Past must not derail future

January 7, 2010

London Metropolitan University makes great things happen for students who don't get a chance elsewhere. There is some prospect of a fresh start now that the present board of governors has agreed to go ("Staff promised bright new year as London Met aims to move on quickly", 31 December). However, its replacement should be established with some urgency.

Some questions remain. Why is Peter Anwyl, the chair of London Met, not leaving immediately, rather than by 31 March? Why is Abdul Rahim, the institution's chair of audit and vice-chair, not going with him? Why is the rest of the board not leaving until 31 August?

Are some members of senior management also culpable? Why did it take so long to intervene when to many the marks of a failing institution were so evident? Would closer scrutiny have brought the discrepancies to light earlier? Above all, what decisions will the Higher Education Funding Council for England take in terms of London Met's finances?

It is understandable that Hefce will wish to strip any ongoing financial advantage that London Met may have gained from its creative returns. However, neither present staff nor students should pay for the past misdeeds of an arrogant management and a governing body that failed to oversee its activities.

Let's have no more prevarication or procrastination. It's time to reinvigorate London Met with a new leadership and financial assurances. The current impasse is demotivating for the students who, last term, were asking whether they should bother to complete their autumn semester assignments when the press suggested that the institution would close.

Paul Mackney, Former general secretary, Natfhe (now part of the University and College Union), 1997-2007, and a parent of a London Met undergraduate.

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