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No 6366

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Vol cxlv No 10

pp. 151–185



29 November, Saturday. Congregation of the Regent House at 2 p.m (see p. 183). End of third quarter of Michaelmas Term.

5 December, Friday. Full Term ends.

9 Decenber, Tuesday. Discussion at 2 p.m. in the Senate-House (see below).

17 December, Wednesday. Last ordinary number of the Reporter in the Michaelmas Term.

19 December, Friday. Michaelmas Term ends.

Discussions at 2 p.m.


9 December

29 November, Saturday at 2 p.m.

Notice of a Discussion on Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Vice-Chancellor invites those qualified under the regulations for Discussions (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 111) to attend a Discussion in the Senate-House, on Tuesday, 9 December 2014, at 2 p.m. for the discussion of:

1. Report of the Council, dated 18 November 2014, on a Garden Room for the Botanic Garden (Reporter, 6365, 2014–15, p. 148).

2. Joint Report of the Council and the General Board, dated 24 November 2014 and 5 November 2014, on revisions to the arrangements for the contribution-based review of Professorial pay (p. 182).

Notice in response to the Nineteenth Report of the Board of Scrutiny, 2013–14

24 November 2014

This Notice is the Council’s reply to the Board of Scrutiny’s Nineteenth Report (Reporter, 6357, 2014–15, p. 13 and the Discussion of it held on 14 October 2014 (Reporter, 6361, 2014–15, p. 69).

The Council wishes to express its continuing gratitude to the Board of Scrutiny for the spirit of co-operation in which it has commented on the matters to which it has drawn attention and wishes to respond as follows to the recommendations made in its Report.

1. The Board recommends that the total return objectives of the Cambridge University Endowment Fund be kept under review.

The Investment Board considers the long-term investment objective and risk profile of the Cambridge University Endowment Fund (CUEF) carefully at each of its meetings. The Investment Board sees no reason at this time to recommend a change to the Council.

The portfolio is constructed and managed appropriately for a long-term endowment and is not structured to take on unnecessary risks in pursuit of a short-term target. The Council, on the advice of its Investment Board, remains of the view that consistency and patience are important in achieving an investment objective. The Council notes that, for the six years since management arrangements for the CUEF were revised, the investment performance has exceeded the long-term objective by 0.6% on an annualized basis and with experienced volatility (being one measure of risk) substantially less than that of general stock market indices.

2. The Board recommends that assumptions about annual increases in postgraduate numbers and in pay be kept under review.

The Council agrees that these are matters requiring ongoing review. Assumptions used in the planning round for postgraduate student numbers and staff pay will continue to be monitored closely.

3. The Board recommends that assumptions surrounding the financing of the North West Cambridge project should remain under constant review.

The Council notes the Board’s particular emphasis on the importance of monitoring the finances for the North West Cambridge development and agrees that vigilance is required. The financial appraisal of the North West Cambridge project is refreshed frequently and the position considered at each meeting of the West and North West Cambridge Estate Syndicate. The development is being carried out in a number of phases and at each stage the financial projections are reviewed rigorously. In addition, the Council and the Finance Committee receive regular updates.

In his remarks on the Board’s Report, Dr de Lacey drew attention to the naming of a neighbourhood on the North West Cambridge site. The Regent House has approved the three residential neighbourhood names within the North West Cambridge development: Eddington (the local centre), Gravel Hill (the area in the east of the site, near Storey’s Way), and Ridgeway Village (the neighbourhood in the west of the site). The names adopted follow the naming principles for the North West Cambridge site. Eddington is named for Sir Arthur Eddington, a former Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy, famous among other things for his work on the theory of relativity. The other two names are based on physical features of the site, drawing closely on the characteristics of their location and the existing natural landscape. This naming strategy recognizes that different parts of the site will have different characters, and takes account of the need for a different identity in the part of the site within Girton Parish. Ridgeway Village was agreed by the Syndicate as a suitable name for this area because it takes account of the site’s topography, and is located adjacent to the new high-capacity cycle route within the site, called the Ridgeway. It is expected that the neighbourhood, focused on family housing, will have a more village-like character. The Ridgeway Village will be near the facilities provided in the new local centre, and there is no requirement for villages to have a church or other place of worship.

4. The Board recommends that the University continues to engage actively with the Universities Superannuation Scheme to ensure that the scheme remains sustainable without undue risk to the University.

The Pensions Working Group, a sub-committee of the Finance Committee, responded to the consultation from UUK on the future of USS during the summer of 2014 having taken advice from a representative Pensions Advisory Group. Officers of the University engage closely with USS and the Employers Pension Forum to ensure that the best information about the Scheme and the challenges it faces inform the views of the senior bodies. The Council is of the same opinion as the Board of Scrutiny about the need for a sustainable and affordable Scheme that can offer benefits to its members proportionate to the risks that the University and the other employers in the Scheme can sustain.

5. The Board recommends that the University develop an overall strategy for the management of its estate and ensure transparency and good communication with the Regent House and other relevant interested parties.

The Report of the Council, dated 14 April 2014, on revised committee arrangements for estates strategy and buildings recommended the establishment of an Estates Strategy Committee from 1 October 2014 to address the need for strategic oversight in the development of the University’s estate (Reporter, 6344, 2013–14, p. 467, approved by Grace 5 of 21 May 2014). The Committee has met once, has a schedule of meetings for the current academical year, and will develop a work programme, including a comprehensive estate strategy. The Council agrees that good communication is important and will continue to publish information about plans for the University’s estate once they are at a sufficiently developed stage. It has already confirmed that School offices will have access to the new committee’s papers, so that they can engage in discussion about new developments at an early stage.

6. The Board recommends that, as part of this strategy, the University address the variable nature and suitability of all spaces used for examinations.

The Council notes that the Board of Examinations and the General Board’s Education Committee will be conducting a review of examination policies and operations which will include the nature and suitability of spaces used for examinations, with a view to developing an examinations space strategy in conjunction with the Estate Management Division.

7. The Board recommends that the University take active steps to facilitate the signing of publication contracts by its members that are fully consistent with the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s policy on open access. The University must do so without compromising academic freedom.

The Council welcomes the Board’s recognition of, and support for, the actions that the University has already taken in response to the open access requirements imposed by HEFCE and others; and the Council agrees that the implications of open access policies will be kept under close review. The University states on its Open Access page ( that the University is committed to maintaining the freedom of its academics to publish in the journals they consider most appropriate to their discipline. The email sent to every researcher in the University by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research on 26 October 2014 was intended to make it clear that the University is doing everything it can to ensure compliance with HEFCE’s requirements while at the same time trying to make this task as easy as possible for the range of research disciplines across the University.

8. The Board recommends that the resource implications of the Graduate Fee agreement and efforts to improve the postgraduate experience are carefully considered by the Schools.

The Council agrees that these matters should be monitored. Arrangements for the Graduate Fee agreement will be kept under close review during the early years of operation, and the resource implications will be carefully considered as part of that process. The Council also notes that the General Board are involving the Schools in initiatives to improve the postgraduate experience.

9. The Board recommends that the Council must know the identity of the principals behind every donation, and assure itself that every donation complies with current money laundering legislation.

The scrutiny of prospective benefactions from an ethical and reputational perspective is undertaken by the Advisory Committee on Benefactions and External and Legal Affairs. This exercise is carried out in accordance with ethical guidelines on the acceptance of benefactions approved by Council, which require the Vice-Chancellor to seek the advice of the Committee for all benefactions over £1 million, or that are likely to give rise to significant public interest. The Committee are told the identities of the principals behind every donation which the Committee considers and any member of Council may call for the information available to the Committee, which is a standing committee of the Council. Members of the Council may also request from Development and Alumni Relations information about the identity of principals behind donations which do not meet the threshold for reference to the Committee. The Council is satisfied that procedures are in place to ensure that all donations are routinely scrutinized to ensure compliance with money laundering legislation, as well as bribery and corruption law. An express requirement to report any suspicions of money laundering and to seek specialist legal advice in such event is set out in the University’s Procedures for Handling Donations, a revised version of which is due to be published shortly.

10. The Board recommends that the financial model for the Sports Centre be given careful attention.

The Council agrees that the Sport Centre is a welcome addition to the sporting infrastructure of the University. The business plan for the Centre, on which the original loan by the University for its construction was made, is reviewed annually during the planning round alongside the scrutiny of the overall budget of the Department of Physical Education.

11. The Board recommends that as the Press Syndicate is the main oversight body it should have a majority of non-executive directors, who are not employees of the University, and the operating board consequently should be discontinued.

The Council is grateful to Professor Minson for describing and explaining with clarity, in his remarks in the Discussion on the Board’s Nineteenth Report, the governance arrangements for Cambridge University Press. The Council agrees with Professor Minson that the structure he explains is intended to achieve the ‘best practice’ recommended by the Board: namely that (a) governance is dominated by non-executives; (b) expert non-executives external to Cambridge are very much in evidence except on the Academic Publishing Committee where the appropriate expertise lies within the University; and (c) that the board of management (‘the Press Board’) plays no part in the University’s governance of the Press. As a result the Council does not accept the Board of Scrutiny’s suggestion that the Operating Board should be discontinued or changed as it is working effectively.

12. The Board recommends that sufficient notice be given of all new substantial policy changes, as well as any major changes to existing policies, so that the Regent House and any affected individuals can comment if appropriate.

All new policies and substantial amendments to policies follow the University’s formal consultation processes. Thus, they are considered by the Partnership Working Group, the University and Assistants Joint Board, and the Human Resources Committee, before proceeding to the General Board and the Council for approval prior to implementation. The sickness policy referred to by the Board in their Report followed this procedure; the policy was also subject to wider consultation with Trade Unions and with Schools, Faculties, and Departments.

Election of members of the Finance Committee in class (b)

24 November 2014

The following two persons were nominated for election by the Representatives of the Colleges to fill two vacancies and therefore, in accordance with the Notice of 5 November 2014 (Reporter, 6363, 2014–15, p. 116), no ballot is necessary. The Council is submitting a Grace (Grace 1, p. 183) to determine the periods of office of the two persons elected.


Mr Rory Buchanan Landman, T, nominated by Ms D. Lowther, G, and Mr P. Warren, CL

Mrs Lesley Margaret Thompson, LC, nominated by Ms D. Lowther, G, and Mr P. Warren, CL

Court of Discipline

26 November 2014

The Court of Discipline met on 29 September 2014 to consider a charge brought by the University Advocate on a complaint by the Chair of Examiners for a Tripos examination against an undergraduate member of the University. The Court consisted of: Dr D. M. Fox, JN (Chair); Mrs N. Blanning, JN; Mr A. D. Lemons, HH; Dr A. Winter, CHR; and Professor I. Hutchings, JN. Dr C. A. East acted as Clerk to the Court. On the application of the Defendant, the Court consisted of senior members only and sat in camera.

The Defendant was charged with an offence contrary to Regulation 6 of the General Regulations for Discipline, namely that they had used unfair means in an essay submitted for assessment as part of a Tripos examination in 2014, specifically that all of the material submitted as the student’s own work was plagiarized from the work of another author without acknowledgement. The Defendant pleaded guilty. The University Advocate outlined the circumstances of the case and the Defendant’s representative presented the Defendant’s case and addressed the Court in mitigation.

The Court accepted the guilty plea and made clear to the Defendant the serious nature of the offence, particularly given the extent of the plagiarism. In determining its sentence, the Court considered the evidence presented in mitigation concerning the Defendant’s acute personal circumstances. It noted also that the Applications Committee had allowed the Defendant to proceed to the next year of their course for personal and medical reasons which formed part of the background to the Defendant’s offence. It determined that terminating the Defendant’s studies was neither appropriate nor fair since the Defendant had already failed the relevant Part of the Tripos owing to the plagiarized essay being awarded a mark of zero and despite good results being achieved in all other papers. The Court therefore ordered the Defendant to re-submit the essay in question and, subject to achieving a pass mark in that assessment, was content that the Defendant proceed with their degree. The Defendant was also ordered to send written apologies to their College, Faculty, and the author of the original essay.

Consultation on an Environmental Sustainability Vision, Policy, and Strategy

A Review Committee, chaired by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Institutional Affairs, is undertaking a review of the University’s Environmental Policy. The outcome will be an environmental sustainability policy covering teaching, research, and administrative functions of the University, set in the context of sustainability in the wider sense and reflecting that the University has policies in other areas of sustainability.

The views of the University community were sought during Lent Term 2014. During this period the Committee heard verbal evidence from 18 individuals, received written evidence, and issued an online questionnaire.

The Review Committee has now issued a consultative report for consideration by the University community. This can be downloaded at

The Review Committee will consider any suggested amendments and subsequently submit a report to the University Council. Comments are invited by Tuesday, 23 December 2014 from the University community, including individuals, groups, institutions, schools, and committees, on the following questions:

(a)Does the University agree with the general thrust of the environmental sustainability vision and overarching aims?

(b)To what extent is there an opportunity, or indeed a responsibility, to raise the profile of environmental sustainability matters across the whole spectrum of our undergraduate and graduate teaching?

(c)Does the University have comments on the operational proposals?

Comments should be sent to

Teaching and Learning Innovation Fund, 2014–15

The Teaching and Learning Support Services Steering Group is pleased to announce that the Teaching and Learning Innovation Fund is available to assist with grants of between £10,000 and £20,000 for the purpose of implementing innovative practice in any area of learning and teaching provision. The fund has been developed specifically to provide start-up funding for creative or exploratory projects ineligible for other sources of funding, which will drive forward developments or improvements in teaching and learning. The Steering Group expects to be able to support up to ten projects in 2014–15.

Any innovative project will be considered and need not necessarily be IT-focussed; however, bids in support of developing online learning are particularly welcome. Requests for funding primarily or solely for the purchase of equipment will not be accepted. Examples of successful bids are available at:

Successful applicants will report back to the Steering Group within a year of funds being allocated. Projects should therefore be realistic and take these time constraints into account when submitting a bid. Successful applicants will also be required to participate in a teaching and learning best practice event in September 2015. Note that normally grants will be between £10,000 and £20,000, but exceptionally requests for smaller grants will be considered.

Application forms may be downloaded from the Teaching Support website at:

Applications should be submitted to Melissa Rielly, Educational and Student Policy, Academic Division, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge (email:, by Monday, 19 January 2015.