hepi.ac.uk
Goodbye Sam - HEPI
On Thursday evening, Sam Gyimah gave an entertaining speech at the Times Higher awards. It showed a shrewd grasp of the main issues facing the sector. He also told us he was due to leave for Brussels at 5am the next day for meetings. Perhaps it was the prospect of this trip that settled his view that he could not remain as a Government Minister if it meant supporting Theresa May’s Brexit deal. But there was no hint in his remarks that evening that he was about to take such a momentous decision. Not everything Sam said went down well with the sector, especially in his early days in the job. I had more support for much of his kite-flying than many others (see this blog on in loco parentis) but it was clear to all from the very start of his brief tenure that he cared deeply about students – just think of his comments about transitions and mental health, for example. It was also clear by the end, as many in the sector saw during his one hour interview at the New Statesman / Unite Students event at the Tory Party conference, that he cared deeply about the health of institutions and the sector as a whole too. And he was always polite and keen to engage, including with students, as his Sam-on-campus tour showed. Assuming the rumours that Sam Gyimah was fighting hard behind the scenes to deepen understanding in Whitehall of how damaging a cut to university funding would be are true, then his resignation could turn out to be deeply regretted by the sector. While the Minister resigned in part for reasons that relate to higher education and research (UK …