Fewer Students, Fewer Jobs
Sykes admits job losses and  fewer students - although "not from Imperial"

10.11.2002

The text (highlighted in yellow, below) is a copy of an internal email sent to staff at Imperial College by a senior colleague, as a report on the presentation by Sir Richard Sykes at the Imperial College Senate meeting of 6th November. It shows contiguous text from that email without omission or addition.
The emphases in bold and italics are our own, to highlight aspects of the merger which  have not been sufficiently brought into debate. They reveal or underline four key issues:
loss of jobs and student places (by UCL, "not from Imperial")
the intention that Imperial will be fully in the driving seat in a merged institution
conformity with the 'elitist' line presently being pushed by Government, and reliance on its non-specific financial promises
continuing concern of the mergeristas to seek to control channels of opinion and debate so as to stifle opposition.

In the light of this report it is no longer possible to maintain the pretence that UCL is negotiating on equal terms. The attitudes revealed give a whole new resonance to the word  'Imperialism'.
It is also interesting to note that, as the chances of a 'no' vote from the UCL College Council increase, there is a tendency for both Sykes and Roberts to talk down the December deadline, which was earlier held to be so crucial.
Let the IC Senate take heart from the growing academic concern at UCL..........

1. The December deadline is not for the decision to merge, just for whether to continue negotiation / investigation.
2.  Prime concerns are whether Imperial has sufficient clout to continue to attract good staff and good students. He sees the merger as providing an institution with a sufficiently leading role so that we can improve our status in both research and teaching, and obtain monies earmarked for elite institutions. This latter point appears to be crucial - his analysis is that targeted government spending will be a feature of future HE financing.
3. There will be job losses and there will be fewer students overall taught - although interestingly "not from Imperial".
4. He thinks it will cost £50mill to £100mill pounds and there is support in government but no assurances to fund this - it's up to us to ask.
5. We are better run and our mechanisms and procedures are likely to dominate in the merged institution.
6. There won't be an arts campus and a science campus - faculties are likely to be cross-campus.
7. The size of the merged institution should facilitate what he sees as the key strength of University Research which is inter-disciplinary collaboration.
8. He feels that there should be better separation between teaching and research - he doesn't feel that we can do all the jobs that are being asked of us effectively.
9. He thinks that not enough use is being made of the merger website - all minutes of merger board and sub-board meetings can be found there.
There was an attempt to table a motion asking for a referendum but it was felt that Senate was not empowered to pass such a motion. Instead, this has to be referred to the Executive Committee which the Rector promised would consider the request.
It was asked how we could reconcile his vision of higher salaries and fewer students with financial considerations. He indicated that there is widespread government support for increased funding of "institutions like ours" but he agreed that it was difficult for staff to take it on trust that the money would be there. However the timescale - legal merger could not take place until 2005 at the earliest - should allow this issue to be resolved.
My informal view is that Senate will allow this to go through based upon the lack of an opposing view put forward today. The Rector places great emphasis (perhaps not surprisingly) on the importance of individual Senate members in disseminating and putting forward arguments of colleagues. There will be a vote when Senate meets on December 11th.











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