Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6162

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Vol cxl No 3

pp. 69–88

Report of Discussion

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

A Discussion was held in the Senate-House. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Young was presiding, with the Registrary, the Junior Proctor, a Pro-Proctor, and 16 other persons present.

The following Reports were discussed:

Report of the General Board, dated 10 July 2009, on the Directorship of the Museum of Zoology (Reporter, 2008–09, p. 974).

No remarks were made on this Report.

Report of the General Board, dated 10 July 2009, on the re-establishment of the Professorship of Molecular Cell Biology (Reporter, 2008–09, p. 975).

No remarks were made on this Report.

Report of the General Board, dated 10 July 2009, on the re-establishment of the Professorship of Transfusion Medicine (Reporter, 2008–09, p. 975).

No remarks were made on this Report.

Fourteenth Report of the Board of Scrutiny, dated 25 June 2009 (Reporter, 2008–09, p. 976).

Professor A. D. Yates:

Mr Deputy Vice Chancellor, I am speaking today as the outgoing Chairman of the Board of Scrutiny to commend the Board’s Fourteenth Report to the Regent House.

It is not for me to say whether the Regent House, the Council, or the University’s Administration will find our observations helpful, but I can say that, as a Board, we offer our comments as part of that ongoing constructive dialogue, both with the Council and with the University’s Administration, that has happily been a feature of the Board’s dealings and deliberations for the past few years.

The Board has received no formal communication drawing its attention to any errors or omissions in its published Fourteenth Report. We have not concluded from this that there is none but at least I do not have to come to the Regent House this afternoon with apologies. I wish to focus instead specifically in these brief remarks on several topics from the Report.

First, as is our custom, I would draw the attention of the Regent House to our comments on the University’s financial position. Clearly congratulations are once again due to the former Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Resources), Professor Minson, and the Director of Finance, Mr Andrew Reid, for an admirably clear set of accounts and financial statements, and a clear, though less than totally cheering, Allocations Report. The strong set of financial results reported for the financial year ending July 2008 should not lull us into any false sense of security. As the Board’s comments on the Allocations Report make clear, while the University may not find itself in too difficult a financial position for the years to 2011, beyond 2011 the University will almost certainly need to prepare itself for the inevitable drastic cuts in public expenditure on higher education and research, resulting quite clearly in a Chest Allocation below the level of inflation.

Then there is the pensions time bomb. Many of the Colleges have now addressed the issue created by the ballooning costs of an unaffordable final salary scheme by moving to a defined contribution scheme for new joiners and a modification of the benefits for existing members. The Board has pointed out in its Report that problems of underfunding similar to those encountered by the Colleges within CCFPS are likely to afflict the Cambridge University Assistants’ Contributory Pension Scheme, or CPS, and the Board’s Report urges the University to undertake discussions with the appropriate employee groups with a view to addressing the serious underfunding problem.

However, the problems of CPS are only a part of the pensions problem. I cannot over-emphasize how important the Board’s comments are on the USS Scheme and how seriously it believes this University, and, indeed, all universities that might be regarded as having relatively deep pockets, should take them. USS is a ‘last man standing’ scheme. Default by other universities casts the burden of picking up the shortfall on the rest. Sir Martin Harris, as the Chairman of USS, stated in the Annual Report to members for 2008–09 the following:

Short-term falls in the funding level [of the Scheme] which result in the Scheme being underfunded on the new scheme-specific funding basis, increase the likelihood that the board [of USS] will, at some point, have to initiate a recovery plan, which might require additional contributions to fund a scheme deficit.

As the Board of Scrutiny has observed, there have already been budgeted increases in the employers’ contribution of four per cent to take effect between October 2009 and October 2011. Our view is that such increases will be insufficient to meet the underfunding, and that the necessary rule changes to permit increases in the employee contributions are almost inevitable. In some ways the Board regards the financial uncertainty and potential enormity of the shortfall on pension funds as the most serious long-term financial issue affecting the University’s finances, and wholly supports the efforts the University has now begun to take to address it.

I turn now to the Board’s comments on the reform of Statute U. The Board recognizes that this is a work in progress and that the Board’s comments, while of an interim nature, are nevertheless seen as a little too trenchant for some. The Board makes no apologies for the tone of its comments on this topic and believes that the University is in danger of going further than those admittedly necessary simplifications to the grievance procedures required. The Board suggests to Council that a somewhat less than root and branch reform of the procedures currently contained in Statute U will serve the University’s purpose without producing the conflicts and undermining of academic freedoms that the consultation proposals contain. The Board will undoubtedly return to this issue in its deliberations during the current academic year, as it will to two other issues, the Report on the Institute of Continuing Education and the Review of Teaching and Learning Support Services – the latter proving to have caused considerable disquiet in the University, as much by reason of the process adopted as the substance, though the substance does seem to underrate the still highly significant role played by books and Departmental Libraries in humanities teaching and research in particular.

Two areas of the Board’s Report are the subject of fulsome congratulation. In late September the Research Services Division published a change of name; it is now Cambridge University’s Research Office. While, perhaps, not the catchiest re-branding in the fast-moving world of public relations, the change has taken place a matter of some two months after the Board recommended a name change in its Fourteenth Report. In an environment in which the pace of change is sometimes measured in decades, this has to be something of a record.

The Board, in its Thirteenth Report, expressed some misgivings about the University’s proposals to transform the telephone system into one operating by Voice over Internet Protocol. The Board is happy to admit that those misgivings have proved to be largely unfounded and that the movement of the telephone system to this new platform has been largely trouble-free, smooth, and successful. I should, however, like to emphasize one area of the Board’s concern that has not yet been addressed and which, from personal experience, I can vouch for as being a problem. Out of hours reporting of faults in the network is currently by telephone to a voicemail box, a reporting procedure that is not easy to undertake if the fault is a failure of the telephone system and the user has no immediate access to a mobile phone or a BT line. Perhaps more significant is the fact that there is no regular and reliable out of hours service to fix faults and, in a University operating 24 hours a day, this is, quite simply, unacceptable. The Board urges the University to attach a very high priority to this issue.

The Board has followed its previous practice of listing its recommendations from its Thirteenth Report, together with Council’s response to those recommendations. A few issues remain as outstanding, in particular the need for an even clearer statement in the Accounts to enable some reconciliation to be made between the amounts generated and reported for the University’s 800th Anniversary campaign with the figures appearing in the Annual Accounts. The Board appreciates why there is a discrepancy in these figures and is not for one moment suggesting the University is not in compliance with the relevant SORP, but it believes, nevertheless, that greater clarity and transparency is achievable here, perhaps through an additional Note in the Accounts. The other outstanding issue relates to a review and consolidation of the University’s Statutes and Ordinances. Since the Fourteenth Report was published the Board has been pleased to learn that the University’s Council has now set this process in motion.

Professor G. R. Evans:

Mr Deputy Vice-Chancellor, one of the functions the Board of Scrutiny discharges each year is to remind the University by its selection of topics what have been the hot potatoes of the year. This year’s common theme is the need for the University’s administration to read its Statutes and Ordinances before bounding off on a course of action.

1. The future of the libraries or ‘Review of Teaching and Learning Support Services’

The Board of Scrutiny describes at paragraph 54 ff. ‘a catastrophic failure of this sort in the handling of the enormous and far-reaching proposals to reconfigure the University Library’. No Report has been put before the University so far. I do not believe that when the Regent House delegated certain (Statute C) powers to the General Board that meant it was happy for decisions on this scale and of this importance to take place behind its back. At this rate, one might set off for the University Library one morning to find it turned into a branch of Tesco with an internet café, if the General Board fancied that idea.

The failure of consultation went further. ‘Consultative’ materials were sent out to administrators, some of whom passed them on, some not. This is not by any means the first time the artificial pyramidal method of ‘consultation’ has failed, when the direct informing of the University through a Notice in the Reporter that their preliminary responses were solicited would have been so easy. Blue links are inexpensive I believe. The Board of Scrutiny notes at (57) the clunking ineffectiveness of such meetings as were held, in communicating what was proposed and in answering the worried:

In general Librarians in Faculties and Departments were concerned about the effect the proposals might have on their freedom of action and their terms and conditions of employment, and were confused about future line-management. Early meetings seem to have done little to allay these concerns.

So even if this comprehensive reorganization of the libraries and cognate services is a good idea, and that surely needs to be agreed by the Regent House, it has manifestly been very badly handled. And one of the reasons is that those who organized the preliminary consultation invented line-managerial routes when constitutionally approved democratic routes already exist, and were secretive, and divulged nothing much until information was dragged out of them under the Freedom of Information Act, so that now no-one trusts them an inch on this matter. Wisely, in view of the invitation on the Library website1 to enjoy ‘the ultimate commemorative naming opportunity’ and buy the Library, or a senior post within it. Tesco or Bill Gates? Rockefeller may have something to say about that.

2. Human resources, Statute U, redundancy, and promotion

When it turns to Statute U at paragraph 29, the Board of Scrutiny again asks about the method of consultation used, and its relationship to the University’s constitutional requirements. This time the Regent House was allowed to see the proposals, but in a White Paper and before that a Green Paper, neither of which is a constitutionally usual way of putting a Report to the University. The Board of Scrutiny sees no ‘real harm’ in Green and White Papers provided they are followed by a proper Report, but I wonder whether this practice, if repeated, might still further loosen the sometimes imperfect and light grasp of members of the Regent House on what their vote is worth and what it can do. There is precedent for publishing Reports without Graces, for example in the consultation on amending the office of the Commissary. That is simple and constitutional. Why not do it that way? The First Report on the Office of Commissary, published in the Reporter of 19 January 2000,2 was in effect a discussion paper with a small ‘d’. It was described as a ‘consultative Report’. A second Report followed it on 16 May 2001 with recommendations.3 The same procedure was used for consideration of external membership of the Council, with a First Report on 14 May 2003,4 and a Second Report on 19 November 2003,5 though in this case recommendations were made in both Reports. So this two-stage option is flexible.

It may be helpful briefly to remind members of the Regent House about the background to the proposal the Board mentions with concern in paragraph 32. When the redundancy procedure under Statute U was created, it was designed to embody in Cambridge’s constitution the requirement created under section 202 of the Education Reform Act 1988. A Model Statute, designed by the University Commissioners under that Act, had the express purpose of ensuring that once old-fashioned tenure was removed by the Act, academics could not be sacked for saying things universities did not want to hear, by questioning and testing ‘received wisdom’. Senior administrators were eager, for reasons of status as well as to take advantage of the new protections, to have themselves deemed ‘academic-related’; and in Cambridge membership of the Regent House extends to holders of University offices, whether academic or administrative. But although they automatically had it, academic-related staff did not necessarily need the same protection against dismissal or victimization for going against the tide of orthodoxy in an academic discipline.

The expansion of the Unified Administrative Service has now created a huge body of such employees. So now, for pragmatic reasons, not reasons of principle, it is proposed to short-cut the procedure by which academic-related staff can be made redundant. At (36),

The Board recommends that whatever the outcome of the further debates and discussions on the University’s review of its disciplinary, dismissal, and grievance procedures, any binding rules and safeguards arising from those discussions which are not to be contained in Statutes must be promulgated in Ordinances.

Quite right too. Otherwise, if the proposal to allow changes to be made without further reference to the Regent House is accepted, will it be long before similar shortcuts to a sharp exit are invented for academic staff by a General Board which does not bother to mention what it has done?

At the opposite end of the scale of changes to one’s employment from being threatened with redundancy is being promoted. Here, too, we are seeing the consequences of the practice of handing over to the General Board the authority to change the rules without consultation or Regent House approval. The Board of Scrutiny mentions recent remarks in this House on the always vexed question of academic promotions. Anthony Trollope’s Three Clerks includes a vivid depiction of the effect of a competitive promotion procedure: ‘What worth can make a man safe against the possible greater worth which will come treading on his heels?’6 The Board is, I fear, failing to grasp a nettle in what it says about the need for clarity about how many promotions can be afforded. The fewer the available rewards, the more important it is, surely, that they be apportioned fairly? However (49, 50), the Board is right to repeat its insistence of last year that ‘the criteria for promotion to personal Professorships, Readerships, and Senior University Lectureships be included in Ordinances.’ I would add that these must not be Statute C Ordinances, which the General Board can change of its own motion. They must be proper Regent House Ordinances.

Appraisal seems likely to become the next contentious ‘employment’ issue. The removal of academic tenure from 1987 coincided with the introduction of appraisal for academic staff, as a Government-imposed condition of an increase in academic salaries.7 There was justified suspicion that loss of job security and appraisal would turn out to be connected. The very suggestion that appraisal should be introduced as a requirement for academic staff in Cambridge led to the calling of a ballot. One of the flysheets pointed out that

The proposed scheme will operate in the circumstances created by the Education Reform Act 1988, which makes it possible for Departments to be closed and staff made redundant at a few months’ notice.

Guidance Notes were published in the Reporter, 1987–8, p. 890, and there was a promise8 in the Council and General Board flysheet to publish a Notice undertaking ‘not to seek to vary them in any of their essentials without seeking the approval of the University’. I cannot find that this Notice was ever published, but the undertaking is there in the flysheet, and the Regent House relied on it when it voted to be ‘appraised’ (but not to be assessed).

There is still only patchy compliance with ‘appraisal’ requirements across the University. A figure of sixty per cent has recently been noted, which includes those who collude and merely go through the motions. In the latest ‘consultative’ materials, put out by Human Resources with apparently no research into the history of appraisal in Cambridge or the promise to follow the constitutional norms for consultation, there is a telling slip. ‘Are there other ways academics can be assessed?’ they ask. Not ‘appraised’, ‘assessed’. But the deal at the end of the 1980s was precisely that appraisal would not be a form of assessment. Assessment goes with reward and punishment. It goes with control. Interference with research freedom has grown since the introduction of appraisal and with it other modes of exercise of top-down power. Upward appraisal ought to be as absolute a requirement as downward appraisal in a collegial university. Those who may wish to ‘appraise’ or ‘assess’ their line managers and tell them how to improve, should form an orderly queue.

3. KAUST and the lift in the Combination Room

Then there is the failure on the part of those acting on delegated powers from the Regent House to remember and respect the constitutional safeguards. When it was decided recently to install a lift in the Regent House Combination Room, one of the oldest and most beautiful medieval rooms in the University, dating back to 1400, the existence of Statute F, I, 2, and the dependent Ordinance that require such decisions to be put to the Regent House if they are ‘substantial’, seems to have been entirely forgotten by the Resource Management Committee. ‘Minor works’ it said nonchalantly, waving it through. A Discussion on a Topic of Concern has now been called, though unaccountably not announced. Nothing on record I have seen reassures me that the provisions of Statute F were considered and a judgement on its requirements recorded when it was decided to build that hideous but apparently ‘insubstantial’ lift.

On 24 September Times Higher Education ran a story about the new ‘partnership’ between the King Abdulla University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia and the University of Cambridge. On 6 May 2008 the General Board discussed proposed collaboration with King Abdulla University of Science and Technology, and drew attention to the proposal for assistance with recruitment and early career development, curriculum development, and collaborative research. It also noted that there was a $10 million donation to support teaching and research. The Board were informed that the Chair of the School of the Biological Sciences had communicated the School’s support for the initiative.

A few years ago a Working Party on International Academic Relationships did a sensible job of flagging up the dangers of entering unadvisedly into such ‘relationships’. Its Report may be read in the Reporter.9 ‘Cambridge should avoid unfocused attempts to expand its international activities and should not take up requests by other parties to participate in activities inconsistent with the University’s strengths’, it warned. There is no reference in the Minute to the guidelines having been mentioned at any point.

The General Board knew about the risks. It refers to them in its 2007–08 Annual Report at 7.1.10 The last QAA institutional audit glimpsed potential problems in the University’s conduct of its collaborative arrangements even if the promise that the General Board

requires the course and assessment methods of the partner institution to equate to those of a conventional Cambridge award, and the memorandum of agreement to align with the Code of practice’ is fulfilled.11

‘Risk management’ cannot be guaranteed if committees delegate powers to individual officers to sort out the details without making provision to ensure that they know the rules and constitutional requirements and checking that they have observed them. That is what the General Board did, as it is able to do now that the University has (rashly) changed Statute K, 9 to allow delegation to individuals. ‘The Board, for their part, gave approval for the Vice-Chancellor to sign the agreements, subject to any changes made under delegated authority by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) and the Academic Secretary’. This could have been highly risky to the University’s reputation, and members of the Regent House in the Tesco-and-internet Library could have skimmed The Times only to discover that Cambridge was now an overseas campus of KAUST.

So I would add to the Board of Scrutiny’s admirable insistence on proper consultation and respect for the required constitutional checks two concerns for their consideration next year. One is that they look in detail at the way the General Board exercises its now immense powers to make Ordinances. The other is that they scrutinize in detail the operation of the K, 9 delegation to individual officers. We do not want too many Carltona moments, when an administrative officer acts as though he or she was the University on the strength of that statute.12


Dr D. R. de Lacey

Mr Deputy Vice-Chancellor, in Paragraph 17 the Board discusses our major development plans: ‘even ... a favourable outcome’ it notes, ‘will still do little to allow the University to develop its plans for North West Cambridge, the New Museums and Old Press Sites, and the movement of several Departments to new accommodation in West Cambridge’. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor concluded his section on future projects as follows: ‘The costs of the redevelopments have yet to be calculated but, if progressed, they will form an integrated capital programme during the next six years and will inevitably be the focus of significant capital expenditure.’

I do hope that the Board will keep a close eye on these developments. It would be so easy to use the current financial climate, and the cautions expressed in this Report, as an excuse to plan these in the old, tired, ordinary, way; whereas we now have a unique opportunity to show the world what a leading university can do in future planning and zero-carbon developments. We have the expertise, we surely have the incentive; and if (as the Report we are just about to discuss indicates) we can afford to throw out the proposed design for the new Sidgwick building1 and start all over again; we can surely afford to ensure these developments are planned well. I would like to pay tribute to the team leading the North West Cambridge plans: they are already talking to local Councils and with another hat on I was delighted to be invited to discuss the issues with them. I was delighted at their openness in discussing relationships with my Parish Council (in Girton) and the concerns of the locals; but when we turned to eco-building and on-site renewable generation and my request for a zero-carbon site, did I detect a change in attitude, a dropped eye, a less-than-enthusiastic reception?

I hope Regents will press for ground-breaking and world-leading developments here, and I look to the Board to ensure that these aspirations are realized.


  • 1Report of the Council on a new building for the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities on the Sidgwick Avenue Site, Reporter, 2008­–09, p. 1008, paragraph 3.

Mr N. M. Maclaren:

Mr Deputy Vice-Chancellor, this is one of the most disturbing Reports I have ever seen. That is not because of what it says, but because it and the Council minutes of 20 July imply that there has been no change in the way that the revision of Statute U is being handled. I beg the Council to be careful, because the University really does not need a highly publicized legal challenge over a matter of employment law.

Despite the official statements, the Pay and Grading scheme changed the conditions of employment for some academic-related staff, which is related to the point made in paragraph 45 of this Report, and some of us formally refused to accept those changes. Most of the resulting disputes have been settled, but some have simply been left in abeyance, as no ‘red circling’ was involved.

There are similar changes implied by the Review of Teaching and Learning Support Services, some of which were mentioned in the Discussion of 7 July, and a few of which are touched on in paragraphs 57, 62, and 65 of this Report. That is currently in procedural limbo, so its effect on staff is unclear. It is unfortunate that the response to that Discussion has not yet been published.

The proposed revisions to Statute U introduce more such changes, as was pointed out in the Discussion of 3 February, one of which is mentioned in paragraphs 32–33 of this Report. Unlike with the Pay and Grading scheme, a revision of Statute does not permit an officer to simply add a rider refusing to accept any implicit changes in conditions of contract.

Unless quite major changes are made to the proposals for a revision of Statute U, a dissenting officer will be faced with the choice of accepting the changes in conditions of employment, resigning or retiring, or openly and formally refusing to accept them. I can see no way that the last choice would not be extremely embarrassing for the University, especially if the matter were referred upwards outside the University.

I am happy to provide more information to anyone appropriate who asks me for it, which would include the specific conditions and clauses I am referring to. They are not particularly sensitive, but describing them and what they mean what I say they do would have tripled the length of these remarks.

Mr D. J. Goode:

Mr Deputy Vice-Chancellor, following my election to the Board of Scrutiny with effect from the beginning of this academical year, were I to have come to this Discussion today in full academical dress and doffed, as one does, one or other of the two mortar-boards I should have had to bring with me, there may have been some confusion as to exactly which hat I was putting back on. So, for the avoidance of doubt, I speak to this Report as President of the Cambridge University and College Union (the Cambridge UCU).

As always, Cambridge UCU welcomes the annual Report of the Board of Scrutiny. And, as always, the Board has been thorough and even-handed, and has produced a commendable Report of which Council and the General Board should take careful notice.

I shall comment today on only one aspect of the Board’s Report, the section concerning the proposed revision of Statute U. The Board has rightly commented on the unusual process by which the University has been consulted and its opinions sought. An attempt to obtain notes or minutes of the open consultation meetings using the Freedom of Information Act (FoI Act)1 revealed that no formal record of the consultations was taken.

My own attempts to obtain notes or minutes of the Statute U revision working group’s meetings using the FoI Act2 came to a similar dead end when I was assured that there were none taken, either contemporaneous with the meetings, or subsequent to them.

So, a series of closed meetings of the working group produced no written records at all, and no record of any sort was made of any of the participants’ comments at any of the open consultation meetings. These are strange and bizarre ways to work. Indeed, a cynic might even say that they redefine the noun ‘consultation’. The Board is absolutely right in its recommendation in paragraph 31, and Cambridge UCU hopes Council and the General Board are listening.

Paragraph 32 of this Report deals with the proposed attempt to downgrade the rights of established academic-related staff in respect of dismissal by redundancy. I have commented before3 on the iniquity of taking the body of University officers, with equal rights in respect of dismissal by redundancy, and dividing it such that the rights in the same of some officers are more favourable and the rights in the same of other officers are less favourable. Cambridge UCU hopes that this divisive and wholly unnecessary proposal finds no place in the Report to be put before the University for consideration later this term.

However, as the most recently available draft of the Report4 still contains the proposal, there is no point in me beating about the bush: only the chronically naïve would imagine, even for a fleeting moment, that such changes are proposed for any other reason than to make it easier to get rid of some University officers by redundancy; this provocative proposal is not there to fill up what would otherwise be white space in the next edition of Statutes and Ordinances, it is there to be used.

And should this proposal be found in the Report to be put before the University for consideration later this term, Mr Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Cambridge UCU will do everything possible to ensure that each and every one of the rights in respect of dismissal by redundancy currently enjoyed by the holders of academic-related University offices is protected.

The Cambridge UCU, Mr Deputy Vice-Chancellor, welcomes the Fourteenth Report of the Board of Scrutiny, endorses the twelve recommendations made by the Board, and urges Council and the General Board to adopt them without delay.

Report of the Council, dated 20 July 2009, on a new building for the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities on the Sidgwick Avenue Site (Reporter, 2008–09, p. 1008).

Professor W. A. Brown (read by Mrs S. Bowring):

Mr Deputy Vice-Chancellor, as Head of School, I warmly welcome this Report on the construction of a new building for the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities on the Sidgwick Avenue Site.

The accommodation needs from the new build proposed in this Report are driven by the growth in activity of the newly formed department of POLIS and the convening functions of the Interdisciplinary Geographical Centres (IGC) and CRASSH. The location on the Sidgwick Site is of immense importance as it establishes a significant footprint on the Site and the building will be a beacon for the Social Sciences in Cambridge. The vision has the support of all seven institutions who will become the occupants of the building.

Academic links are already established between CRASSH and several of the IGCs, and it is expected that co-location will give these links a clearer profile and serve the multi-disciplinary focus of each institution. Opportunity for growth and likely synergies will also be created by co-location and proximity to other cognate institutions of the Sidgwick Site. There will be significant scope to develop activities in terms of academic visitors and research and the shared functional space will provide excellent venues for teaching, exhibitions, meetings, conferences, and seminars.

The overall consensus is that the architects have delivered an imaginative and inspiring response to the users’ needs and the proposed design presents an exciting opportunity that fully embraces the flexibility and interdisciplinary ethos championed by the School and the institutions.

Dr A. J. Webber (read by Mrs S. Bowring):

Mr Deputy Vice-Chancellor, The Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities is delighted to be accommodated in the state-of-the-art new building at 7 West Road. The move comes at a key time in the development of CRASSH, coinciding with its tenth anniversary and confirming its established presence as a focal element in the University’s research landscape. Accommodation in this building, amongst many of the Faculties and Departments that CRASSH serves, will enhance the Centre’s ability to act as a hub for innovation across and between the humanities and social science disciplines. In particular, shared tenancy with POLIS, Development Studies, and the four regional centres will help CRASSH in its strategic aim to further develop interests in regional and trans-regional politics and culture. The opportunities for collaboration promise considerable mutual benefit. CRASSH looks forward to taking up this new position at the portal to the Sidgwick Site.

Joint Report of the Council and the General Board, dated 20 July 2009 and 8 July 2009, on the requirements for the B.A. Degree by Honours (Reporter, 2008–09, p. 1010).

Professor J. M. Rallison:

Mr Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the proposal that the award of the B.A. (Honours) Degree should require successful completion of Part II of a Tripos was made by the General Board two years ago. There have since been two rounds of consultation with Faculties and with the Senior Tutors’ Committee, and a Consultative Report on the topic was discussed by the Regent House in May 2009 (Reporter, 2008–09, p. 790). I will not repeat here the arguments from that earlier Discussion.

The General Board and the Council now confirm their view that all routes to the B.A. (Honours) Degree should be robust, and that the status quo represents a reputational risk for the University. This Report brings forward the legislative changes to Statutes and Ordinances needed to give effect to the proposal. In order to maintain the legitimate expectations of existing students, the new regulations would apply only to undergraduates admitted in 2010 or a later year.

It is the General Board’s intention to bring forward proposals in due course concerning the award of the Ordinary B.A. Degree. These proposals will take account of views expressed in the earlier Discussion and also comments made by Faculties and Senior Tutors in the consultative process.