At the Students’ Union (SU) Annual Members Meeting on Tuesday 1st December 2020, elected student representatives who sit on our Union Council, overwhelmingly voted in favour of the motion to oppose any planned redundancies and/or disinvestments in the following academic schools and departments: the School of Arts (English), the School of Business, the School of Informatics, the School of Mathematics and Actuarial Science, the Department of Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour, Information Services and Operations, Education Services, Estates and Digital Services Division, Learning Services – Academic Skills Centre & AccessAbility, and the Research and Enterprise Administration.
It is now position of the SU to oppose these plans on the basis that to announce redundancies amid a pandemic will leave staff members anxious and insecure, in an already over-worked environment, which in turn will negatively affect the student learning experience in these schools and departments. Some will suggest that this is a matter of responding to facts & statistics and the need to tighten the purse strings however in doing so, we dehumanise our academic staff members and forget that the mental & physical health as well as the livelihood of staff members are on the line. The fact remains that conditions in which staff members are working in are the conditions of our learning experience as students.
Student and staff wellbeing and solidarity go hand in hand, and we believe it is incumbent on students to support all those in schools targeted to maintain and enhance the learning experience in these schools. Fundamentally, this is all serves as an indictment of the marketized higher education system which serves to commodify education, treat students as consumers and staff as mere service providers and numbers on a sheet.
There is now an action group of students who are currently organising and planning on what action to take in solidarity with our staff members, and members of our local University & College Union (UCU). If you would like to join this group and show support then please email either the Student Voice Manager, Ian Bruce at firstname.lastname@example.org or your Education Officer, Adnan Rahman at email@example.com.
Students Against Disinvestments
Sign this open letter if you haven't already calling for the University to reconsider their redundancy proposals so as to protect the student experience: link to the Open Letter here.