Opposition to opt-out goes beyond politics

October 26, 1995

I note (THES, October 20) that Ann Risman, principal of Richmond Adult and Community College, has dismissed opposition to her opt-out plans as "politically motivated". Referring to my resignation from the governing body in order to free myself to fight the proposal, she goes so far as to declare: "People must decide between a desire to see the college succeed and a desire to make political points."

It must be stated that opposition towards becoming incorporated is widespread in the borough of Richmond Upon Thames, one of the most educationally conscious areas in the country. I have no idea of the political views of most of those who are expressing opposition to opting out.

The only link between them seems to be that they do not wish the college to abandon its long-term regard for equality between qualification and leisure courses, and that they do not want the college to divorce itself from accountability to the community that has built it up to its present strength and reputation.

This is not the first time that the politics slur has been used when all rational arguments have failed. Some time ago it was the college's art and design centre students who were alleged to have been misled by this mysterious political force. Knowing something of the character of these students, mostly middle class, middle aged to elderly, educated, cultivated and accustomed to making up their minds, I wrote as a governor to the principal asking her to substantiate her assertion. Several weeks have passed and I am still awaiting a reply.

JACQUELINE CAMINER (Until my recent resignation a governor of Richmond Adult and Community College)

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