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University of Cornwall News

2nd July 1998

The following articles appeared in today's The Cornishman:

'Second best not good enough' say campaigners
Team of people to be set up to spearhead university project

By Joyce Channon
Chief Reporter

WHILE ST IVES MP, Andrew George this week set about forming a Cornish University Project Team, other campaigners are pressing ahead for a 'hub' campus saying - "second best is not good enough."

Mr George announced his plans in the wake of last week's announcement of the Combined Universities in Cornwall project, saying that he intends putting together a team of people in Cornwall to spearhead the University project.

The team, initially is expected to largely comprise many Penwith people who supported the Trereife site, will be set up to provide a focus for the Cornish community who want a 'substantial' university presence in the county.

The MP said: "The Cornish University Support Project (CUSP) will work for a 'proper job' and not a second best solution. Our concern is that with the gradual demise of the original Exeter University proposal there will be a willingness to accept a poor second best solution. This must not happen and I know there are many people in Cornwall determined that if we are to get this project off the ground then we must do it properly.

The aims of CUSP are: to provide a focus for the Cornish community who want a University in Cornwall; provide the focus for a group committed to maximise the opportunity for a University campus with the full range of HE facilities - library, lecture and seminar facilities, faculties, research facilities, social and sporting facilities; draw up proposals for a university of Cornwall management board based in Cornwall, without any overt emphasis on the courses or facilities available from any one county.

Local councillor, John Payne, who has set up Trereife Support Group insists the university needs a campus home and Penwith can still unlock the door.

"All that needs to be done is to again seek to rescind Penwith Council's decision of May 13 and move to negotiate, with the involvement of the combined University in Cornwall triumvirate heads and secure that sought after unified campus that is the elusive link. Regions Minister, Richard Caborn also stated the CUC should work with local authorities. Well let us in Penwith begin that process, after all both the money and the site is here."

A spokesman for the Newmill-based Hypatia Trust, which promised significant financial input into the Penzance University initiative, said: "Penwith Council made its decision behind closed doors.

Now the plan for the Combined Universities in Cornwall comes from behind another set of closed doors, all leaving Cornwall much as it was, and patently in the dark about much-hyped but vague possibilities - both Objective 1 and the high quality Higher Education provision."

The Trust goes on to say a prime requirement is for the early establishment of a University for Cornwall and for the intellectual and social spearhead which this can bring.

"Dispersed sites are not at issue, but the essential provision of a major hub campus is still hung with question marks. Without this hub, and without major specialisations and investments, young people will not remain or come here," said a combined statement issued by Dr Melissa Hardie, Douglas Cook, Heather Rowe, Joan Little, Steve Simmons, Joanne Hines, Derrek Hines, Peggy Rickaby, Dr Lesley Atkinson, Joan Terry, Ann Bellingham - and ten members of Trust's policy research forum.

Former MP backs move for higher education partnership

DAVID Harris, the Conservative's spokesman for Cornwall, has backed the move to establish a new higher education partnership in the county - the Combined Universities in Cornwall.

But he has given a strong warning that the move must not signal the end of the campaign to give Cornwall its own university.

"I regard the partnership as a necessary interim step in achieving our long term objective of an independent university for Cornwall" he said.

For several months the former MP has been calling for co-operation and not rivalry between Exeter and Plymouth Universities over the development of higher education in Cornwall.

"I am delighted that they are now coming together over the development of courses, and no doubt this is a result of behind the scenes pressure from the Government," Mr Harris added. "The Government is right on this but we now look to Ministers for some reassurances on finance to expand higher education in Cornwall.

Mr Harris was a strong supporter of Exeter's plan to build a new campus at Penzance. "But" he commented, "it became clear some months ago that this was not going to happen, and it was at that point that it became essential for the two universities and the other institutions such as Falmouth College of Arts and Cornwall College to sink all differences and to work together for the good of the county."

He said that the Regions Minister, Mr Richard Caborn had been "absolutely correct" in insisting on collaboration, but now the Government had to play its part in ensuring that the funds were available for a successful partnership.

Copyright © Cornish Weekly Newspapers Ltd 1998

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