke Works here, and Cam and Dursley have Cam Mills.
Llantrisant has its castle ruins, and Dursley Castle has legendary status there too.

Llantrisant Freeman supports war memorial campaign

ART ACTION: Jonathan Bishop restored the underpass in Treforest as part of the Emotivate Project. Courtesy: Jonathan Bishop Limited.
ART ACTION: Jonathan Bishop restored the underpass in Treforest as part of the Emotivate Project. Courtesy: Jonathan Bishop Limited.

A Freeman of Llantrisant has given his support to calls for a dedicated war memorial in the town.

Freeman Jonathan Bishop was instrumental in the campaign to install a war memorial in Pontypridd, when as the town councillor for Treforest he seconded fellow councillor Colin Gregory’s motion for the plans, including getting a commitment for it to be part funded by public subscription.

Jonathan Bishop is the brains behind the Emotivate Project, which is seeking to install a mural at the Woodland Walk underpass in Efail Isaf, based on young people’s ideas of war and peace.

Freeman Bishop says that in addition, he wants a war memorial to go beyond military personnel. “Many people in South Wales died during the Second World War from working underground in the mines, as well as in the munitions factories,” he said. “My grandfather was the Freeman of Llantrisant who founded the Llantrisant Workingmen’s Club and I would not be here today had he not met my grandmother who was working in the same munitions factory after he finished his duties as a Gunner in the Battle of the Atlantic.”

REMEMBERING HEROS: Freeman Jonathan Bishop supports war memorials for both the traditional armies and those that worked on the land and in the mines. Courtesy: Jonathan Bishop Limited
REMEMBERING HEROS: Freeman Jonathan Bishop supports war memorials for both the traditional armies and those that worked on the land and in the mines. Courtesy: Jonathan Bishop Limited

Freeman Bishop says it was not just his Llantrisant grandfather who was part of the World War II campaign. “My other grandfather was a miner, who along with other miners were essential the fueling the war effort,” he said. “I therefore fully support the call for a lasting war memorial on the castle green in Llantrisant, and would like a commitment for all those who died during conscription, whether on or under the land, to be recognised also.

Jess Phillips criticised over talking-clock comment

A Birmingham MP has been criticised over her comments that she cannot understand why anyone would call the ‘talking-clock’ in today’s age.

Jess Phillips MP
OUT OF TOUCH? Jess Phillips MP says she does not understand why anyone would need to call the ‘Talking-Clock.’ Courtesy: Birmingham Mail

Jess Phillips, the Member of Parliament for Birmingham Yardley, posted on Twitter a comment saying: “Who still calls the talking clock… I thought it didn’t exist anymore. I cannot believe this.

Councillor Jonathan Bishop, who campaigned to deal with the digital divide while a councillor on Llantwit Fardre Community Council between 2003 and 2004 and Pontypridd Town Council between 2008 and 2012, said the comments of Jess Phillips showed ignorance. “It is disgraceful that Jess Phillips felt it appropriate to mock people who use telephone services like the Talking Clock,” he said. “Many people in the UK are still without broadband of any kind, and in some cases not having digital terrestrial television.
Just because Jess Phillips has the benefit of her allowances as a Member of Parliament, it does not mean she should expect others to have access to those communications services she takes for granted.
“Instead of mocking people for using the talking clock, she should be supporting my campaign to ensure there is no part of the United Kingdom that does not have access to mobile Internet or mobile broadband.

In the United Kingdom, a service called Dialaradio.co.uk was recently introduced, which allows people to access popular radio stations by telephone. Amazon.co.uk also launched Prime Stations, which allows access to radio stations via the Internet. Both services show that there is still demand for telephony and radio, with not everyone being able to access the services they need by either D.A.B radio or the subscription-free World Wide Web.

Otley Arms refuses to serve bisexual student

otley-arms
OTLEY HARMS: Police record Otley Arms landlord, Mathew Otley, as having been part of a “hate incident.” Courtesy: Obtained under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic licence from Matthew Black.

A bisexual student, allegedly assaulted at Treforest public house, has been told he is not welcome by its new management, even though the person that attacked him is known to be a patron there.

The student was attacked at the Otley Arms in Treforest by former boxing trainer, Ken Tosa, in February 2014, in what was believed to be a hate crime arising out of the student’s sexual orientation.

When the man tried to get service at the Otley Arms on Monday this week he was told by the new manager, Mathew Otley, “You are not welcome here.”

South Wales Police are treating the fact that new landlord, Mathew Otley, refused to serve the student as a “hate incident” on the basis it was perceived as being victimisation because of the earlier incident of homophobia against the student. The Otley Arms has still not apologised to the student, and continue to add insult to injury by allowing Ken Tosa to continue to attend.

Childcare call after protest

A former school governor has reiterated his call for schools to offer childcare in the wake of cuts to public funding of nursery places in Rhondda Cynon Taff.

SHOUTED DOWN: Jonathan Bishop was one of two school governors shouted down by Chair of Governors, Geoff Herbert. Courtesy: Jonathan Bishop Limited
SHOUTED DOWN: Jonathan Bishop was one of two school governors shouted down by Chair of Governors, Geoff Herbert. Courtesy: Jonathan Bishop Limited

Jonathan Bishop, who was a governor at Parc Lewis County Primary School, has said the calls by another governor and him to provide childcare when funding to its nursery school ends, should be followed. “The cuts to nursery places in the afternoons will seriously affect working parents,” he said. “Another councillor and I proposed providing a childcare scheme in place of the nursery so that parents are not forced into impossible situations where they cannot afford childcare at the same time as having to stay in work.
Despite this, we were both shouted down by chair of governors Geoff Herbert, who disgustingly said ‘what about poor people?’ when it is low income working parents who need access to childcare the most.
The school would in effect only be doing what it is currently doing, except it would be funded by parent’s childcare vouchers or subscriptions, which would work out more affordable for all.

Jo Caddy, of Parents Against the Cuts to Education in RCT, took part in a protest against the plans to cut nursery places and agrees that the plans due to come in in the autumn fail to consider the needs of working parents. “We can’t steam roll with this in September when you know there’s insufficient child care,” she said. “The council is trying to steam roll on a time scale that isn’t possible.

Parents Against the Cuts to Education in RCT took the local authority to a judicial review. Jo Caddy pointed out that had the council acted “properly and given parents the two years to find child care and time to plan there wouldn’t be a leg to stand on” in terms of legal action.

Homophobia figures released by South Wales Police

OTLEY HARMS: Former Pontypridd Boxer Ken Tosa is accused of assaulting a student at the Otley Arms in Treforest. Courtesy: Obtained under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic licence from Matthew Black.
OTLEY HARMS: In february 2014, former Pontypridd Boxer Ken Tosa was accused of assaulting a student at the Otley Arms in Treforest, which it is believed was aggravated by the student’s sexuality. Courtesy: Obtained under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic licence from Matthew Black.

South Wales Police have recorded 162 violent crimes aggravated by a person’s sexual orientation. The records, collected between January and October 2014, show figures up from 132 in 2013 and 89 in 2012.

Stonewall, which focuses mainly on crime against homosexuals identifying as “gay,” warned such crimes are “a real issue in the UK” and that the authorities should “continue to take this type of vile abuse seriously.

We believe that more and more victims and witnesses of homophobic attacks are building up the courage to speak to others and report these instances to the police,” said the charity’s spokesman Richard Lane. “Hate crime is a key area of our work at Stonewall and our campaigns aim to not just encourage individuals to report attacks, but also for the police to try and make people feel more at ease with approaching them,” he continued. “We know, in the past, many have been hesitant to report crimes to the police for fear of the consequences.

In February 2014, an assault against a student by Ken Tosa at the Otley Arms in Treforest, believed aggravated by the sexual orientation of the student, allegedly followed Tosa learning from other patrons he was bisexual. The student, who attended the local university, was referred to the crisis team at Royal Glamorgan Hospital by South Wales Police following the incident where he was comforted by a friend. A spokesperson for South Wales Police said at the time, “No complaint has been made,” and the Otley Arms refused to comment

Local authority ‘heavy handed’

A local authority in Wales has been criticised for its heavy handed approach in dealing with Internet trolls, whilst local Liberal Democratic Party members deny all responsibility.

IMPERSONATED?: Paul Cannon is pictured with Eudine Hanagan. Both have been the subject of fake Twitter accounts. Courtesy: Obtained from Blogspot.
IMPERSONATED?: Paul Cannon is pictured with Eudine Hanagan. Both have been the subject of fake Twitter accounts. Courtesy: Obtained from Blogspot.

The row follows the creation of Twitter accounts seeking to mock popular councillors Eudine Hanagan and Paul Cannon, both Labour cabinet members at Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council. Following complaints the accounts were renamed. A spokesperson for the council said that impersonating councillors online would not be tolerated. “The council has reported the impersonation of councillors and officers taking place on Twitter. These impersonations have also been reported to the police,” they said. “The council is currently liaising with Twitter in relation to the information behind these accounts.
The individuals who have been targeted are considering legal action against those involved in setting up these false accounts and the potentially libellous comments being made.
For the avoidance of any doubt, the council would like to confirm that these accounts are in no way connected to the local authority, councillors or officers being impersonated.

Allegations were made that Liberal Democrats, Karen Roberts, John Bell and Mike Powell were behind the accounts and the trio are accused of actively creating or supporting the existence of these Twitter accounts. John Bell was the former county borough councillor for Treforest. “I see that RCT at reporting tweeters to police they didn’t do it for me,” he said. “I did not go to the police I went to RCT I don’t waste police time.

TWEET FA: John Bell's Twitter account showing posts to Karen Roberts and a satire account relating to Eudine Hanagan. Courtesy: Obtained from Twitter.
TWEET FA: John Bell’s Twitter account showing posts to Karen Roberts and a satire account relating to Eudine Hanagan. Courtesy: Obtained from Twitter.

Karen Roberts, who is the campaign manager of the Rhondda Cynon Taf branch of the Liberal Democratic Party was defiant. “If I have anything to say I say it in my own name, like it or not,” she said. “I don’t hide behind fake accounts.” Cllr Mike Powell, the county borough councillor for Trallwn thought the allegations were entertaining. “Love being accused of something I have not done ,” he said. “And the Hanagan/Canon twitter accounts are not of my doing.

RCT Council were exposed in October 2012 for serving 3 take-down notices on residents in the previous 6 months, and that the authority had forced residents to remove comments on each occasion, even though the law does not allow councils to sue for defamation. Even so, Paul Lucas, the monitoring officer RCT Council, said allegations that the Liberal Democratic Party members were involved in the accounts were not supported by the authority. “I can confirm that the Council has no knowledge and has not speculated as to who might be behind the fake Twitter accounts as it would be inappropriate to do so,” he said.

Internet trolling expert, Jonathan Bishop, says Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council are taking the wrong approach. “I’ve never had anything bad to say about Eudine Hanagan and Paul Cannon, which cannot be said about Karen Roberts, John Bell and Mike Powell, who when I was an inexperienced councillor I reported to the police for abusing me online,” he said. “But the law has changed since then as a result of what is called the ‘Twitter joke trial’ and the CPS’s guidance now says that the law protects these actions as ‘satire,’ so RCT Council are being heavy handed to say the least.

David Lewis is a self-published author in Pontypridd who supports the Liberal Democratic Party. “Looks like a bit of harmless fun to me,” he said. “Are the claims true though, in which case it can’t be libellous.

South Wales Visiting Professor awarded OBE

A Visiting Professor of the University of South Wales has been awarded an OBE for services to nursing and nursing research.

HONOURED: Professor Sue Bale awarded OBE from the Queen.
HONOURED: Professor Sue Bale awarded OBE from the Queen.

Professor Sue Bale, director of research and development at Aneurin Bevan Health Board, was awarded the accolade in the New Year Honours list. As part of her role, Professor Bale leads, co-ordinates and oversees research in the health board, and has a career in wound healing research spanning almost 30 years.

A founding member of the Wound Healing Research Unit in Cardiff, she helped establish the European Wound Management Association, and the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel. She has also worked for the Welsh Government on clinical academic career pathways, and developed policy for building research capacity and career paths for nurses and allied health professionals.

Professor Bale said: “I’m absolutely thrilled and delighted to receive an OBE. I’ve had a fantastic career in nursing over the past 38 years. It has been a privilege to be a nurse and to contribute to nursing research, practice and education.”