No 23: The proposed changes to the Charter and Statutes of the University of Wales

The proposed changes to the Charter and Statutes of the University of Wales

In Blog 22 I revealed that the Privy Council had sent me a copy of the proposed changes to the Charter and Statutes they had received in June 2012, information that the University had refused to disclose.  Even though the Privy Council believe that University intend to withdraw these proposals I believe that it is well worth revealing some of the changes now that I’ve had time to study the mass of documents.

The introduction to the guidance document by the lawyers Eversheds states clearly that “the majority of the changes reflect amendments required or are advisable in light of the proposed merger between the University and the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David under the Charter of the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David”.  This was therefore an interim step in the merger process but at the end of this stage the University of Wales remain a body with its own Royal Charter. 

They also state that “many parts of the existing Charter will be transferred to the University’s Ordinances so that they are easier to amend in the future.”    They probably mean that such changes could be done without much scrutiny in the future which shows how important these current proposed changes, or those that replace, them are.

Graduates no longer members of the University

Clause II in the current Charter states clearly that the Graduates, and others, are “members of the University”.    This clause has been completely removed and, as far as I can see, there will no longer be any “members of the University”.   People like me, when awarded our degree at the awards ceremony, automatically became members of the University for life, but no longer if these proposals go ahead.

Requirement to consult deleted 

The Statutes have been completely deleted with the exception of the section dealing with University staff, their conditions of service, disciplinary procedures etc.   Clause 11 in the current Statutes states clearly that the University “shall regularly consult with its Graduates”.    It’s no surprise that this clause has been deleted given the University’s Council and Vice-chancellor’s past behaviour in completely ignoring this statutory requirement.   They don’t want this nonsense of having to consult; they just want to carry on doing what they want to do without taking any notice of anyone else!

New clause to estblish “Guild” 

There is a new clause in the Charter stating that “There shall be a Guild which shall include the alumni and honorary graduates of the University.   The Guild shall, subject to the absolute control of the Council, be a consultative body for stakeholders of the University.”  Yes, the University will consult but only on their terms and under their strict control!   That is, if any consultation comes up with a response that is against their wishes it will be completely ignored!

Stalinist approach!

When I read this I had a quick look at the names of the members of the University Council to see if there was a “J. Stalin” amongst them!    No, he wasn’t there but the spirit of Joe Stalin lives on in the University of Wales Council. 

Thank goodness that these proposals are to be withdrawn, but what will be the new proposals that the University are going to propose in the future?   These could be even worse!   I wonder whether there will be a consultation on these proposals before they are presented as is required by the University’s present Charter and Statutes?

Will the Privy Council consider any changes? 

The big question is whether the Privy Council will be prepared to even consider the proposals.   The University has completely ignored the requirement of its Statutes before the Council took the fateful decision on 21 October 2011 to dissolve the University and merge with another.    The decision was therefore unconstitutional as is every action resulting from this unconstitutional act.   Under these circumstances I can’t see how the Privy Council can possibly consider any changes when they result from an unconstitutional act.

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