North Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey has expressed grave disappointment and anger at the decision by Ulster University to relocate its School of Health Sciences undergraduate programmes to Magee rather than Coleraine.
Commenting, Mervyn Storey said:
‘‘Today’s decision is bitterly disappointing and is a total reversal by the University and its Council from what was promised by the previous Vice Chancellor Paddy Nixon when he presented to Causeway Coast & Glens Council on the 24th April 2018.
Coleraine was uniquely positioned to receive these courses. The campus has already established a reputation for excellence in teaching and research through its biomedical and healthcare courses. It was also by the University’s own admission the most cost-effective option. To ignore all of this in favour of creating links with the newly-established Graduate Medical School is, in my view, akin to placing all eggs in one basket, particularly at a time when the University’s finances have come under close scrutiny.
On the back of this announcement, we have to seriously question whether the University is sincere in its commitment to a three-campus vision. The steady loss of academic provision from Coleraine over the course of recent years, if continued, may place into jeopardy the long-term future of the campus. Today's decision does nothing to repair that damage.
The University must clearly demonstrate not by words alone but by delivery that they are consolidating and expanding the Coleraine Campus with courses that attack students.
I recognise that there will have been differing views on the outcome of this consultation and not everyone will share my opinion. As someone who is proud of what is achieved by our local campus and wants to see it thrive, I will continue to work constructively with the Vice-Chancellor and his team with view to righting the wrongs of recent times.
Finally, lest there be any doubt about the University’s broken promises to Coleraine and the local community I have enclosed an extract from the 2018 presentation received by local councillors.’’
Note - the extract of the presentation to Councillors is below.
•Four disciplines will relocate to Coleraine campus from Jordanstown:
•Speech & Language Therapy
•Internal consultation with affected staff and trade unions
•Consulting on pausing relocation for one year, until 2019
•Consulting on relocating Radiography and Healthcare Science to Magee campus, given alignment with current and planned provision
•Consultation closed on 23 April – review process underway, decision will be communicated ASAP