Wednesday, 8 December 2010

University and College Union - how about thinking before you speak?

Today saw the publication of a piece of "research" from the union "representing" University Lecturers, the UCU.

According to them Edge Hill University is on a danger list of Universitites at "high risk" of going out of business.

Leaving aside the first time anyone at Edge Hill, including those who are union reps, knew about this report was when the media got in touch, the lack of thought and consideration by UCU is breathtaking.

Firstly, the material in the report is innaccurate.  The Edge Hill Vice Chancellor, who ought to know a bit about the finances, told staff the following

"This (the claims in the report and press release ) is, of course, arrant nonsense. The University has just reported its highest ever cash balance, its highest ever operating surplus, its largest ever intake, its biggest all years student number, its best-ever performance in the Sunday Times, the Times and the Independent league tables, a record number of applicants, a record increase in the percentage growth in applicants, second place in the 'University of the Year' awards, second place in the 2010 graduate employment tables, second place amongst mainstream universities for students' personal development and a top fifteen place in the National Students Survey. We have also just had two of the cleanest institutional audits possible, and were the only university to appear in the Sunday Times' top twenty public sector employers."

Secondly, at a time when lobbying is concentrating on tuition fees, why choose now to muddy the waters with this?  This has effectively diverted attention from the clear argument about fees.  Own goal or what???

Finally, does UCU not realise that innacurate publishing at a time when students and their families are choosing whether to go to University, and if so which to go to, is hardly helpful.

UCU is meant to represent people who work at Universities.  But in one easy grab at profile, they have made our job that much harder.  Perhaps Sally Hunt would like to come and talk to my media students who are upset at reports that their University may close.

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