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University’s independent status saved by Welsh daily

A regional daily newspaper in Wales is celebrating victory in its campaign to safeguard the future of its local university.

Morning title the Leader launched its Hands Off Our Uni campaign to raise awareness of a threat to the independence of Wrexham-based Glyndwr University.

The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales recommended Glyndwr become part of a new group led by universities in Bangor and Aberystwyth.

But the Leader’s campaign helped to persuade Welsh education minister Leighton Andrews to reject the proposal.

Hundreds of readers completed campaign coupons opposing the plan, which were handed to Mr Andrews in Cardiff by Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates.

The proposal formed part of a shake-up of universities in Wales, which suggested cutting the number from 11 to six.

Mr Andrews said after considering the representations made there was a case for looking again at higher and further education in North East Wales for ‘greater regional coherence’.

Leader chief reporter Hayley Collins hands over readers' campaign coupons to Clwyd South AM Ken Skates

Tim Bowden, editorial manager for Leader publisher NWN Media, said: “This is a fantastic outcome for Glyndwr and our campaign.

“The contribution to it from readers, businesses and community leaders could not be ignored by the minister and really hammered home the strength of feeling in the region.

“The issues at stake were complex but our simple message – Hands Of Our Uni – proved to be a very effective rallying cry.”

The university generates an estimated £70million a year for the area economy and its curriculum includes an NCTJ accredited journalism course run in conjunction with NWN Media.

Professor Michael Scott, vice-chancellor of Glyndwr University, said: “We have been delighted at the huge number of responses we have received from employers, students and the general public.

“I would like to thank the hundreds of Leader readers who showed their support for the university in recent months.”

Ken Skates said: “I congratulate the Leader and their readers for the superb campaign they have run and the pressure they have put on the Welsh Government.”