University Agenda

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CONGREGATION 25 March 2 p.m.

3 Voting on Resolution concerning University Funding and Fees

That Congregation welcomes the government's recognition that Universities require higher levels of funding if they are to maintain and improve standards in research and teaching, but opposes the introduction of Top-up fees.

1. Access


(a) believes that the increase in student debt arising from £3,000 per annum Top-up fees will prove to be a significant deterrent for potential students from poorer backgrounds to enter higher education or to apply to institutions that charge higher Top-up fees;

(b) is concerned that students who attend institutions that charge higher levels of Top-up fees will be dissuaded by the higher levels of personal debt they will incur from seeking employment in relatively poorly paid sectors such as teaching, research and the public sector;

(c) is concerned that, once established as the principal source of additional funding, Top-up fees will increase substantially in real terms in future years;

(d) believes that, although welcome in principle, the government's proposals to reintroduce means-tested grants are insufficient to significantly ameliorate this deterrent;

(e) applauds the efforts of all sections of the University to widen access, particularly its Junior Members through the Target Schools campaign. Congregation is concerned that the government's proposal to establish a direct link via the Access Regulator between a University's effectiveness in widening access and its ability to charge higher Top-up fees will significantly diminish Junior Members' motivation to continue their excellent work in this area.

2. Future Funding

Congregation believes that the benefits derived from higher education are, in large measure, a `public good', and that graduates' subsequent incomes can be regarded as a fair approximation of the extent to which they are a `private good' in any particular case. Congregation therefore resolves that in its response to the Government's White Paper, the University will advocate the introduction of a system of funding that:

(a) allows current standards of teaching and research to be maintained and improved;

(b) facilitates the planned expansion of higher education without compromising standards; and

(c) meets the cost from the public purse, having close regard to contributors' ability to pay.

Proposed by:

C. Webster, All Souls

M.H. Conway, Balliol

P.C.G. Nye, Balliol

C.W.P. Palmer, Balliol

M.E. Woodin, Balliol

D. Zancani, Balliol

N.H. Griffin, Christ Church

A.J. Glyn, Corpus Christi

D.G. Rundle, Corpus Christi

D.J. Roaf, Exeter

M.L. McLaughlin, Magdalen

I.R.M.N. Gartner, New College

C.W.C. Williams, New College

M.H. Beaumont, Pembroke

D.A. Allport, St Anne's

L. Lazarus, St Anne's

M.G.L. Leigh, St Anne's

P.R.A. McGuinness, St Anne's

V.C. Martin, St Anne's

M.O.R. Reynolds, St Anne's

P.H. Strohm, St Anne's

K. Sutherland, St Anne's

P.A. Mackridge, St Cross

S.H. Goddard, St Edmund Hall

B. Kouvaritakis, St Edmund Hall

T.M. Kuhn, St Hugh's

T.F. Hoad, St Peter's

G.P. Williams, St Peter's

H. Ockendon, Somerville

B. Harriss-White, Wolfson

S. Miles, Bodleian Library

I.D. Voiculescu, Computing Laboratory

D.A. Popplewell, Department of Experimental Psychology

The following amendment, proposed on behalf of Council, will be taken into consideration:

Delete all after `That Congregation' and substitute:

`be committed to ensuring that the University of Oxford remains an institution of the highest international standing in research and teaching that is accessible to those who demonstrate the greatest potential, regardless of social or educational background.

Congregation notes that there has been and continues to be a substantial shortfall in public funding to support teaching by research-active staff, and that the core HEFCE grant for teaching in 2003--4 has declined, nationally, by 6 per cent in real terms from the previous year.

Congregation recognises that the increasingly urgent need to redress the substantial reduction in the unit of funding will, regrettably, not be a high priority for allocation of finite public funds, in the context of the Government's target for 50 per cent participation in higher education by 2010 and other public-sector budgetary commitments.

Therefore Congregation:

(a) remains committed to ensuring that our selection processes are equitable and transparent, and based only on a range of criteria concerning academic potential;

(b) expresses concern about the proposed Access Regulator and believes that any linkage of funding to the terms and conditions of admission of students is contrary to the Further and Higher Education Act 1992;

(c) supports the expansion of programmes such as the Oxford Bursary Scheme which aim to remove financial barriers that may deter individual students from studying at Oxford, and welcomes the principle of the restoration of means-tested grants;

(d) will continue to welcome, support, and encourage the comprehensive range of activities by students and staff to widen participation in higher education and access to Oxford;

(e) recognises that it is realistic to expect that students, as independent adults at 18 and major beneficiaries of a university education, should bear some of the costs of a high-quality university education, as at present but through more advantageous arrangements for a subsidised loan with income-dependent repayments.'

Proposed by: P. Langford, Rector of Lincoln

Seconded by: D.C. Clary, St John's

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CONGREGATION 29 April 2 p.m.

¶ Members of Congregation are reminded that written notice of any intention to vote against, or any proposed amendment to, the resolutions below, signed in each case by at least two members of Congregation, must be given to the Registrar by noon on Monday, 21 April (see the Guide to Procedures in Congregation cited in the note at the end of `University Agenda').

Note. 21 April is Easter Monday, and any notice which has been delivered to the University Offices when they reopen on Tuesday, 22 April, will be assumed to have been received by the deadline.

Voting on Resolutions approving the allocation of sites

(1) Blackwell's Scientific Offices

Explanatory note

The 1998 Sites Report recommended that Ewert House be used for library support services in order to free space on the Bodleian central site for improvements to reader services. It was subsequently decided to use Ewert House for other purposes and in 2000 the University purchased the Blackwell's Scientific site on the Osney Mead estate for libraries use. The site has two buildings, and the part of one known as the Kemp Hall Bindery (now the SERS Building) has been converted for use by the Systems and Electronic Resources Section of the University Library Services. The second building, the offices, was leased back to Blackwell's while new premises were acquired. The offices are now available for university use and the conversion of this building for library support services is a priority objective of the Libraries Capital Campaign.

Text of Resolution

(1) That the Blackwell's Scientific Offices building comprising about 3,250 sq.m. of floor space be allocated to the University Library Services.

(2) Christian Building, Begbroke

Explanatory note

The Oxford University Begbroke Science Park, formerly the Begbroke Science and Business Park, was purchased in 1999. The main buildings of the site were allocated to the Department of Materials by the Special Resolution of 15 June 1999 (Statutes, 2000, p. 787). The site and its development are now managed by an Academic Director outside the Department of Materials and it is proposed to transfer responsibility for reception, restaurant, and other site services to the Director.

Text of Resolution

(2) That about 940 sq.m. of floor space in the Christian Building be reallocated from the Department of Materials to the Directorate of the Oxford University Begbroke Science Park.

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