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UCU Cymru responds to VC's comments over Welsh higher education

12 October 2012

UCU Cymru has today responded to the comments made by Cardiff Metropolitan University (CMU) Vice Chancellor, Professor Antony Chapman, in today's edition of the Western Mail.

UCU Cymru is clear that there is a strong rationale for higher education reconfiguration in South East Wales, as outlined in four reports* over the past ten years. These reports (referenced below) have outlined a strong case for the sector to reconfigure in South East Wales. UCU Cymru believes there is a growing body of evidence over the years, all of which suggest that a three way merger is the best option for the three institutions concerned.

Contrary to Professor Chapman's comments, the UCU membership at CMU has consistently backed the branch's stance in seeking a merger with Glamorgan and Newport for the past decade.

UCU Cymru believes yesterday's comments also show a u-turn in CMU's approach to merger. On previous occasions, CMU have stated their opposition to merger, whilst now they say they are open to merger.

UCU Cymru now believe that CMU must do, what several reports have identified, and end this period of uncertainty that CMU has created for staff and students at the institution.

Lleu Williams of UCU Cymru said, 'Cardiff Metropolitan's blatant delaying tactics are only fueling the spiral of decline at the institution that has included the loss of c.170 jobs and course closures in recent years, a fall in undergraduate recruitment, an significant decline in overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey, and a severe drop in the most recent university standings that have been published.

'UCU Cymru has been clear from the start of this process that a full merger between the three institutions would be the best option for higher education in the region. This new institution would draw on the strengths  of each institution, offer opportunities for scope and scale in its core activities, and remove any nugatory competition that currently exists.

'The new institution would also achieve critical mass in quality teaching provision. This combined with ensuring a breadth of provision across both undergraduate and postgraduate level would provide a better service for learners.

'Our support for merger is absolutely conditional on: that a genuinely new post-92 university be established; the merger process itself being properly funded; full engagement with the processes of merger and appointments during merger discussions; a commitment to no compulsory redundancies as a consequence of merger; and the maintenance of the breath of provision currently available within the institutions.'


'University threatens watchdog referral over merger', Western Mail

* 'Reaching Higher' (2002), Welsh Assembly Government; 'The Bull and Cooke report into the future of post-92 higher education in South East Wales' (2005); 'Future Structure of Universities in Wales' (2011,) HEFCW; and 'Report to the Welsh Government on South East Wales HE Provision' (2012), Professor Sir Steve Smith.

Cardiff Metropolitan University, was previously known as UWIC, 'UWIC snubs merger proposals with Newport and Glamorgan universities', The Western Mail, 5 October 2011

The Sunday Times University Rankings 2013 which were published recently showed that Cardiff Metropolitan University are now ranked 109th in UK.

Last updated: 19 June 2019