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PRESIDENTS  November 2009

PRESIDENTS November 2009

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Subject:

Response to proposed cuts at the University of Sussex

From:

Tom Wills - USSU President <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Tom Wills - USSU President <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 27 Nov 2009 17:56:55 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (109 lines)

Dear APL

We have released the following statement in response to 115 proposed
redundancies at the University of Sussex.

Please send messages of support to [log in to unmask]

Best regards

Tom Wills
President, University of Sussex Students' Union
Falmer House, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QF
[log in to unmask]
01273 87 3350

USSU Response to proposed cuts at the University of Sussex

University management are proposing to make 115 staff redundancies, in
addition to other cuts across the university, summarised as follows:

    * Redundancies in the schools of Life Sciences, Informatics,
English, Engineering & Design, Informatics, the Centre for Continuing
Education, and History
    * Redundancies or reduced staffing levels in the Library, IT
Services, lab technicians, portering and catering
    * Cuts to the students' union annual funding
    * Closure of Unisex, the sexual health and drug/alcohol awareness service
    * Redundancy for 11 out of 16 of the university's student advisers
    * Closure of the subsidised childcare service
    * Closure of Inqbate, a pioneering high-tech learning space

These short-sighted proposals will hit students hard, taking away
services students rely on in times of need, closing many important
courses and undermining the quality of those that remain. Access to
money, welfare and academic advice will be severely restricted, and
students and staff will no longer have subsidised access to childcare.
It is hard to imagine cuts that would have a more devastating impact
in students' welfare and on standards of teaching and research at
Sussex.

In addition the Students' Union is threatened by a 5% cut to our
annual funding from the University. Without proper financial support
we will be unable to provide the level of services that students need.

University management have indicated that this is only the first round
of cuts, with another major proposal to be announced in the first
three months of 2010.

The Vice-Chancellor claims the cuts are unavoidable given reductions
in government funding. However this hasn't stopped pay rises for
senior management, with the latest increases bringing the
Vice-Chancellor's salary to 227,000. There are now more senior
managers on six-figure salaries than ever before, with the wage bill
for the twenty top paid staff exceeding 2.6 million. Meanwhile
millions of pounds are being spent on a new buildings programme
designed to project a good brand image to prospective students.

Although USSU welcomes improvements to learning facilities on campus,
it is staff who are the University's most valuable asset. The
University should be focussing on achieving a good reputation on the
basis of academic excellence, not just buildings that look good in a
prospectus.

University management say the changes are about creating a sustainable
future for Sussex, but the vision proposed by the Vice-Chancellor will
ultimately only lead to more cuts. We are opposed to a university
funded increasingly by corporate research contracts, as this would
leave us even more vulnerable to market forces, not to mention further
away from the University's purpose as an academic institution.
Sustainability will only be achieved by resisting these attacks on our
education.

The 'consultation' promised by University management is a sham, as
they have made clear to union officers that they are not prepared to
negotiate over the principle of staff cuts, only the details of how
they are implemented.

We need to demand a change in direction that serves the interests of
students and staff. At a time when all public services are under
threat, it is more crucial than ever that we stop these attacks on
Higher Education, to send a message to the government that we will not
accept cuts to public services. Sussex staff and students have fought
back successfully against bad management proposals in the past, such
as in the 2006 campaign to save Chemistry, and that is a success we
intend to repeat. By defeating these proposals locally and by working
with students' unions around the country we can put real pressure on
government to increase investment in universities.

USSU fully supports the staff-student Stop the Cuts campaign and we
look forward to participating in a joint campaign with the campus
trade unions towards these aims. We will in due course be announcing
further measures to put pressure on University management to maintain
staffing levels, subject to decisions made by students through the
Union's democratic processes.

We urge all students and staff to make every effort to attend the Stop
the Cuts demonstration outside Senate, the University's academic
governing body, on Thursday 3rd December, assembling in Library Square
at 9.30am. To receive updates or get involved the campaign send an
email to [log in to unmask]

Facebook - Sussex Stop the Cuts group:
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=209057155759

Defend Sussex blog:
http://defendsussex.wordpress.com/

ENDS

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