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.


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