Antidote for toxic cuts 1

February 4, 2010

If UK universities now operate in a global market for staff and students, then a concern with excellence would seem to make it sensible to revisit the issue of tenure, which was abolished in 1988.

It is hard to see how the UK will be able to recruit the best academics and students if staff have no job security and students have no security with respect to supervision. It would be an irony if the drive towards excellence had the effect of making the UK "toxic" for the very people it is intended to attract.

In this regard, the issues raised by the redundancies at King's College London are a matter of concern, not only for those subject to these actions but also the wider sector: after all, it will be affected by the unattractive message that these cuts communicate to the global market. Addressing such legitimate fears is likely to require more than verbal assurances of security.

David Owen, University of Southampton

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