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Heriot-Watt University is removing a controversial stone sculpture commissioned by Alex Salmond The promise that Scotland would never abandon free classes after paying students opposed the message

The sculpture cited Salmond's statement as prime minister that "the rocks will melt with the sun before I allow tuition fees to be imposed on students in Scotland" and was placed on the access road to the Heriot-Watt campus in Edinburgh surroundings.

The university, along with the rest of its sector, faces significant financial problems due to the coronavirus pandemic, with an expected collapse in the number of foreign and EU students attending UK universities.

It is understood that foreign students were unhappy with this, as they pay thousands of pounds a year in fees. Although Scottish students do not pay fees, those in the rest of the UK also pay up to £ 9,250 a year to study in Scotland.

Until Brexit, EU students were also exempt from paying tuition fees in Scotland, due to a peculiarity of EU legislation. Scottish ministers now have to decide whether or not to demand EU student fees after the UK's transition period ends in January 2021.

Heriot-Watt was ridiculed by critics for allowing the sculpture to be installed due to its bombastic tone and highly political message. It was erected during Salmond's last days in office after he lost the independence referendum in 2014. It was reported at the time when other universities refused to accept it.

The university said:


After consultation with the Heriot-Watt University Student Union, the decision was made to use the current commemorative stone site for an alternative public work of art that appeals to our international student community.

The stone will be carefully cared for until an alternative location is found for it in the future.

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