UWE – “boosting the bottom line”

This is a letter published in the Swindon Advertiser in response to news that the University of the West of England want to build a campus in the Coate area.

OH dear, Oakfield does not have the feeling of a university campus says John Rushforth from UWE. Quite how an empty building, seen as he rushed past it in a car, could have a university feeling, is beyond me and probably most other readers.

Perhaps the parents he refers to would quail at the prospect of sending their sons and daughters to a university situated, of all things on a council estate. Obviously a terrible site for a seat of learning. Is that your problem Mr Rushforth? Sadly his insensibilities do not run to being offended at the prospect of despoiling an area which the majority of people want to keep as it is.

UWE boasts that it helps businesses boost their bottom line, a strange priority for a centre of education, but one entirely in keeping with their view that Coate is their ideal site. Visit the UWE website and you can see how much UWE bought into the vision of education competing in the global market. Perhaps somebody should tell Mr Rushforth and all those who share his vision that one or two events have occurred over the last year or so that have brought the neo-liberal model crashing down. It is a salutary reminder of the need to reassert human values which do not rush to despoil the environment we live in at the service of the bottom line.

MARTIN WICKS

Secretary Swindon TUC

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