Spare London's Colleges from Merger Mania; Imperial College Is Planning to Swallow UCL and Create a 'Super-Versity'. This Is a Businessman's Ambition Run Mad

By Jenkins, Simon | The Evening Standard (London, England), October 31, 2002 | Go to article overview

Spare London's Colleges from Merger Mania; Imperial College Is Planning to Swallow UCL and Create a 'Super-Versity'. This Is a Businessman's Ambition Run Mad


Jenkins, Simon, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: SIMON JENKINS

CHAOS is about to descend on London's universities.

For decades these strange beasts, big and small, have grazed peacefully on Government subsidy. Now they are starving and have gone berserk.

Imperial College wants to gobble up University College. A decision will be made in December. King's is looking longingly at LSE, which is looking to Imperial for protection. The old federal " University of London", which merely gives them all degrees, is surely doomed. Imperial has even demanded its title.

Smaller fry such as Birkbeck and Royal Holloway may simply disappear.

More dramatic is that proper student fees are no longer a dream but a certainty. The Government's horror of middleclass parents has kept fees hopelessly low at pound sterling1,100 and driven universities close to bankruptcy.

UCL is facing an pound sterling8 million deficit. It is demanding to be allowed to charge pound sterling7,000 a year. Even with bursaries for the poor, there will be student uproar and riots in the streets.

Why Imperial and UCL should need to merge is a mystery to me, and to most of their collective workforce of 30,000 staff and students. One is mostly scientific and in South Kensington, the other is multidisciplinary and in Bloomsbury. Both are already in the Top Ten.

THEY have little in common beyond large medical schools, which nobody will dare rationalise because they are run by the most conservative academics on earth, doctors. Besides, any research overlap could be eliminated by those handing out research grants. But the two colleges share one feature. They are led by business-oriented principals, Sir Richard Sykes from GlaxoSmithKline and Sir Derek Roberts from Plessey/ GEC. Both hail from the bigis-beautiful age of British industry in the 1980s, when "mergers and acquisitions" were the rage. They are stuck in the past.

Sir Derek returned to UCL as provost this summer after a staff putsch toppled his predecessor, Sir Chris Llewellyn-Smith. He will retire next spring and thought it might be nice if his chum, Sir Richard at Imperial, combined the two jobs. In which case, why not combine the institutions?

London universities are like German palatinates. Thousands of serfs can change owners at the whim of a prince or the turn of a hand of cards.

The strategy is that Imperial cuts out UCL's dead wood and pockets its research grants. For Sir Richard a university is a drugs company.

He could call his new empire Glob-U or Unron. The rationale is set out in his message to Imperial's staff, written entirely in consultancy Birtspeak.

It is stuffed with globalisation, critical masses, broad profiles and worldwide solutions. Apart from an explicit desire to cut out competition common to all monopolists, the only apparent reason for the merger is the beauty of sheer bigness.

The new "super-versity" would have a research budget of pound sterling406 million, which is bigger than that of Oxford and Cambridge combined.

To which I say, so what? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Spare London's Colleges from Merger Mania; Imperial College Is Planning to Swallow UCL and Create a 'Super-Versity'. This Is a Businessman's Ambition Run Mad
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.