This blog would like to wish all its readers a happy Easter! As the year slowly unwinds from the coils of its winter hibernation, and the long-promised and long-delayed ascent into Spring from the freezing cold looks like it might just happen, the calendar of one particular world religion arrives at a date of immense significance. Easter is about willing and unselfish sacrifice and the consequent rebirth and renewal of hope, and whether or not you follow Christianity, this ideal of sacrifice and renewal is one that has a power all its own.
Under the current circumstances, the VC and his senior management team might be hoping to give the impression that the job cuts among frontline academic and support staff are just that kind of sacrifice, leading to the renewal of the university’s fortunes. If so, they would be wrong. These cuts will be a disaster for the university. They will lead to its decline, as the student experience is degraded, with larger class sizes, larger tutorials, less academic and technical support, and a more demoralized and harassed staff. Moreover, these cuts only presage future cuts, since we are paying now for the inability of senior management to sustainably control the university’s finances. Government funding cuts are yet to bite, so perhaps the VC’s eyes will wander elsewhere across the university, searching for yet more ‘sacrifices’!
Sadly, what’s become clearer and clearer as the consultation period draws to its unsatisfactory and inconclusive end (in which senior management only allow themselves to discuss when people will be made redundant, rather than how to avoid it), is that the VC really has NO strategy for the university beyond cutting frontline jobs. In fact, one might sum up the 2015 vision in these few words
- cut jobs of those that deal directly with students and their education
- increase the number of well-paid senior management and HR personnel
- errr… that’s it
And on that note, there’s really nothing left to say except “Happy Easter, everyone! And don’t forget to vote in the ballot for industrial action!”