Last of the Westland Whigs

In the late 17th century, the 'Westland Whigs' were the radical descendants of earlier Covenanters who had defied the absolutist rule of Stuart kings in south west Scotland.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Future of Crichton Campus in doubt

From Herald 18 Jan 2007 -similar from Scotsman below

University may pull out of campus because of funding row

One of Scotland's leading universities could pull out of a satellite campus set up to help regenerate the south of the country after a row over funding.
Glasgow University last night warned that its involvement in the Crichton Campus in Dumfries was under threat because it was running at a loss of £800,000 a year.
Officials said talks had taken place with the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) to increase the number of funded places at the campus - set up seven years ago with Paisley University, Bell College and Dumfries and Galloway College - but that the organisation "does not share this view".

It was unclear whether the move would lead to redundancies. A spokeswoman for the university said: "At present, our costs at Crichton significantly outstrip the income we generate, making Crichton the only part of the university that has an underlying deficit.
"Options for the university range from the reduction of our presence, with the possible transfer of some courses and facilities, to an eventual measured and phased withdrawal from the site."

In a letter to campus staff, Sir Muir Russell, university Principal, said: "Glasgow embarked on the Crichton project in the expectation that funded student places to support this new activity would follow from the Scottish Funding Council. While we have consistently maintained that we need further funded places to maintain our provision at Crichton on a break-even basis, the SFC does not share this view. Therefore, regretfully, the university is having to reconsider its level of activity at Crichton."

Last night, a spokeswoman for the SFC denied a lack of commitment to the site.
She said: "We remain committed to developing the Crichton campus which has a vital role to play in helping to sustain and grow the regional economy, particularly in developing skill levels for all post-school age groups, particularly adults already in work."
Dr Elaine Murray, MSP for Dumfries, said: "It would be an irony of the highest proportion if Glasgow pulled out at the same time as Dumfries and Galloway College move up to the Crichton site in order to enhance interactions between further education and higher education by providing a tertiary education centre which is unique in Scotland."

From Scotsman 18 Jan 2007

Supercampus doubts after university threat to quit
THE future of an education "supercampus" was thrown into doubt last night when a university threatened to pull out of the project because of rising losses.
Glasgow University said it was losing £800,000 a year from its involvement in the Crichton campus in Dumfries.

The site was opened in 2000 and also houses students from the University of Paisley and Bell College. Dumfries and Galloway College is also due to relocate there next year.
In a letter to staff last night, Sir Muir Russell, the principal of Glasgow University, said the Scottish Funding Council's refusal to pay for more of its students to attend the campus had forced the institution to "regretfully" consider pulling out.
He said: "In the absence of increased support [from the funding council], our options would range from the re-education of our presence, with the possible transfer of some courses and facilities, to an eventual withdrawal from the site."

The university has 230 students at Crichton, but only 88 of those are funded from the public purse via the funding council. Sir Muir said the situation was "unsustainable".
He added: "Our costs at Crichton significantly outstrip the income that we generate from activity at the campus, despite the university's investment and the hard work and commitment of all engaged on the project."

It is understood that any withdrawal would take around three years and the university last night stressed that current students would be able to finish their courses at the site.
About 30 university staff are based at the site. Officials said it was too early to say what would happen to them.

A spokeswoman for the funding council insisted it remained committed to developing the Crichton campus, pointing to the £28 million it was spending on the relocation of Dumfries and Galloway College.
She added: "Our priority now is to work with all the partners and stakeholders involved."


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