UCU response to regulator's refusal to bail out universities

6 November 2018 | last updated: 9 November 2018

The universities regulator will say today that it would not bail out universities in financial difficulty. Responding to the announcement by the Office for Students (OfS), UCU said it would be writing to all MPs with a university in their constituency asking if they back plans to allow their institution to go bust.

UCU said universities are often one of the key employers in the area and their impact on the local economy and on local opportunities is difficult to overstate. The union added that the OfS should work on ensuring greater scrutiny of how universities are run, not wash its hands if things don't go to plan.

UCU head of policy and campaigns Matt Waddup said: 'In places like India and China they are opening new universities. Do the regulator and minister really want to voluntarily reduce our country's intellectual, social and cultural capital? We shall be writing to every MP with a university in their constituency asking if they are happy with this move.

'Allowing universities go to the wall has consequences far beyond just education - universities are often one of the key employers in the area and their impact on the local economy and on local opportunities is difficult to overstate.'

'Universities do need to be properly run and the OfS should focus its efforts on ensuring better governance structures and scrutiny of the decisions taken at the top table. The regulator and government should be supporting universities to excel, not washing their hands when things don't go to plan.

'Michael Barber's comments demonstrate just how out of touch those in charge of our universities really are. You don't protect students' interests by bringing about the demise of their local university. It would not simply be a case of students moving to another university if theirs were to experience financial trouble.'

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