Queen Mary Motion of No Confidence Petition for Senate
In support of the Queen Mary Motion of No-Confidence in Minister for Science and Higher Education David Willetts. We, the undersigned staff, students and alumni of Queen Mary, University of London wish to express our lack of confidence in David Willets as the Government Minister responsible for Higher Education. We urge Queen Mary Senate members to reflect this strength of feeling in our College, and vote for this motion of no-confidence when it is tabled at the Senate meeting on 8 December 2011: 'The Senate of Queen Mary, University of London has no confidence in the policies of the Minister for Science and Higher Education David Willetts. We call on the government to pause its implementation of the White Paper, which has the potential to inflict great and irreversible damage to Higher Education in the UK.'
English Higher Education faces deep uncertainty about its future especially over the accessibility to it, the quality of its provision and its autonomy from government and commercial influences. The government’s White Paper on HE continues on from the sweeping and unmandated changes in university funding arrangements rushed through Parliament last autumn. The combined consequences of the changes to the funding of universities and the proposals contained in the White Paper – opening up the sector to private providers – are aimed at introducing a kind of market in the provision of English higher education and are of deep concern. The consequences of these changes are likely to be highly destabilizing for universities and the staff and students within them. They are also likely to lead to increasing fragmentation of the sector and an increasing concentration of resources in a small number of institutions to the detriment of the majority of institutions and the staff and students within them. Further, through introducing a logic of ‘consumer choice’ and ‘satisfaction’ into the provision of higher education these changes strike at the heart of what universities are meant to represent and cultivate in staff and students alike. Under the cover of the economic crisis the government is pushing through a radical set of proposals for which it has no democratic mandate, and which are likely to seriously undermine the quality, range and content of teaching and learning at Queen Mary as elsewhere subjecting Queen Mary to the instabilities of the market and fundamentally undermining the principles of critical and independent scholarly enquiry.