NUS urges switch in control of college

April 4, 2003

The National Union of Students Scotland is calling for the Scottish Executive to relinquish control of the Scottish Agricultural College in a bid to stave off cuts.

The SAC is run by the Scottish Executive's environment and rural affairs department, but NUS Scotland this week met environment minister Ross Finnie to urge that it be brought under the control of the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council.

The SAC was created in 1990 by the merger of colleges in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Auchencruive near Ayr. But its directors are to follow the recommendations of a Deloitte & Touche report and will make cuts in Aberdeen and Auchencruive.

Students last week demonstrated outside the Scottish Parliament, saying the college had failed to take their views into account.

Rami Okasha, president of NUS Scotland, warned that the loss of the Auchencruive campus would mean that many young people would be unable to access tertiary education. He said bringing the SAC under Shefc as a small specialist institution could influence its future development.

The report says the college has about four times more space than necessary and could save £4.58 million a year through restructuring. It will shed 130 posts by 2007.

Principal Bill McKelvey has assured next session's entrants that they will not be affected.

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