University of Bolton’s proposed name change triggers legal feud with rivals

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A bitter ineligible conflict has surgery retired betwixt universities successful nan north-west of England complete Bolton’s efforts to rename itself arsenic nan University of Greater Manchester contempt nan objections of its location rivals.

The conflict has led to Bolton’s vice-chancellor accusing 3 different universities successful nan region – including nan University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, 2 of nan UK’s largest universities – of acting arsenic a “cartel”.

Last twelvemonth nan University of Bolton applied to England’s higher acquisition regulator, nan Office for Students (OfS), to beryllium registered arsenic nan University of Greater Manchester, arguing that its campuses and students were dispersed crossed nan region, making nan caller title much fitting.

The move has attracted guidance from nan universities of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan and Salford, which claimed nan sanction would origin “significant confusion” among students and nan public.

After protesting against nan alteration done nan OfS’s consultation, nan universities person individually issued much than 100 ineligible challenges complete Bolton’s usage of Greater Manchester trademarks, specified arsenic Greater Manchester Business School.

According to a missive seen by nan Guardian, Prof George Holmes, Bolton’s vice-chancellor, is preparing to equine a counteroffensive that includes appealing to nan UK’s title watchdog, nan Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

In nan missive to Susan Lapworth, nan OfS main executive, Holmes said his assemblage was concerned by nan imaginable for “unlawful anti-competitive behaviour by a mini but powerful corporate of Manchester-based higher acquisition institutions”.

Holmes added: “I would propose that we are some seeing a cartel operating betwixt nan 3 universities against our projected alteration of sanction and besides propose that astatine slightest 1 of those universities is attempting to usage its ascendant position successful nan higher acquisition marketplace regionally to restrict nan invention of a competitor.”

Last twelvemonth Bolton had 8,730 full-time students and an yearly income of £136m. The University of Manchester had 42,000 full-time students and an income of £1.3bn, while Manchester Met had 31,600 full-time students and a £422m income.

A spokesperson for Bolton said they could not remark connected confidential communications betwixt nan assemblage and its regulator, aliases connected nan ineligible action complete trademarks. But they confirmed it would beryllium “appropriate” to interaction nan CMA, pinch nan university’s governing assemblage gathering to see further action adjacent month.

A spokesperson for nan University of Manchester said: “We responded to nan general OfS consultation regarding nan projected sanction alteration and registered our concerns, and person besides responded to a bid of connected trademark applications. We judge nan projected sanction alteration will beryllium very misleading and confusing.”

Manchester Met said successful a statement: “We person submitted our views connected nan projected sanction alteration to nan OfS arsenic portion of its consultation process. We person raised objections to those trademark applications submitted by nan University of Bolton wherever we consciousness they impinge connected our ain registered trademarks.”

The University of Salford was besides contacted for a response.

In its grounds to nan OfS supporting nan sanction change, Bolton’s pro-vice-chancellor, Greg Walker, said nan assemblage had changed “beyond each recognition” successful nan 20 years since it was fixed its existent title. The university, which now has campuses successful Manchester and Salford, says 70% of its UK students travel from crossed nan Greater Manchester region while only 20% unrecorded successful Bolton.

“The existent and misleading provincial assemblage sanction holds backmost wished efforts by nan institution to heighten postgraduate employment,” Walker said.

In an question and reply pinch nan Guardian past year, Holmes said nan impetus for nan Greater Manchester sanction had travel from students, who complained that Bolton was not easy identified wrong nan UK aliases abroad.

“We still get nan ‘Is location a assemblage successful Bolton?’ question. Even aft each this time, we still get that nonsense. And I genuinely deliberation it affects our postgraduate outcomes,” Holmes said.

Source theguardian