Halt 'genocide' of academe

February 17, 2011

I work in a post-1992 university that is considered to be one of the more successful of the new universities and is in a healthy financial position. Last week, our vice-chancellor gave an open presentation to staff.

We were updated on the latest position concerning tuition fees and were reassured that plans in place would ensure that there would be minimum impact on our university. However, it was clear that new universities would be disproportionately, and perhaps fatally, impacted by government policy.

It seems that this government wishes to see a dismantling of the sector, with scant consideration for the consequences - the possible loss of thousands of jobs and many students being deprived of a place at university.

Here, we have a vice-chancellor who has built a successful university that has changed the lives of thousands of students and people in the region and beyond. Distressingly, towards the end of the presentation, our vice-chancellor became emotional as personal concerns were expressed. It was a sobering moment. There was rousing applause as our vice-chancellor departed the lecture theatre.

Government policy will destroy the outstanding work of many vice-chancellors like ours. If there is any moral fibre in the sector, then there will be widespread opposition to what is being proposed. Everyone in the sector, whether in a Russell Group university or a Million+ institution, must know that what we are witnessing is wrong.

The impact that the closure of Pfizer's research and development site will have in the area surrounding Sandwich will be replicated nationally in cities and towns hosting universities that are unable to manage these savage policies. Are we going to stand by passively and allow this genocide of academe?

It is a privilege to work for a vice-chancellor and university whose work has changed the lives of so many people.

Name withheld.

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