London Metropolitan University governors may quit

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The Independent Online

Some of the governors at the troubled London Metropolitan University are considering quitting their post, it emerged yesterday.

The university, which has a crucial meeting of its governing body tonight, is facing paying back £36 million in student funding falsely claimed,

The Higher Education Funding Council for England, which is responsible for university funding, has told the 15-strong governing body to “consider its position”. So far members have refused to resign.

However, in an email sent by its acting vice-chancellor, Alf Morris, to Sir Alan Langlands, chief executive of HEFCE, it emerges that confidence in the governing body could be crucial to any successful bid for funding to help it resolve its crisis.

Mr Morris also indicates it could take five years before the university can be removed from an “at risk” register of universities in financial difficulties - assuming HEFCE does not use powers to withdraw its funding.

The governors’ terms of office all expire within two years and some are understood to be considering quitting.

Tonight’s meeting will be faced with a demonstration by staff and students demanding the resignation of governors.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said: “London Met desperately needs a fresh start and that cannot happen with the current board of governors in place.

“The position of the board is completely untenable and they will cause greater damage by remaining in post.”

Higher Education Minister David Lammy has said it is “imperative” that both London Met and HEFCE “act will all due urgency to resolve the problems that have been identified”.