Public vs private 1

April 20, 2007

Steve Smith implies that staff transferred from Exeter University to Into University Partnerships will suffer no disadvantage (Opinion, April 13). This beggars belief.

There may be an argument that private-sector involvement is helpful as a means of funding new infrastructure or providing enhanced international marketing, but why should this "partnership" be achieved at the cost of one particular professional group? There is, in effect, a transfer of hard-won "standing" - of intellectual property - generated by that group to a third party.

Exeter management is thereby demonstrating its utter lack of respect for the considerable contribution to international student support of its own staff.

Why was it not possible at Exeter (or the University of East Anglia or Newcastle University) to strike a deal that provided a return for the private investor without the language centre singlehandedly picking up the tab?

Dick Knight
Executive director, Language Centre
Leeds University

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