Rowan Wilson rowanwilsonwork at yahoo.co.uk
Thu Apr 12 05:52:13 PDT 2007

On February 14th Glasgow University Court voted to close down the University's Crichton Campus (UGCC) 80 miles away in Dumfries. UGCC is Southwest Scotland's only provider of HE courses in the Humanities, Arts, Environmental Sustainability and Community Learning.  The decision if implemented would not only deny vital educational opportunities for an already deprived and marginalised area but also put 40+ members of staff at risk of compulsory redundancy.
A friend asked me to forward the message below:
Dear All,
I am writing to request support. 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 complicated, 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 Campus 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 fields), 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 16th January 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. A decision ratified by University Court on 14th February.
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, Sir Muir Russell is blaming the Funding Council, the Funding Council is blaming the Principal; the Scottish Executive also bear some responsibility for under-resourcing, as do the local council for not providing basic infrastructure on the site.
There is no economic argument for closing the Crichton. Glasgow University is in surplus, the Arts Faculty to which the campus belongs is in surplus, and the monies which are planned to be redistributed up from the impoverished Dumfries site to the relatively well-off Glasgow Campus if UGCC closes are earmarked not for student services, but as the Principal indicated at a public meeting in March 2007 in Dumfries, for hiring a couple of 'star' academic researchers.
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 3 members of the IWW who are work there and are active in the campaign). There have been a number of demonstrations in Dumfries, up on the main campus in Glasgow and outside the SFC and Scottish parliament in Edinburgh. The next protests are planned for GLASGOW UNIVERSITY MAIN CAMPUS (IN GLASGOW nearest tube Hillhead) WEDNESDAY APRIL 18th at 1pm. Meet at Flagpole behind the quads.
Crichton protestors will be joining the DUMFRIES MAYDAY MARCH - SATURDAY APRIL 28th, 12 Noon, BURNS STATUE, DUMFRIES TOWN CENTRE.
Crichton campaigners would welcome your participation and advice.
Please attend if possible and/or write to following, asking them to reverse the decision with regards to funding for the University of Glasgow Crichton Campus:
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
Further information about the campaigns are available from http://www.geocities.com/glasgow_at_crichton/ (General Campaign Website) http://www.cucsa.org.uk/ (Students Representative Council and campaign website) http://www.gla.ac.uk/Staff/GAUT/Crichton/index.html (UCU Union campaign website) http://iwwscotland.wordpress.com/crichton-struggle/ (IWW campaign website)
More details from glasgow_at_crichton at yahoo.co.uk

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