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Phil Parry is a former BBC news and current affairs reporter. He is winner of the BT Wales award for journalist of the year, BT Wales TV reporter of the year and radio reporter of the year.
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Edwin Phillips unveils the winner of our New Year caption competition for this picture of the Registrar and Chief Operating Officer at controversial Swansea University, Raymond Ciborowski, where we revealed officials had employed a fraudster jailed for more than four years in America.


The Editor of The Eye, Phil Parry, had asked the university if Mr Ciborowski knew about the history of Stephen Chan before he was employed on a contract at the university’s School of Management.

Chan’s contract was terminated and there were no answers to our questions about him.

He had been imprisoned by a court in America for four years and three months, as well as being ordered to pay over $12,500,000 in compensation after a huge fraud was uncovered by the FBI.

But answers to any questions concerning Chan, and why Swansea University had employed a convicted criminal, were refused on the grounds we were “vexatious”, which followed earlier refusal of Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests because we were allegedly “vexatious”.

This was despite the fact that an official written question was put to the Welsh Government about the Swansea University School of Management, naming the Vice-Chancellor Richard Davies, the school’s Dean, Marc Clement and Chan.

The then Assembly Member (AM) for South Wales West, Peter Black, asked the Welsh Education Minister at the time, Huw Lewis, to make a statement regarding the appointment of senior staff at the university’s school and the qualifications of ‘Professor’ Chan.

Mr Black, then an AM with the university in his area, asked:  “Will the Minister make a statement regarding the appointment of senior staff at Swansea University’s School of Management, following reports that a meeting was held between the Dean of the School, Marc Clements (sic),and University Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Davies about the qualifications of Professor Steve Chan?”.

The Eye disclosed that questions were also being raised in the university itself about the future of Professor Davies following the scandals about Chan, and the former head of his management school, Nigel Piercy, who resigned amid an extraordinary unfolding story in which he described critics as “unpleasant and grubby little people”.

Questions seemed to be the order of the day, so we thought we should ask our own.

One of those we asked of the university was:  (vi) Did the University’s Academic Registrar, Raymond Ciborowski, know about Chan’s past when the University (a) awarded him his PhD (b) appointed him to a professorial chair in the School of Management?”.

Even though this and all our other questions about Chan were refused, we suggested possible answers which might make captions.

Other readers had better suggestions:

Mrs J Allison of Monmouth suggested:  “More complaints from my staff about Chan getting his ‘PhD’ – I’ll take a careful look at them”.

Mr I Jones of Swansea suggested:  “Here is the list of criminals sent down by Boston court – I’ll choose one…”

Mr G Lewis of Pwllheli suggested:  “My lawyer has said I need to keep a close eye on The Eye from now on”.

But the winning entrant is Mr M Richards of Llanelli, with:  “We’re heading for a storm of controversy over this Chan bloke.  I know what I’ll do…”

No prize for Mr Richards unfortunately – but he is honoured with our title of ‘troublemaker’!

Next week more disturbing revelations about Swansea University. 

Check out some of the stories broken by The Eye which made the headlines in 2017:


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