They forgot to mind the gap

June 3, 2010

I wonder whether the severance conditions afforded to the outgoing vice-chancellor at the University of Cumbria will be extended to all staff and students at that beleaguered institution ("Cumbria appoints interim v-c after leader leaves job he says was 'mis-sold'", May). Presumably they too were "mis-sold" their respective posts and places on the basis of the dodgy 2008 business plan. It's more likely, however, that they will be left to pick up whatever pieces survive this appalling saga of financial mismanagement, failed leadership and political incompetence.

The University of Cumbria was to have filled a huge gap in higher education provision across the North West of England, thereby going some way towards meeting the requirements of the widening participation agenda for that area. The hastily put together 2010-20 business plan, with its emphasis on overseas recruitment and "full-cost" courses, offers little evidence of a firm commitment to pursuing that agenda.

This means that higher education provision across the country will remain uneven, "patchy" and unfair and the North West of England will continue to be disadvantaged in terms of higher education choice and provision.

Jon Nixon, Cumbria.

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