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University boss responds to row over proposed move for Stafford campus

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: December 16, 2013

By Mark Hattersley, Director of Finance and Infrastructure, Staffordshire University

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Dear Editor,

We are dismayed at your sensationalist reporting on the recent Stafford Chamber meeting hosted at Staffordshire University to consult with local businesses on the future of Staffordshire University’s estate.

The meeting was part of the University’s on-going consultation on the Estates Strategy and was similar to a meeting held in October 2013 for the membership of the Chamber in Stoke.

We feel that the quotes included in your article were not fully representative of the open and transparent discussions which took place, and failed to provide important context to those discussions.

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We have surveyed our students and staff for their opinions on the pros and cons of both our Stoke and Stafford campuses. Invitations to participate in the survey were sent to 12,362 students based on the Stoke and Stafford Campuses and 1171 Alumni - our recent graduates. Response rates to the survey were in the region of 17 per cent.

Findings from this research show that students like the idea of a self-contained campus in a town or city best and a rural, self-contained campus was the least attractive option. Although students at Stafford have a slightly more positive attitude towards rural locations, they still preferred the concept of a self-contained campus in a town or city.

The research has shown that students in Stafford are concerned about the gender imbalance that exists at our Stafford campus, access to social opportunities, food outlets, public transport links etc. The quiet atmosphere, physical appearance and equipment and facilities were cited as positive aspects.

The fact that we are engaged in discussions with Stafford Borough Council about looking at alternative sites nearer Stafford town centre was not covered in your report. It is important to stress here that no decision has yet been made and all options are still being considered.

During the 12 month consultation period, we have consulted widely with staff, students, schools and colleges, local authorities, MP’s and politicians, business organisations including chambers in Stafford and Stoke, employers and the Stafford Landlords Association. It is important that we take on board the views of as many Staffordshire stakeholders as possible in considering the future of the University and its estate.

An update on the consultation is currently being prepared for students, staff and other stakeholders, after which there will be a final opportunity for individuals and organisations to input any other comments and views. The consultation continues to work towards the proposal to be considered by The University’s Board of Governors at its meeting at the end of January 2014.

Yours faithfully

Mark Hattersley

Director of Finance and Infrastructure

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