Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6552

Wednesday 19 June 2019

Vol cxlix No 34

pp. 693–722



25 June, Tuesday. Easter Term ends.

26 June, Wednesday. Congregation of the Regent House at 10 a.m. (General Admission). Scarlet day.

27 June, Thursday. Congregation of the Regent House at 10 a.m. (General Admission). Scarlet day.

28 June, Friday. Congregation of the Regent House at 10 a.m. (General Admission). Scarlet day.

29 June, Saturday. Congregation of the Regent House at 10 a.m. (General Admission). Scarlet day.

2 July, Tuesday. Discussion in the Senate-House at 2 p.m. (see below).

9 July, Tuesday. Discussion in the Senate-House at 2 p.m.

19 July, Friday. Congregation of the Regent House at 10 a.m.

20 July, Saturday. Congregation of the Regent House at 10 a.m.

Discussion on Tuesday, 2 July 2019

The Vice-Chancellor invites those qualified under the regulations for Discussions (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 105) to attend a Discussion in the Senate-House on Tuesday, 2 July 2019 at 2 p.m., for the discussion of:

1. First-stage Report of the Council, dated 12 June 2019, on the construction of the National Centre for Propulsion and Power and re-development of the Whittle Laboratory (Reporter, 6551, 2018–19, p. 684).

2. Report of the General Board, dated 5 June 2019, on Senior Academic Promotions (Reporter, 6551, 2018–19, p. 686).

3. Report of the General Board, dated 12 June 2019, on the establishment of a Professorship of Ophthalmology (Reporter, 6551, 2018–19, p. 690).

4. Report of the Council, dated 10 June 2019, on the financial position and budget of the University, recommending allocations from the Chest for 2019–20 (p. 699).

Further information on Discussions, including details on format and attendance, is provided at

Amending Statutes for Newnham College

5 June 2019

The Vice-Chancellor gives notice that he has received from the Governing Body of Newnham College, in accordance with the provisions of Section 7(2) of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge Act 1923, the text of a Special Statute to amend the Charter of the College. The current Charter and Statutes of the College and the proposed Special Statute are available on the College's website:

Paper copies of the amendments may be inspected at the University Offices until 10 a.m. on Friday, 28 June 2019.

Discussion of a topic of concern to the University: The University response to the climate crisis beyond divestment

16 June 2019

The Registrary gives notice that she has received the following request for the discussion of a topic of concern to the University:

We, the undersigned, hereby request that a Discussion be held as soon as convenient in the Michaelmas Term on the subject 'That the Regent House, as the governing body of the University, consider how the University should respond to the climate crisis beyond the issue of divestment already under consideration. This is particularly topical due to the University's failure to meet its environmental sustainability targets.1'

We further request that this Discussion be open to all students and to all employees of the University Group and the Colleges, in addition to those already entitled to attend.

This request is supported by the following 14 members of the Regent House:

A. R. Beresford

I. P. Davies

J. Y. A. Pichon-Pharabod

P. Brooks

S.-A. Gannon

D. R. Thomas

R. N. Clayton

A. J. Hutchings

R. N. M. Watson

S. J. Cowley

B. D. Jones

J. A. Zeitler

M. R. Danish

M. A. Kleppmann

The Council has agreed that this topic will be included among the matters for consideration at the Discussion to be held in the Senate-House at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, 8 October 2019. The Discussion will be open to all students and all employees of the University Group and the Colleges, in addition to those already entitled to attend.

Grants from the Colleges Fund *

17 June 2019

The Council has received the following report from the Colleges Fund Committee which under Regulation 4 for the Fund (Statutes and Ordinances, p. 1067) it now publishes to the University.

1. The amount available in the Fund for distribution in 2019 is £4.672m.

2. The Colleges Fund Committee has approved the following grants to be added to the endowment of Colleges, to be paid in June 2019:*


Hughes Hall


Lucy Cavendish College


St Edmund's College


Wolfson College


Fitzwilliam College


Robinson College


Darwin College


Clare Hall


3. These grants have been calculated by taking account of the model of a 'standard' College with a basic requirement for endowment. The figures take account of the endowment requirements of the relevant Applicant College as estimated by the Committee's model having reference to numbers of undergraduates, full-time equivalent graduates, Fellows and College Teaching Officers.

4. The Committee has again placed a cap on the grant made to any one College. It has limited the maximum grant to 150% of the average grant. Four Colleges have had grants limited in this way.

5. The Colleges Fund Committee has not approved any exceptional grants in addition to the endowment-based grants listed above.


  • *20 June 2019: A correction has been made to the table to include entries for four Colleges that were mistakenly omitted from the table when it was originally published.

Update on the Council's work on the Universities Superannuation Scheme

By Grace 1 of 2 May 2018, the Council committed to report by the end of this academic year on its plans to maintain staff retirement packages in the event of material changes to benefits during the negotiations that followed the 2017 valuation of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). It also promised to update the University on its work to promote an acceptable and sustainable future for the USS.

Changes to the Scheme

There have not been any material changes to benefits available to the University's USS members since the 2017 valuation. The only minor change has been the removal of the 1% employer 'match' previously paid to members who made additional voluntary pension contributions. Consultation had indicated that this was acceptable to the majority of members.

However, there have been changes to contribution rates. The negotiations between employees, employers and the USS following the 2017 valuation reached no agreement, legally obliging the USS to conclude the valuation by imposing rate rises to the level it deemed necessary to fund the Scheme's commitments. In January 2019, it imposed a significant rise from 26% to 35.6% of salary, split 65:35 between employers (who will pay 24.2%) and employees (who will pay 11.4%), and phased in between April 2019 and April 2020.

Meanwhile, employees, represented by the University and College Union (UCU), and employers, represented by Universities UK (UUK), agreed to review the 2017 valuation. They set up a Joint Expert Panel (JEP),1 first to carry out this review, and second to determine whether there was an alternative methodology for future valuations that could enjoy the support of all parties and provide long-term stability for the USS.

Following the JEP's first report in September 2018, which recommended a number of changes to valuation methodology, the USS decided to conduct another valuation, this time as at 31 March 2018. The 2018 valuation produced a more positive picture of the Scheme's deficit and the USS is currently negotiating with the UCU and UUK to determine an approach to contributions that would replace the increases imposed as a result of the 2017 valuation.

Within this context, the Council considers its foremost priority to be the promotion of a longer-term solution for the USS that is acceptable to all parties.

Council actions

The Council takes its responsibilities to the University's USS members very seriously. Over the last year, it has received written updates and oral briefings from the Chief Financial Officer on the USS at every meeting, i.e. monthly, and discussed and approved all the University's consultation responses. The Chief Financial Officer has recently become a member of the USS Joint Negotiating Committee.2

The Council supported the recommendations of the JEP3 as a potential short-term solution to the 2017 valuation while emphasising the need to explore more sustainable long-term options. It now believes that alternative approaches to the USS's valuation methodology represent the most promising way of providing a more stable framework for long-term funding and benefit provision without steep rises in the total contribution rates. It contributed its views on alternative approaches in its March response to the UUK consultation on the 2018 valuation4 and in June it also submitted these views to the JEP.

The Council indicated to UUK5 that its preferred conclusion to the 2018 valuation would be to introduce a more moderate contribution increase in rates to 30.7% from 1 October 2019 on the understanding that a valuation as at 31 March 2020 will inform a new arrangement. It expects the 2020 valuation to take into account the JEP's second report, due later this year.

The Council will report back to the Regent House at the end of 2020–21, or sooner if appropriate, on its continuing efforts to promote an acceptable and sustainable future for the USS. Scheme members will also be kept informed by regular web briefings on the For Staff website,6 an e-bulletin sent directly to all members, and open meetings on 27 June and in future as necessary.

Strategic review of email provision in the University: Amended timetable

On 9 May 2019, the Information Services Committee (ISC) gave notice of a strategic review of the centrally-provided email systems in the University (Reporter, 6546, 2018–19, p. 528) with the anticipation that the report on the outcomes would be provided to the General Board and the Council in Easter Term 2019.

The ISC acknowledges the significant number of contributions received from across the University and thanks those institutions and individuals who have participated. In light of the volume of responses, the ISC has agreed that the review group should take further time to consider these and now anticipates that the outcome of the review will be presented in Michaelmas Term 2019.