A ROW over "academic snobbery" has erupted in Cambridge, following an 11th-hour decision by the university's board of continuing education to pull out of a collaborative pact with Anglia Polytechnic University.
Promotional literature had already been printed for the launch next week of the Cambridge Centre for Regional Studies, "a joint initiative between Anglia Polytechnic University and the University of Cambridge Board of Continuing Education".
But following a reprint, the Cambridge board's distinctive crest logo has been removed, leaving only APU's logo. Now the literature trumpets the centre as "a new exciting initiative from Anglia Polytechnic University". Letterheads have also been reprinted without the Cambridge logo.
Susan Rawlings, board director of public programmes, would not comment on the reasons behind Cambridge's withdrawal. "There were discussions about the possibility of a joint venture," she said. "But it is going ahead as an Anglia initiative. With ventures like this all sorts of discussions go on, but you must talk to APU, not us."
Alison Taylor, Cambridge's former county archaeologist, who is to give the centre's inaugural lecture in January, said she had not received confirmation of the board's withdrawal but it would be an "awful shame. There is a lot of support and such partnerships have worked very well elsewhere".
Dr Taylor said she suspected there was an element of "academic snobbery" because APU is not considered a "real university".
She said it was "foolish", as the board was the only part of Cambridge University that existed specifically to reach out to the community to promote learning.
A spokesman for APU said: "The Centre for Regional Studies will be launched by APU. We had hoped the board of continuing education would join us formally. But we now understand that they will only be informally represented. We however look forward to a close and fruitful association in coming years."