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Sykes appears on Newsnight

Oct 16 2002 00:49
Sunil Rao
Rector Richard Sykes appears on a segment on the proposed merger on the BBC's flagship news show Newsnight
Richard Sykes on Newsnight. (Source: BBC)

In another twist in the recently triggered college merger proposal saga, Imperial College rector Richard Sykes appeared in a news segment on the BBC flagship news programme Newsnight.

The segment was aired on Tuesday 15 October, the day after news of the intended merger broke. The theme of the segment, which concluded the programme, was the state of higher education in Britain, and featured the proposed merger prominently alongside threats of funding cuts from other institutions.

As expected, Sykes was controversially and provocatively outspoken in his views. Admitting that he would not be unhappy if some smaller universities were to fail, he asserted that the failure of unpopular universities ought to be determined by market forces.

Sykes' other comments were loaded with corporate-speak, with phrases such as "knowledge-based economy", "critical role in the economic necessities of the nation" and "compete on a global stage" liberally thrown around. He also affirmed his conviction that Britain needs to host at least one of the all-round top universities in the world in order to compete on a global scale.

Margaret Hodge, Minister for Higher Education, also appeared on the show, proudly applauding and endorsing the proposed merger, backing the Rector to the hilt. Nobody can be in any doubt, therefore, as to how these plans are being received in government circles.

Nobody from UCL offered any comments, nor did it appear that any were solicited from any staff or students of either institution.

[Editor's note: The author is a postgraduate engineering student and a former C&G Academic Affairs Officer 2000-2001. The full interview can be viewed on the BBC [web site|]]

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Discussion about “Sykes appears on Newsnight”

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 16 2002 01:10

Margaret Hodge was a failure at Uni anyway... publish that and then we could all understand why she wants the younger generation to be more shit than her...

Deja vu of Blair when I listened to Sir Richard...

Sir Richard!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Noooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!

Oct 16 2002 11:20

Good to know that the BBC presented a balanced view of the argument then. "Poor" universities should not be allowed to fold, something should be done to addresss the reasons for them being "poor". Establishing a very small highly educated elite, who bought their university places, will not serve this country well. This appears to be what Sykes and New Labour want.

3. Tim   
Oct 16 2002 14:47

I think the smelly UCL have no stiff objection against the merge.

In fact, they would love to have us.

Now, we smell.

Oct 16 2002 17:44

UCL exec voted to oppose the merger today. Apparently.

5. Sunil   
Oct 16 2002 19:25

Article by Lucy Hodges in today's Independent.

"The truth about this university mega-merger"

She is in favour of the merger, and agrees that it's much easier to raise philanthropic funds for the Humanities than for Imperial's traditional domain.

Oct 17 2002 16:56

The BBC seem to have got hold of the "confidential" paper that Sen Ganesh handed out at Council.

7. Sunil   
Oct 17 2002 18:05

Yeah.. I wonder how they got it. I doubt it was from College!!!

Oct 17 2002 18:09

well there were hundreds of copies handed out at the union council so anyone could have sent it to them

Closed This discussion is closed.

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