Unfair comparison

May 16, 1997

Here is a tale of two colleges in one city. One college is monitored by Nottingham Trent University and audited by the HEFCE (Southampton Institute) and the other is having its accreditation removed by the Teachers Training Agency (La Sainte Union College). You surmise that "too little money" caused the problems and that the "agency" used its muscle to close it down. Is this the right way to handle the college's problems? Is this what you are advocating for Southampton Institute?

We do not wish to cast aspersions on the college concerned without any serious and concrete evidence. Yet The THES Opinion column continues its invective against Southampton Institute without any new insights. Is it because we are not a university?

What has happened at La Sainte Union is tragic. Given the relentless adverse publicity that The THES gives to Southampton Institute, the consequences could be equally tragic. Does the writer consider the average person working in Sout-hampton Institute?

What good is achieved by The THES recycling stories surrounding historical events which have frequently been distortions of the truth? They serve to denigrate the efforts of a hard- working and loyal staff who have made remarkable advances in developing an extensive range of successful degree courses since incorporation in 1989.

There have been numerous other examples of serious problems within the university sector, which do not attract continual adverse publicity.

It is difficult to see the justification for some of the recent articles. We who work here at the institute, rate it highly. The recent HEFCE subject assessments and the research assessment exercise confirm our opinion. We wish to continue working here and urge you to be fair.

Enough is enough: it is time to call a truce and set the record straight. This institution has much to offer and it would be tragic for all of us working here, and the city of Southampton, if unjustified comments are allowed to destroy it.

It is time for the staff here not to feel bullied by the press. There will always be some people who will campaign against their employers. There is much to be gained by planning for the future and we are confident that we can make major contributions to the community at home and overseas if we do not have to battle with the media.

Names and addresses supplied

The Millennium Association Southampton Institute

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