Celebrity rector of Dundee University Tony Slattery is facing calls for his resignation from students who claim he has visited the university only once in the last year.

The attack comes a week after former EastEnders star Ross Kemp was asked to stand down as rector of Glasgow University after a vote of no confidence by the students' representative council.

Dundee students have attacked Slattery's poor attendance record and even his agent yesterday admitted he did not know the writer, comedian, and actor was still rector.

It was claimed yesterday that Slattery had been at only one university court meeting in the past year. He has also failed to turn up for freshers' week and the graduation ceremony for the past two years.

A spokesman for Mr Slattery said yesterday that he would be the first to admit that he had not spent much time at Dundee. ''A number of personal problems have prevented him from taking on as much of a campaigning role as he had hoped when he was first elected,'' he said.

''He has always been grateful to the students' association for their support and understanding.

''However, as seen elsewhere, rectors often have a bad attendance rate. Students forget that if they elect celebrity rectors, especially those based in London, then it is going to be difficult for them to represent students in Dundee.''

There have been calls for Slattery's resignation among students, but the official view is that it would not be worthwhile ousting him from the post because his term will be over in February.

When Slattery was appointed in May 1998, he spoke of his ambition to use his media profile to ''put Dundee on the map'', but students said he seemed to have forgotten the city exists.

Psychology student Julie Bremner, 22, said: ''For all the effort it takes to appear at university events, it really is a poor show. I think Slattery should go now.

''There are other people that would be more willing to come and support us. Celebrities are in the public eye and I think we are always going to vote for people like him but it doesn't make much sense.''

Slattery came under fire from anti-drug campaigners when he was still a candidate for the position after he admitted taking cocaine and amphetamines during a two-year drugs binge. When he was elected, he claimed that his high-profile battle against drink and drugs meant he could relate to the pressures that students faced.

Slattery's predecessors in the post include Peter Ustinov, Clement Freud, and Stephen Fry. The president of the students' association, Mr David Cunningham, admitted that Dundee students had been ''exceptionally lucky'' to have a rector like Mr Fry and felt it may have cast a bad light on his successor.

He added: ''Tony hasn't been available for a while and subsequently people have criticised his lack of attendance. He is due to be replaced in February anyway, so there are no plans to vote him out.

''He has been criticised before for not visiting the university and he has been back only once since then, but then again Tony Slattery has had quite a number of personal tragedies.''

Mr Cunningham did not feel that the recent controversy over celebrity rectors would stop students from choosing them in the future. ''Celebrity rectors are a good idea because they have a hold over the media which is difficult to match, and Tony Slattery is no exception,'' he said.

It was a similar lack of commitment that led to calls for the resignation of the rector of Glasgow University, Ross Kemp. He, like Slattery, called the appointment an ''honour'' and cited career commitments as the reason for his failure to turn up at events.