Thanks to an eagle eyed member of staff who spotted the public notice in the Evening Times on April 1st, the day that management published its proposals for the restructuring of clusters involving compulsory redundancies.
Three years after senior management at GCU signed a deal with private company INTO, run by a property developer to recruit and teach international students, a “pre-application consultation” for building work has begun.
As part of the INTO deal with GCU it appeared that management had given a building – Peter McCann House – valued at £3 million – to Andrew Colin, head of INTO. Despite numerous union requests, details of this were never revealed due to “commercial confidentiality”.
At the time, Sally Hunt, General Secretary of UCU, wrote the Principal explaining that union’s fears:
“As you know, our concerns about these joint ventures are twofold. First that universities will lock themselves into long-term relationships which may not deliver the benefits promised. Second, that a company of this nature is neither the most secure environment in which academic work can take place nor one where pay, conditions and job security of staff are sufficiently protected“.
The complete letter (which is worth revisiting) can be downloaded here: Letter from Sally Hunt to Principal
Despite numerous attempts by the campus unions to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the use of the Peter McCann House building, the financial arrangement, if any, between INTO and GCU remains unclear: who bought the building, was it gifted by GCU to INTO, is it owned by INTO, is it rented by INTO?”
We hope that the University Court is fully cognisant of their responsibilities here in terms of public money.
At the time staff were told in a series of meetings that INTO “would deliver a state of art building for international students by 2011”.
Now it’s 2011 and the site of Peter McCann House is a hole in the ground with no work being done.
Public money was given to INTO to carry out the demolition of the old homeless hostel.
At last there seems to be some movement but all this event will show us are proposed plans that have not even got permission to be built – 3 years after the deal! Planning permission is still to be sought – this could add years to the project.
This public meeting is open to all in the CPD building at the Uni from 2pm – 8pm this Thursday 14th.
If like us you are interested to see the plans drop in. The CUC will be sending a delegation over in the afternoon. Details of the property developers JonesLangLassalle organising the meeting can be found here.
Some useful material is found on our blog’s INTO page. Go directly to it here.