A GUILTY verdict was passed when Graduates and Students tried the ICE for fraud and deception in a mock trial at the North Western Association presidential visit.
The Graduates and Students tried the institution (represented by a cuddly dinosaur) for failing to fulfil its role. Among the spoof witnesses called in front of 'Judge D Redd' where 'Miss G R Aduate', 'Dr O Duffer', 'Mr I T Geek' and 'Mr F Atcat'.
Witnesses 'testified' about subjects such as training objectives being changed through 'SORTED 97' (aka SARTOR 97), and scrapping the ICE accredited training scheme to allow more money for higher graduate salaries. There was even an 'allegation' that the ICE had been left behind in its use of the internet and that NCE had pre-empted the ICE by launching its own website.
Defence witnesses called included a resurrected Isambard Kingdom Brunel and a Russian exchange student 'Ivana Ivanovich Ivanocough'. Star witness President George Fleming was last but not least to be called to the stand.
Fleming referred to a recent ICE study which found civil engineering graduates to be better paid than most professionals.
He also welcomed the fact that some civil engineers choose other professions.
'Civil engineering graduates moving into other professions such as politics and law can only strengthen us', he said.
Fleming also addressed the issue of the status of civil engineers. He said: 'The person who fixes your washing machine should have full respect because I've tried it and I can't do it. They are engineers and we should respect them but they should respect us for our higher qualifications.'
He defended the ICE website stating that 'the relationship we have with NCE is one of partnership. The ICE website receives 1,000 hits per day.'
Fleming expressed his concern at the falling levels of undergraduates applying for civil engineering courses.
'We want to ensure undergraduates are of the highest standard', he said. 'However, we do not want to exclude those with 'different' qualifications. SARTOR aims to increase the entry quality of people on degree courses. However, we also want to ensure the exit quality.'
North Western association graduates and students honorary secretary Ben Brookes responded to the president's 'testimony'.
'We hear senior vice presidents criticising the Institution', he said. 'However, we have had public commitments to change and there is no doubt that the Institution is changing.'
The ICE Council was still 'sentenced' to sit the new professional review, Fleming said.