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College in Wye Defence

Oct 17 2003 21:23
Oliver Pell
After controversy following the Rector?s comments about the future of Wye College, College figures have leapt to the defence of the campus.
City & Guilds College Union mascot Boanerges at Wye College during his trip to France last year.

Controversial comments about Wye College by Imperial College?s Rector, Sir Richard Sykes, in a lecture to second year Civil Engineering students have stirred up a storm at the outlying campus. Apparently under siege from Wye students and staff over the comments, senior College figures have been quick to leap to the campus?s defence, seeking to clarify the Rector?s meaning.

Dr Chris Towler, College?s Director of Strategy Development and Communications said that the Rector was ?alarmed by?erroneous interpretation? drawn from his comments while Professor Mike Hassell, Principal of the Faculty of Life Sciences described Wye as ?an important piece in the Life Sciences jigsaw.? Professor Jeff Waage, Head of Wye?s Department of Agricultural Sciences said he wanted to give students a ?very clear message? that Wye would ?continue to have a role as a centre of teaching and research?.

Wye College has had a turbulent time since the merger with Imperial. After a bureaucratic error in the admissions system led to massively reduced student numbers and the departure of some senior staff many Union figures were suggesting several years ago that the campus would probably eventually be closed down completely. In the intervening time, the situation has improved significantly, with this year?s student intake of nearly 110 students double that of last year and ?well ahead of our target,? according to Professor Waage.

?There is a challenge to overcome geographical distance and create the sense of an Imperial community,? admitted Professor Waage, adding that he was ?committed to addressing this?. Imperial College Union appears to be planning to do its part this year with two meetings of the Union?s governing Council scheduled to take place at the Wye campus.

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Discussion about “College in Wye Defence”

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.
1. n/a   
Oct 17 2003 22:41

It's not exactly as if there ever was a point in merging with some hillbilly how-to-farm institution anyway....

The problem is: We're talking about universities, not companies. That the Wye "knowledge production plant" is redundant/unnecessary within the "Imperial Knowledge Empire" does not mean Imperial can simply close the facility and "lay off" the "learning force".

But I doubt anyone would deny that IC's takeover of Wye was about as logical a step as if Volkswagen bought Mattel (of toy car fame).

2. anon   
Oct 18 2003 17:00

You ever been to Wye? You must have, to have such strong views about it.

3. n/a   
Oct 18 2003 17:51

I've got strong views about unnecessary (or damaging) university mergers, not about that college in particular.

4. anon   
Oct 18 2003 18:23

Well, the merger hasn't exactly been great for Wye either. Imperial screwed them over.

5. anon   
Oct 18 2003 18:28

Where the mergers with the Medics and Silwood "damaging" as well? Would you prefer for Imperial to be just London? Or is it just Wye you seem to have a problem with?

6. n/a   
Oct 18 2003 18:41

When a UCL merger was rumoured, I had a BIG problem with that. The medics thing happened before my time, so I've got nothing to say to that. The LSE merger rumours a few years ago were the only ones that had me mildly supportive (because LSE is not competing on any subject, it's in London, and just as well known world wide as IC, perhaps even better known)

University mergers is what happens when you get managers, as opposed to academics, running the place(s).

7. Chris   
Oct 18 2003 23:40


You made a perfect point there. Very few people have been there so as far as students are concerned it is just some random place IC merged with - some random place which was never as high in the league tables.

8. anon   
Oct 19 2003 14:51


Have to say that your wrong there. In normal academic tables Wye wasn't very high, but was very well renowned in environmental and agricultural fields.

Oct 20 2003 13:43

Was the LSE rumour not actually a rumour as such, more just felix making it up as they didn't have a front page story that week.

10. ---   
Oct 20 2003 14:00

What was the rector doing lecturing 2nd year undergrads? Does he do it often?

11. John C   
Oct 20 2003 16:34

No he doesn't, which is why my course supervisor was ever so pleased to have Sir Richard along. Rumour has it that following last week's debacle it seems unlikely that he'll speak again next year... sniff!

12. DAVE   
Aug 03 2005 10:50

Personnally when I worked at Wye as a researcher I liked it a lot - its got an open air swimming pool for goodness sake! Some of the plant science stuff is first rate academically and has an excellent atmosphere. More power to Wye.

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