The Great Hand Over

By Gillean McDougall

It was a wild and stormy day, the day of the Great Hand Over, Monday 4th April. After the hectic weeks of the Save DACE campaign collecting as many signatures and testimonies as possible, three of us met in Byres Rd for a quick cup of tea before handing them to the University. Hazel Clark, Dr Mairghread McLundie and myself had spent many hours discussing the proposed cuts to the Department and the Open Programme; the previous evening Lawrence D’Mello and I had been emailing each other furiously as we prepared both electronic and hard copy submissions.

‘Furious’ is the appropriate term, too. What’s been obvious over the last few weeks is that those of us who were angry at the prospect of our lifeline, lifelong education being taken away, had retained that anger. If anything, it had been fuelled by witnessing the ‘consultation’ process, the shortcomings of which need to be addressed.

So in that cafe on that rainy morning last Monday, we drew breath and prepared for the next step in the journey. By the time we’d walked up to The Square in wind and lashing rain, we were a bedraggled but proud little group. The University was quiet (the timing of the consultation process has, I believe, been specifically chosen in the hope that as few people as possible will take part) but we still managed to coerce a passing student into taking a photograph of the occasion for us.

Prof Coton’s office is the last house in the square before the Principal’s residence, and once inside the heavy panelled door, it was like another world. Hushed, reverential. We had phoned ahead to tell Prof Coton’s PA, Mary Ramsay, to expect us, and she received the petition and testimony documents politely as we shook water all over her immaculate carpet.

And that was it. Five minutes later we were out in the rain again, and adjourned to another coffee shop in Byres Rd for the PM. Two things struck me about the experience. One was the quiet interior of that office. The Professor sits there, beautiful view of the West End on one side, the historic Gilbert Scott architecture on the other. The Square itself is enclosed, grand and proud. An ivory tower if ever there was one, a place where the real world seems very far away.

The second thought that’s with me is the power of the documents we held in our hands in tough new Jiffybags. Lawrence and I had seen all those signatures and testimonies come in day by day, and the strength of feeling contained there is DACE’s greatest asset. Now we have to see if the University will listen.

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About savedace

Current and former students of the Department of Adult and Continuing Education, University of Glasgow, fighting to keep access to varied, high quality education available to Glasgow
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4 Responses to The Great Hand Over

  1. Maggie Reeve says:

    As I’ve said before I’m eternally grateful to all you folk who’ve done so much and given so much of your precious time to try to get DACE saved. The campaign has to keep going. We have to show we will not be beaten. Heels dug firmly in. I’m with you. Our voices must be heard.

  2. David Wardrop says:

    I owe a huge debt of gratitude to everybody who helped defend DACE

  3. Sarah Ward says:

    Thank you for your hard work in pulling together the testimonials and making sure they reached their destination. As you say, the diversity of positive experience goes to show how important Dace is. It’s good to know so many people have had the opportunity to contribute.

  4. Rosemary Wilkinson says:

    Well done. Whatever the outcome so many people working together have tried to save what we all value. I’ve been impressed but like you I’m not sure that the question was open for true consultation. But at least we’ve gone down fighting and we may salvage something from the wreck.

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