Opposition to the Proposed Closure of the Vaughan Centre

The University of Leicester has recently announced the proposed closure of the Vaughan Centre and we completely oppose this action.

The University of Leicester has recently announced the proposed closure of the Vaughan Centre as part of a cost-saving exercise currently underway at the University. The closure of this long established educational institute has wide implications for the local community and we completely oppose this action.

The aim of all universities is to provide opportunities for all to engage in education and encourage lifelong learning. This decision conflicts with the university’s aims of widening participation and engaging with the local community. We believe the proposed closure of the Vaughan Centre will result in irreversible damage to the university’s reputation both locally and nationally.

While a deficit is cited as reason for the proposed closure, it had been made clear that the decision to close the Vaughan Centre is driven by the university strategic plan and that the projected deficit for 2016/17 has merely brought the decision forward. The trade unions have not been given the opportunity to challenge the rationale for choosing this particular group of staff for redundancy.

Overall this decision is rushed. Given the implications of this decision for the locality and for education provision for a neglected segment of the local population, staff would ask that this process be subject to a more appropriate timescale and the issues discussed in a much broader context than can be provided by the redundancy ordinance.

There is much opposition for this proposal, with an article in the Leicester Mercury.

Local MP for Leicester South, Jon Ashworth stated:

“I am shocked and saddened at this decision of the University. At the time that the University closed Vaughan College at St Nicholas Circle, I raised my concerns that this would ultimately lead to the demise of adult education by the University. I was told this would not happen and that the University remained committed to adult education and lifelong learning.”

“Now, within three years, the University has announced its intention to shut the whole of the Vaughan Centre for Lifelong Learning. I have today written to the Vice Chancellor at the University expressing my concerns and sadness at this decision.”

“This decision flies in the face of the views of the University’s Registrar and Chief Operating Officer that he recently expressed in the Leicester Mercury. In this piece the Registrar stated the University’s commitment to work in and with the city of Leicester to improve economic, social and cultural wellbeing.”

“Closing the Vaughan Centre for Lifelong Learning will not help to improve the City’s economic, social and cultural wellbeing. I have also written to the Secretary of State for Education and the Minister for Universities to raise my concerns.”

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