Thursday, 12 March 2009

University Senate Vote

Yesterday Reading University Senate supported the recommendation by managers to close the School of Health and Social Care, despite a concerted campaign by students, staff, residents, professional and democratic representatives and everyone all the way up to and including Reading Borough Council Chief Executive, Michael Coughlin.

Ann Quinn, of the UCU staff body at the school, complained that University bookkeepers were attempting to make the decision in isolation, without any accountability. The school is financially self-sustaining and performs an essential public service role training skilled social workers in a sensitive sector with many vacancies.

The decision will now move to a final stage where it will require confirmation by the University Council on 20th March.

Redlands LibDems have reported back on the decision to go ahead with the closure.

UCU branch secretary Ian Bland notes that the campaigning efforts have not been wasted as the Senate was split over the decision, returning a vote of 32 for the closure, 27 against with 6 abstentions - ie by a plurality of votes, not an overall majority.

This actual result of the vote shows how contentious the decision is proving to be, and that it could yet be reversed as pressure mounts.

LibDem Parliamentary spokesman for Reading East, Cllr Gareth Epps, has also commented, explaining how the proposed closure contravenes recommendations made in the Laming Report - a view also held by Michael Gove MP.

A public meeting has been organised for 7.00pm-9.00pm on 16th March in Waterhouse Chambers, Reading Town Hall.

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