Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Paul Layzell's response to our proposals

We love this college, and we hope to be here more than year or two and do the best for the college. Just over 18 months ago there was talk of cuts, 30-35% [cuts] in funding would have devestating effect on the college. It would have resulting in the failure of the university. We do the job to make them better. Love it or hate it, the white paper is an alternative the coalition paper put forward, there is a lot in the white paper and last year we made representation about it. There are lots of things that are good in the white paper such as the repayment options, and for part-time students who now have support. We have some real concerns about the damage the white paper is doing. The policy of creating an open market policy is chaotic. There is a direct threat to the university with a 9% reduction in the amount of students attending. 1 in 4 of [candidates of your grade] may not be here in four or five years time as a result of the white paper. We will continue to make representations about the paper, it can make progarmmes unsustainable and may result in us considering some programme closures. We do not want to do this. We support the broad thrust that there is a lot of things wrong with the white paper. Calling for the withdrawal of the white paper will result in more damage. Implementation of the white paper needs to be addressed. There are some good things in the white paper and there are some really bad things and we are committed to voicing our thoughts about the negatives of its implementation. We do not want any course closures. 
It doesn't make sense to say we are not going to close programmes as it depends upon students needs. We want to retain the academic shape of the university. We cannot do this by sustaining unpopular programmes. In terms of job cuts we cannot guarantee that, we are unsure of funding for next year and are in a period of great uncertainty. We have meaningful talks with the unions. 
Within the money we have available we are committed to bursaries and raising funds through donors, we have taken the clear view that students prefer bursaries over loans, and from next year students can choose to take funding as a bursary or a fee waiver. The student experience is important and we have been tring to persuade colleagues our first and foremost is the ensuring a good student experience. 
We have the money to expand Bedford Library and in two years we hope to have this. We want to put more money into books and expanding the WIFI library. We have identified 10 rooms that need refurbishment, so that when people come back in January teaching rooms will be improved and the library will be expanded.
Let's do the things that have the biggest impact on the largest amount of students. We are happy to hear other views. We believe that there are lots of people who can benefit from RHUL, the government limits the number of students, we go by grades, we are committed to empowering women and widening access to the group. We are committed to running foundation and access courses.
We do work with for-profit people all the time and all universities that have international students do, as for example, in India, you have to go through an international agent, they are for-profit orgs, we have also chosen to work with Pearsons, as the proposal they have to offer a top up tio the BTEC means someone can graduate with a RHUL degree when under other circumstances they will not be able to come to this college because of fees or the government only allows us to recruit a fixed number of students. 
We have students on council already and independent members have to be the majority. The college council believes two is a good number. There are many ways students can get representation and lobby college council. 
We have a legal duty when looking at restructuring we have to tell them that is the case, we are seeoking to do that through voluntary means and negotiations with the unions. We are happy to give access to occupiers and as long as people can go along with their normal duties, and health and safety. Some staff do find this sort of thing intimidating so their is mutual respect. Victimisation has not happened in the past, we don't vicitmise people based upon what is legally and rightly proper, as long as there is debate and we find a conclusion to this.

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