Eclipsed on dark side of room

March 10, 2006

Vice-chancellors met in Birmingham for a Universities UK conference last weekend, and with days to go before the strikes there was no shortage of things to discuss. At the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association meeting, a packed room listened to Geoffrey Copland, of Westminster University and the group's chair, talk about the dispute. As each vice-chancellor raised his or her hand to ask a question, Professor Copland acknowledged them by name. Then he took a question from "someone at the back", gesticulating towards a vice-chancellor in the depths of the room whom he didn't seem to be able to put a name to. The individual in question then spoke and identified himself: "David Eastwood, University of East Anglia." There was much amusement round the room at Professor Copland's failure to recognise the new chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Perhaps not the best funding strategy for Westminster.

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