Thursday, 23 June 2011

New College of the Humanities - response from our Vice Chancellor

My letter:

Dear Professor Crossick,

I am writing on behalf of UNISON Senate House to express our concern at the recent announcement of A.C. Grayling’s proposed profit-making New College of the Humanities (NCH). In particular we would like to clarify the relationship between the University of London and the NCH.

The NCH website states that students at that college
…will share many resources of the University of London: the exceptional library in Senate House, the University of London Union... (
However, the University of London’s press release on the matter says, among other things:
No agreement has been concluded as yet regarding access to the Senate House Libraries by NCH students.

Can you confirm whether Dr Grayling has made a formal approach to the University? Is an institution-level arrangement being negotiated with the NCH? If it is, on what terms will NCH students be able to use Senate House Library and the university libraries?

We further understand that the NCH expects to use existing academic buildings in Bloomsbury for lecture and tutorial space (!/NewCollegeH/status/77705479219986433). Again, what arrangements are being made with the College regarding use of University rooms?

We believe it would be beneficial not just from UNISON’s perspective but also that of the University and its reputation to obtain as much clarity as possible regarding these points.

Best wishes,

Josephine Grahl
Acting Branch Secretary
UNISON Senate House

Professor Crossick's response:

Dear Josephine

Thanks for your message. I have little to add to our statement, which sets out the basis of the New College of the Humanities connection to University of London International Programmes. I’m attaching that statement for your information as it answers most of your questions. It also explains the character of International Programmes and the ways in which independent teaching institutions relate to it. There is nothing different about the place of NCH in that, whatever Anthony Grayling may have said or left to be inferred.

NCH will not make use of any University premises for its teaching or other activities. I cannot speak for Colleges but am not aware that any have come to an arrangement with him for use of their space.

To answer your final point, I can assure you that staff have worked very hard this week to counter any adverse consequences for the University of London arising from the ways in which the launch of NCH was announced, with a letter in The Guardian and repeated responses as appropriate to inaccuracies identified in press reports. I believe that we have achieved that but we remain attentive.

I hope that this provides the reassurance that you sought, but if you need any further information I suggest that you contact Professor Jonathan Kydd, Dean of International Programmes.

Best wishes,


Professor Geoffrey Crossick
University of London

The press release referred to can be found here.

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