UCL News


UCL in the News: Split over power shake-up

4 May 2007

The University of London has laid out plans for a new governance structure, but the reforms do not go far enough, according to the head of one of its biggest constituent colleges.

Professor Malcolm Grant, President and Provost of UCL and one of four college heads in the body set up to design new statutes, told The Times Higher that he resigned from the working group this year because he believed the proposals were not as radical as they should be.

The plans include replacing the university's current 74-strong senate and 72-strong council system with a more streamlined, "corporate" structure. A 14-strong board of trustees, with a majority of lay members, would replace the council and would act as the executive body. …

Professor Grant is concerned that under the proposals the "final say" will lie with the board of trustees rather than college heads. He believes the collegiate council should have executive responsibility.

He told The Times Higher that he decided to stand down from the working group because it was clear he had a different view to the other members of the group.

He said: "My view is that the University of London should become a commonwealth of its member colleges and be run by the colleges and for the colleges."

Professor Grant's vision would be for the board of trustees to hold the property and assets but allocate funding annually to the collegiate council.

"The collegiate council would have executive responsibility for leadership of the university and would appoint a chief executive who would deliver the running of the university," he said. …

He thinks the position of vice-chancellor should be abolished because it resurrects the notion of a central university with a separate leader. He would prefer the council to elect one of their number as chair. "I am not sure that what we are heading towards is sustainable in the medium term," Professor Grant said. …

Consultation on the plans runs until the end of July.

Rebecca Attwood, 'The Times Higher Education Supplement'