Higher education

On September 1, the University of Burgundy decided in the Board of Directors to leave the community of universities and establishments (Comue) that it constitutes with six other partners, such as the University of Franche-Comté, Burgundy School of Business, the University of Belfort-Montbéliard… The decision (which is the subject of an appeal) was taken after the ministry refused to provide the Comue Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté with a double seat, in Besançon and Dijon .

The consequences of leaving

The consequences of this decision, today, are emerging. “The State suspends with immediate effect the payments related to all the projects” carried by the Comue, indicates the Minister Sylvie Retailleau in a letter dated October 27.

This represents around 60 million euros which, mainly from the program of investments for the future, were expected by researchers, specifies Macha Woronoff, president of the University of Franche-Comté (UFC).

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In this same letter, the Minister asks the establishments to present to her by the beginning of December “a new robust regional coordination project”.

But, for now, these are two emerging projects. The UB wishes to constitute an “experimental public establishment” (EPE) associating other partners such as BSB (which therefore leaves the Comue), Sciences Po Paris in Dijon, the School of Music Bourgogne-Franche-Comté or the CHU .

The president of the UB, who does not wish to speak until the project is completed, has yet to meet the other players, such as the Graduate School of Public Works (ESTP). The EPE is however the subject of some criticism within the CA of the UB (meeting this Tuesday).

I have doubts whether it will be accepted as it is

“It does not meet the ministry’s requirement to have a strong regional structure, since the members of the EPE are all concentrated in Dijon; I have doubts about the fact that it will be accepted as it is, ”explains Stéphanie Benoist (for the Sgen-Cfdt). It may even “seem incoherent, insofar as not all the Burgundian establishments are there”, like the Institut Agro Dijon.

The Institut Agro Dijon, in fact, remains a stakeholder in the Comue Université Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, alongside the three other founding members. Their objective today: to set up an “Experimental Comue” also associating the French Blood Establishment and, among other Burgundian establishments, the Arts et Métiers campus in Cluny.

“We believe that structuring can only go through something that will be supported by both the state and the region”, justifies Michel Jauzein, director of Arts and Crafts in Cluny.

The two projects do not oppose

The two projects are not opposed, says Macha Woronoff. “We will look for ways of cooperation between this experimental Comue and the UB, an essential partner (…), she says. We are going to propose an alliance to the UB and its partners to respond to the minister’s order” which calls for a new robust regional coordination project.

The challenge: “regain state funding and the confidence of our partners” who are “national research bodies and local authorities”.

An action for annulment

The Sgen-CFDT announces that it has filed an appeal, at the beginning of November, with the Dijon administrative court “to challenge the deliberation of September 1, 2022” taken by the CA of the University of Burgundy and recording the exit from the Comue.

“The agenda, deliberately vague, did not specify that there was going to be a vote on the withdrawal of our university from the Comue”, justifies Stéphanie Benoist. Sent
“only three days before the date, he took some elected officials by surprise, who were unable to prepare and consult with the staff they represent”. Furthermore,
“the statutes of the Comue UBFC do not allow a member to leave the Comue less than 18 months before the end of the site contract (December 31, 2023)”.

In other words: “The decision seems illegal to us and I am not sure that the ministry, which took note of the decision of the University of Burgundy, realized it. “The cancellation by the TA of the decision taken by the University of Burgundy would allow, in the eyes of the union, to rediscuss an exit from the Comue “whose all the consequences have not been measured”.

Alexandra Caccivio

Higher education – UBFC: the universities of Burgundy and Franche-Comté are moving towards two paths