Cuts & Court: What’s the State of Play?

Wednesday saw Court, the University’s main decision making body, meet to decide on the future of a number of controversial proposals. The University’s Senior Management Group continues its plan to cut costs in the University’s operating budget, but a number of their original proposals for course cuts and departmental closures were rejected.

Court met to vote on the recommendations put forward by the consultation panels, which were held over the last 5 months in each of the affected departments. The results of these panels, open to contributions from staff and students in the affected departments, were met with wide agreement from Court.

SRC President Tommy Gore, in an email to all students, stated that on the whole he believes the decisions taken were positive, but that a fight remains if we are to defend the teaching of Nursing. Gore also said said he felt “bitter disappointment” about Dumfries.

This sentiment was echoed by SRC President-Elect Stuart Ritchie, who laid blame at the feet of the University’s ruling academic body, Senate:

Dumfries is tragic in all senses. Despite a passionate campaign from students and the SRC the case could not be won. More upsetting was the fact that the University Senate had no objection to the panel’s decision and it was therefore unlikely that Court would object.

Ritchie, who takes office this coming Monday, also described delaying the decision on Nursing until after a government report as leaving staff and students in “a frankly unacceptable limbo”.

Criticism of the decision was not limited to the SRC. The Free Hetherington occupation, who led a protest around campus during the Cour meeting, stated:

We’re profoundly disappointed in the University of Glasgow’s Court decision to place corporate interests ahead of academic considerations

They also condemned the proposed alterations to funding for DACE and removal of Liberal Arts courses at the Dumfries campus, saying the University was “ignoring its responsibility to its local community”.

With the situation of Scottish higher education funding still unclear, the University’s Senior Management Group is looking to make further savings. Earlier this month Principal Anton Muscatelli told staff that due to “all our efforts” the budget forecasts had improved. However, plans to cut staffing costs by £10m in 2011-12 and £7m in 2012-13, passed by an earlier meeting of Court, are still due to go ahead.


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