Please send us any comments, criticisms or proposals!
George Azariah-Moreno (UCL) writes:
Imperial's science focus is its strength. That's what it's good at. It is argued that UCL's humanities would 'synergistically' benefit Imperial. Agree? What about the logistics? If you have humanities centred around the current UCL site, you're not likely to be getting much access to them anyway. We'd end up with a watered-down humanities section, with an unclear sense of purpose vis-a-vis the rest of the university + gradual marginalisation. Moving everything to Imperial, to 'make it all accessible to everyone' would effectively be the loss of UCL. Is that fair? And even if this happens, wouldn't you risk losing your advantage as a strong, science-focused institution? It wouldn't even amount to 'replicating' UCL on the Imperial site, as the science/humanities balance currently present at UCL would be compromised. Humanities would become optional supplements, rather than be at the forefront of their field, as is presently the case at UCL.
I can't see it being possible to have a spatial arrangement of departments that would be impartial to both universities. And whatever the arrangement, it would break up UCL's ethos: a balance and co-existence of sciences and humanities, which has provided a platform for strong multi-disciplinary research. This is UCL's strength -it would be dissolved.
In short, the sum would be lesser than the two seperate constituent parts.
We have to look beyond the salesbabble and ask ourselves at what price this merger is to actually take place.
Would it be feasible to quickly set up and publicise a website where people can identify themselves, their interest (student, alumni, staff, parent, whatever) and clinically vote on this ridiculous proposal ?
If Sykes wants to play the 'size' game, let him go away and 'merge' Oxford and Cambridge.
Peter H Davies, Maths 1971
Save UCL replies: We invite everyone to register their opinions via our guestbook
An important, if perhaps theologically unsound, letter of support from a leading Establishment figure:
Dear Friends of UCL,
As Almighty God, Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, I am e-mailing you to offer my support in opposing the takeover of UCL by the leader of the Imperial Storm Troopers.
As many of you will know, I am against monopolies, especially when it comes to religion. This is why during the 19th Century I called together groups of like-minded people to found UCL, in order to offer a radical alternative to the Church of England's monopoly of English university education - I judged it not to be just, that to go to Oxford or Cambridge, students had to be communicant members of the Chuch of England. Many have called you the "godless of Gower Street" - but I for one (and my opinion matters most) know that your hearts are in the right place. I have therefore returned to you my trusted and now restored servant, Jeremy Bentham, to offer guidance in the days ahead.
God bless the godless and the God-fearing of Gower Street.
Your Omnipresent and Omniscient
From Jamie Abela
Having graduated from UCL (Electrical Engineering - 2000) I couldn't believe my ears when I heard there were plans to merge UCL with Imperial College or, worse still, that Imperial College were planning on taking us over. UCL and Imperial couldn't be more different and any merger would be a disgrace.
If they want to combine something, why don't they just merge Strand Poly with Hogwarts School, then maybe they could magically make themselves both disappear?
From Ian Evans
Dear All, Well done for putting up such an informative website. Is there a petition against the merger in circulation? Best wishes, Ian
Thanks for your support - watch these pages for forthcoming initiatives.....
A sensational piece of numerological interpretation from Nostradamus:
I have calculated the sum of the numeric values of the letters in the following words:
RECTOR OF IC SIR RICHARD SYKES
PROVOST OF UCL SIR DEREK ROBERTS
The sum comes to 666, identified by St. John as "The Mark of the Beast" in the apocryphal book of "Revelation". Should any significance be attached to this, or am I just a crazy numerologist?
Nostradamus, Merged Faculty of MAD HATTERS [Previously known separately as: Mathematics, Astronomy, (Double) Dutch, History, Anaesthesia, Theology (formerly known as King's), Transport, Egyptology, Rheumatlogy, Slade]
PS I have attached my workings, from which you will see that the sum of the numeric values of the letters in the name DEREK ROBERTS is the same as the sum for RICHARD SYKES. Could you ask UCL's leading Professor of Genetics whether this means they are Clones?
O(15)F(6) I(9)C(3) 33
S(19)I(9)R(18) 46 R(18)I(9)C(3)H(8)A(1)R(18)D(4) S(19)Y(25)K(11)E(5)S(19)
O(15)F(6) U(21)C(3)L(12) 57
Editor's note: our abacus tells us that 140+140 is only 280..........
I am not amused to hear about the plans to fuse UCL with Imperial College. I herewith express my concern as well as my strong opposition.
Jörn Jacob Rohwer, Publicist, Berlin (Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies 1993/94)
If UCL staff and/or students are still overwhelmingly unsatisfied with the merger proposals, but the UCL College Council votes on 19/12/2002 in favour of the merger (despite knowing it is against the wishes of the majority of UCL staff and students), then what can legitimately be done to oppose or derail them? To mix my metaphors, I am proposing that should the horse have bolted, closing the stable door will of course be useless but lassos will not. No matter how powerful the beast, it can be brought to heel even if only belatedly. But while the tool for reeling in an escaped horse is a lasso, what (diplomatic/political) tools would be available to us to halt the wayward path of a bullish bureaucracy?
I ask this in great seriousness. I will not be satisfied to simply stand by if I see this proposal bulldozed through the picket-lines, so to speak.
Sam Kuper, 2nd year History and Philosophy of Science
Editor's note: The policy of Save UCL! is to assist in the first place in heading off the mergeristas at the pass - i.e at College Council - by providing a clear demonstration of the feelings in the College and its wider community. We believe that chances of success at this stage are slowly increasing, and will therefore concentrate on this aim up to the moment. There are several 'Plans B' we have in mind (which is more than Sir Derek Roberts can say). We invite comment on this, as on all other topics relating to the proposals.
We present the following completely unretouched......
Hi there FRIENDS of UCL,
I don't think there would be a collapse of an institution of higher learning in the U.K due to this MERGER. Please think positive of what will it do to the technological and scientific advancement, the prestige that it will bring. IMPERIAL COLLEGE has long been a place of excellence to the world, if UCL joins "them", it will do the same. So, please let go of this anger, please think of wonders that it will give. As far as I'm concern, both will benefit from either side and no one will lose anything from it. We just need to sit back and see the process being done........and I just can't wait to see a new IMAGE of a so called "IMPERIAL UNIVERSITY" next year....
Let them join,
Let them assemble,
Let them be the biggest of all,
Let them reach the best of all,
Let them be the place where people working along together....
in the atmosphere of joy and harmony....
while reaching for the honour and excellence, throughout the world.
Let them be the "IMPERIAL UNIVERSITY" of London!!!!!
From Oli Tuhey, first year student of Serbian & Croatian & Eastern European studies.
I see the idea of a forced merger as a gross exploitation of those who wish to better themselves.
We are part of an EDUCATIONAL heritage, and while we must accept that we live in a world influenced & motivated by money and politics, we must maintain our educational stance. This college has prided itself on the diversity of its students, such that their religious background, gender or social origin would be no barrier to the opportunity to educate oneself. Why then should we limit the wealth of knowledge contained in these buildings, to those whose PARENTS can afford £10,000 a year? Let us not forget that although post 18 we are considered independent individuals, we are still assessed on our parents' income up till the age of 24 (in relation to existing fee structure) which I feel is the first injustice we are served when deciding to enter university education.
To give executive control to individuals whose vision of success is based purely on being 'better than' ('worldbeaters') the next institution, is to allow characters without an educational inclination to dominate and exploit an institution that has never been about capitalism or globalisation or whatever words they use to disguise their true aims (as it is clear that the true reasons for such a decision are being kept from the public domain - we are being lied to by those entrusted with our safekeeping). I fear the need for a more accountable leadership, as I believe I am not the only student at this university who believes this should not be about money. I believe it should be about (and I quote Tony Blair): 'EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION'
From Anna Hillier
I spent three very happy and stimulating years during my PhD in the UCL Department of Chemistry (1995 - 1998), largely because of the friendly and dynamic atmosphere of this young and highly successful department which leapt from a grade 4 to grade 5* in the recent RAE. I think the proposed merger, aside from the upheaval and uncertainty for all those directly involved, is unnecessary on academic grounds and can only weaken the UCL ethos and values. The way in which the announcement was made and the current attempt to push through the proposal as quickly as possible are insulting and undermine the hard work and dedication of a professional, dynamic, intelligent academic (and support) staff.
From Jeremy Cook (Anatomy/Neuroscience UCL)
There may be potential benefits but they are uncertain and the risks are too high. It is hard to be brief on such a complex topic but the serious risks include: (1) alienating many key teaching staff at both IC and UCL and 'burning out' those who have already been stretched to the limit by forcing them to undertake a major review of all their teaching programmes simultaneously; (2) losing good UCAS applicants who would have preferred UCL's distinctively intellectual culture to Imperial's wealth-dominated one and would in future turn away from London altogether; (3) losing contact with the students we teach (when the UCL and RFH schools merged, it led directly to a fall in per-student teaching resources and a significant loss of that personal contact which a university education [as distinct from a technical training] requires. To repeat this on a larger scale would be to treat students as a commodity. Perhaps Rectors and Provosts with industrial backgrounds are willing to see students in that way, but we who are their personal tutors are not); (4) becoming ever more vulnerable to government cutbacks (a vast merged medical school, the largest in the UK, would be a prime target when medical training is next seen as too costly); (5) being held to ransom daily by Ken Livingstone and TfL when innumerable students and teachers would be required to waste their time and temper crossing London by public transport.
I write as an Admissions Tutor for a specialised BSc degree that is NOT in direct competition with Imperial, and as a de facto subject coordinator across Phase 1 of the medical curriculum, which has only just negotiated the "snagging" stage from the last major upheaval.
From Divya Tolia-Kelly
This merger does not benefit any of the students, staff, or the intellectual work of either college. It will just mean a loss of jobs, with the greatest impact being on the support staff and services, this section is predominantly the most vulnerable.
From Adam Knight
As a student of RHUL I am totally against the planned merger which would inevitably lead to the collapse of the University of London and a massive increase in student debt. Students of the University and more importantly UCL and Imperial do not want this merger. Listen to them they are your customers.
From Dr Peter R Hobson
As an alumnus and former research staff member (and later scientific collaborator) of the Department of Physics I can see no possible advantage in the merger.
I think that the independent foundation of UCL and its support for non-conformism and independence of thought and expression should not be sacrificed.
From Ruth Austin
The thin end of a very large wedge?
From Paul R. Boone
Dear Sir/ Madam
A hysterical and highly personalised reaction to the merger proposal is not in the best interests of UCL.
To confuse the issue of top up fees with that of the merger is highly misleading.
To resort to personal attacks on the face of it shows a lack of faith in the quality of one's arguments.
A merger may or may not be a good idea, but a reaction such as this shows a disappointing poverty of ambition and narrowness of mind.
From Shafaq Hassan
I don't believe the merger has been evaluated & proposed with student interests in mind. It would be a shame to have an institution with fewer students being able to access the primary goal...'education for all'.
From Hamish Dobbie
This plan is a deranged & powercrazed scheme by our alleged leaders who seem mostly to have their own interests at heart. Certainly from the point of view of the medical school no advantages have yet been suggested & there are plenty of obvious drawbacks. UCL medical school is absolutely big enough already, perhaps too big. We need another 4 sites like a hole in the head.
From Caroline Jones
It seems to me that Derek Roberts and Richard Sykes are stuck in the yuppie business world of the 1980s where 'greed is good'. Someone earlier suggested that, as Mr Roberts is retiring soon, this merger would be his attempt to make a mark on history. Obviously what happens after that and to the staff and students of UCL will be no concern of his. This merger is unnecessary and, I've no doubt, is currently using funds that could be better spent elsewhere. Do not vote for it - UCL doesn't need Imperial.
From Margot Lindsay
The arguments in favour of the merger as put to me at the London Conference (Ken Livingstone) were focussed on economic factors. I don't think that universities should be run like a business when academic criteria should be the main purpose.
From Sally Lee
I have studied in both colleges (BSc in Imperial, PhD in UCL), but it still seems to be a very bad idea to me. What is the point exactly? And will we really be better off as one university? I doubt it very much. Imperial and UCL have very different cultures and I just don't see how they can become one!
From Evgeniy Shapiro
This is a takover, not a merger. And even as such it will fail financially, technically and, of course, academically.
If it happened that would be the end of UCL and UCL Research (for the departments that have their alternatives in the IC at least).
From Kevin Saint
Hi: On Thursday there was a day of action in support of the LW claim. At around 11.30, Sir Derek crossed from the main campus to the Cruciform Building for a meeting. Shortly after, a taxi pulled up on the campus side of the road, and a certain Rector got out, and asked the pickets where the Cruciform Building was.
Good advert for a merger wouldn't you say?
Note: Save UCL! will accept contributions for a pair of glasses for Sir Richard.
From Hugo J. Fletcher (Botany, 1956)
I would not like UCL to lose its identity in a giant conglomerate. As far as I understand, the two colleges are of different characters and serve different purposes.
From Jake Lockley
The merger could be a way in downsizing UCL , therefore saving the Govt. money and also reducing student places.
From Ted S (Boston, USA)
This is a horrible idea! Enough said.
From Caroline Cross
I am concerned at the suddenness of the suggestions which have been made, and the urgency of their suggested implementation. Although the merger may or may not be a beneficial possibility for the future, I would hate to think that it would be rushed into at the expense of UCL's current status and for financial reasons.
From Natalie Gibb
As an undergraduate student at UCL I am extremely concerned over the proposed merger, as I feel it will have nothing but negative impacts on the quality of education at UCL. It is basically Imperial taking over UCL but they are the ones in crisis, why are we rolling over and submitting to their opinions and demands?