[knowledgelab] Call for solidarity from Glasgow

Uri Gordon uri at riseup.net
Wed Jan 24 11:00:47 GMT 2007

From: "Jamie Heckert" <jamie.heckert at gmail.com>

Dear all,

I've just spoken with Ben. Immediate emails may make a difference!


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Benjamin Franks <benjfranks at hotmail.com>
Date: Jan 21, 2007 6:08 PM
Subject: [education-workers] Support for staff and students at the
threatened Glasgow Univ. Crichton Camus
To: education-workers at lists.riseup.net

Dear All,

I am writing to request suport. On Wednesday 17th January at 6pm, the
Principal of Glasgow University (GU) announced that he would be closing down
the GU part of the Crichton Campus in  Dumfries in South West Scotland.

Because the situation is somewhat comlplicated, I should fill in some
background information.

The Crichton Campus is based in Dumfries. It opened less than ten  years
ago, to provide Higher Education opportunities for a region which, until
then, had no Higher Education institution. This caused demographic,
cultural, economic and social problems for the area as large numbers of
young people left the area for HE not to return.  Also because of lack of
provision, Dumfries and Galloway had a far lower than thge national average
of uptake of Higher education.

The Crichton Camus is made up predominantly of three institutions,  each of
which has its main organisational centre outwith the area. The three
institutions are Bell College, who provide nurse training (whose centre is
in Hamilton); Paisley University who provide  predominantly computing and
management courses and Glasgow University who provide predominantly Arts and
Humanities courses and post-grad provision. There was a prior agreement by
the institutions to avoid replication, so each institution concentrates on
particular sections of the curriculum.

The campus lacks most of the basic elements required. There are few sports
facilities, bar green fiekds, no students union, no refectory so there is
nowhere for staff and students to have a hot meal. However it does have
committed staff and students, who provide in these less than ideal
circumstances, by all current accepted measures, educational experiences of
very high quality

On Wednesday evening at 6pm the Principal of the University of  Glasgow
(based in Glasgow), announced that he was closing Glasgow University's part
of the Crichton Campus. What this means for staff and students is still
fairly vague, but it is not good: redundancies  for staff, truncated
academic careers for students, and lack of educational opportunities for
future students in the region, and the ending of a significant cultural
resource for the region as a whole.

Because of the complicated structure of the Campus, with many  institutional
partners, the land being owned by the council and an incredibly labyrinthine
funding arrangement from the Scottish
Funding Council, everyone responsible has the possibility to blame someone
else for closing the campus down. The UG Principal, Muir Russell is blaming
the Funding Council, the Funding Council is
blaming the Princial; the Scottish Executive also bear some responsibility
for underresourcing, as do the local council for not providing basic
infrastructure on the site.

Students and staff are not taking the threatened closure lying down. UCU the
biggest union on campus has already met and there was unanimity to oppose
the closure (there are also 2 members of the IWW who are work there and are
active in the campaign). UCU members are meeting again on Monday to further
develop strategies. There is a joint meeting of all University of Glasgow
Crichton Campus students on Wednesday to plan actions to pressurise all the
relevant authorities to have the closure decision overturned.  I shall keep
the list informed of the decisions to seek relevant help.

In the meantime, and I know this is not particularly radical, it would
nonetheless help enormously if comrades could write to the  following
authorities to pressurise them to act to reverse the closure decision. If
members of the list could write to just two or three of the people below it
could influence decisions that are about to be taken in the next week.

To the following, we would be grateful if you would ask that they reverse
the decision with regards to funding for the University of Glasgow Crichton

Sir Muir Russell,
The Principal
University of Glasgow

principal at gla.ac.uk

Roger McClure
Chief Executive
Scottish Funding Council
Donaldson House
97 Haymarket Terrace
EH12 5HD

rmcclure at sfc.ac.uk

To the following we would be grateful if you would ask them to do all in
their power to pressurise the responsible bodies to reverse the decision,
and ensure that adequate funding is provided for
University of Glasgow at the Crichton Campus

* Jack McConnell - First Minister
The Scottish Parliament
EH99 1SP

Jack.Mcconnell.msp at scottish.parliament.uk

* Nicol Steven
Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning
The Scottish Parliament
EH99 1SP

Nicol.Stephen.msp at scottish.parliament.uk

* Philip Jones
Chief Executive
Dumfries and Galloway Council
Council Offices,
English Street,

* Thomas Sloan
Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council
Dumfries and Galloway Council
Council Offices,
English Street,

It would also be helpful, following the reports in The Scotsman and The
Herald, this week, if letters were sent to them, supporting the staff and
students of GUCC.

I shall write more following Wednesday's meeting, following other types of
action in support.

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to be in touch. I shall do my
best to answer them.

For not entirely inaccurate press reports of the planned closure see:

There is also a skeleton website at

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