Questions over Fife College link

The Elmwood college campus in Cupar.
The Elmwood college campus in Cupar.

Fife College declined to comment this week on speculation that its Cupar campus may be axed within the next couple of years.

A member of staff - who did not want to be named - and several students suggested that the college’s short presence in the town may come to and end.

The employee said it was not certain if the Cupar campus would still be operating next summer, but was sure it would be closed by 2016.

It was just over a year ago that Adam Smith College, Carnegie College and non-land-based courses of the SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College) at Elmwood came together to create a single college for the region – Fife College.

The main part of the former stand-alone Elmwood College is home to about 400 full-time Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) students, while Fife College is thought to have more than 200 full-time students.

Questions about Fife College’s commitment to Cupar were first raised in June by north east Fife councillors, following a presentation by Elmwood SRU Dean, Carol Borthwick. She pointed out that she did not know what Fife College had planned for their campus as they were a separate organisation.
Fears for the future of the Cupar campus were heightened last week when the college made no mention of the town after being told of its capital funding allocation from the Scottish Government.

Hugh Logan, principal and chief executive of Fife College spoke of projects in Dunfermline and Levenmouth along with upgrading at Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes campuses.

A spokesperson for Fife College, asked about the future of the Cupar campus, said this week: “We have no comment to make.”

In another development, angry students and ex-students at the college’s Cupar campus, who were denied a graduation ceremony last month, have received the support from local MP Sir Menzies Campbell.

More than 100 former and present students at the campus discovered in August that they would not be able to graduate as planned. The students, in the hair, beauty, sport and fitness academy, were told their courses did not meet the college’s graduation requirement. They were “disgusted” at the decision to prevent them from graduating and accused the college of “moving the goalposts”.

Sir Menzies, in a letter to former student Ashley Charite, of Springfield, said: “I think you and your fellow students have been poorly treated.”

The Lib Dem member attached a copy of a letter he’d written to Fife College principal Hugh Logan in which he said: “You will not need me to tell how important a life moment it is for a student to walk forward and have a qualification conferred on them in person for which they have worked hard. You will also realise that for many, that moment will remain with them for the rest of their life.”

Ashley said this week: “Sir Menzies clearly understands how we all feel.”

She added that when students’ course diplomas eventually were delivered by the college, many were damaged, with some girls seeking replacements. They’d not been posted in card-backed envelopes, as one would expect.