I was informed from a close friend that there is due to be cuts at the University of Kent. The department in question is reportedly bio-sciences, whilst this is unconfirmed, and there may indeed be further cuts to other departments, the whole thing is propostuous.
How can top-quality, higher education be guaranteed when vice-chancellors and others are prepared to take the knife to lecturers and staff?
How can they justify doing this when they are so intent on making university the default choice for almost every young person?
How can they expect students to pay more for their education, yet have less staff members, less contact time with their lecturers and seminar leaders and less of a quality education?
I will post more information as I get it, but I think Kent might need a bit of the Sussex flavour, if you get what I mean.
Update: I have received an email with a bit more background to the story, please be aware that I have crossed out any reference to personal information.
It appears that the first ‘phase’ of redundancies has been amongst people who should now be considered ‘permanent’ workers but who the university is making out to be ‘fixed term’ workers reliant on funding contracts. There also seems to have been a practice of approaching people individually in the ‘first’ phase, obviously making it a lot harder for people to guage support and contest any redundancy selection process on a more collective basis.
In addition, there is a refusal on the part of university human resources staff to understand the gender implications of targeting non- professorial and/or teaching staff in a department which appears to have an extremely poor record of promoting and retaining women.
After XX years working in Biosciences, X has been subject to an extremely problematic redundancy selection procedure and faces being out of work very soon. This is in advance of the current proposed redundancies.
X will therefore be raising at the meeting:
1. The issue of which groups of people (women, previous fixed term workers, older people) are more likely to be targeted in this, and other, university redundancy selection processes and the political and legal implications of these practices. (To make it clear: I am against all forced redundancies);
2. The fact that these redundancies have been preceded by a strategic ‘picking off’ of certain members of staff. For this reason, we need to adopt a more critical analysis of how job losses are being pursued in the university. It’s not always the case that people are told that they are part of a redundancy ‘at risk’ list. In fact, we need to be aware of those who are left to fight individual redundancies and support these people just as effectively.