Cardiff Met students say ‘no’ to merger (UK)

By David Matthews

Students at Cardiff Metropolitan University have voted against plans to merge the institution with the University of Wales, Newport and the University of Glamorgan. Of the students who cast ballots in the referendum, 89 per cent voted against the plans, which the Welsh education minister, Labour’s Leighton Andrews, has said will make the institutions more financially resilient.

Ruth Foster, who was elected students’ union president in the same poll, said that she hoped the vote would make Mr Andrews “finally realise that no one wants this merger”. The students’ union is now encouraging its members to vote against Labour in the May city council elections to send a message to Mr Andrews. “We are sending a triple whammy of a message to the education minister Leighton Andrews,” Ms Foster said. “I have been elected on an anti-merger ticket. The students have overwhelmingly said ‘no’ to any merger with Newport and Glamorgan, and the students are registering to vote in the local elections.“There are more than 10,000 students at Cardiff Metropolitan University, and we have a voice. Leighton Andrews has failed to listen to us so far, but he has to listen to these two votes this week, and to our voting intentions on May 3,” she added.

Mr Andrews said in December that the new university “would be an institution with real critical mass, a strong overseas recruitment driver and with a deeper and stronger research base”.He has said that the new market-like, competitive system in England could leave Welsh institutions vulnerable, and argued that consolidation would make them less likely to suffer in the new environment.  The chair of governors at Cardiff Metropolitan, Barbara Wilding, has warned that the university could take legal action if forced to merge. Mr Andrews has hinted that he would force through a merger if it is not agreed to voluntarily.

Source: Times Higher Education