Bradford College criticised over £22,000 mace

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

Bradford College chiefs have come under fire for commissioning a top jewellers to make an ornate mace at a cost of up to £22,000 to “enhance students’ graduation experience”.

The move has been condemned as “outrageous misuse of funds” by one union and “ludicrous” by the city centre’s MP.

But it has been defended by the college which said the mace, by renowned jewellers Fattorini at its Birmingham workshop, would be symbolic of the college’s aspirations and achievements and the cost was met through sponsorship.

In response, Julie Kelley, regional official for the University and College Union, which represents 500 lecturers at the college, said it came at a time when cuts in funding had seen students’ education maintenance allowances scrapped and lecturers facing moves to change working practices.

She said: “To spend £22,000 on a medieval artefact for image purposes at a time of austerity and cuts, we think, is an outrageous misuse of funding.

“Whether or not the college is using normal funding or corporate sponsorship to purchase this particular item, we think the money could have been put to better purposes.

“For example, students have just obviously this year had their EMA cut by national Government, perhaps corporate sponsorship could have been used to back-fill some of that lost money for students that have got, say for example, severe hardship.

“So it could have gone in to supporting students rather than buying glitzy objects for graduation ceremonies.”

The college spokesman said: “Bradford College awaits the arrival of a graduation mace commissioned by the members of the College Corporation, financed by corporate sponsorship and produced by Fattorini goldsmiths, Birmingham, a company which has historic links with the city of Bradford. The decision of the Corporation was reached after proper debate, passed nem con and recorded in minutes which have been in the public domain for over nine months. Over the last 40 years, the college has gained an excellent reputation for delivering quality higher education and the mace is symbolic of the achievements, success and aspirations of the college and its higher education students.”

Bradford West Respect MP George Galloway said: “I think it is ludicrous. If there is a corporate sponsor out there with that amount of money to part with for Bradford College, which is a very worthwhile cause, then I could think of a hundred better ways of spending that money than on a medieval mace, which is presumably made to look medieval and isn’t even medieval.

“It is ridiculous – it’s the sort of thing that brings organisations and institutions into disrepute really.

“It’s exactly what we don’t need.”

Comments (6)

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9:36am Sat 9 Jun 12

del949 says...

enhance the graduation experience...or enhance the ego trip of the top dogs?
enhance the graduation experience...or enhance the ego trip of the top dogs? del949
  • Score: 0

12:10pm Sat 9 Jun 12

a reasonable sort of chap says...

£22,000 is probably about the same amount the students will each end up owing. But at least they're keeping Jewellers, Goldsmiths and other craftsmen in work!
£22,000 is probably about the same amount the students will each end up owing. But at least they're keeping Jewellers, Goldsmiths and other craftsmen in work! a reasonable sort of chap
  • Score: 0

2:16pm Sat 9 Jun 12

Simplecountryboy says...

As usual, the college representatives take shelter behind procedure rather than addressing thew substance of the issue. That's because they know that in the current circumstances, and given everything that they're up to at the moment, what they have done is indefensible.
As usual, the college representatives take shelter behind procedure rather than addressing thew substance of the issue. That's because they know that in the current circumstances, and given everything that they're up to at the moment, what they have done is indefensible. Simplecountryboy
  • Score: 0

1:46pm Sun 10 Jun 12

anotheroldie says...

I completely agree with the responses from Julie Kelly, George Galloway and the readers.
What a waste of money.
I completely agree with the responses from Julie Kelly, George Galloway and the readers. What a waste of money. anotheroldie
  • Score: 0

1:12pm Fri 15 Jun 12

Treesqueek says...

I'm absolutely disgusted. Most of the courses at Bradford College are not HE courses they are FE courses which DON'T HAVE GRADUATION CEREMONIES!!!!!! What a complete waste of money!
I'm absolutely disgusted. Most of the courses at Bradford College are not HE courses they are FE courses which DON'T HAVE GRADUATION CEREMONIES!!!!!! What a complete waste of money! Treesqueek
  • Score: 0

11:01am Sat 23 Jun 12

crazedalamo says...

So Bradford College should turn down the gift then? Do you know how hard it is to get companies to sponsor anything? We should be proud to have a College of such standing that companies wish to be associated with it by offering this sponsorship.

There are thousands of people who have reason to be grateful to Bradford College. This should be celebrated and the mace will not only appreciate in value but become a valuable asset for the College and its students.

George Galloway hasn't had time to get to know the importance of the College to the City. Julie Kelley should know better. When was the last time she procured sponsorship for the College?
So Bradford College should turn down the gift then? Do you know how hard it is to get companies to sponsor anything? We should be proud to have a College of such standing that companies wish to be associated with it by offering this sponsorship. There are thousands of people who have reason to be grateful to Bradford College. This should be celebrated and the mace will not only appreciate in value but become a valuable asset for the College and its students. George Galloway hasn't had time to get to know the importance of the College to the City. Julie Kelley should know better. When was the last time she procured sponsorship for the College? crazedalamo
  • Score: 0

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