The following statement was issued today by the Fellows of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge:
The Fellows of Gonville & Caius College held an extraordinary General Meeting on 22 March 2018 to discuss the issues raised by the USS pensions dispute.
The dispute has had a serious effect on the staff and students of universities in the United Kingdom and we call on all sides to work rapidly and effectively to resolve this dispute in a just manner.
We deplore the use by UUK of views that are clearly marked as the unauthorised view of the institution to be misrepresented as the view of this or any College. A personal response from a member of this College to the employer consultation of September 2017 was not the official view of the College.
We strongly support the creation of a panel of experts, including academics, to scrutinise the methodology used to calculate the pension fund deficit that prompted this dispute. This panel should be truly independent of all parties to this dispute.
We believe that, in the immediate future, it would be logical and appropriate to return to the status quo. We do not believe that it is appropriate to be asked to pass judgement on proposals that are based on figures that are still subject to dispute.
We cannot, of course, prejudge the outcome of any rigorous review of the USS pension scheme. However, we call on all parties to put forward just and fair proposals that enable current members of the scheme, especially those who have only recently joined, to have security and dignity in retirement, and that enable this College and the University to attract and retain the excellent staff on whom the university sector in this country depends.
We expect those involved to act quickly to restore appropriate rigour to the consultation process. It is a cause of great concern that on two separate occasions in the last six months, this College has been asked to give responses to consultations about the USS pensions fund at a time of year and in a time-frame that prevented any reasonable and adequate scrutiny of the proposals.
We call on all parties to move quickly to restore intellectual credibility and integrity, as well as trust and transparency, to the decision-making about the future of the USS pension scheme.