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Letter from over 50 UCL academics to The Times

14 February 2018

In a show of public support for UCL's new campus on the Olympic Park, over 50 academics from different UCL faculties signed a joint letter to The Times newspaper. This letter, included below, sought to reassure readers of The Times about the support for UCL East and to address a few points raised in a newspaper article published last week.

Dear Sir,

As academics who work at UCL, drawn from across several different faculties, we would like to assure readers of The Times that story headlined “University College ‘ignored staff before agreeing £1bn expansion’” is not an accurate reflection of the views of the overwhelming majority of UCL staff.  

It is true, UCL’s Visitor is obliged to appoint a person of repute to investigate a formal complaint when made. This is a matter of simple procedure. Among the matters raised, let us address the claim "that proposals for the vast expansion, which involves building a campus in the Olympic Park, had been bulldozed through and exposed the university to financial risk”. These matters were discussed in October 2017 at UCL’s senior staff-led body (Academic Board) that advises the UCL Council on all academic matters and questions affecting the educational policy of UCL. At that meeting, the Board was presented with a very detailed overview of the academic vision and financial planning underpinning UCL's development of an innovative campus, UCL East, on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Hundreds of staff members assessed whether, on the basis of the considerable evidence provided by all sides, there was any reason to delay or prevent or oppose the move to create a transformative campus in east London.

An overwhelming majority voted in support of UCL East across financial management, academic principles and geographical location and affirmed our commitment to be part of the new Cultural and Education District on the Olympic Park with The London College of Fashion, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Sadler’s Wells. We will also join Loughborough in London, BT Sport, Cancer Research UK and many others who have committed to transform the former Olympic Park in a unique and innovative fashion. There was excitement over the academic vision presented which belies the accusation that UCL is putting financial gain ahead of its commitments to teaching and research.

Far from being imposed from the top down, UCL East is a project driven and, in academic content devised, by academics who dream of transforming the way UCL relates to London and reimagining the role a university can play in urban regeneration. 

The letter you cite provided a good headline, but the claim that this is a story about misconduct and reckless adventurism is fundamentally wrong.

Yours faithfully

  1. Professor Michael Stewart - The Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences
  2. Dr. Haidy Geismar - The Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences
  3. Professor Kate Jones - The Faculty of Life Sciences
  4. Dr. Ben Campkin - The Faculty of The Bartlett
  5. Professor Paola Lettieri - The Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  6. Professor John Mitchell - The Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  7. Professor Piet Eeckhout - The Faculty of Laws
  8. Professor Tony Kenyon - The Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  9. Ms Jo Volley - The Faculty of Arts and Humanities
  10. Professor Rodney Harrison - The Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences
  11. Professor Andy Hudson-Smith - The Faculty of The Bartlett
  12. Professor Steve Hailes - The Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  13. Professor Gary Lye - The Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  14. Professor Dejan Mumovic - The Faculty of The Bartlett
  15. Professor Nigel Titchener-Hooker - The Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  16. Dr. Catherine Holloway - The Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  17. Mr Greg Thompson - The Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences
  18. Professor Mariana Mazzucato - The Faculty of The Bartlett
  19. Professor Henrietta Moore - The Faculty of The Bartlett
  20. Professor Bob Sheil - The Faculty of The Bartlett
  21. Professor Mark Emberton - The Faculty of Medical Sciences
  22. Professor Alan Penn - The Faculty of The Bartlett
  23. Professor Jason Peacey - The Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences
  24. Dr. D'Maris Coffman - The Faculty of The Bartlett
  25. Professor Rainer Kattel - The Faculty of The Bartlett
  26. Professor Andrew Davies - The Faculty of The Bartlett
  27. Professor Jonathan Montgomery - The Faculty of Laws
  28. Professor Iain Borden - The Faculty of The Bartlett
  29. Professor Sue Hamilton - The Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences
  30. Professor Susan Collins - The Faculty of Arts and Humanities
  31. Dr. Emma Richardson - The Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences
  32. Emertius Professor John Lowry - The Faculty of Laws
  33. Professor Jeremy Watson - The Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  34. Professor Carsten Gerner-Beuerle - The Faculty of Laws
  35. Dr. Paul Shearing - The Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  36. Professor Dan Brett - The Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  37. Professor Francesca Medda - The Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  38. Mr Kieren Reed - The Faculty of Arts & Humanities
  39. Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti - The Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  40. Mr Peter McLennan - The Faculty of The Bartlett
  41. Professor Andrew Edkins - The Faculty of the Bartlett
  42. Professor Julio D Davila - The Faculty of the Bartlett
  43. Professor Stavroula Balabani  -  The Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  44. Ms Frosso Pimenides - The Faculty of the Bartlett
  45. Mrs Emanuela Tilley - The Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  46. Dr. Lena Ciric - The Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  47. Professor May Cassar - The Faculty of The Bartlett
  48. Ramsay Memorial Professor Marc-Olivier Coppens - The Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  49. Professor Asterios Gavriilidis - The Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  50. Professor Panagiota Angeli - The Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  51. Mr Carl Gombrich - The Faculty of Arts and Humanities
  52. Professor Haroun Mahgerefteh - The Faculty of Engineering Sciences
  53. Professor Frédéric Migayrou - The Faculty of The Bartlett