Fears for the future expansion of Ulster University’s Magee campus have been expressed after another key course was moved to Belfast.
The loss of the Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies follows the transfer of several others including Irish History and Politics, Peace and Conflict Studies and Irish Language and Literature to other UU sites.
People Before Profit’s Eamonn McCann has called on Vice Chancellor Paddy Nixon to reverse the decision which Mr McCann says flies in the face of assurances Mr Nixon gave him that no more courses would be withdrawn.
Mr McCann wrote to Mr Nixon, stating: “You assured me of your commitment to the Magee campus and indicated that you saw the range of courses on the campus expanding, rather than contracting.
“Yet I discovered that the Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies, the final remaining degree available on Magee campus in a subject that has been an important part of Magee’s — and Derry City’s — offerings for at least 30 years is moving to Jordanstown.
“This move makes absolutely no sense. I understand that the course has recruited well here at Magee and usually includes several students from the United States.”
Mr McCann claimed it was entirely appropriate for the course to be based at Magee and said why he believed it should continue at this campus.
He wrote: “Derry City is where the civil rights movement began, where Bloody Sunday led to all-out war — and where the peace process began.
“It is the obvious place in Northern Ireland to study Peace and Conflict Studies. I trust that this move has happened without your consent and that it is not too late to stop it”.
Mr McCann said he has yet to receive a reply to his correspondence from Mr Nixon.
A university spokeswoman confirmed the loss of the course at Magee but insisted the university remained committed to the INCORE at the campus.
She said: “A revised version of the MSc in Peace and Conflict course will move from Magee campus to Belfast campus in 2019. This new course will incorporate wider elements of policy, law and community studies alongside peace and conflict, providing a more inter-disciplinary research focused curriculum which will ultimately benefit students undertaking the course.
“We remain firmly committed to INCORE at Ulster University’s Magee campus and through the development of new study options and the creation of new opportunities to study peace and conflict at Magee, including strengthened delivery of the Clinton International Summer School. The Hume-O’Neill Chair in Peace will also remain at the Magee campus and this combined with INCORE’s research credentials will continue to attract global dignitaries and international delegations.”