Published: 10th February, 2018
The University of Leicester yesterday announced the appointment of David Willetts as its new Chancellor. The former MP (and now peer) was until 2014 Minister for Science and Universities. He was the minister responsible for the tripling of university tuition fees to their current level of £9000 – an amount he described as “fair and affordable”.
The Lord Willetts’s appointment to Chancellor is an insult to our students and to University of Leicester employees — as was the award of honorary degree to him in 2016. Students are paying more than ever for their education and, as a result of the fee regime introduced by Lord Willets, can now expect to graduate with £50,000 of debt. University staff are being paid less and less.
Lord Willetts is also infamous for his 2011 statement that social mobility between classes had stagnated because women who would otherwise have been housewives were going to university and that, as a result, well-paid jobs that could have gone to ambitious working-class men were now being taken by women. To appoint a man with such opinions to the prestigous role of Chancellor of University of Leicester makes a mockery of the University’s role as a ‘global impact champion’ of the United Nations’ HeForShe initiative.