University of Wales announces “Wales Pledge” for future of assets

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THE UNIVERSITY of Wales has announced the creation of a “Wales Pledge” to protect a series of assets held by the University across Wales.

The University of Wales is to be wound down as a national university following a BBC investigation in 2011 which revealed problems with the validity of degrees awarded by the body overseas.

However, the UoW, which Aberystwyth left in 2007, still owns a number of facilities which are used by universities across Wales, including Gregynog Hall (right).

Under plans announced by the UoW Council, the “Adduned Cymru – The Wales Pledge” will make provision for the assests held by the organisation as it merges with the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David and Swansea Metropolitan.

The pledge will see a number of independent trusts set up to safeguard the services associated with the University, including the University of Wales Press, the University of Wales Dictionary, the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies in Aberystwyth and Gregynog Hall near Newtown.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales, Professor Medwin Hughes, said: “The University of Wales has a long and proud history dating back to 1893 and has made an outstanding contribution to higher education. However, times change. The Welsh university sector as a whole has grown and become stronger necessitating new ways of working to meet modern challenges.

“The University of Wales is engaging positively with this process, has started legal discussions and instigated initial consultation. These will of course continue during this period. At the same time the University will safeguard its legacy for future generations and Wales as a whole. In creating Adduned Cymru – The Wales Pledge, the University is being faithful to its core values and ensuring the assets serve the purpose for which they were intended.”

What will the new bodies look like?

  • The Wales Universities Trust will look after the charitable gifts the University holds, currently worth £5.5m. The Trust will be independent of the University, and will have representation from the higher education sector in Wales.
  • The Wales Heritage Academy will promote the Welsh language, heritage and culture. £500,000 will be given to further the work of the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies and the Dictionary of the Welsh Language.
  • The University of Wales Press Trust will safeguard and further the work of the UoW Press. Founded in 1922, the Press has a “proud tradition” of serving Wales and all its universities by publishing scholarly publications in both Welsh and English. £500,000 will be given to develop a new strategic plan.
  • The Gregynog Trust will take on Gregynog Hall, a historic house and country estate bequeathed to the University by the Davies sisters of Llandinam in 1960. Gregynog plays host to numerous activities by Aberystwyth University, including Crisis Games and conferences.
  • The University owns some land given to it after the Church in Wales was disestablished. The land is to be sold and the profits shared between Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff and Swansea, the National Library of Wales and the University of Wales.

The merger of the University of Wales with the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David and Swansea Metropolitan has been endorsed by the Welsh Government and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. The resulting institution, involving all three Universities, is expected to be fully integrated by 2017/18.