Laurie Taylor column

March 15, 2002

I see UUK's in serious trouble.

I'm sorry. I stopped reading the comic strips years ago.

No, it's not a cartoon character. It's a sort of acronym for Universities UK.

What's that?

UUK is the new name for the CVCP. They've modernised their image. Apparently CVCP didn't mean anything to foreigners.

As I recall, it didn't ever mean anything to natives. What's the latest problem? Not enough armchairs to go round at The Athenaeum?

Much more important. It seems UUK sent a submission to the government's student-support review that strongly defended upfront tuition fees.

That's almost unbelievable. You're seriously telling me that an organisation composed of all Britain's vice-chancellors has come out in favour of current government policy.

Whatever next? Hamburgers at McDonalds?

No, that's the whole point. It's not all the vice-chancellors. It's only a minority.

The actual submission wasn't approved by the UUK board or discussed with most vice-chancellors. There wasn't any proper consultation.

Equally unbelievable. I mean, one would have thought that vice-chancellors were past masters of consultation.

Remember how we were given a full 24 hours to respond to the news that our philosophy department was to be closed down?

And remember how we were all asked for our thoughts on the v-c's proposal to increase his salary by 125 per cent? Consultation in action.

You know, sometimes your cynicism is a trifle wearing. Haven't you a single good word to say about our chief executives?

Would "YUK" do for starters?

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