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IC and UCL call referendum on merger

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Oct 23 2002 13:31

Imperial College Union and University College Union have both called for referendums to be held on the issue of the IC/UCL merger.

1. Tim   
Oct 23 2002 14:59

Very important to have a BIG turnout.

Come on IMPERIAL!!!!

Oct 23 2002 18:21

I don't agree with this - I think that it will distract in the long term from the fight against fees. ICU Council should determine our policy on the merger, and lay it firmly to bed, quickly.

I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a very low turnout.

Oct 23 2002 18:25

The other problem with a referendum (which is also likely to lead to a low turnout) is that so far no campaign teams have emerged (either for or against).

Last year's NUS referendum was only the success it was because you had two teams who believed strongly in what they were campaigining for.

4. Eddie   
Oct 23 2002 18:49

infact many people seem to be going "erm, not sure really. whats it going to mean??" when it comes to the Merger. The fees issue is a lot more clearcut. This seems to be different to ULU who according to page 16 of the Times today, seem to see the merger as the root of ALL evil (that includes fees). A really odd advert really....

Oct 23 2002 18:56

It would be useful to have some real coherent information from College management about what a merger would *actually* mean, rather than marketing speak. Maybe we'll get some on Friday.

I can see lots of good points, but also some bad points. Maybe the vote needs to be "Yes, No, Erm...dunno - more info please".

Are ULU concerned that they'll cease to exist if Sykes' Imperialistic tendencies (pun absolutely intended) lead him to form NewUL?

6. Eddie   
Oct 23 2002 19:19


surely you are not supposing that the merger is being putforward as the reason for fees (so students say "fees bad thing", and therefore "merger bad thing") to avoid ULU becoming totally pointless are you? Hmmmm. tht could explain one or two things at this end of town...

Oct 23 2002 21:27

Of course I'm not suggesting that ULU are worried about employers going "UL who?" in a few years time, when looking at their CVs.

Why would I think that? ;)

Oct 23 2002 22:34

Running a referendum also costs money, and human resources effort which could probably be put to better use in this case. Not convinced a referendum is a good idea for this issue... as Mr Heeps has quite rightly pointed out - ICU Council should deal with this one.

9. Sunil   
Oct 23 2002 23:39

Before you hasten to point out that the two issue of top-up fees and the merger are technically unrelated, the fact is that both were announced at virtually the same time, both will be decided togather and, most importantly, the timing of each announcement has been very carefully chosen so that the "good" news about the merger will smother any "bad" coverage the fees issue will raise.

In that respect, ULU got it right. We may try and separate the issues on an intellectual level and argue the cases separately. Imperial, it seems, has other ideas at the political level.

Oct 24 2002 11:34

Andy & Sunil - great! you both have sense. Thank you!

Oct 24 2002 12:32

I was impressed by today's Dilbert strip ( change one word [stockholders -> students], and it seems very appropriate...

Asok the intern is Sen Ganesh? The Pointy-Haired Boss is Sir Richard Sykes??? I think we shoould be told!

12. poor   
Oct 24 2002 12:35


Nice one Statto!

13. Robert   
Oct 24 2002 12:47

What I find worrying is that while everyone storms out to protest/ sign petitions/ cry in agony at the top-up fee proposal, which is vague, far-fetched and a long-term issue, far too few people actively oppose the IC/UCL merger - which is a more immediate issue, likely to be rushed through much sooner, and far more threatening to our selves and the values of our degrees (which would plummet to zero in about 10 years' time if we were to merge with UCL).

Why doesn't ICU invest ?50,000 to fight that, instead of the top up fees?

14. poor   
Oct 24 2002 12:54

ICU hasn't invested ?50,000 in fighting top up fees. ULU has, however, which is what I think you are referring to.

In fact, I believe the cost of the protest organised last friday (and thus running cost so far of the 'no to fees campaign' was about 20 quid, which I think is not that bad really.

I agree the merger issue is important and highly relevant to current students, and I don't believe it should be forgotten about or treated as less important, but that's not to say that the no to fees campaign is any less worthy of our attentions.

15. poor   
Oct 24 2002 12:55

Oh, and the fees thing is quite pressing - the government white paper comes out soon and apprarently it 'appears likely' that the government will say top up fees are ok.

Oct 24 2002 13:28

I love the way that ULU have completely missed out all the stuff that happened at IC in the past week or so.

I'm not anti-ULU, however this is just poor on ULU's part.

By the way, I have already emailed the webmaster about this, but if you feel a bit ticked off feel free to do so too!

Oct 24 2002 17:40

Sunil, the two issues were not "announced" at the same time. The merger was announced last week. The top-up fees were unannounced, confidential (but apparently "not secret") and merely noticed by student representatives when they received the papers for the College Council meeting.

Furthermore the decisions will not, as you assert, be made at the same time. As far as fees is concerned, the College has passed a policy and (short of reversing that policy) the focus must now be on campaigning to influence government policy. Fees are now a short to medium-term issue.

The merger is an immediate issue. A final decision will be taken in December.

Yes, it would seem that the College may have used the impact of the annoucment of the merger to deflect unwanted attention to fees. But it does not mean that the issues are related. Either one is just as likely to happen regardless of whether the other happens. The details are also different. And it is entirely possible that the student body (which has come out against top-up fees) may come out in favour of the merger.

Oct 25 2002 16:07


Who saw Andy Heeps get bitch slapped by Dickie Sykes?

'I am actually quite insulted by that'


Classic. Inspirational. that man is a leader of men!


19. Sunil   
Oct 25 2002 16:40

There may not have been a formal announcement made, but surely everybody concerned would have known that once Sen knew about the proposal, everybody else would in a matter of minutes.

Sounds like an announcement to me.

20. Tom   
Oct 25 2002 16:46


indeedy, an inspirational meeting this afternoon! Really progressive, the Rector degenerating to an angry northern bullock when asked a difficult question! Answers like ' you clearly don't know what you're talking about' really illuminate the man as a genius, and 'all you do is cause trouble' - well what did he expect? For us to take it all lieing down?

Big up Heeps and co. - I certainly enjoyed stimulating debate amongst staff and students...

Oct 25 2002 17:07


Senthooran actually got a bollocking from the Rector for telling people about that 'confidential' paper.

Doesn't sound like an 'announcement' to me.

Oct 25 2002 17:37

What's this about Heeps gettting bitch-slapped? It sounds hillarious!

(Disclaimer: I don't yet know about the context in which our illustrious President-emiritus was 'bitch-slapped' so I don't know whether it was a 'good' or 'bad' thing from a student perspective.)

When's the STOIC video going up? I just have to see this :-)

23. Eddie   
Oct 25 2002 17:53

I think the rector was spot on with what he said to Andy Heeps. He was just causing trouble. If his intentions were for the good then he should have stuck to the facts. Way to go Dickie!

Oct 25 2002 18:27

Where as i dont agree with what the rector said. I think andy was making a valid point that whilst Sir Richard was going on about "lets get facts" and consultation, he had rail roaded the Fees thing through. The fact that they had to tell students (albeit by the back door) is neither here nor there.

I guess we are lucky that someone somewhere can work out when an issue is big enough that a little word like confidential should be ignored...

Oh, and seeing as we have annother eddie around here, guess the rest of you will just have to look at email addys to see which is which....

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