Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Lawsuit for UWI

Rhodes Scholar Luke Brown is suing or is about to sue The University of the west Indies. According to the Searchlight,Browne will challenge the fact that he has been awarded his degree with Upper second class honours instead of the first class honours he expected.

Browne said he is illegitimately being deprived of the class of degree he deserves and is defending his academic record from being tarnished. I hav eno degree from the University and I do not intend to accept a degree that says anything other than first class.

His complaint is based on four specific matters which he said caused his grades to be affected.

1. The exam was set on material that was not taught,was not in the recommended text and did not appear on any other examination past exam paper

2. In another the questions made "impossible demands based on the time allowed"

3. "There was subjective and injudicious marking" which resulted in him getting "just about zero" for one question

4.Exam regulations were breached when he and his classmates were given less than one week's notice of an assignment's due date and not the minimum two weeks stipulated by the University regulations,

Four serious acts he asserts,all of which he claims compromise the integrity of the processes of examinations at the University of the West Indies. To attain a first class honours, one must have aminimun GPA of 3.60. Browne's stands at 3.56

Meanwhile, Principal of UWI,Cave Hill told Searchlight that the University has looked into the matter and found no evidence whatever to support the allegations.

I really do not know what to make of this.

Browne sounds like a spoilt brat. He needs to grow up - this is the real world! You can't demand what you want...
He sounds spoiled indeed. He probably bought his way to such a high GPA. I don't think he'll succeed, even with a lawyer.
He'd do well to consider what that says about de people who actually did earn first class honors. If it were impossible to earn that, they wouldn't have earned it.
Funny.. young lawyer flexing his muscles against the institution that taught him all he knows... I hope he realises how the odds are stacked up against him... and since others got first class honours under those trying circumstances, makes yah wonder. More power to them. If no-one got 1stCH he would have more of a case.
Mr. Browne thinks that he is being deprived of a degree that he deserves? You deserve a first class honours degree when you attain a GPA of at least 3.6, not 3.56, so with that GPA, Mr. Browne deserves Upper Second Class honours.

Even if he goes further with this matter, does Mr. Browne expect the University to overturn the results of the examination and assignment and just give to him a first class honours degree ? What effect is this to have on all the other students? Must they all have to rewrite examinations and assignments? Exactly what is Mr. Browne proffering?

Moreover with regards to the violation of the University's regulations vis a vis the one week notice given to the students, was this issue not raised at the time of the assignment with the respective personnel?

Furthermore, it seems to me that Mr. Browne’s claims that the marking was subjective and injudicious are founded on the fact that he got "just about zero ". Well, had Mr. Browne produced work that did not conform to "just about zero", then he would not have so scored and no amount of this perceived subjectivity on the part of any marker could have affected this. It seems that this "subjectivity" would have been applied across the board with all scripts involved. As a former student of UWI Cave Hill I recall that scripts are identified by ID numbers and not names unless both the marker and second marker, in the midst of marking hundreds of scripts, deliberately sought out Mr. Browne’s ID number with the purpose of applying subjective and injudicious marking to award him "just about zero" for a question.

In my opinion, these allegations are spurious at best and reek of childish narcissism and portray a classless individual who in spite of his many academic and other achievements has yet to learn that the earth rotates on an axis and not on him.

Mr. Browne might have done enough to attain the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship but he quite simply failed to do enough to secure a First Class Honours degree and this he must live with and stop this quest to undeservedly bring the University into disrepute.
Well said. So true.
There are two ways of looking at this; Browne may have a point, as I have hear that some lecturers do give exams on topics that were not covered and I too have suffered from getting questions that could not be done within the stipulated time. But for some reason I think he is just being a spoil brat. Truth is, when you go for a job and in the working work the fancy honours don't really count, the interview does.
Browne needs to get a life and stop acting like a child!If he deserved a first class degree he would have gotten it. He's now grasping at straws. I mean come on!. How many times have we had exams and been surprised at what was being tested? Someone needs to tell Luke that he's being ridiculous and petty.Clearly there were people who got first class honours. The fact that HE didn't only shows that he needed to work harder. He has only himself to blame for that.
yeah i read the article too... i'm not quite sure what to make of the whole thing... i barely missed getting a first as well, but that was definitely through my own involvement in the extra-curricular activities at mona...

it's difficult to maintain strict academic focus when you're also involved in things like student government and activism (which i believe this young man was)... the bottom line is that the class of your degree is often coupled with your non-academic achievements by employers and post-grad institutions... i think most people would look at a well-rounded student as more valuable than a strictly academic one (unless you plan to be a strict academic for the rest of your life perhaps)...
Luke Browne is a child of the new bourgeoisie, and he is flexing his self-indulgent, neo-colonialist muscles. Several years ago he wrote a scathing article in the Vincentian newspapers in which he trashed teachers and teaching. Ironic and highly inappropriate considering his mother's status in the Ministry of Education.

This young man is a lawyer. He is a Rhodes Scholar. These things cannot be refuted or taken away from him. He is obviously intelligent. However, his public image has become one of vendetta and personal revenge, not good traits in a lawyer for sure.

Many people were pleased and proud that he became the first Vincentian Rhodes Scholar. This has been tarnished by his penchant for pettiness and, simply put, inexcusable drama.

I hate to go on, but one of the first things you get told as a new UWI student is that you are here to READ for your degree. There's no specification about WHAT you read. read beyond the reading list - that's the whole point!

Luke Browne will never be called a son of the soil because he has just attacked the highest institution of learning in the Caribbean, thereby sullying it's already shaky reputation. How are we supposed to promote a regional, truly Caribbean education when one of it's successes blasts it as being unfair and subjective?

The scope of this man's accusations are far-reaching and ill-considered. I hope he pursues it so that he can be shot down.

Get over it Luke. Move on. Stop being a spoiled little brat who didn't get to play with his favourite toy.
I don't think he did Law.Subject to correction, I think he did Econ and Maths.

In fairness to Luke,I don't see how his attempted lawsuit makes him less a son of soil. He belongs to us still,"warts" and all
This little boy is in for a rude awakening much like the kind of treatment that he has so readily dispensed to all who came into contact with this self-centred brat who lives in a world whre he feels entitled.
Well, based on his GPA, the only thing he is entitled to is Upper Second class honours.
Now, I read an article which said that his GPA stood at 3.72 at the time that the Rhodes scholarship was granted to him .So at that time I guess that nothing was wrong with UWI and its "subjective marking" as he put it.

His actions are utterly ridiculous and seem to be driven by selfish motivations. He wants to be future PM of SVG? Please I know the vincy people are smarter than that.
unlike most I'll take his side here. For years I've heard stories of how the Profs at UWI operate setting exams that they claim "only God could pass".

To me his first three complaints might actually have merit. Its time these UWI profs stop screwing over students
Each examination paper goes before a Board where its suitability is assessed. As a recent graduate of the UWI Cave hill, I recall one of my lecturers stating this because he in fact had set an examination which the Board deemed inappropriate and did not allow.

Indeed, some examinations are more difficult than others but surely the areas being tested are not being created in the imaginations of the lecturers- the material came from somewhere which I am absolutely certain any student could find. Many people have the experience of being blindsided by certain content on an examination but there are always some students who are not- simply for the reason that they prepare thoroughly. Lectureres cannot always bring straightforward exams or regurgitate past papers and setting challenging exams, enables them to separate the sheep from the goat and hence first class from upper seconds.

So what if its not in a past paper? Mr.Browne did not show up to write a past paper - it was the one before him and no other, so to say that the material appeared in no past paper is irrelevant and grasping at straws.Really he needs to shut up.
I think he would have a stronger case if his was not the only voice of discontent. If other students feel as aggrieved as he does then maybe he might be willing to use his resources (a cadre of high powered lawyers)to make their case as well.

Additionally, as a graduate of Cave Hill meself, I am aware that only your second and third year grades count towards the class of your degree. In the Searchlight he was quoted as outlining his grades over his three year period at Cave HIll, which is a little misleading, as only his second and third year courses would count in the end.
Thanks for giving us an insight on this matter. We have heard rumblings in Barbados that there needs to be improvement to the accreditation system. Perhaps Mr. Brown's challenge will help to improve the current system.
Forgot to mention that we are from Barbados Underground Blog.

Go Luke! Fight for your rights! Don't listen to these haterz! He has a legitimate concern. Let the courts now provide guidance for matters such as this that arise in the future.
I don't know what to say really,I was a two years ahead of Luke at Cavehill, and this guy really acted like UWI was his personal playground. Funny that when we did our degree (the same as him) we did not have anyone to stand up for these issues (remember he was the student guild president). All we did is try to persevere in light of these difficulties. UWI is not perfect and you can fool yourself into thinking that there is a perfect university out there. But frankly, there is not. If its one thing all the graduates of UWI can hold their heads up and say, we all have persevered despite of and for that UWI has been a blessing to all. Showing us if we believe and work hard enough we can achieve anything. BY THE WAY I RECEIVED A FIRST CLASS HONOR DEGREE FROM CAVEHILL majoring the same thing. I have also received a masters degree with distinction since then.

I would beg to ask how was this guy even presented with the Rhodes scholarship. How is a guy who has shown the inability to persevere through the obstacle of life got a scholarship that at it central core is about caring for the weak and the disenfranchisement. The real question is how did this spoil brat even graced the hallowed halls of such a great institution. But then again, Mommy and Daddy did spend a lot of money to buy that First Class and the Rhodes Scholarship so it is only fitting they get what they deserve!!!!!
Lets clear up some things ... Luke is not a lawyer and he certainly did not study law at UWI. So please do not say he is a young lawyer or a lawyer for that matter because he is not. He was in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

While I understand Luke's dilemma I do not believe his case has a strong foundation for several reasons including those mentioned by other posters. I don't want to step on anyone's toes but I believe that an LL.B. is far more demanding than a degree in the social sciences so imagine if Luke were in the Faculty of Law - he would hold a press conference with CNN!!!

I have first hand experience with members of some faculties trying to distinguish the 'goat' from the 'sheep' and while I can understand why they would do this I cannot agree that an exam should be set especially difficult to achieve this end. I believe exams should be reflective of what was taught in class or covered on the syllabus/worksheets.

Some courses, especially those in Law, Medicine, Actuarial Science, etc cover large areas and students have to be guided as to what is relevant to their present purposes to the exclusion of what may be covered at another time. But its as if some lecturers lecture a course on the 'automobile's engine' and set a question on how the mechanics of a car stereo.

Some lecturers also don't make themselves available for consultation, they refuse to entertain student concerns about the course, and even tutors sometimes complain about the delivery of courses and the overall lack of interest of most lecturers in certain faculties. I have had many lecturers canceled because someone had to go to a board meeting, a prior engagement, traveling or went to play golf with a businessman, diplomat or judge - ridiculous!!!

Yes there are many problems with UWI Cave Hill and the only merit of Luke's lawsuit will be to bring some attention to the difficulties faced by students at this institution.
Actually, he was in the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences.
Could we reserve judgment for when the full facts emerge?

Could we trust that the case may have some merit?

Could we recognise that it takes courage to do something like this?

Could we see this as an issue of not just one student, but a concern of many?

Theresa, Luke's overall GPA is still above 3.70. Samantha (and everyone) there are breaches in Examination Regulations and other provable contentions. There have been examination paper leaks at Cave Hill, for example.

Other students, including the direct entrants in the Faculty of Law, have raised issues. This is no isolated challenge.

The efforts would surely help to improve the system. These matters are deeper and more far-reaching than this blog has so far suggested.
Anonymous, I do not understand what you are saying vis a vis Mr. Browne’s GPA being above 3.70.According to articles appearing in the Jamaica Gleaner taken from the Searchlight Newspaper, it stands at 3.56. Perhaps you can provide some sort of clarification.

Without a doubt this action will shed light on the issues that UWI like all other institutions face. However,what I and I suspect many others have been referring to is the seeming merit less claims of Mr. Browne that appear rooted solely on the fact that he has received upper second class honours. Mr.Browne has brought this matter to the public and based on what has been presented to us, the conclusions that many have reached are understandable.

Furthermore this action on Mr.Browne’s part compels questions as to why this type of formal action was not taken a long time ago when his GPA was at 3.72 and he was projected to graduate with first class honours and why were these issues not highlighted when he occupied the post of guild president as an advocate for his fellow students? Is it that these issues were non-existent or that because he was not affected by the alleged misconduct of UWI that he never thought it fit to make the challenges that he is now making. The inescapable conclusion is that these actions are selfish and it is merely coincidental that meaningful issues would be highlighted through this proposed action on his part. How can one believe his claims when one considers the aforementioned? This is the basis of my postulations on this blog and on this matter.

Perhaps with your intimate understanding of the “deeper matters” that this blog has not so far suggested as you say -such as how Mr.Browne's GPA is above 3.70 -can be shared so that we may discover some degree of logic to the otherwise arrant nonsense that this claim otherwise reflects.
As it stands without a resolution:

Luke's GPA for 2nd and 3rd year = 3.56

Luke's GPA for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year = 3.70
The following appears on the UWI Cave Hill website vis a vis the GPA in the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences:

" Based on your cumulative GPA for your Advanced (Year 2 & 3) courses you will graduate with a particular class of honours as shown below:-

Class of Honours
Cumulative GPA

3.60 and above

Upper Second
3.00 – 3.59

Lower Second
2.00 – 2.99

1.00 – 1.99"

Accordingly, since a student's performance in years 2 and 3 is the only factor, it is pointless to refernce a GPA that is inclusive of grades obtained in Year 1 so that such inclusion by Anonymous to state that Mr.Browne's GPA is 3.70 is misleading and fails to explain and answer my question as to how Mr.Browne's GPA is "still above 3.70" as claimed by Anonymous.
Luke Browne is a prick.Clearly! He is not behaving like a rhode scholar and in fact if the university was really malicious just as he clearly is, they could nail him. The university is being really kind to him, so let him persist with his ignorance. And to think he just learnt to pronounce regulations the other day. Shame!!A lecturer does not have to teach everything on the course outline. Lecturers tell you so to your face if they suspect you are spotting. If they want to, they can, but if the class slow, or not too bright, you can leave some stuff out but it is up to the student to read ahead, something that mr. brown couldnt do cos he was too busy in the guild or being pompous. As usual he spotting wat he thinks will come on the exam paper, little does he know that a lecturer does not have to bring back anything from any of the past exam papers, but clearly his head is so far up his ass, he wouldnt know this. The other allegation as cited at no.2. Good grief i never knew the boy was so daft, who sent him to be guild president? In life there will always be near impossible demands on time. He never heard of "so much to do so little time to do it" everyday im beset by deadlines, impossible ones too, i either rise to meet them or im good as well fired. Then if ure spoilt, i guess he doesnt know onerous responsibility. Did someone say he was an ineffective guild president, hmmmm i wonder why...did someone say bad time mangement? ooops... Allegation 3, was he there when the papers were being marked for him to say there was injudicious marking. For him to say this is a slap in the face of all his friends (if the poor soul has any i doubt, with a head so big i doubt) and his colleagues. Is he saying folks that none of us deserved our grades. Screw him!, then again, that'd be nasty and a waste of effort. If the university awards him a first class i would make sure that i go to the registry and ask that every student that came close to a first class honours grade be reviewed. for those that came close to upper second to demand they move too; then for the lower second people to demand they move up, and then for the pass people to move to lower second and so on. PPL like mr. browne haven't achieved anything yet and look how theyre behaving...imaging if he had a little power, it would be cat piss and pepper in st. vincent. No wonder he going to the no.2 university in the uk....he will be there with all the other tossers just like him. Good going prick. Youve probably got too many names to know the difference. keep your shit up!!!
Serves him right for going to UWI - UWI SUCKS!!!!
Wow! This Luke guy certainly has made some enemies during his time at UWI.

However, sorry, but i'm going to go off on a bit of a tangent here. There seems to be quite a few law graduates in here. And I would love to get some advice. I went to high school in Jamaica, and had some of the best years of my life there. I now plan to build my career there.

I've recently graduated from a UK university with a Politics degree, and am considering a career in law. This would mean investing another £6000 (in total) to finance a graduate LL.B.

Aside from the financial burdens , I am not sure about the way training contracts are awarded at Jamaican/Caribbean law firms. A friend of mine who is matriculating at UWI Cave Hill, has informed me that most law grads end up fighting for scarce internships, which pay pittance, only to get a foot in the door. After which, they're no guarantees that you will be kept on as a trainee.

My preferred area of law is corporate/commercial. How difficult will it be for me to get into these types of firms? And besides obtaining relevant work experience and a good result on the LL.B.(hopefully a 1st), what else can I do to improve my chances.

Ps. I plan to complete the law certificate at UWI Mona for practice in the region.
The only law grads who fight for jobs are those who perform at an average to mediocre level.

If you distinguish yourself, as in any other field -- with publications, research papers, moots, and good academic performance law firms all over the world will be offering you jobs.

Law qualification from UWI places you at the unique advantage of being able to work in any country in the Caribbean by simply applying to be admitted to the bar, and most other countries in the world by simply sitting a bar exam.

Commercial/ Corporate is a lucrative area which can see you earning up to $5000 US per month straight out of law school.

Good Luck!
"graced the hallowed halls of such a great institution. But then again, Mommy and Daddy did spend a lot of money to buy that First Class and the Rhodes Scholarship so it is only fitting they get what they deserve!!!!!"

Cave Hill halls are not in the least hallowed and that 2nd statement is out of order. What ever the reasons behind it Luke's actions, the school needs an awakening. They feel they can treat students as they like and its not right.

I was sick for a mid-term and my lecturer refused to give me the test at another time, even with producing a medical certificate. I had to do a 100% final and received a poor grade. This almost cost me to loose my 1st class honours.

UWI needs to look at such injustices and be fair to students. They seem to think that as long as you pass its fine. That C on my record stands out like a sore thumb, and UWI refuses to look at the special circumstances that caused me to arrive at that grade, let along grant me the opportunity to do something about it.

My bad performance and your bad performance are not the same. ppl tend to think oh its just one grade but if I have a standard, I have the right to uphold it. Just because you would be ecstatic with mine has nothing to do with me or my goals and what I (or Luke) know we deserve.
This guy is not spoilt, he has very valid points. I am glad he sued. UWI definitely deserves a wake up call and taking them to court is the best way to grasp their attention. The exam papers at UWI are not fair for most of the part. Challenging students is great, but deceiving them isn't. Majority of the past papers do not help and only give a very minute idea of what you may expect on your actual exam paper. I have a very firm doubt that they pick out of most of their questions from out of print books.

If they want to give hard exams to students, irrespective of what faculty you are in at UWI, they must hire lecturers and professors who are just as good and excellent in their profession. Lousy teachers and unfair examination do not add up.

This university is just as any other commercial university out there in the world. Students are also to blame as most of them are followers and not leaders. They wait till they flunk an exam to make some noise as majority of them are too scared to say anything. You may end up a university graduate from a "reputable institution," but as an individual you will always be a coward and a follower!

I hope this guy won the case. Any update on what happened?
I hope he won it too... UWI does not understand who the "Customer" is. The students are the customers.
The University of the West Indies continues treat its students unfairly. The universities only concern is making money.

Some UWI lecturers have problems understanding the material they themselves are teaching. In a particular course which I took at the university, the lecturer would stand in front the class teaching from material that looked like scrap. Answers that this lecturer submitted online as model solutions to assignments also looked like scrap to be tossed into a bin.

Some lecturers at the university fail students because the claim that too many students are passing the level one courses and therefore the second and third year classes are too large. First year courses in the math department, for example, have been restructured so that more students would fail.

Many students are told that summer school is the means by which the university makes most of its money. For some courses the failure rate exceeds 74% and as a result studeents are required to retake these courses numerous time.

Success at the university is not based on how intelligent a student is, it is rather based on whether or not the students takes a course in a semester when the pass rate is high, or on luck.

I know all of this sound silly, but only students who have been there or are there now can tell you. If you ar lucky enough you would hear lecturers saying the same things, or how many students they are going to pass in a particular semester.

For the students at the university, especially cavehill campus, freedom of speech is a myth. Speaking out means failing. Until all the students realised that they have the power in their hands, many who have worked hard and passed would continue to see failing grades on their transcripts.

There is so much more to be said about the unethical behaviour of the university, but time does not permit.

* I am in no way saying that students do not deliberately flunk courses and deserve that failing grades given to them.
Despite the fact that only ID numbers are written on exams scripts, lecturers know whose paper they are marking. Throughout the semester student submitted materials with both the names and ID numbers. I've had one lecturer go as far as to compare hand writings.
It's only when you experience situations like Luke's that one can really understand what he was saying. UWI seems to be gaining quite a reputation in failing students. I wonder why...IS IT BECAUSE WE'RE VINCENTIANS??!!
Contrary to what I heard about UWI , Cave Hill, I would not advise anyone to pursue studies there. Can you imagine students getting 1/50 and 2/50 on their Math final examinations? MATHEMATICS??? Have we stopped giving points for steps and only awarding points for correct answers? It's about time we wake up and realise what these people are after...MAKING MONEY!!!!

Earlier this year, In St.Vincent, a situation arose during an exam at the Teachers' College. Students' papers were collected ahead of the time preventing students from finishing the exam. The majority of students got "F" on that exam! No explanation from anyone was given. Come on, people! UWI needs to be exposed!

Requesting a discussion or a remark of your papers...USELESS. Don't waste your money, there's no such thing as "changing grades" with UWI. They accept your remark fee (BDS$125) and they don't even respond to you. Come on people, UWI needs to be exposed!

Our Caribbean governments are investing heavily into UWI, therefore, there needs to be some form of accountability. Too many students have been complaining about UWI. Why is it that no one is looking into the matter?

Why is it that everyone seems to be so afraid of challenging them? Come on people,why stand aside and allow UWI to take advantage of people? Time to wake up. UWI is a MONEY SUCKING MONSTER!!!!!
its true. lecturer are often very unskilled and unknowledgable in their areas. the material they give in class is often superficial and misleading. tutorials are unhelpful and when you swear you've studied every topic mentioned in the syllabs with both lecture notes, text books and past papers (and a good command of english) you either fail (>40%) or bare pass. I have been tested to have a higher IQ, i am a scholar and i've never had learning difficulties. but in uwi...the gpa struggles to see over a 2.0...

be greatful at all times

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