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, February 22, 2007

Proportionate Response

Proportionate Response

1. What is the problem?

2. That what may have been a negotiating ploy by the University of Glasgow - the threat to withdraw from the Crichton Campus Project - in protracted discussions about funding with the Scottish Funding Council has become an actual decision.

3. What is the actual decision?

4. The actual decision is to refuse, as of September 2007, to admit any new undergraduates to the University of Glasgow ‘ Liberal Arts’ degree programme currently provided at the Crichton campus.

5. What are the likely consequences of the actual decision?

6. The consequences are at present unknown. Although the University of Glasgow appears to have been threatening to withdraw from the Crichton Campus project for sometime [up to one year?], key decisions regarding the future development of the Crichton Campus project being made throughout 2006 on the assumption of the University of Glasgow having a continuing and even expanding role in the project.

Example - plans for a ‘Learning Resource Centre’ on the campus which would have included specialised library provision for University of Glasgow students and staff. This library facility would have been constructed as part of the overall ‘supercampus’/ Dumfries and Galloway College relocation plan.

7. Was the actual decision made by the University of Glasgow a reasonable and proportionate response to their alleged funding short-fall?

8. Since the alleged / actual funding short-fall is a matter of dispute between the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Funding Council, a clear understanding of the situation is difficult to establish. However, it is not a matter of dispute that the University of Glasgow do receive some direct funding for the Crichton campus operations. Some of this funding is related to student numbers in the form of ‘fully funded places’.

Assuming that the University of Glasgow are still willing to discuss a solution to the problem, and that the Scottish Funding Council are likewise, the decision to refuse to accept any new undergraduate students in September 2007 would appear unreasonable and disproportionate. A more reasonable and proportionate response would have been to limit the new undergraduate intake to a level which, in due course, would match student numbers to student funding.

This process of adjustment to the point where the University of Glasgow’s activities on the Crichton campus could be self-sustaining and operate on a ‘break-even basis’ would allow more time for other affected/ interested parties to adjust their activities and plans accordingly.

It would also allow more time for evidence to be gathered and submitted to the Scottish Executive/ Scottish Funding Council in support of the continued and/ or expanded presence of the University of Glasgow within the overall Crichton campus project.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Glasgow University/ Scottish Funding Council- human rights

Human Rights Flow Chart

1. The policy/operational decision

1.1 What is the policy/decision title?

1.1.1 Ending of undergraduate admissions to Glasgow University’s Crichton campus.

1.1.2 Statement on Crichton campus ISSUED: 14 February 2007
The University of Glasgow Court has taken a decision not to admit any undergraduate students to the Crichton campus in September this year.
The Court will consider, in due course, and in the light of further discussions with the Scottish Funding Council and partners future options for any Glasgow presence at Crichton.
The University has consistently maintained that we need further funded student places to sustain our provision at Crichton on a break-even basis. The Scottish Funding Council has declined to provide this support.
The interests of current students at Crichton will be protected throughout their remaining course of study. The University has been in touch with applicants for 2007 entry to inform them of this decision and to advise them on their options.

1.2 What is the objective of the policy/ decision?

1.2.1 It is a cost-saving measure as outlined at 1.1.2 above.

1.3 Who will be affected by the policy/ decision?

1.3.1 Immediately, and as 1.1.2 above, those students who would otherwise have expected to begin their studies via the University of Glasgow’s Crichton Campus in September 2007.

1.3.2 In the future, those students who would otherwise have studied at the University of Glasgow’s Crichton campus.

1.3.3 The wider community of Dumfries and Galloway.

2. Human Rights Impact

2.1 Will the policy/ decision engage anyone’s Convention rights?

2.1.2 Yes, those affected at 1.3.1, 1.3.2 and 1.3.3 above.

2.2 Will the policy/ decision result in the restriction of a right?

2.2.1 Yes.

2.2.2 Protocol 1, Article 2: Right to education.

2.2.3 Article 14 : Prohibition of discrimination

2.2.4 Article 10 : Freedom of expression

3. Types of Right

3.1 Is the right an absolute right?

3.1.1 No, the right to education, the prohibition of discrimination and freedom of expression are not absolute rights.

3.2 Is the right a limited right?

3.2.1 Yes, the right to education, the prohibition of discrimination and freedom of expression are limited rights.

3.3 Will the right be limited only to the extent set out in the relevant Article of the Convention?

3.3.1 No. The right to education [Protocol 1, Article 2] has been limited by the United Kingdom (and therefore necessarily by the Scottish Parliament as a devolved rather than sovereign institution) “ to the extent that this compatible with the need to provide an efficient education and the need to avoid unreasonable public expenditure”. The ’efficient’ provision of education has been and is expected to continue to be achieved through the ‘shared facilities’ aspect of the Crichton Campus. However, the continued efficiency of such educational provision may be affected by an increase in the ‘unit cost’ of such shared facilities once University of Glasgow ceases to have an undergraduate presence on the Crichton Campus. On the ‘need to avoid unreasonable public expenditure’, it is clear that the Scottish Funding Council do not consider that the level of public expenditure granted to the University of Glasgow for the provision of education on the Crichton campus is ‘unreasonable’. The Scottish Funding Council consider the level of such public expenditure to be sufficient for the University of Glasgow to continue to provide efficient education at the Crichton campus. . Therefore the right to education in this case will not be limited only to the extent set out in the relevant Article of the Convention. Article 14: Prohibition of discrimination. For Article 14 to apply, it needs the support of another Convention right. For example :

It might not be a breach of a person’s right to education if the state does not provide a particular kind of teaching. But if the state provides it for boys but not for girls, or for people who speak only a particular language but not another, this could be discrimination in relation to the right to education. If this were the case, the people affected would rely on their rights under Article 14 (non - discrimination) taken with Protocol 1, Article 2 (education). In this case, the supporting right [ under Protocol 1, Article 2] would be for a person ‘not to be denied access to the existing educational system’ and the discrimination aspect would come into force for a person who for a substantial reason [ e.g. parental or other care-related responsibilities, physical or mental disability, economic necessity] could only access this existing educational provision via the University of Glasgow’s presence within Dumfries and Galloway but would, for example, if a resident in the Highland region, still be able to access equivalent or similar educational provision. Article 10: Freedom of expression. This right would be a supporting right to that of Article 14. In particular the importance given to continuing access within Dumfries and Galloway to education in the Liberal Arts as expressed by Members of the Scottish Parliament during their Debate on Motion S2M-5444 [which considered the University of Glasgow’s decision to cease admitting undergraduate students to their Crichton campus facility] held on the 15th February 2007. Article 10: Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. Although this particular right; the ’freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers’ may seem the least and most insignificant of the ‘human rights’ in question, within this particular context it is in fact the most important and significant. The context here is the intimate association between the Scottish Enlightenment and the Liberal Arts as taught to the University of Glasgow’s Crichton campus students :

MA Liberal Arts
Introduced in 1999, the distinctive flexible MA degree has been designed to produce well-educated graduates able to extend and apply their knowledge as they face the challenges of the 21st century. Students follow a core programme of courses designed to promote active citizenship, creative and critical thinking. The core courses are the foundation for all subsequent study in all of the degree designations. The enlightened person accepts the word of authority not as something to which he [she] has to say ‘yes, but as something which it is appropriate to subject to critical analysis. The question for the enlightened person therefore is whether the word of authority can stand up to cross-examination before the tribunal of reason. If it can then it is accepted because it is sanctioned not by authority but by reason. If on the other hand it cannot withstand the cross-examination then it has to be discarded, however exalted the source. The Enlightenment was an age of criticism in the sense of ‘critical analysis’ or ‘critical reflection’. It was through critical reflection that people were to gain their freedom -I do not say ‘secure’ it, because our freedom is never secure. Any position gained from the dead hand of authority has to be defended. Without an effective holding operation the position is lost. Alexander Broadie: The Scottish Enlightenment: Birlinn: Edinburgh: 2001: pages 19/21

3.3.2 That the rights in question are qualified rather than limited rights under the Convention.

4. The right is a qualified right

4.1 Is there a legal basis for the restriction?

4.1.1 No. The denial of the right to education, which involves discrimination and a restriction on freedom of expression, has no legal basis within the terms of the Convention. It is results from a funding dispute between the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Funding Council.

4.2. Does the restriction have a legitimate aim?

4.2.1 No, the restriction does not have a legitimate aim within the terms of the Convention. Its aim - to provide a cost-saving for the University of Glasgow following the alleged failure of the Scottish Funding Council to provide sufficient funds to maintain their presence in Dumfries and Galloway - does not fall within the ‘exclusion’ clauses of the Convention.

4.3 Is the restriction necessary within a democratic society?

4.3.1 No, it is not. Although the principle of ‘academic freedom’ has been invoked by the Scottish Executive as grounds for non-intervention in the decision by the University of Glasgow to cease admitting undergraduate students to their Crichton campus, the University of Glasgow themselves have argued that this is an economic rather than academic decision. Indeed, to the extent that opposition to the restriction on the right to education, to freedom from discrimination and to freedom of expression involved in this case was expressed by Members of the Scottish Parliament representing altogether the two constituencies directly affected , the south of Scotland , central Scotland (Lothians) and five political parties in the 15th February Debate, it could be argued that the restriction is unnecessary within a democratic society.

4.4 Are you sure you are not using a sledgehammer to crack a nut?

4.4.1 The advice given to public authorities when considering this question is :

A policy/decision should be no more restrictive than it needs to be in order to achieve its objective. This is called ‘proportionality’. For example, a blanket application of a policy/decision to everyone concerned will often be considered disproportionate, as it does not take into account individual circumstances, and the individual rights of each person affected. It will have the effect of imposing restrictions in circumstances where they are not really needed.
Look at the objectives you identified at paragraph one of this section, and box 1 of the flowchart, and ask yourself whether the objectives can be achieved only by the policy/decision you are proposing. Ask yourself if there is any other less restrictive way of achieving the desired outcome. If there is another less restrictive way of achieving the desired outcome, but you decide not to adopt it, you will need to be prepared to say why you have made that choice. Your reasons will have to be good ones. Since the stated reason for the decision made by the University of Glasgow not to admit any undergraduate students to the Crichton campus in September this year is their claim that that Scottish Funding Council has declined to provide the public funding support necessary , and since the Scottish Funding Council deny this claim, one must ask - have the individual circumstances and the individual rights of each person affected been taken into account? If, as seems to be the case the answer is ‘No’, then this would seem to be a case of a ‘disproportionate’ or ‘blanket application of a policy/ decision to everyone concerned.. .imposing restrictions in circumstances where they are not really needed’.

4.4.2. Could another, less restrictive policy/ decision have achieved the University of Glasgow’s stated objective - to sustain our provision at Crichton on a break-even basis? Yes, a less restrictive policy/ decision could have done so. Such a policy/decision would also have been fully compliant with the Convention. What the University of Glasgow could have done is to restrict September 2007 undergraduate admissions to the ‘fully funded’ places allocated to them by the Scottish Funding Council. These places could then have been prioritised on the basis of individual circumstances/ need, thus respecting individual rights under the Convention. However, the University of Glasgow chose not to adopt this less restrictive decision/policy. Nor has the Scottish Funding Council required the University of Glasgow to adopt this less restrictive decision/ policy. Therefore, both the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Funding Council appear to be non-compliant with the European Human Rights Convention in this case.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Legal remedies

Crichton Campus. Current situation : Stalemate

Summary of Conclusions

That any potential University of Glasgow Crichton Campus students who will be denied access to their intended course of study in September 2007 have the option of seeking a legal remedy -either through a Judicial Review of the University of Glasgow’s decision or through the European Convention on Human Rights .

A negotiated solution to the current situation is the preferable option. But if no such resolution can be achieved, then the option of legal remedy must be seriously and effectively pursued.

On the 14th February Glasgow University issued the following statement:

The University of Glasgow Court has taken a decision not to admit any undergraduate students to the Crichton campus in September this year. The Court will consider, in due course, and in the light of further discussions with the Scottish Funding Council and partners future options for any Glasgow presence at Crichton. The University has consistently maintained that we need further funded student places to sustain our provision at Crichton on a break-even basis. The Scottish Funding Council has declined to provide this support. The interests of current students at Crichton will be protected throughout their remaining course of study. The University has been in touch with applicants for 2007 entry to inform them of this decision and to advise them on their options.

On the 15th February , in response to a Scottish Parliament Member’s Business Debate brought by Dr Elaine Murray MSP, Deputy Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning Allan Wilson MSP mad e the following statement:

I pay tribute to Glasgow University for its support of Crichton campus and I hope that it will maintain its connection with and support for Crichton. I encourage the funding council to complete its work to develop the academic strategy for the region as soon as possible. All partners should be involved in that process.
I am happy to meet the funding council and the University of Glasgow and to do whatever I can to bring the partners together to reach an amicable solution to the issues that have been raised, to ensure that the important future of higher and further education, in which we are investing seriously in south-west Scotland, is delivered to the maximum advantage of the people who will benefit from that investment.

However, as Dr. Murray explained in her opening remarks, “an apparently irreconcilable difference of opinion has arisen between the University of Glasgow and the SFC.”

I suggest it is therefore unlikely that Allan Wilson can resolve this difference.

If Mr. Wilson cannot resolve the ‘difference of opinion’ and the University of Glasgow’s decision not to admit any undergraduate students to the Crichton campus in September this year remains, then the following questions arise:

1. Do the students affected by this decision have any right of appeal? If so, to whom?

2. Do the students affected by this decision have any right to ‘an effective education and access to educational establishments already in existence‘ ?

On the first question, it is unclear to whom any such affected student could appeal. If so, then a Judicial Review may be the only alternative option. This requires that:

There must however be a reviewable act, failing or decision in the first place. That requires there to be an act which has taken place, or a failure to act, or a decision which has actually been made and which has the effect of altering the rights and obligations of the prospective petitioner, or deprives them of a benefit or advantage they have had or would otherwise be entitled to.

In this case, the decision which has actually been made by the University of Glasgow has ‘deprived’ the affected students of ‘ a benefit or advantage they would otherwise have been entitled to’ I.e. a place at the Crichton Campus in September 2007.

On the second question, the students affected may choose to argue that the University of Glasgow’s decision falls within the scope of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. This would be in accordance with Human Rights Scotland’s interpretation. [ See below].

Any student affected by the University of Glasgow’s decision could there for seek redress via this legal route.

I am sure that any such potential Glasgow University Crichton Campus students and/ or their families would receive the active support and encouragment of all those involved in the campaign to keep a University of Glasgow presence in Dumfries and Galloway.

Alistair Livingston

Is there a right to education?
There is a right to an effective education and access to educational establishments already in existence. There is also a right to recognition of studies that have been completed. The right to education is subject to State regulation. This raises some difficult issues e.g. what is the best type of education for a child with special needs? If the parents and the local authority disagree, who decides what is an effective education? To exclude a child from school is only permissible if an alternative means of education is provided; if it is not the public authority might be challenged under the Act.
Parents have a right to ensure their child's education is appropriate to their own religious or philosophical convictions. However the government will only enforce this right as long as it is compatible with efficient education and does not incur unreasonable public expense.

European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

Section I , Article 10:

1.Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
2.The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or the rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

1. Enforcement of certain Rights and Freedoms not included in Section I of the Convention

The Governments signatory hereto, being Members of the Council of Europe,
Being resolved to take steps to ensure the collective enforcement of certain rights and freedoms other than those already included in Section I of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms signed at Rome on 4th November, 1950 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Convention'),
Have agreed as follows:

No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religions and philosophical convictions.

RESERVATION At the time of signing the present (First) Protocol, I declare that, in view of certain provisions of the Education Acts in the United Kingdom, the principle affirmed in the second sentence of Article 2 is accepted by the United Kingdom only so far as it is compatible with the provision of efficient instruction and training, and the avoidance of unreasonable public expenditure. Dated 20 March 1952 Made by the United Kingdom Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe

Friday, February 16, 2007

Protest taken to Edinburgh

Click on link for Campaign latest

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Watch the Crichton debate live!

If you go to and click on the Play Live stream option at 5 pm today ... you should be able to watch the debate live ... if you have broadband.

Scottish Parliament 15 February 2007

Business Programme for 15 February 2007

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business – debate on the subject of S2M-5444 Dr Elaine Murray: Threat to Crichton Campus in Dumfries

2M-5444# Dr Elaine Murray: Threat to Crichton Campus in Dumfries

—That the Parliament recognises and applauds the success of the Crichton university campus in Dumfries over the past seven years and the contribution made by all stakeholders involved in this unique partnership; is therefore concerned that the University of Glasgow is considering reducing its presence on the campus and possibly withdrawing from the site; notes that the University of Glasgow is considering this action because of an £800,000 annual shortfall in running its campus at the Crichton, and considers that the Scottish Funding Council should assist the University of Glasgow to maintain its presence at its Dumfries site and that the University of Glasgow should defer making any decision to reduce its presence or to withdraw from the site until after this year’s spending review and the forthcoming review of higher education funding.

Supported by: Murray Tosh, Tommy Sheridan, Alasdair Morgan, Chris Ballance, Alex Neil, Robin Harper, Linda Fabiani, Donald Gorrie, Bill Butler, Peter Peacock, Maureen Macmillan, Eleanor Scott, Rosie Kane, Mr Frank McAveety, Derek Brownlee, Fiona Hyslop, Frances Curran, Ms Rosemary Byrne, Mr Jamie Stone, Trish Godman, Mr David Davidson, Shiona Baird, Mr Adam Ingram, Christine Grahame, Alex Fergusson

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

True cost of Crichton Campus to be revealed

Wednesday 14 February 2007 4.30 pm

BBC Radio Scotland’s Drive Time news have announced that Glasgow University Court have agreed today that no new students will be admitted to their Crichton University Campus.

Once the present cohort of students have completed their studies, Glasgow University will cease to have a presence on the Crichton University Campus.

Question : by how much will the Scottish Funding Council now cut the £147 million per year they give to Glasgow University?

This figure (unlike Glasgow University’s figures) will be in the public domain.

Once released, it will be possible to finally establish who has been telling the truth - the Scottish Funding Council or Glasgow University.

A low figure for the funding cut will support Glasgow University’s case : that their Crichton activities have been underfunded.

A higher figure for the cut will confirm the Scottish Funding Council’s case : that Glasgow University have been allocated sufficient funds, but have chosen not to deploy them to support their Crichton activities.

Alistair Livingston

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Crichton Campaign on Newsnight Scotland

The Campaign was given very good coverage on Newsnight Scotland Tuesday 13th Feb.

Note - first few minutes are from Newsnight UK...

Unfortunately following studio debate was about tuition fees - do Scottish Universities need more money from Scottish Executive (via Scottish Funding Council) now that tuition fees have been brought in in England.

This rather abstract debate was not very useful for our Campaign.

In fact it was pretty irrelevant - I have yet to hear anyone suggest Glasgow are pulling out of Dumfries because of tuition fees.

So why follow the strong narrative of Willie Johnston's film with this irrelevant - for immediate Crichton situation- studio discussion?

I guess that neither Sir Muir Russell nor anyone else from Glasgow University was prepared to go on Newsnight Scotland to argue the case for closure.

I wonder why? Could it be there is no such case?

Glasgow Uni refuse to see reason

Last gasp talks on campus future

A late bid has been made to persuade the University of Glasgow not to end its operations in Dumfries.
Tory MP David Mundell has taken the case to David Newall, the secretary of court for the institution.
It comes before a court meeting on Wednesday where the fate of the Crichton campus will be discussed.
The university has blamed a cash shortfall for the situation but the Scottish Funding Council said it has sufficient money to run the campus.
Mr Mundell said he felt a last appeal to the university was worthwhile.

"I want to make it clear to Glasgow University - if they don't already appreciate it - the scale of feeling and the importance of the Crichton campus to this area," he said.
"I don't agree that Glasgow University pulling out will make no difference.
"It will make an enormous difference to the campus and I think it is important they appreciate it."
The MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale said he did not believe people wished to apportion blame for the situation.
"We are not interested here in Dumfries in being part of some other agenda in a dispute between the funding council and Glasgow University," he said.
"I want to be absolutely reassured that this isn't the easy way out for them - walking away.
"I want to be clear that they are doing everything they possibly can to stay on the Dumfries site."
South of Scotland SNP MSP Alasdair Morgan has also written to the university urging it to reconsider its withdrawal plans.
Unthinkable damage
"The damage that the university's withdrawal could do to this valuable enterprise is unthinkable to anyone who knows anything about the Crichton," he said.
"Yet Glasgow University seems to be sleepwalking towards it regardless of the many voices raised against the idea."
He also called on Principal Sir Muir Russell to "do the decent thing" and make a commitment to the Crichton's future.
"To back out now is to lose the work of more than a decade with all too little to show for it," he said.
The university court meets on Wednesday to discuss the situation with a debate in the Scottish Parliament scheduled for Thursday.
Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/02/13 12:29:28 GMT

Monday, February 12, 2007

Battle for campus rages...

massive coverage in today (Monday 12th Feb) 's Herald

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Lovers of the World Unite

The Address is
University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland, UK

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Supercampus plan threatened

Executive Summary

That on the basis of the conditions attached by the Scottish Funding Council to their agreed capital grant support for the relocation of Dumfries and Galloway College to the Crichton University Campus, the proposed withdrawal of Glasgow University from the Crichton University Campus will require the SFC to hold the agreed funding until a revised ‘full business case’ can be presented to them. This revised full business case must demonstrate that even without the presence of Glasgow University on the Crichton University Campus, the project can still deliver ‘clear evidence of efficiencies in space and running costs’.

Without the presence of Glasgow University on the Crichton site, the increase in ‘marginal costs‘ of the relocation project - in particular the critical provision of shared facilities - could prove fatal to the overall viability of the relocation project. However, until a revised ‘full business plan’ which takes into account the absence of Glasgow University has been produced, no firm conclusions can be drawn.

Given that the proposed investment of between £28 and £37 million (depending on sources) in the relocation project is likely to be the largest ever single public investment in Dumfries and Galloway, critical assessment of the following is vital.

In this particular case, I hope my analysis can be proven wrong.

Alistair Livingston

1. Viability of proposed Crichton Learning Resource Centre and other shared services and facilities.

1.1 Details of these proposals can be found at

1.2 Following is taken from the above Report, which was compiled between June and August 2006.
I have highlighted key sections.

In the context of Dumfries & Galloway College’s intended relocation, in 2008, to a site adjacent to the Crichton site – and the accompanying new build - the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) is working with the four Crichton partner institutions to develop and deliver a shared learning resource and library facility, and to explore other possibilities for sharing space.

The intention is that this shared facility will be located within the College’s new build project, being accessed by students, staff and the wider community. The Crichton partners have agreed that they will share a fully-integrated learning resource facility incorporating a library, study and learning space and potentially other services and facilities. The nature and extent of sharing, along with the design have yet to be finalised, and the aspirations for the shared facility need to be properly articulated into a realisable vision.

1.3 Since the Report was compiled before Glasgow University announced that it may withdraw from the Crichton Campus, its findings and conclusions were made on the assumption of GU’s continuing and expanding presence on the Campus. If Glasgow University follow through their threat to withdraw from the Crichton Campus then it necessarily follows that a re-assessment must be made to the Learning Resource Centre and other shared facilities aspect of this element of the proposed 'supercampus' project.

1.4 Any such re-assessment will in turn have cost implications. It is possible that without the need to accommodate the academic needs of Glasgow University and its students and staff, a less ambitious and cheaper Learning Resource Centre could be designed and built. But at the same time, the unit costs of providing and maintaining other shared resources (e.g. sports, student services and refectory facilities) would increase.

1.5 Until such a re-assessment of provision is carried out, the full financial implications of the loss of Glasgow University will remain unquantifiable.

2. Involvement of Scottish Funding Council

2.1 As indicated above, the Learning Resource Centre and other shared facilities would be built as part of the project to relocate Dumfries and Galloway College to the Crichton Campus site. This project is to be funded by the Scottish Funding Council. However, as the following extract shows ,
This funding is conditional. Extract taken from here:

06/177 Capital Investment Committee: recommendations (SFC/06/134)
The Council noted the contents of the paper seeking its approval of recommendations from the Capital Investment Committee meeting of 29 September 2006.
The highlighted text in the following paragraph is exempt from disclosure as it could prejudice the commercial interests of the institutions concerned (Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, part 2, section 33).
In its consideration of the Crichton University Campus (CUC) partners full business case, the Council agreed:
capital grant support of up to £[ ] from the selective LTIF funds;
that such funding should be conditional upon the CUC partners providing clear evidence that the project will deliver efficiencies in space and running costs; and
[ ].

2.2 It is clear from the above that the SFC agreed the capital grant support [speculated to be as much as £37 million, but only ‘more than £28 million’ by SFC spokesman in January news reports] on the basis of a ‘full business case’ made whilst Glasgow University were still committed to the Crichton project.

2.3 The agreed capital grant support further depends upon the CUC partners ‘providing clear evidence that the project will deliver efficiencies in space and running costs’. But without the presence and contribution of Glasgow University can such evidence still be shown? The running costs of the proposed shared facilities- the Learning Resource Centre, refectory, sports and student services - will be increased if overall student and staff numbers are reduced. In addition, there will be a loss of ‘efficiency of space’ : the 1727 square metres of expensively refurbished space (the Rutherford/ McCowan Building) currently occupied by Glasgow University. This is the largest single unit on the Crichton site. [see page 26 of Crichton Strategic Development Framework for this and comparative figures]

3. Conclusion

3.1 At between £28 and £37 million, the relocation of Dumfries and Galloway College to the Crichton Campus site is the largest ever single public investment in Dumfries and Galloway. [Fact check - unverified assumption].

3.2 This investment by the Scottish Funding Council [ who in turn are funded by the Scottish Executive] is ‘conditional’. If Glasgow University quit the Crichton Campus then the CUC’s ‘business plan’ for the future growth and development of the Crichton Campus will have to be revised. If, and only if, such a revised business plan can show that the project minus Glasgow University will still deliver ‘efficiencies in space and running costs’ can the conditions imposed by the Scottish Funding Council be met.

3.3 At present [ 7 February 2007] no such revised ‘full business case’ exists nor can exist until Glasgow University make explicit their intentions to their CUC partners. Therefore, the Scottish Funding Council’s conditions for the agreed capital grant support for the relocation of Dumfries and Galloway College to the Crichton site cannot be met. Therefore, the proposed relocation cannot proceed.

This is what we need!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Slow Death of Dumfries and Galloway

Copy of a 'Letter to Editor' -several fired off today - sent to Phil Jones, Chief Executive , Dumfries and Galloway Council.

I am expecting a typically bland reply, but watch this space...

Dear Mr. Jones,
as a post-graduate Glasgow University student at the Crichton Campus and active member of the 'Save our Campus' campaign, I would appreciate some reassurance that having identified the Crichton Campus as a key 'engine' of regional regeneration through its role in
retaining young people within the region and attracting skilled incomers to the region that Dumfries and Galloway Council and its partner agencies and stakeholders will not allow Glasgow University to simply walk away from the region.
As you will see from the following 'Letter to Editors', I suggest that the demographic evidence of the region's 'population crisis' requires that the utmost efforts be made on this issue.
Alistair Livingston
Note: quoted sections taken in edited form from

Dear Sir,
I am seldom at a loss for words, but as the implications of Glasgow University's threat to pull out of this region have sunk in, I have been reduced to stunned silence. Therefore the facts and figures presented below are not mine. They come from a recent Dumfries and Galloway Economic Survey. They reveal a region which is slowly dying as its life blood - our young people - move away.

The demographic changes forecast over the next fourteen years for Dumfries
and Galloway follow the pattern seen across the rest of Scotland. However in
this region they are far more pronounced in their severity. Up until 2018, the
population in Scotland as a whole is expected to decline by 2.4 percent.
Over the same period, the population in Dumfries and Galloway is projected to
decline by 7.2%, which represents a loss of around 10,000 people over the
This decline is heavily concentrated amongst the 0-14 age group and 30-44
year-olds. Therefore, as well as a decline in population, Dumfries and Galloway
faces continuing changes in the structure of the population. The ratio of
the entire population to those of normal working age sometimes called
the dependency ratio is set to rise rapidly. These projections indicate that
the number of people of prime working age (15 to 59 years old) is set to
decline by 18 per cent, or well over 1000 people per year.
The phenomenon of an ageing population is not new, but three features stand
out: the dramatic acceleration in the declining number of school age
children, the even more dramatic reversal of the historic upward trend in
30-44 year olds, and the gathering momentum of growth amongst the over-70s.

The region must get better at retaining young people within the region and
attracting skilled incomers to the region.
The Report goes on to highlight the vital role the Crichton Campus has and will have in retaining young people within the region and attracting skilled incomers to the region.
To conclude: if we allow Glasgow University to renege on its covenant (the Crichton Accord they signed) with Dumfries and Galloway, would the last young person leaving the region please turn out the lights?
Alistair Livingston

Glasgow University as Covenant Breakers

20 November 1996 - Issue 184
Potentially the most difficult item on the Agenda, namely the University's intentions on the Crichton site at Dumfries, passed off without a murmur. The Principal on behalf of the Management Group laid out the bones of the scheme. Two committees had been set up: a Project Management Team under Professor Jan McDonald, and an Advisory Board under Professor Skinner. Crichton College was envisaged as a small development: it would build up to 500 FTEs after three years, about half of them being full-time students. An Accord (nothing firmer) was being prepared with other organisations, such as Dumfries & Galloway Council and the Crichton Development Council. The University would not buy, but rent, space on the site. To quote the Principal, Crichton would 'not draw resources from core activities'; instead, there would be 'a need to engage staff to meet additional load'. The Secretary of State and SHEFC were being kept informed.
63.6 Crichton Accord: Revision as the 'New Crichton Accord'
With the development of the University's Crichton College as the major element in the growth of the wider Crichton University campus but alongside the other elements represented by the developments of Paisley University and Bell College, the original 'Crichton Accord' between the University and the other parties in the wider Crichton development had been updated to take account of the involvement of Paisley and Bell. Court approved the 'New Crichton Accord' and noted that it was intended that it be signed at Crichton on 19 May.[2000]
Note: one of the co-authors of this report was M. Easton who I take to be i.e.

Director of Operations for the Crichton University Campus: Dr. Morven Easton

The Memorandum of Agreement between the University of Glasgow and the University of Paisley Relating to the Crichton University Campus Dumfries stated that “a Joint Academic Planning Group for curriculum development will be established to make recommendations to the Joint Management Committee on joint course provision”.
At its meeting of 27th August 1999 the Joint Management Committee of the Crichton University Campus, on behalf of the universities of Glasgow and Paisley, agreed that initially membership of the Joint Academic Planning Group would be drawn from Glasgow and Paisley so as to clarify HE provision overall, before involvement of other potential FE partners.
“The Memorandum of Agreement sets out the arrangements between the University of Glasgow and the University of Paisley in respect of their partnership for the joint development of the Crichton University Campus Dumfries. The Memorandum of Agreement coheres with and furthers arrangements set out in the Joint Bid from the Universities of Glasgow and Paisley submitted to the SHEFC for Strategic Change

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Decision? What Decision!

From Glasgow University's Mission Statement:

Point 3.
to make a major contribution to local, regional, national and international communities through widening access and through working in partnership to support economic regeneration.

Fine words which the University obviously do not believe apply in Dumfries and Galloway and south west Scotland...

Found some internal Glasgow University documents online, including Court Minutes.

Read 'em while you can - no doubt they will be deleted soon on the 'Don't let them see what we are doing' principle.

The most recent Court Report online is from 11 October 06, at which no decision was made on Crichton... There was then another Court meeting in December, but Minutes from that will not be online until approved at next Court meeting which is 14 February 2007.

If a final decision was not made in December, then the 14 February Court meeting is likely to be the critical one. That is the one at which the strength of opposition and damaging consequences for Glasgow University - which need to be spelled out to members of Court by Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Executive, Scottish Funding Council, etc etc.

So far, at the meetings held in 2006, pulling out of the Crichton has been presented to Court as a low risk, cost saving measure which will have no impact on core University activities.

This bland assessment must be challenged vigorously and effectively. The seeds of doubt must be sown. We must show that pulling out of the Crichton, out of Dumfries and Galloway is a high risk strategy with minimal cost benefits.

Glasgow University does not function in isolation. It is deeply entangled in a whole series of relationships with a range of partners and stakeholders.

It may appear that such relationships between Glasgow University and Dumfries and Galloway are 'trivial' , of little political , social or economic significance and therefore can be easily broken.

Our campaign has got to get the message through that this is not the case. If public, political and institutional pressure from Dumfries and Galloway is not sufficient, then we must make strategic alliances with those who can exert sufficient pressure.

That is the challenge. We have until the 14th February to 'make it so'.

If some of the links below don't work, this is not a fiendish plot by Glasgow University. It is incompetence on my part. I have revised most of them after I found none of them worked when first blogged this.

All for now

7 February 2006
The University of Glasgow: 2006-10

The University of Glasgow is determined to be one of the small number of institutions which are recognised as being the best universities in the world.
We are going to do so by being an outstanding place to do research, to learn and to teach.
Our new Strategic Plan sets out our actions to achieve these ambitions.

Indicators of our success in widening access include:
1 16% of young full-time undergraduate entrants come from neighbourhoods with a history of low participation in higher education;
2 Our Department of Adult and Continuing Education provides learning and access opportunities to 3,900 adults from a wide variety of backgrounds;
3 1,400 students with notified disabilities are matriculated at the University;
4 26% of students are undertaking part-time study (including Adult and Continuing Education provision);
5 The University’s Crichton campus has a growing impact on rural south-west Scotland by bringing higher education to some 300 undergraduates, with potential for growth, in an area previously without ready access to university level education;
6 39% of the student body was over 21 on entering the University.

2004 Review of Crichton performance

Court Minutes May 2006

CRT/2005/56.9 Bequests
The University noted the receipt of the following bequests:

* £7,468 from the late Dr Joyce Gladys MINTON: to Crichton University College, Dumfries, to be used for the annual Muriel Carmichael Prose Prize. The sum is in addition to £250,000 received in January 2003 and £118,381.86 received in October 2003, bequeathed to Crichton University College, Dumfries to be used for academic staff appointments in the disciplines of environmental science and local studies.

Court Minutes June 2006

CRT/2005/63.2 Crichton Campus
The Principal reported that the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) were aware of the University's position on the campus presence in Dumfries. Since the last meeting of Court representation had been made to the Chairman of the SFC about the impact of the lack of recurrent funding for Crichton. It was clarified that Crichton's operating deficit was reflected in the University's budget and not in a Faculty budget.
A full report on the University's options with regard to Crichton would be provided to Court at its next meeting.

CRT/2005/65.1 Finance Committee
Court received a presentation on the University Budget 2006/2007 and Financial Forecasts 2007-2009 from Professor Anton Muscatelli, Vice Principal Strategy and Advancement. The Financial Forecasts showed the University proceeding with greater confidence, and evidence that Faculties had ambitious but realistic budgets which reflected increases in local income-generating activity. …

Court agreed that it was now possible to conclude that good progress had been made in making the University financially sustainable. It was noted that a number of positive investments had been made as part of setting Faculty and corporate budgets, that budgets included some stretching, but realistic, figures on new non-Funding Council income generation, and that under reasonable assumptions the University was now in a position to invest, through both recurrent and capital spending, to fund ambition.

Court approved the 2006/2007 budget and financial forecast.

Court Minutes October 2006

CRT/2006/4.4 The University’s Crichton Campus
Court noted that the financial viability of the University’s Crichton Campus activity was the subject of continuing discussion at Finance Committee and with the Funding Council. A further report would be made to Court at its December meeting.

CRT/2006/9. Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Court will be held on Wednesday 13 December 2006 at 2pm in the Senate Room. The other Court meeting dates for 2006/2007 are:
Wednesday 14 February 2007, Wednesday 18 April 2007, Wednesday 27 June 2007
All at 2pm

Glasgow University's Response to Scottish Executive Strategic Priorities
It is a condition of the University’s main grant from SHEFC that, taking account of its own particular circumstances and contexts, it devise and implement strategies which address effectively the Scottish Executive’s priorities for:

* Equality of opportunity and widening participation

Last year the information to demonstrate that the University was fulfilling the condition of grant in these areas was provided to SHEFC within the University’s Strategic Plan. The requirement for a slimmed down format for the current Strategic Plan together with SHEFC’s requirements for a significant level of detail in the condition of grant areas mean that the Strategic plan is no longer a suitable vehicle for demonstrating compliance. Rather, the University is submitting the information required by SHEFC on the four areas listed above as a separate exercise. The submissions are consistent with the Strategic Plan.

16 A vehicle for the University’s outreach and widening participation strategy in the past five years has been its investment in its Crichton Campus. The vigour and the potential for growth of the Crichton Campus, if backed by political commitment, are undiminished but a critical point has been reached where the University’s future there is dependent on acquiring additional funded numbers to deliver the vision.

Courier Creates Confusion: Battle Not L ost

I was shocked to see 'Uni Battle Lost' as headline in Friday's Dumfries Courier. But although the story quotes from a statement by Muir Russell (Lord Russell of Holyrood to his friends) issued 'yesterday' i.e Thursday 1 Feb , this seems to be based on the Lord Russell's original letter sent to staff at the Crichton on January 16th.

I will check with Fraser Robertson, but it looks like old news rather than new news.

Problem is Courier is a free sheet with a 25 000 circulation and a lot of people will just see the headline and think 'It is all over'. NO IT ISN'T .

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Workers and Students of the World Unite!

This is from Indymedia - an alternative radical international news source - I think it goes back to the days of early 90s UK road protests

Save the Crichton Campus
insider | 01.02.2007 21:05
The fight to save the Crichton Campus in Dumfries is ongoing. Here is an overview of actions and strategies launched by students, unions and stuff including a plea for your support.
Latest developments

The situation at the Crichton campus is still in a state of flux, but before exploring events and future options, I should restate some basic background, and recap on events so far:

The Crichton Campus in Dumfries opened in 1998, and is made of predominantly three organisations: Paisley University, Bell College and Glasgow University, with a fourth, Dumfries and Galloway college (and FE institution) moving onto the site in a few years time. Up until 1998 Dumfries and Galloway had no Higher Education provision, and the Crichton Campus is still the only provider in the region. Dumfries and Galloway suffered from demographic, cultural, economic and social problems 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 the national average of uptake of Higher education.

The Crichton Campus three institutions, each of which has its main organisational centre outwith the area. Divided up the curriculum between them in order to avoid duplication: Bell College (whose centre is in Hamilton) provide nurse training; Paisley University provide predominantly computing and management courses and Glasgow University provide predominantly Social Science, Arts and Humanities courses and post-grad provision.

However, even at the start the Campus was not fully resourced. There are no sports facilities, no students union or any recreational, cultural or social facilities, there is indeed, nowhere for students or staff to have a hot meal on campus. Despite these appalling weaknesses in social infrastructure, the educational resources are first rate, with live video-linked access to many Glasgow University lectures and access to highly educated, experienced, committed academics on site, and dedicated, knowledgeable support and administrative staff. By all recognised criteria, the University of Glasgow at the Crichton Campus (UGCC) provides educational experiences of very high quality.

The student body of UGCC has a high percentage of students from non-traditional backgrounds, who due to family commitments, or other reasons, are unable to travel further afield for higher education.

According to the main campus at Glasgow University, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) made indications that they would financially support their involvement in the Crichton Campus, without which it would run at a loss.
The current deficit is, according, to the Principal, Muir Russell, £800,000 which he described as ‘unsustainable’ and as a result on Wednesday January 17th at 6pm, whilst staff were manning an Open Evening he sent an email announcing the planned closure of the campus. It should be noted that the size of the actual deficit has been questioned by the SFC and local MPs, Russell Brown and Alex Fergusson,and Elaine Murray MSP. The phrase ‘creative accounting’ was used.

The SFC argue that as they fund Glasgow University to the tune of £142 million (and made a £2 million profit), the University should find the funds to maintain the Crichton Campus rather than find any additional resources for it. Whilst Glasgow University argues that each sector has to be independently viable. Neither side is willing to budge, indeed the situation suits both parties. The SFC can blame the Principal (a public figure who has little popular support), the Principal in turn can blame the SFC – so both sides can avoid responsibility, whilst the students and staff at UGCC are caught in the middle. Into the mix must be added the Scottish Executive and local council, who also share some responsibility for the campus, who have expressed concern, but so far, have shown little indication of action.

What this means is that there will be no new entrants onto UGCC’s undergraduate degree programmes, and that there will be no provision of the arts, humanities or social sciences for the people in the area. Many of the staff, academic and non-academic are facing redundancy, and the full-time students remaining, whilst having a graduating curriculum are unlikely to have anything like the full range of courses they expected to finish their degree. UGCC has added enormously economically, socially and culturally to a region lacking so much. It is unsurprising, therefore, that there has been enormous popular reaction against the planned closure.

Recent Events
Both staff and students are furious at the closure decision, as indeed are the overwhelming majority of the local population. One local politician is reputed to have stated that he hadn’t seen anything like it since the Poll Tax, in the face of such local hostility, and with elections near at hand, all the min local political grouping are opposing the closure — SSP, Solidarity, Greens, Labour, SNP and (even) the Tories have condemned the decision.

The students have organised four demonstrations so far, one at the Crichton Campus in Dumfries on January 24th, one on the main campus in Glasgow the next day, and two in Edinburgh (outside the Scottish parliament and the SFC) the day after. They also launched a petition to raise awareness in the town, and in the first few days had nearly three thousand signatures. The local newspapers (such as The Dumfries and Galloway Standard) have taken on the campaign, as have local radio.

The staff have supported the students actions. They have held a number of union meetings. The main union, UCU represents the overwhelming majority of academic staff and includes a number of support staff (although there are some who are members of EIS, Amicus, UNISON and two members of the IWW). The local UCU meeting unanimously condemned the closure decision and have lobbied their main branch, the union up in Glasgow. The branch is supportive but by their own admission unlikely to be very effective, concentrating its efforts on speaking to the SFC and Scottish executive rather than pressurising the Principal. The staff have also initiated a letter-writing campaign contacting the SFC, the Principal, Scottish Executive – in particular Jock McConnell and Nicol Stephen (Minister for Life Long learning) and the local council.

Support has been flooding in from elsewhere from past students, from academics at other universities, from local people (and indeed people outwith the region who benefited from some of the events put on by UGCC).
One of the problems however has been the geographic distance between the Dumfries campus and the main Glasgow University, this means staff and students up on the main campus, have little knowledge of what goes on 75 miles away at the Crichton Campus. To this end supportive students and others from Glasgow (mostly, but not exclusively from the Socialist Society and the IWW) have been distributing leaflets explaining the plight of their colleagues down in Dumfries. They also organised a meeting at very short notice on the main campus, at which two Crichton members of staff spoke, and raised £30 (and 2 euros) for the students’ fighting fund.

Future Events
On Friday February 2nd, the students are holding a mass meeting to discuss future strategies. Two members of the Glasgow-based Crichton-support group are travelling down to meet with staff and students.

February 15th – the matter is debated in the Scottish parliament.

Because the relatively isolated geographical region (even the media that covers Dumfries is largely different to that which covers the Central Belt) the situation is desperate, but it is not hopeless. Staff and students are committed to the cause and have large and increasingly active local support, in an area not noted for its radicalism. The assistance from supporters up on the main campus and in Glasgow as a whole has also encouraged protestors in the South West.

How People Can Help
Staff and students are meeting to discuss further ways of intensifying the campaign, and would be grateful for your support and suggestions. In addition, they would be grateful if you would write to the following asking that they reverse the decision with regards to funding for the University of Glasgow Crichton Campus:

Sir Muir Russell,
The Principal
University of Glasgow

principal (at)

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

rmcclure (at)

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)

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

Nicol.Stephen.msp (at)

* 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.

letters (at)

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

There is also a skeleton website at

And the students website (seemingly not updated very often) at:

Jack McConnell "Full support for Crichton"

Thursday 1 February McConnell pledges campus support

First Minister Jack McConnell has pledged his "full support" for efforts to secure the future of the Crichton campus in Dumfries in Scottish Parliament today.

Tory MSP Alex Fergusson raised the issue amid concerns that the University of Glasgow might quit the town.
Mr McConnell said he hoped to see provision on the campus "at least maintained - if not improved".
He said the Scottish Funding Council was working to ensure the widest range of courses was available.
Mr Fergusson, the MSP for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale, raised his question after the University of Glasgow warned it might be forced out of Dumfries due to financial losses on the campus.
He said the Crichton needed to ensure political support "at the highest level".
The first minister said he recognised the importance of the site.
"Crichton campus is important for Dumfries and south west Scotland as a whole," he said.
"I believe the overall level of provision at the Crichton campus should be at least maintained - if not improved."
He said the SFC and Crichton partners were developing a strategy to guarantee a "secure future" for the campus involving a range of institutions and courses.
"They have my full support in doing so," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS: