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Three reinstated in philosophy row

A PRIVY COUNCIL inquiry has ordered the University College of Swansea to reinstate three philosophy lecturers at the centre of a dispute over academic standards and plagiarism.

A report by Sir Michael Davies, a High Court judge, was sent yesterday to the parties involved. He asked them not to reveal its contents, but it criticised the college for not co-operating with staff and students.

Last October, Sir Michael held a three-week hearing into the dispute, which has dragged on for four years. It was set up at the request of the Queen, who is Visitor to the University of Wales.

At the height of the conflict, two of the lecturers, Michael Cohen and Colwyn Williamson, taught their students in a pub. A third, Anne Maclean, took early retirement with a pounds 53,000 pay-off which included an agreement to stay silent.

Mr Cohen and Mr Williamson were suspended over allegations by them and Mrs Maclean that some MAs in philosophy and health care were given for sub-standard work.

They were reinstated but not allowed to teach.

In a joint statement yesterday, they said: 'Every vice-chancellor in Britain should study Sir Michael's wise words on academic freedom.' Mr Cohen added that he and his colleagues had been 'utterly confident' of the outcome of the inquiry. 'I have been prevented for the last two and a half years from doing my job as a university teacher and I want to go back to it.'

The college registrar, Victor Carney, said it would consider the 173-page report and respond within the next few days.