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Can University Survive Media Reaction?

More empires fall because they overextend – hopefully Coventry University’s is merely wobbling.

It has only taken one bad apple to upset the cart, with a project in the School of Engineering leading to problems across the university.

How much this shortfall – publicly £1 million – is the cause of the current angst among media students few can tell.

Certainly there are other reasons why the refurbishment of the old Odeon cinema has gone wrong.

A war of words between students and administrators seems inevitable as each group has a different take on what facilities are and aren’t available.

Students are always likely to get hot under the collar if they cannot get their projects finished because of poor resources.

Universities will constantly claim they would like to buy more but don’t have the money. They will also list facilities theoretically available, ignoring the queues of impatient undergraduates battling to use them.

If the situation at Coventry University isn’t as bad as some make out, then the new kit will start to arrive and the handbags will be lowered.

But if staff walk out and there genuinely is no cash in the kitty to buy anything then the university could be in serious difficulties.

For much of the past decade it has worked to improve its reputation both locally and nationally. Some courses are now rated among the best of its kind in the country, and many derelict buildings in the city centre have been bought and transformed by the university.

There are only a certain number of cock-ups that a budget and a reputation can stand, and if the city is left with a white elephant because of financial failure it will linger in people’s memories.


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CWN / Comment / 6 Nov 00
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