Bangor University

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Group.png Bangor University  
Bangor University logo.jpg
HeadquartersBangor, Wales, UK
Welsh University with economic problems

Bangor University (Prifysgol Bangor) is a university in Bangor, Wales. It received its Royal Charter in 1885 and was one of the founding institutions of the federal University of Wales. Officially known as University College of North Wales (UCNW), and later University of Wales, Bangor, in 2007 it became Bangor University, independent from the University of Wales.


Early Years

The university was founded as the University College of North Wales (UCNW) on 18 October 1884, with an inaugural address by the Earl of Powis, the College's first President, in Penrhyn Hall.[1] There was then a procession to the college including 3,000 quarrymen (quarrymen from Penrhyn Quarry and other quarries had subscribed more than 1,200 pounds to the university).[2] The foundation was the result of a campaign for better provision of higher education in Wales that had involved some rivalry among towns in North Wales over which was to be the location of the new college.

The college was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1885.[1] Its students received degrees from the University of London until 1893, when UCNW became a founding constituent institution of the federal University of Wales.

During the Second World War paintings from national art galleries were stored in the Prichard-Jones Hall at UCNW to protect them from enemy bombing. They were later moved to slate mines at Blaenau Ffestiniog.[1] Students from University College, London, were evacuated to continue their studies in a safer environment at Bangor.[1]


During the 1960s the university shared in the general expansion of higher education in the UK following the Robbins Report, with a number of new departments and new buildings.[1] On 22 November 1965, during construction of an extension to the Department of Electronic Engineering in Dean Street, a crane collapsed on the building. The three-ton counterweight hit the second-floor lecture theatre in the original building about thirty minutes before it would have been occupied by about 80 first-year students. The counterweight went through to the ground floor.[3]

In 1967 the Bangor Normal College, now part of the university, was the venue for lectures on Transcendental Meditation by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at which The Beatles heard of the death of their manager, Brian Epstein.[4]

Student protests at UCNW in the 1970s focused mainly on calls to expand the role of the Welsh language. Radical students would disturb lectures held in English and paint slogans in Welsh on the walls of the Main Building, resulting in a number of suspensions of these activists. In the early 1980s, the Thatcher government even considered closing down the institution.[1][5] Around this time consideration began of mergers with two colleges of education in Bangor: St Mary's College, a college for women studying to become schoolteachers, and the larger and older Normal College/Coleg Normal. The merger of St Mary's into UCNW was concluded in 1977, but the merger with Coleg Normal fell through in the 1970s and was not completed until 1996.

Name change

The 2007 change of name to Bangor University, or Prifysgol Bangor in Welsh, was instigated by the university following the decision of the University of Wales to change from a federal university to a confederal non-membership organisation, and the granting of degree-awarding powers to Bangor University itself. As a result, every student starting after 2009 gained a degree from Bangor University, while any student who started before 2009 had the option to have either Bangor University or University of Wales Bangor on their degree certificate.[6]

Recent Developments and Problems

Under John Hughes's leadership as Vice-Chancellor (2010–18), there were a number of new developments including the opening of St Mary's Student Village,[7] and the first ever collaboration between Wales and China to establish a new college, which involved Bangor University and the Central South University of Forestry and Technology (CSUFT).[8]

In 2014, Hughes took out a £45m loan from the European Investment Bank,[9][10] to assist the university in developing its estates strategy. In 2016, the university opened Marine Centre Wales,[11] a £5.5m building on the site of the university's Ocean Sciences campus in Menai Bridge, which was financed as part of the £25 million SEACAMS project, part funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).[12]

In May 2017, Bangor became the fourth Welsh university to review its cost base with a view to making savings of £8.5m.[13] The university responded and introduced a number of cost saving measures including a reorganization of the structure of Colleges and Schools and the introduction of a voluntary severance scheme, and the numbers of compulsory redundancies was reduced from the initial estimate of 170.[14][15] In addressing its financial challenges, Bangor University also reorganised some subject areas in 2017, which involved introducing new ways of co-ordinating and delivering adult education and part-time degree programmes,[16] continuing to teach archaeology, but discontinuing the single honours course,[17] and working with Grwp Llandrillo Menai to validate the BA Fine Art degree.[18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25]

Other issues which attracted adverse media comment included the cost overrun and delayed opening of the Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre in 2016,[26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33] the appointment of Hughes's then wife to a newly created senior management position,[34] the purchase and refurbishment of a house for the vice-chancellor by the university (costing the institution £750,000),[35][36][37][38] the expenses of some senior staff,[39][40][41] and the discrepancy between senior management salaries and remuneration for staff working on zero hour contracts.[42][43] In 2016, Hughes received a 7.5% pay rise and the university confirmed that this was the first increase that the vice-chancellor had received from the university's remuneration committee (of which Hughes himself was a member) since his appointment in 2010, although he would still have received an annual pay rise.[44]

From Hughes's takeover in 2010, when Bangor University made a £4.2 million profit, to 2017, the university's nominal income had risen by 12 per cent, but their expenditures by 19 per cent with the university's interests and finance costs (despite very low interest rates) soaring by 747 per cent.[45] In 2017/18, the university had to spend £10m in interest payments on its debts. From 2013/14 to 2017/18, Bangor University cut staff numbers from 1777.7 to 1608 FTE (minus 9.5 per cent). During the same period, student numbers grew from 10.646 to 11.156 (plus 4.8 per cent), increasing income from student fees.[46] In early 2019, an accountant who studied the university's finances on behalf of trade union criticised that the figures suggested spending had been diverted from staff costs to financing building projects.[47]

When a new financial crisis as well as allegations of Hughes's racist and sexist harassment against his ex-wife were revealed in late 2018 and the announced closure of the chemistry department and new staff cuts to save £5m sparked student protest, Bangor University announced Hughes's resignation by December 2018, eight months ahead of his ordinary retirement.[48][49][50][51][52][53]

Between 2017 and 2019, the university underwent three rounds of staff cuts.[54][51][55] Job insecurity as well as deteriorating working conditions and pension packages resulted in several strikes of university staff.[56][57][58][59][60][61] In June 2019, the university launched a plan to concentrate its non-residential estate onto a single campus in Bangor (Deiniol Road and College Road sites) and dispose of some major sites (including Normal Site, Dean Street and Fron Heulog), altogether 25 per cent of the estate.[62][63]

In September 2020, the university announced a new round of cuts to fill a £13m gap in the budget, saying 200 more jobs (including 80 academic posts) were at risk.[64][65][66][67][55][68][69][70] Another reorganization of the university's structure of Colleges and Schools was announced as well. Thereupon staff passed a motion of no confidence in the university management.[71]


Alumni on Wikispooks

Peter DaszakUSVirologistA "completely discredited, conflict-plagued", "longtime partner" of Zhengli Shi, moved US money to the WIV to weaponise bat coronaviruses but didn't mention this in the influential joint statement he secretly got published in The Lancet to promote the "lone bat" theory. Later "investigated" COVID-19's origins.
Nia Griffith4 December 1956Welsh Labour politician
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  1. a b c d e f David Roberts (2009) Bangor University 1884–2009, University of Wales Press ISBN 978-0-7083-2226-0
  2. The Times, Monday, 20 October 1884; pg. 7; Issue 31269; col F
  3. The Guardian, 23 November 1965, p. 6.
  4. Higher Browsing: The Third Degree|work=The Guardian|date=27 August 2002}}
  6. - Student Administration - Bangor University|first=Bangor|last=University
  9. University lands a £45m funding boost from the European Investment Bank|first=Sion|last=Barry|date=2 April 2014}}
  10. upgrade wins £45m funding|work=BBC News|date=2 April 2014|}}
  11. Charles opens Bangor University's Marine Centre Wales|last=Roberts|first=Joanne|date=2016-07-13|work=northwales|access-date=2018-05-02}}
  12. The Prince of Wales opens Marine Centre Wales at Bangor University – News and Events, Bangor University|last=University|first=Bangor||language=en|access-date=2018-05-02}}
  13. Uni is reviewing spending which could lead to job losses|last=Wightwick|first=Abbie|date=2017-05-14|work=walesonline|access-date=2018-05-02}}
  14. University cuts the number of jobs under threat in restructure plans|last=Hughes|first=Owen|date=2017-10-21|work=northwales|access-date=2018-05-02}}
  17. (Hons) History and Archaeology degree course|last=University|first=Bangor||language=en|access-date=2018-05-02}}
  18. (Hons) Fine Art - Grwp Llandrillo Menai|last=Menai|first=Grwp Llandrillo|work=Grwp Llandrillo Menai - Coleg Llandrillo, Menai and Meirion-Dwyfor|access-date=2018-05-02|language=en-GB}}
  19. University plans to axe night classes for adults|first=Shane|last=Brennan|date=10 December 2016}}
  20. University: threat to Archaeology, Fine Art, and Lifelong Learning|date=10 January 2017}}
  21. at "Ludicrous" Decision To Cut Archaeology BA At Bangor University Without Consultation - thePipeLine|}}
  22. for fine arts course to continue|work=BBC News|date=14 October 2018|}}
  23. AM's concerns for future of Bangor University's School of Life Long Learning}}
  24. to leave Archaeology in the past|date=11 December 2016}}
  25. for Participation: Prevent Closure of MA Women's Studies at Bangor – FWSA Blog|}}
  26.'Chaotic' £49m arts centre delays|first=Huw|last=Thomas|work=BBC News|date=9 April 2015|}}
  27. costs of Bangor University's Pontio centre could lead to job cuts|first=Eryl|last=Crump|date=3 November 2014}}
  28. centre delay cost university £1m|work=BBC News|date=14 October 2018|}}
  29. warned over £49m centre delays|work=BBC News|date=3 November 2014|}}
  30.'Monstrosity' or challenging work of art? Have your say on Pontio work of art|first=Eryl|last=Crump|date=14 January 2016}}
  31. students pay the price for university construction boom|first=Rebecca|last=Ratcliffe|date=22 September 2015|website=the Guardian}}
  32. |title=Archived copy |access-date=21 August 2017 |archive-url= |archive-date=21 August 2016 |url-status=dead |df=dmy-all }}
  33. cost more than £100k to built - can you tell what it is?|first=Eryl|last=Crump|date=14 January 2016}}
  34. criticises job for university head's wife|first=Martin|last=Shipton|date=18 October 2010}}
  35. buys new head £475k house|date=2010-09-15|work=BBC News|access-date=2018-05-02|language=en-GB}}
  36.' outrage at £250,000 makeover of uni boss's luxury pad|first=Gareth|last=Wyn-Williams|date=27 May 2016}}
  37. pays for £168,000 home upgrade|work=BBC News|date=27 May 2016|}}
  38. chief living in luxury as staff face the axe|first=Rosemary|last=Bennett|date=7 August 2017|}}
  39. University criticised over director's £50k expenses|first=Gareth|last=Evans|date=17 March 2015}}
  40. University Director in expenses scandal|date=20 March 2015}}
  41. held a party at top Hong Kong hotel while making £8.5m cuts|first=Abbie|last=Wightwick|date=14 June 2017}}
  42. University pension protest - News, Press release, Uncategorized - News - UNISON Cymru/Wales|date=15 September 2016}}
  43. as universities in Wales told: 'Justify six-figure vice-chancellor pay'|first=Gareth|last=Evans|date=9 April 2014}}
  44. in vice-chancellor pay revealed|last=Servini|first=Nick|date=2017-10-18|work=BBC News|access-date=2018-05-02|language=en-GB}}
  47. cuts staff as it faces £10m a year interest bill|first=Abbie|last=Wightwick|date=17 January 2019|website=walesonline}}
  48. for urgent meeting over Bangor University redundancies threat|first1=The Bangor Aye |last1=Dec 13|first2=2018 | Bangor|last2=News|first3=Bangor University|last3=News|date=13 December 2018}}
  49. head 'harassment' allegation revealed|first=Aled ap|last=Dafydd|work=BBC News|date=20 December 2018|}}
  50. vice-Chancellor 'boasted' to ex-wife's new husband: 'I had her in her youth and beauty'|first=Camilla|last=Turner|newspaper=The Telegraph|date=21 December 2018|}}
  51. a b
  55. a b