Wood that they had their just desserts

August 2, 1996

Tony Wood, vice chancellor at Luton (THES, July 26) ingenuously assumes that it is axiomatic that institutions such as his which have vastly and autonomously increased their student numbers, in some cases by as much as 50 per cent in one year, should be rewarded for their recklessness and thereby be automatically allowed to cause a reduction in the unit of resource of those institutions which have behaved responsibly.

Surely there is an argument that those who autonomously have worked to undermine the financial viability of the HE system - and to convince the Government that they could virtually get something for nothing - should have the right, equally autonomously, to manage the consequences of their actions within their own share of the resources and not at everyone else's expense.

Fallacious anarchic management has created Tony Wood's problem, and that in turn has created a problem for the whole sector, including the threatened reduction in real salaries of university and college staff concomitant with the management's offer of a 1.5 per cent "rise" in salaries.

CHRISTINE CHEESMAN Chief executive Association of University and College Lecturers

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