De Montfort University rejects private company partnership
University says risks of partnership with private firm outweigh potential rewards
UCU today welcomed the decision by De Montfort University (DMU) not to allow the private firm INTO to run an international recruitment centre on campus.
In an email to staff, DMU vice-chancellor, Dominic Shellard, said the university was abandoning the plans because the potential risks outweighed any potential rewards.
The news comes after an overwhelming majority of staff polled at DMU (90%) said a partnership with INTO would damage De Montfort University's reputation.
INTO has now been rejected by staff at every UK university that has been polled on whether or not their institution should get involved with the company.
UCU has been leading a campaign to highlight the dangers of granting private for-profit companies greater access to taxpayers' money and allowing them to get involved with UK higher education. The union says that America provides a worrying snapshot of what could happen in the UK if the government relaxes rules regulating for-profit education providers.
While US private companies recruit just 10% of students they consume 25% of all government-backed loans. Furthermore, only one in five students graduate from four-year degree courses at for-profit institutions, compared with 55% at public community colleges.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'I am delighted that De Montfort University has listened to the concerns of our members and rejected this partnership. We are not prepared to watch universities risk their reputations and future financial health by signing capital and revenue over to what are in effect private sector property developers.
'At every institution where staff have been asked they have rejected INTO. We need to get away from the fallacy that private, for-profit firms can do a better job of running our education services then the experts. A quick glance across to the US highlights the dangers of handing over public money to these companies.'