“Unilateral decision to dismantle, terrible blow…”, strong reactions in Franche-Comté

Press reports have been pouring in since the announcement of the University of Burgundy’s decision to slam the doors of regional university grouping Comue UBFC. Reactions in Franche-Comté.

The decision, made on Thursday, September 1, sent a cold shower through the university world, although it was expected, as relations between the universities had been frosty for several years. The Board of Trustees of the University of Burgundy, UB, has officially ended its participation in the Comue UBFC (Community of Universities and Facilities (Comue) christened Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté (UBFC)), bringing together several universities in Franche-Comté and Burgundy.

We take note [la décision de l’Université de Bourgogne] which we sincerely regret”we can read on September 5 in the press release of the University of Burgundy Franche-Comté, which unites the University of Franche-Comté, UTBM, Institut Agro Dijon, Sup Micro Tech as well as the School of Arts and Professions.

“This withdrawal comes after several months of public statements with which the president of the University of Burgundy clearly expressed his disapproval to a single headquarters for UBFC” details of the group of universities of which the University of Burgundy is no longer a part.

In this difficult situation, we decided to dialogue and work together. In particular, we will continue to cooperate within the UBFC until the end of 2023. In fact, it is not possible to leave the group before the site contract ends.

UBFC in a statement

At the heart of the conflict: the headquarters of the Community of Universities and Institutions (COMUE) UBFC, currently assigned to Besançon (Doubs). Indeed, as we explained to you in this article, the University of Burgundy requested a double chair within the UBFC; one in the capital of Franche-Comté, the other in the capital of Burgundy.

“This Friday, September 2, the Ministry confirmed that the double seat for the UBFC cannot be legally awarded and recalled that the territorial balances of the 2015 reform will not change.” specified by the University of Burgundy Franche-Comté.

“At a time when the communities of Franche-Comté are investing massively in regional higher education, the University of Burgundy has unilaterally decided to dismantle the ESR ecosystem of Bourgogne Franche-Comté” write in a joint press release Anne Vignot, president of the Grand Besançon Métropole agglomeration, Damien Meslot, president of the Grand Belfort, Charles Demouge, president of the Pays de Montbéliard agglomeration and Alain Chrétien, president of the Vesoul agglomeration. “Since 2016, we have been spectators of a fratricidal war” he adds with visible concern for the future of research and student training in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.

In 2020, we founded the hope that we will enter a constructive period with the changes in the leadership. Vincent Thomas swept it from the first months of his mandate as president of the University of Burgundy.

Joint press release of the presidents of the Franche-Comté agglomeration

Cédric Perrin, LR senator from Territoire de Belfort, reacted to this decision and also condemns it. Talking about“collective shipwreck” and D’“a terrible blow for regional education”. According to him, this conflict “he strongly penalizes higher education in our region and tarnishes its image.” “It will take at least 10 years to get out of this” he wrote in a press release.

“Logically, unfortunately, one of the first consequences of the end of COMUE should be the departure of the University of Burgundy from the Shanghai ranking, since it appears there only in an honorable place due to the exclusive attribution of all work published under the joint scientific signature of the UBFC” adds.

Senator LR from Doubs Jacques Grosperrin, former rapporteur for the budget for higher education in the Senate, also commented on this news and his words are not ignored. He speaks of the “obstinacy” and “incalculable blindness” of the officials of the University of Burgundy accused of obstinacy. He calls the University of Burgundy to reason. “LBlackmail is not a method and we are no longer in the age of the Dukes of Burgundy” says, calling on the president of the region, Marie-Guite Dufay, to intervene in this political conflict.

Without forgetting to openly challenge François Rebsamen, mayor of PS Dijon: “Get a grip. Get off the top of the old heated rivalry. Your responsibility has been heavily involved in this file from the start.”

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