Bristol alumni consider revoking legacies in response to hall changes
‘I feel I’ve lost a lot of trust in the University’
A number of Bristol alumni have contacted The Tab to say they are considering whether to revoke or suspend donations in their will as a result of planned changes to University halls of residence.
The cumulative figure of these donations is believed to be in the region of six or seven numbers. One alumni who had left £100,000 to the University and their Hall Association told The Tab: "I am very disappointed by these proposals. I had a wonderful experience in Bristol and my time in a Hall of residence was, probably, the most important element of that. It gave me a sense of security, a social base and a support network that was supplied almost entirely by the JCR and SCR.
"Above all else, I feel sorry for the next generation who will not have the wonderful support that I did and how that will affect my future recommendations, even to my own children. I saw Bristol as a place with a special type of pastoral support".
Another London-based graduate told us of his concern with the consultation: "I graduated from Bristol in the early 1990s. For the last 10 years I've been able to give donations to the University and I've been really pleased to do this. The Alumni office has been very effective at meeting with me to discuss where I would like to target my giving. I find Bristol does this better than many institutions. At the moment I'm in the University's £5,000-25,000 annual donor bracket.
"I'm very concerned by the pastoral review proposals the University has put forward. The blatant attempt to save costs and centralise leaves you speechless. I think it reflects very badly on the University's leadership to allow this to happen. If implemented I believe this will be very harmful to students.
"I feel I've lost a lot of trust in the University. As a result I intend to suspend any further gifts until I'm sure that the University is taking its responsibilities to students seriously. I'm aware of other contemporaries intending to do the same. I believe it is wrong to give money when you no longer have confidence and trust that it will be spent properly. That confidence and trust has gone."
Asked for comment, a University of Bristol spokesman said: "The University values the generous philanthropic support of our alumni and friends which helps to ensure our students continue to receive a world class, innovative and inclusive education experience.
"Some alumni choose to pledge their support through gifts in wills and our specialist legacy team works closely with prospective supporters and donors. We are not currently aware of any legacy pledges that have been changed as a result of the proposals for the Residential Life Service model currently being consulted upon.
"However we have recently been made aware that some alumni, who we understand intend to leave a legacy gift, have indicated to others their intention to change their wills. We would invite anyone in that position to contact our legacy team to discuss any concerns in confidence."
They continued: "We acknowledge the sterling work of our current pastoral teams, who are committed and enthusiastic individuals who work beyond the call of duty to support our students.
"We welcome feedback and comment on the current proposals and share the same goal of providing the very best services of student well-being and support. The University has already made a commitment that alumni hall committees, JCRs and hall advisory committees will continue.
"The consultation is ongoing and has been extended to Friday, February 9, and there are open meetings being held with students, staff, alumni and friends over the coming weeks."
All students are welcome to attend a feedback meeting on Thursday 25th January 1-2pm in the Reception Room, Wills Memorial Building.