Middlesex sets up `court' for comment

July 21, 1995

Middlesex University has joined the growing number of former polytechnics to create a court as a forum for wider community involvement in the university.

It will meet annually and be made up of MPs, peers, community leaders, alumni, local authority figures and captains of industry, although governors retain ultimate responsibility for the institution.

The move pre-dates a recent Committee of University Chairmen report advising new universities that "ways should be found by which the public, or the local community can comment on matters to do with the institution that concern them". The CUC said the courts of old universities met these criteria.

Greenwich was the first post-1992 university to establish an assembly along court lines (its governing council is historically known as the court) and Luton has created a court with limited membership.

Middlesex clerk Gareth Jones said: "We were well aware that the establishment of a court might be regarded by some to be 'aping our betters' but our view is that all universities have a responsibility to be other than closed institutions and to take into account the views of those who have an interest in higher education."

Terms such as "assembly" and "friends of the university" were rejected in favour of "court" because, said Mr Jones, it has "the right implications".

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