It was in the summer edition of SCAN that we first reported the news that Lancaster was exploring the potential for collaboration with Liverpool University. Due to finish in early November, the consulation would involve several stages
including a Green Paper detailing the initial reasons for a collaboration, as well as consultations with both universities’ governance, such as Senate and Council.
Now, as we fast approach the date that signals the end of the consultation period, it is difficult to anticipate what the future holds for Lancaster. The Green Paper’s ambiguity and vagueness means it’s anyone’s guess as to what collaboration with Liverpool may mean for Lancaster.
In each consultation meeting I have observed, University management have been quick to dismiss any discussion on what a partnership with Liverpool involve. Options range from collaborations on a faculty-by-faculty basis, to a full-scale merger, although senior staff have swiftly ruled out the latter. Perhaps, therefore, they should have thought twice about sprinkling the term ‘LLU’ throughout the Green Paper.
In his comment piece on the collaboration, LUSU’s President asserts that “the case for Liverpool as a partner has not convinced many yet”.
In my opinion, the choice of Liverpool as a potential future partner of Lancaster is the biggest problem with this whole process.
Why are we restricting ourselves to a partner in the North West? Why are we opting for a university with a much weaker domestic reputation? How did Liverpool arise in the first place? There are many unanswered questions and they are questions I fear we may never get answers for.
Lancaster University is a top ten university with a domestic reputation that leaves the University of Liverpool trailing behind. Over the past few years, Lancaster has gone from strength to strength; aligning ourselves with a weaker institution leaves us in grave danger of taking ten steps backwards. In a few months time, the headline may read ‘LU is now in a relationship with Liverpool University’. If it does, I question how many people will ‘like’ it.