Sandra Porch must respond to the appointment to the Joint Grievance Board

Sandra Porch must respond to the appointment to the Joint Grievance Board

Now Research and Higher Education Minister Sandra Porch must answer to Storing about what happened when her ministry illegally appointed the chair of the Joint Complaints Board for a third term.

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The background to the questions is that the Ministry of Education and Culture (KD) acted against its own regulations when it appointed Marianne Claussen as the head of the Joint Complaints Board in 2022.

In recent months, VG has written about several cases of students banned from studies after being accused of cheating. The Joint Grievance Board handles student grievances in these cases.

– Himanshu Gulati tells VG that a ministry appointing someone in violation of laws and regulations is a serious administrative error, so it is important to learn about how this can happen.

He represents the Progress Party in the education committee in the Storting and is now asking Porch how his mistakes will happen.

Himanshu Gulati sits on Storting's academic committee for FRP.

Long process

Education Minister Sandra Porch (SP) sacked Clausen in September, admitting a mistake had been made when the appointment was made. Classen was commissioned by Porch’s predecessor, Ola Borden Moe.

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VG has repeatedly asked for insight into the process surrounding Clausen’s appointment for a third term, which the ministry still refuses to share. According to several law professors, Clausen’s illegal appointment means that the decisions made during the period in which he broke the rules are invalid.

– This case is even more serious because it concerns the legal protection of the country’s students, who, as VG discovered, faced uncompromising and harsh treatment when it came to allegations of cheating. Gulati says many of the decisions made are now known to be invalid.

Hundreds of students were banned for cheating during the time Clausen was outlawed.

Recently, Oslo and Sør-Rogaland District Courts handed down judgments in two different fraud cases. Among other things, they evaluated the fraud decisions of the Joint Appellate Board Valid in these cases, although Marianne Klausen was illegally appointed. In both judgments the answer was yes.

They determine that Clausen was wrongly appointed, but still believe that the results of his illegal appointment are valid.

Terje Einarsson is Professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen

Terje Einarsson, a professor at the Faculty of Law in Bergen, believes the ministry made a service error when it reappointed the head of the Joint Complaints Board in violation of the law.

– Einarsson previously told VG that the mistake was so serious that it was against the criminal law.

Need more answers

Gulati wants answers to Porch in Storting’s many questions. One of them is:

“Given everything that has come to light in the VG, how can the minister explain the controversial re-appointment of Clausen for a 3rd term as Chairman of the Joint Grievance Board by KT in violation of his own terms”.

The FrP politician asks Porch to explain whether there were internal investigations into what went wrong and whether there were internal discussions about legitimacy in the KD before the appointment.

Gulati also asks for an explanation of the various answers given by the KT VG as to why they did not follow the rules.

Oline Sæther, President of the Norwegian Student Organization, NSO.

Oline Sæther, head of the Norwegian student organization NSO, says it’s good to have someone take responsibility and ask questions about what happened.

-Sadar says there is little transparency about how this could happen and how the ministry views the cleanup process, pointing out that KD still denies media access to the process.

– He believes that transparency and lack of transparency will weaken trust in both the Appellate Board and the Ministry.

At the same time, Sæther appreciates Porch’s preliminary cleanup of the case and believes it shows that he takes students’ legal protections seriously.

– We are pleased that the Storting is following up KD’s work with the Joint Complaints Board to ensure legal certainty for students, says Oline Sæther.

Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

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