BOLTON Institute MUST be confirmed as a university. We know that the town is top-class, but we urgently need our top college to be given this accolade.

The BEN - and a great majority of the Bolton public - back the Institute's governors' high profile campaign to try to persuade Education Secretary David Blunkett not to turn down the university status bid.

It is feared that he will, because the Quality Assurance Agency has reported back "weaknesses" in the college's Theatre and Film Studies. College Principal Professor Bob Oxtoby has promised to get this area reassessed, and is asking Mr Blunkett to delay his decision.

Frankly, if this "fault" in a subject which actually accounts for only one per cent of the Institute's work, is the main reason for refusing status, there's something badly wrong with the system.

It sounds about as sensible as condemning a building because it needs a new lick of paint.

Bolton Institute has earned its educational spurs time and again. It has a distinguished academic history, committed staff and governors, and motivated students, who all feel university status is vital.

We agree. Here, we have turned a rich industrial heritage into a promising hi-tech future.

University status confirms the hard work that has gone into planned study programmes to enhance the welfare of this country for decades to come.

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.