There have been a number of protests by staff and especially students across the country in advance of Thursday’s parliamentary vote on the Browne Review. I have held many meetings with staff and students in which I have expressed my concerns over this fundamental shift over both the funding and, potentially, the academic balance, of higher education. I can fully understand the anxiety that students have for the costs that their brothers and sisters and other family members are likely to face if they wish to go to university in the future.
I have been vociferous both within the institution and at national university meetings such as Universities UK about the nature and impact of the changes proposed. I do not believe they have been fully thought through and feel that they threaten the aspirations of many people who wish to experience the benefits of a university education.
We have to remember that 44% of our students are locally based and nearly 60% come from low income families. Irrespective of my personal views, I have consistently refused to sign public letters in support of the proposed changes. I do not believe it is my role to intervene directly in supporting particular political positions. Whatever the outcome of Thursday’s vote the University will continue its policy of attracting and supporting students from all backgrounds and in ensuring that the University is as inclusive as possible in all that it does. If the changes are voted through on Thursday we will have a significant task in ensuring the University of Bradford remains true to its values on inclusivity. I am confident that with the support of staff and students we will be able to achieve that.