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UCU calls for Glyndŵr vice-chancellor and chair of governors to resign

17 June 2014

UCU has called for the resignations of the vice-chancellor and the chair of the board of governors at Glyndŵr University.

The union has unearthed new details of the financial mess at Glyndŵr, which it says is why these two figures have lost credibility and should no longer be allowed to run the university. The union has highlighted:

  • the vice-chancellor enjoyed an 8% pay increase between 2012 and 2013 despite the university being in a position where its recovery plan is being closely monitored by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW). Staff at the university got a below-inflation 1% rise in the same year
  • a voluntary severance scheme saw 77 members of university staff leave between August 2013 and February 2014 but 77 new staff joined over the same period
  • the university has bought a football ground but is due to make a loss on it - income is forecast to be £655,000 while costs are anticipated at £972,000, resulting in a loss of £317,000 before depreciation
  • income for the year that ended 31 July 2013 was some £4.5m down on the preceding year
  • the university drew up a recovery plan in December 2013 based on cutting staff numbers and increasing students but its predicted surplus for 2014/15 is still only £145,000, leaving it vulnerable to slipping into a further deficit.

The university got into financial difficulties in the academic year of 2012/13 when student numbers dropped. In a bid to get back on track, it set a fee plan that offered courses at low fee levels. Fees have since been increased for some courses but some are still provided below their cost.

The union argues new rules for scrutiny of universities need to be enshrined in law, highlighting how Scotland has gone down this road in the wake of a large-scale review of university governance. 

In a letter to the Welsh Minister for Education and Skills, Huw Lewis, the union laid bare details of the financial mess at Glyndŵr, and called for the resignation of the vice-chancellor and the Chair of the Board of Governors.

UCU regional official, Margaret Phelan, said: 'After unearthing more details of Glyndŵr's finances, we have no confidence that the current management will be able to put the university on a secure footing for a successful future. That is why we have called for the resignation of the vice-chancellor and the Chair of the Board of Governors.

'Glyndŵr University has sunk further and further into a financial hole and its proposed recovery plan is nothing more than a knee-jerk, quick-fix plan that would see the loss of many experienced staff.

'We have called on the Welsh education minister to change the rules on how universities are run to ensure much better scrutiny of the decisions take at top-level. This is desperately needed to stop other institutions in Wales going down the same road as Glyndŵr.'

Last updated: 10 December 2015