As many of you might have noticed, our University has rebranded its logo and renewing it all over the place. This has caused many controversies as Portsmouth University spent around £800,000 on the image overhaul, which includes redesigning its logo. In fact, thanks to material obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, it has been revealed that the University set aside £515,000 to replace signs, and £280,000 to review and invest in the future of the brand, including a 10,000-person consultation on the brand, as well as a redrawn crest and new logo. All the changes should take place over the next 18-months via “natural attrition”. Further costs such as legal fees, project management and ID card replacements were done in-house so no specific cost was given. The University of Portsmouth took all these decisions despite demanding several of their departments to cut five to seven percent of their budgets to save money. Such as the University’s Newspaper The Galleon whose printed version will no longer exist, and apparently they also cut the heating in the library. In addition, the high salary for the vice-chancellor has been furthermore criticized, it being £26,000 with pension contributions taking to payments of 305,000-a-year.
A statement confirmed that the University was set to lose 4.5 million pounds income in 2018/2019 and at least the same again the year after due to a freeze on undergraduate tuition fees for UK and EU students. Dr. James Hicks, City University secretary of the University and College Union, said “I don’t understand why they would spend so much money on a logo and shortly after that say we’re having difficulties and might need to make savings. You would have thought this through and it would be a little more joined up. If they believed the logo made a difference to student recruitment or any other business relationships, they have then understand what difference it would make. We recruit on reputation and rankings, on opinion, and personal contact.” The Student’s Union also had its say on the matter, as president James Thompson criticised the current situation concerning higher education in the UK: “Universities across the country are being placed in difficult circumstances as a result of the continual cuts being made in the higher education sector. Institutions are now having to compete with each other whilst maintaining the high-level of service that students expect to receive” He also added “With tuition fees being frozen and government funding to universities continuing to fall, institutions are finding themselves having to budget accordingly in order to accommodate for this. We feel that the issues would not persist if the government funded the higher education sector appropriately”.
In their defence, the University of Portsmouth stated that it had chosen to rebrand for 2017 to mark the institution’s 25-year anniversary, claiming that “for too long” it had been a “hidden gem”, and wanted a new brand to strengthen their ability to gain greater recognition. It also defended vice-chancellor Galbraith in saying that his salary reflects his task of managing a successful international institution and is in-line with the average pay for vice-chancellor. He even refused the bonus of £5,000 asking to spend it on bursaries. Galbraith furthermore defended the University’s position by stating “I very much welcome the opportunity to engage with a wider audience on the University’s plans to secure a positive future for our students and the city. We want people to associate the University of Portsmouth with excellence and a determination to strive to improve in everything that we do. The investment in the University’s profile is vital to our future and strengthens our ability to gain greater recognition for our world-class research and teaching that is making a local and global impact. Like many others, we must now do more with less. The proposed savings of between five and seven percent will help us to become more efficient and enable us to further improve the educational experience we provide our students. Our students and city deserve nothing less”. Portsmouth’s South Labour MP, Stephen Morgan, has showed interest in working with the University, “want[ing] to see it doing more to give back to our great city, investing in our communities, raising aspirations, encouraging more highly-skilled jobs and enabling further economic growth”.