On September 1, 2022, the University of Burgundy published a decision that was to shake the world of higher education and research in Burgundy Franche-Comté: UB has just decided “to end its participation in the ComUE (Community of Universities and Institutions) Bourgogne Franche-Comté”. A small bombshell that a few days later forced the president of the University of Burgundy, Vincent Thomas, to assure the media that there was no conflict between Dijon and Besançon.
“UB needs to be heard”
15 days later, the new situation of regional higher education is revealed by the silence of the twelve Renaissance members of the Burgundian Parliament*. In a press release, these elected officials believe that “this reasoning coming from an institution that alone hosts more than 40% of the student population in the region, in addition to provoking reactions, must, in our opinion, be heard and followed by the work of all actors providing training and contributing to research , as requested by the President of UB in his recent announcement”. Before recalling the good results achieved by the University of Burgundy in recent years (entering and maintaining the Shanghai ranking since 2017, obtaining the label “European University”, etc.)
A model unsuitable for our region?
And the MPs are firing red bullets at the model of the community of universities and institutions launched in 2013. the process leading to the merger. To this repeatedly proposed, but always rejected, question of the merger of two multidisciplinary universities, the sensitive topic of the headquarters was added. Two letters addressed to the state, signed by all the COMUE institutions, demanded the allocation of a dual seat, which would probably ease tensions by creating a territorial balance that would no longer exist today. Given the various management crises since the beginning in 2016, it is clear that the COMUE model is not adapted to our regional territory”.
“We will continue to pay attention to this file”
In conclusion, the regional elected representatives concluded that “parliamentarians, as well as elected representatives of local authorities, must support the election of academics” since the autonomy granted to these institutions in 2007. Before warning the region: “We believe that the role of the region today is not to move towards one model as to the other, but on the contrary to contribute to the maintenance of dialogue and accompany mutual successes. This is the only possible way to enable the “exit from the top” but also to preserve and continue the fruitful higher education and research in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.
A file that the authors assure that they are and will be attentive.
* François Patriat (Côte-d’Or senator, former minister); Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne (Senator Yonne, former minister); Benoît Bordat (MP for Côte-d’Or), Fadila Khattabi (MP for Côte-d’Or), Didier Martin (MP for Côte-d’Or), Didier Paris (MP for Côte-d’Or), Perrine Goulet (MP for Nièvre), Patrice Perrot (MP for Nièvre), Benjamin Dirx (MP for Saône-et-Loire), Louis Margueritte (MP for Saône-et-Loire), Rémy Rebeyrotte (MP for Saône-et-Loire and regional councilor for Bourgogne Franche-Comté) and André Villiers (representative of Yonne).