Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6472

Wednesday 5 July 2017

Vol cxlvii No 38

pp. 709–751

Report of Discussion: Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

A Discussion was held in the Council Room. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Ann Dowling was presiding, with the Registrary’s deputy, the Junior Proctor, the Senior Pro‑Proctor, and twenty-six other persons present.

The following Reports were discussed:

Report of the Council, dated 7 June 2017, on a viewing and interpretation structure at the Botanic Garden (Reporter, 6468, 2016–27, p. 582)

No remarks were made on this Report.

Report of the Council, dated 13 June 2017, on the financial position and budget of the University, recommending allocations from the Chest for 2017–18 (Reporter, 6469, 2016–27, p. 604)

Professor D. J. Maskell (Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Planning and Resources), read by the Senior Pro-Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Budget Report before you today comes at a time of major change and uncertainty in the external environment. The forthcoming withdrawal from the EU, changes in Higher Education governance and policy, and growth in our academic activities and capital estate plans, are challenges to which the University must respond. They contribute to the financial pressures reflected in this Budget Report, and they add to the scale and complexity of our academic support activities.

The financial forecasts in this year’s Budget Report show a continuing deterioration, a position that was anticipated in last year’s Report. The Chest remains in deficit across the planning period and while this is taken seriously, it is regarded as manageable for the short term. However, forecast Chest allocations are not sustainable based on current levels of income. Improving the long-term financial sustainability of the University can only be achieved via a combination of measured cost controls, and a concerted effort across all Schools, and non-School institutions where there is scope to do so, to raise new and additional income to the Chest for the benefit of the University overall.

This will require, in part, a strategy to increase student fee income via growth in student numbers. The University, in collaboration with the Colleges, is reviewing student number planning, taking into account the extent of capacity for growth now and in the future, and with a view to the long-term impact and opportunities that may arise as a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. The current philanthropic campaign is also a crucial component of plans to improve financial sustainability. A priority must be to ensure that philanthropic giving is aligned with the core priorities of Schools and the University overall.

The financial pressures on the Chest added to the complexity of this year’s planning round, which saw renewed tension in the balance between investing in academic activities on the one hand, and in supporting and enabling administrative services, on the other. The volume and complexity of the work required of the administrative services continues to increase in direct response to expansion in the University’s academic activities, and to changes in the external environment to which the University must respond.

The allocations put forward in this Budget Report, and particularly that to the UAS, were agreed after a lengthy process of scrutiny and challenge, and with the full engagement and support of the Heads of the Schools. The balance of allocations proposed does not diminish the urgent need to rationalize administrative provision and improve efficiency across all areas of the University. Data from the UniForum benchmarking exercise will improve our understanding of the University’s administrative structures, and will provide valuable insights to inform a more targeted allocation of existing resources to those areas of the administration where there is most need and that will most effectively facilitate academic excellence.

Measures to return the Chest to a more balanced position in the short term include a more restrictive approach to allocations in the next planning round. The Planning and Resources Committee has agreed, with the exception of forecast allocations that have already been identified and endorsed, and which are already built into this Budget Report, that there should be no new allocations from the Chest for 2018–19. Limiting the possibility of further increases in expenditure is one way of achieving a more balanced budget in the short term. The next planning round will also pilot a new Resource Allocation Model. This model, which has been endorsed in principle by the Resource Management Committee, will introduce greater incentives into the allocation of Chest resources. Alongside these measures, the planning process is undergoing a number of changes, which may contribute to an improved financial position in the longer term. The non-School institutions are being asked to respond specifically in their plans to the strategic academic priorities articulated by the Schools. The Schools, in turn, are being encouraged to focus on longer-term academic priorities that extend beyond the confines of the four-year planning period. A greater insight here is fundamental if the University is to be effective in prioritizing expenditure on recurrent activity and also on capital.

The University’s forecast expenditure on capital is significant. If all projects were to be taken forward, it would require capital expenditure over the next 15–20 years of over £4 billion. The overall programme is ambitious, but is driven by the need to ensure that our estate comprises buildings that are fit for purpose for modern education and research of the quality for which the University is known. The scale of forecast expenditure cannot be met from University resources alone, and those projects that are fundamental to delivering core academic strategies must be prioritized. For some projects there may be scope to adopt alternative funding mechanisms that would reduce or remove altogether the need to draw on the University’s Capital Fund. In other cases it is possible that certain projects must be postponed or cancelled. A better understanding of the long-term academic goals of the Schools will facilitate more informed decision-making, and contribute to a more balanced financial position for the University in future years.

Finally, I take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the work of colleagues across the UAS in preparing the data and projections that inform this Report, which I commend to the Regent House.

Dr E. M. Morfoot (Board of Scrutiny and Institute of Continuing Education) read by Dr C. M. McEniery:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Board of Scrutiny notes the publication of the Report of the Council on the financial position and budget of the University, recommending allocations from the Chest for 2017–18. Acting on behalf of the Regent House, the University’s governing body, the main duty of the Board under Statute A VII 1 and under its Ordinance is to scrutinize this report and also the Annual Report of the Council and the Report of the General Board to the Council, and also the Reports and Financial Statements for the Financial Year and any other report of the Council proposing allocations from the Chest. Under Statute A VII 2 it has the right of reporting to the University on any matter falling within its remit that it considers should be brought to the attention of the University.

The Board intends to follow the pattern established over more than twenty years and to produce one report later in the academical year. In doing so the Board will note remarks made at this or any other Discussion which are relevant to its business and also responses from the appropriate bodies. Should members of the Regent House wish to bring to the attention of the Board particular matters arising in these Reports or information relating to them, they may contact the Board either by email to or on paper to Dr Lydia N. Drumright, Department of Medicine, Box 157, Level 5, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ.

Mr M. G. Sargeant (University Information Services):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, there has been much discussion about pay by the Regent House but most of it has been about market pay, the reasons why we need to pay it, and how it should be approved. Market pay is paid to over 180 staff and amounts to over £3 million in supplementary pay. It is only paid to those on Grade 9 and above!

I want to take the discussion to the other end of the pay scale. We live and work in one of the most expensive cities in the UK. So expensive that a large proportion of our staff cannot afford to live in Cambridge which leads to many of the problems with congestion, the need for car parking, and a worse work–life balance as much of the working day is spent travelling. It also leads to difficulties for the University in recruiting and retaining staff.

The University, through the Universities and College Employers’ Association, has imposed a reduction in real wage cut of more than 15% in recent years. This has obviously been one of the drivers for market pay supplements during this period.

My first question is why has the University of Cambridge not signed up to be a Living Wage Employer accredited by the Living Wage Foundation? This would mean that all staff and contracted staff and sub-contracted staff who work regularly at the University of Cambridge would be on the real Living Wage.

Evidence from the Cardiff University Business School1 shows that employers have signed up to accreditation ‘to act in accordance with the organization’s mission or values’, and to demonstrate that the organization is a ‘socially responsible employer’.

Employers have found that by paying the Living Wage absenteeism is down by 25%.2 Surely we want to see this benefit for both our direct staff and contractors. PwC, formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, found that turnover of contractors fell from 4% to 1% by paying the Living Wage. When turnover of contractor staff halved, KPMG saved £75,000 on one contract alone.

Over 3,000 employers are signed up nationally. In the higher education sector this includes LSE, the University of Glasgow, the University of Aberdeen, and the Open University. Locally ARM, Cambridge City Council, and Anglia Ruskin University have signed up.

One of the reasons that the University gives for not being accredited is the issues associated with contractors. This might include the Temporary Employment Service where the pay scales are not published. The Living Wage Foundation offers phased accreditation as contracts come up for renewal. Surely we want to make sure that contracted staff who work alongside us are benefiting from a Living Wage. Last month the University of Oxford completed all steps to accreditation including moving all contracts for services to a Living Wage basis.3

The Report of the Council on the Financial Position and Budget of the University says ‘the pay award assumed in the planning guidance was 1% per year during the planning period’. Yet again the University of Cambridge is trying to balance the books on the backs of those who can least afford it, and it is likely that those on Grade 9 and above will be recruited with supplements because the pay scales have fallen so far behind those of other employers.

The University of Cambridge values do not include acting as a ‘socially responsible employer’. As a second question, I ask the University to show that it is a ‘socially responsible employer’ and sign up to accreditation by the Living Wage Foundation. Can I have the assurance that the University will do this within the next academical year?

Joint Report of the Council and the General Board, dated 13 June and 7 June 2017, on procedures for student complaints and reviews (Reporter, 6469, 2016–27, p. 628)

Professor G. J. Virgo (Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, Faculty of Law, and Downing College):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education I strongly support this Joint Report of the Council and the General Board on procedures for student complaints and reviews. It expands and revises a number of student procedures: the Student Complaints Procedure; the Examination Review Procedure; and the Review of University Decisions Procedure, to ensure that our student processes are transparent, fair, and compliant with guidance issued by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (the OIA), the external ombudsman for the sector.

These revised procedures enable students to raise concerns, confident of the process, and that they will be kept fully informed about the investigation and provided with the reasons for any decisions taken, with an option for a procedural review if they are dissatisfied with the outcome. These types of amendments have been made across the sector, following the OIA’s detailed guidance published in its Good Practice Framework for handling complaints and appeals. This Framework, first published in 2015, will be fully implemented in this University by virtue of the proposed revisions to the procedures.

The proposed revisions provide a number of improvements to the existing procedures, in particular:

• All of the procedures have explicit time frames for each stage; this conveys to the student body that complaints are being taken seriously and that the University will act promptly to consider whether there is an issue that needs to be fixed.

• Each procedure explains the case handling processes, including when late submissions will be accepted, how to request reasonable adjustments, and the support that is available to students when raising a complaint. Whilst these practices already take place, by being explicit about them, the University is giving students confidence that these things are taken into consideration fairly and consistently.

• Finally, under the revised procedures if an officer determines that a remedy should be awarded there is an expectation that this will occur. Previously, remedies have only been recommended and there have been cases where a student has been informed of a remedy following a justified complaint and an individual member of staff or a group of staff have decided not to implement that remedy. This affects student and University confidence in the complaints procedure as an appropriate mechanism for raising concerns. The OIA has given the University specific feedback that this approach is unfair and must change. All officers are appointed by Council or the General Board and are required to undergo training and receive support and advice in reaching decisions and determining remedies. Where appropriate, officers liaise with staff to ensure that a remedy is practical. With these checks in place, it is right that the University should have confidence that these officers will act appropriately and their determination of a remedy should be acted on. Treating their decisions as recommendations only allows for errors or a deficient student experience to be repeated.

The revisions which have been made to the procedures will satisfy the OIA and are compatible with the OIA guidance for providers. That guidance should have been implemented last year. Bearing in mind the need to ensure full consultation about these procedures through the collegiate University’s various committees, we have been given permission to defer implementation until October 2017. But if the new procedures are not in place by then, the University is liable to be sanctioned by the OIA, which could include public censure from the OIA published in its Annual Report. Following careful and rigorous interrogation of the amendments to the procedures by members of many College and University committees I am confident that these proposals are needed, are justified, and are appropriate. Adopting these procedures is a vital step forward in ensuring that the University’s student processes are fair and legitimate, and in ensuring that our students have confidence in the University’s complaints and review procedures.

Mr C. H. G. Allen (President of the Graduate Union, Department of Chemistry, and King’s College):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I want to briefly put on record my support for the reforms outlined in this report. In particular, I want to highlight three specific improvements in the new procedures:

(1) I welcome the overall simplification and rationalization of the procedures. Students complaints procedures are only useful if the process is trusted by both students and University staff, otherwise how can the outcomes be accepted as fair by all concerned? Even more importantly, an over-complex procedure can have the unintended consequence of deterring complaints that the University ought to consider, both in the interest of the complainant seeking remedy and the University seeking to provide a positive and fair student experience. The current procedures are unnecessarily complex and opaque, in contrast to the new procedures which are simple and transparent. I would expect these changes both to increase students’ confidence in the complaints procedure, and also to ensure the University is not inadvertently suppressing the number of complaints it considers through maintaining an unduly Byzantine procedure.

(2) I welcome the introduction of a power for the Complaint Officer to require action to be taken as a consequence of their finding. Under the current procedures, all that can be done in response is to issue a recommendation, which has no teeth. This is indefensibly weak, and creates perverse outcomes whereby the University finds a complaint justified but cannot effect a remedy – such situations represent both a betrayal of the University’s duty to its students, but also the creation of a needless and avoidable risk to the institution. I reject the suggestion that this gives the Complaint Officer an undesirable level of power, because in the case of a refusal to comply with instructions the matter could be referred to the Council or General Board. Both of these bodies have the authority and experience to fairly resolve the impasse.

(3) I welcome the clarification and tightening of the time frames in these procedures, especially the confirmation of an anticipated 90-day time frame for resolving a complaint. Though less obviously helpful to students, I also welcome the shortening of the eligibility window to 28 days. The reason I support these changes is the importance of remedying a problem in good time, and the incentive it provides to students to ensure that they do not sit on problems until they become unresolvable. In particular, I want to point out the absurdity of the previous maximum timescale from issue to resolution of six months, when Full Terms last for two months and so many University students are on Master’s courses which are themselves only nine months long. I therefore support these timescale changes in order to encourage a speedy resolution of problems, in the anticipation that, first, the University will ensure the shorter deadline is properly communicated to current students and, second, that the University will make exceptions to these deadlines in cases with good cause, for example in order to make a reasonable adjustment.

I finally want to express thanks for all the work that has gone into the preparation of this report, which is the product of full consultation with the officers of the students’ unions.

I commend this report to the Regent House.

Ms A. J. W. Sebatindira (CUSU Women’s Officer, and Trinity Hall):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I would also like to speak in support of the reforms set out in this Report. I would like to talk about one issue in particular: concerns have been raised about the authority of the Complaint Officer to require a member of the University to take such action as the Complaint Officer deems necessary as a remedy to the complaint.

As a student representative, I strongly disagree with any argument that prioritizes the autonomy of University members over student access to sufficient remedies following a successful complaint. Especially in the light of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator explicitly informing the University that mere recommendations are insufficient, there is no justifiable reason to deprive a student of a remedy where the University finds their complaint to be justified.

If recommendations as opposed to required actions were provided following justified complaints, it would wholly undermine the legitimacy of University complaints procedures in the eyes of students. It would appear to them that the University is more concerned with protecting its non-student members, and that the complaints procedure allows the University to simply pay lip-service to the idea of treating its students fairly. Fair treatment in this context clearly requires that University members be made to modify their actions, improve institutional rules, or carry out any other form of recommended action that has been found to have left a student worse off than they should have been.

It makes sense for the Complaints Officer to have this power, given that they will have investigated matters thoroughly and provide a necessary external perspective. It also makes sense for a clear accountability procedure to be set up alongside this should University members fail to carry out their recommended action, otherwise there’s no point.

In short, there is no purpose to a complaints procedure that doesn’t vindicate anyone who brings a justified complaint under it.

Dr M. Frasca-Spada (Senior Tutor, Corpus Christi College), read by the Junior Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I speak, as a Senior Tutor, in support of these new procedures. The introduction of clear time frames and investigation processes recommended by the sector ombudsman, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, enables our procedures to be fair and transparent.

This transparency includes the introduction for each procedure of a policy detailing how student information will be used. Whilst these policies are a page in length, they clearly set out the limits of who will be informed of the student’s concern. One of the barriers to students reporting concerns is a reluctance to involve staff; this policy helpfully states the parameters to the involvement of different staff.

I am also aware of the need to change our current Student Complaints Procedure, where an Officer simply recommends a remedy, to a system where an Officer can actually issue a remedy. This need has arisen from a number of sources, including a decision from the Office of the Independent Adjudicator to regard a complaint as partly justified on the basis that there was ‘failure to ensure that the recommendations made by the Reviewer in the Complaint Report were implemented’.

In proposing a change to the Procedure, a number of caveats have been put in place, including that the Complaint Officer issuing the remedy will:

have attended training on the Student Complaints Procedure;

be advised by academic-related staff in terms of consistency of decision-making;

be an academic member of staff.

I also note, crucially, that remedies can only be issued in relation to complaints that are upheld. This caveat is important since, whenever the University has made a mistake, it should not be hesitant in taking action to remedy the situation, both for the current student’s sake and to make sure that the same circumstances cannot be repeated.

In sum, I support this policy change for two reasons. Firstly, where the University has admitted to a student that something has gone wrong, it is not fair for an employee of the University to prevent a remedy being implemented. Secondly, non-compliance with the recommendation of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator may lead to the University being censured. This would result in the publication of details of the case and the name of the University in the OIA’s Annual Report, with the inevitable reputational damage.

In conclusion I support these procedures and the clarity that they bring to staff and students alike.

Professor G. R. Evans (Emeritus Professor of Medieval Theology and Intellectual History), read by the Senior Pro‑Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, my first thought on reading this Report was to look up the most recent Annual Statement of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, so as to see how Cambridge is doing in comparison with other ‘providers’.1 Some features are worth mentioning.

Cambridge is clearly seeking to behave well. In 2016, the University complied with ‘student-centred’ recommendations (those falling due in 2016) ‘within the OIA time scale in 2 out of 2 complaints’ for which the OIA says it is ‘grateful’. It is also noted that ‘individuals from the University of Cambridge have attended a number of OIA webinars in 2016’. ‘We are grateful for the University of Cambridge’s positive engagement with us.’

However, Cambridge does not seem to be doing so well in resolving complaints by settlement:

9% of all complaints closed by the OIA in 2016 were resolved by settlement. None of the complaints closed against University of Cambridge in 2016 were resolved by settlement.

The OIA divides complaints into eight categories and provides a pie-chart to show at a glance which are preponderant in a given provider’s complaints. It is striking that Cambridge complaints fell into only two of the eight, ‘academic status’ and ‘service issues (contract)’. The first tends to be the most common everywhere but it constituted 71% of complaints against Cambridge (five complaints) against a general average of 54%. Into the second category fell two complaints against Cambridge. Cambridge did not seem to be upsetting its students under the other headings: financial; discrimination and human rights; academic misconduct, plagiarism, and cheating; disciplinary (non-academic); welfare and accommodation; other (not classified).

In that wider context of the national scene, it is striking that the OIA is not concerned with complaints against Colleges. That of course is not the concern of a Report to the University but understanding whether a complaint lies against College or University will be very important for the individual student.

This Report is thorough and commendable effort has been made to provide a better and more satisfactory procedure. Nevertheless, I am concerned that in future the procedures, as further revised, are to be approved directly by the General Board. The existing ones, although they are published among the Ordinances in the Statutes and Ordinances, have merely been ‘approved by the Council’.2 These new ones are to be approved by the Regent House this once, but on the understanding that that is the last time the Regent House will get to authorize student complaints procedures. In future that task will be handed to the General Board. Students may reasonably feel that they are being denied the constitutional protection of Regent House supervision they might expect.


Report of the General Board, dated 7 June 2017, on Senior Academic Promotions (Reporter, 6469, 2016–27, p. 646)

No remarks were made on this Report.

Report of the General Board, dated 7 June 2017, on the re-establishment of a Sir Evelyn de Rothschild Professorship of Finance (Reporter, 6469, 2016–27, p. 650)

No remarks were made on this Report.

Report of the General Board, dated 7 June 2017, on the reorganization of the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages (Reporter, 6469, 2016–27, p. 651)

No remarks were made on this Report.

Report of the General Board, dated 7 June 2017, on the re-establishment of a Department of Social Anthropology, and the renaming of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology (Reporter, 6469, 2016–27, p. 653)

Professor M. K. Jones (Head of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, and Darwin College):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I have served as Head of the current Department of Archaeology and Anthropology since January 2015. The Department’s component subjects have always had an interdisciplinary dimension, but their respective interdisciplinary maps have grown and diversified, and along distinctive paths. This is reflected across the whole gamut of activities from teaching and research to dissemination and wider engagement. Our two groupings will now be teaching to distinct Triposes and distinct graduate programmes, and will present their research to distinct REF panels. In each of these respects, the existing grouping fits that of the new Department arrangement well.

In order to optimize the clarity of our mission and optimize our efforts towards excellence in teaching and research, the establishment of the Department of Social Anthropology and redefinition and renaming of the existing Department, provide us with the managerial arrangements that we need and within which we can do our work best. In addition, the two proposed Departments will be well positioned to work together towards shared aims, including the continued success of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

I speak with strong support from members of the existing Department of Archaeology and Anthropology for the General Board proposals and urge them to be Graced.

Professor C. Broodbank (Disney Professor of Archaeology, and Gonville and Caius College):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I speak as the designated Head of the proposed new Department of Archaeology from 1 October 2017. Other speakers have already presented the broader logic of the proposed change to the Departmental structure and its strong consonance with both teaching and research trajectories. I therefore concentrate instead upon the new Department’s internal constituents and strategic mission. The Department will continue to act, as does the current Division of Archaeology, as home to most academic archaeologists and cognate experts in Cambridge, including, by secondary affiliation, those at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. It will also include the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, act as a parent Department for the Duckworth Collection, and continue close links with the Cambridge Archaeological Unit. Its already intellectually broad and global remit will be extended to support strongly the subject of human evolution and other key elements within the former Division of Biological Anthropology, in recognition of both the outstanding research profile of this field and the high demand for teaching across other Triposes.

Professor J. A. Laidlaw (William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology, and King’s College), read by Dr D. Sneath:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I speak as the designated Head of the proposed new Department of Social Anthropology, with effect from 1 October 2017. Like the other speakers, I wholeheartedly endorse the case made in the Report for the proposed changes, which are to be welcomed for the greater coherence they will enable us to achieve across all our activities: better integration of our teaching, greater focus in our research strategy, streamlining of our governance and planning, and clarity and visibility of our institutional profile as a basis for fundraising and outreach. In addition to continuing to provide a home for the highly successful Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit, the Department will house a new centre for research on ethics and economic change (a joint initiative with the Max Planck Institutes of Halle and Gottingen), and we are greatly looking forward to deepening our long-standing relationship with the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, which will now be an integral part of the new Department. It would be difficult to overstate the boost to morale and goodwill that these proposals have brought to the whole community of social anthropologists in the University, and they enjoy our very enthusiastic and unqualified support.

Professor R. Foley (Leverhulme Professor of Human Evolution, and King’s College):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I speak as a former Head of the Department of Biological Anthropology, and as the co-founder and Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies. I am also speaking on behalf of Professor Nicholas Mascie-Taylor, my predecessor as Head of Department and subsquent Head of the merged Department of Archaeology and Anthropology.

This Report is a forward-looking one, as it should be, but it would be heartless not to look back as well. If Graced, this Report would finally sever the special relationship of ‘Arch and Anth’ at Cambridge, a relationship that is over 100 years old. While the Report rightly recognized that since the early twentieth century the three disciplines – Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, and Social Anthropology – have developed their own distinctive trajectories, it is also the case that much of the strength and success of the three subjects at Cambridge, and of the very many students who took Arch and Anth, derived from the broader training and intellectual contacts made. Cambridge Arch and Anth has been one of the powerhouses of the field internationally, and its students among the most innovative, and many explicitly recognized the contribution of a broader perspective to their specialist fields.1 Its passing brings more than a hint of sadness, and its achievements should not be forgotten.

But times and needs change, and we are here to bury Arch and Anth, not to praise it. This end is the outcome of intellectual divergence and a changed institutional environment. But new structures always emerge. During its existence, Arch and Anth has been one Faculty, then one Department, then three Departments, then one again, and now it will be two: Archaeology and Social Anthropology. We understand and support the way in which this Report will help the aspirations of colleagues in those two disciplines and that it will bring to an end a long period of uncertainty.

However, the General Board Report is largely silent on the vitality of the third subject, Biological Anthropology. While sections of the Report rightly emphasize the dynamic and changing nature of Archaeology and Social Anthropology, Biological Anthropology is left languishing in the shadow of its synergies with Archaeology, with which it will soon be merged as a single Department. This may leave the impression that it is a subject in decline, in need of cross-disciplinary absorption. Far from it. Nationally and internationally it is healthier than it has been for decades – it thrives at UCL, Durham, Bristol, Oxford, Loughborough, and many centres in Europe, the USA, and beyond. New institutions such as the European Society for the Study of Human Evolution have sprung up and are growing very rapidly, and two Max Planck Institutes dedicated to the subject have futher raised its profile. In the USA, Biological Anthropology has thrived in places like Harvard and Berkeley, in both cases through a stronger integration into the life sciences.

Cambridge has been part of this renaissance, with international-level research in all the main branches, although it has had particular strengths in human ecology of the living (interactions of disease, nutrition, growth with poverty, what became known as the ‘applied biological anthropology’ branch of the Department), and human evolutionary studies (notably with the significant infra-structural investment and success of the establishment of the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies in 2001 in the purpose-built Henry Wellcome Building). The Duckworth Collection has been rehoused and is now used on a greatly increased scale. Four ERC awards have been held by Bio Anth UTOs, and a further three were won by recent research alumni, now elsewhere. In the last twenty-five years or so, the former Department more than doubled in size.

It might be thought that the subsuming of Biological Anthropology within an Archaeology Department reflects the current demography of student choice, but the evidence suggests this is not so. In the current year (2016–17), Biological Anthropology has twice as many FTEs at undergraduate level than Archaeology (76 to 36). This is not just a one-year blip; in its last year as a Department, Biological Anthropology had 85 FTEs to Archaeology’s 64. In total, Biological Anthropology would represent 44% of the total undergraduate and postgraduate student load in the new Department of Archaeology. Biological Anthropology is in fact a thriving and rapidly growing subject, although it is currently under pressure as posts have remained unfilled since the Department was unified.

In sum, Biological Anthropology is not the tail of an archaeological dog, as might be thought from a reading of the Report, but its own breed of dog.

The Report reflects the discussions held between social anthropologists, archaeologists, and the School and central offices, and as far as I know there have been no equivalent discussions with biological anthropologists. This is regrettable, as it has given the false impression that this is one discipline absorbing another, rather than a merger of two equal disciplines in a single Department. A first meeting held last week for the biological anthropologists, to discuss the new proposals, welcomed stronger links with Archaeology, the shared interests in the long-term dynamics of the human species, biologically and culturally, and recognized that in the current institutional environment a single Department may be more effective. However, there was a universally-held view that the absence of any formal recognition of Biological Anthropology as a discipline was unfortunate to say the least. While there are good grounds for a strong relationship with Archaeology, as there always have been – and I myself am a graduate of the Archaeology Department – Biological Anthropology is not a sub-discipline of Archaeology, as its interests go beyond the human deep past, and include ecology, behaviour, genetics, growth and development, aspects of biomedical science, conservation, zoology, and cognitive sciences – basically all the biological aspects of being human today, as well as in the past, some with major policy applications that relate to the current global challenges and several SRIs (Conservation, Language Sciences, Infectious Diseases, Big Data). In addition, Biological Anthropology has its own equally strong and separate links (shared teaching and research) with Zoology, Genetics, Psychology, and the medical sciences within the University.

The General Board and School should have consulted with the biological anthropologists as well as Archaeology and Social Anthropology at some stage in this process. It is not too late to rectify this and so address the following concerns:

(1) The need for a clear and independent research profile and structure for Biological Anthropology within the University, to attract top quality postgraduates and postdocs from across the field, and to enable biological anthropologists to apply for grants in the biological and medical sciences, not just as biologically oriented archaeologists. This will strengthen both Biological Anthropology and the new Department more broadly. Can we have assurance from the General Board that this independent research profile will be maintained in the renamed Department?

(2) The need for identifiable undergraduate tracks within the Archaeology, Psychological and Behavioural Sciences, and Biological and Biomedical Sciences Triposes for the many students whose interests in Biological Anthropology do not stem directly from the links with Archaeology. This will be important to protect the delicate balance of undergraduate numbers in the new Department. What are the General Board projections and policy for undergraduate student numbers in Biological Anthropology in the current proposals, given they are currently the majority?

(3) Given the parity between Archaeology and Biological Anthropology as disciplines, there is a case for naming the Department to reflect this. I do not know if that opportunity has passed – perhaps, perhaps not – but the General Board should certainly explore ways in which that parity can be maintained, however the Department is named. The driving force behind much of this proposal has been the lack of visibility for Archaeology in the Human, Social, and Political Sciences Tripos; this has not been a problem for Biological Anthropology (Biological Anthropology is largely the reason it is Human, Social, and Political Science rather than Social and Political Sciences). It is important that in solving one case of disciplinary invisibility, this Report does not create yet another one. Could the General Board and the School consult with biological anthropologists either on the name of the Department or alternative measures to ensure it remains viable and visible as a discipline?

None of this is incompatible with a two Department structure replacing the current Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, as the Report proposes, and we will strongly support the aspirations of our archaeological and social anthropological colleagues in ensuring it is a success. However, we would ask the General Board to respond to the Discussion with a stronger and more explicit voice on the importance and vitality of Biological Anthropology in the new Department and in the University, and to provide the structures necessary to ensure this. Administrative institutions are not necessarily isomorphic with disciplines, and as these institutions inevitably become larger, the General Board and School must recognize that explicitly and plan for it positively.

Dame Barbara. M. Stocking (Chair of the Faculty Board of Human, Social, and Political Science, and President of Murray Edwards College), read by the Junior Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I became Chair of the Faculty Board of Human, Social, and Political Science in Michaelmas 2016. It was very evident that the long-standing lack of resolution of the departmental configuration across the Faculty was a significant issue affecting both research and education. The divergent intellectual paths of Archaeology and Social Anthropology had already been recognized in the establishment of the Archaeology Tripos. The Report from the General Board also sets out the intellectual case for change. There is no doubt that the proposals will make planning much easier and provide a settled, workable structure across all the Departments of HSPS.

I have been impressed by the level of co-operation in bringing forward these proposals, both across the Departments centrally concerned, and including the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. All understand that the level of collaboration should and will be maintained in future. This can, I believe, help Cambridge Social Sciences move forward to make an even greater contribution to academic knowledge and impact for the future.

I speak then with strong support from all of the Faculty Board to the proposals in the General Board Report and I hope they will now go forward to be Graced.