Managers accountable to no one 2

August 16, 2002

You report that all staff in the department of cultural studies and sociology at Birmingham University have taken "voluntary" severance. The truth is that staff reluctantly left for two reasons. First, because of the explicit threat that redundancy notices would follow if less than the 70 per cent reduction in posts (from 12.6 to 4 positions) demanded by senior management was not achieved by the end of July. Second, because staff believed the existing degree programmes were neither viable nor credible on just four posts to service two degree programmes (250 undergraduates) and 50 research students.

With the prospect of having to remain to run an unsustainable and inadequate sociology degree alone, I unhesitatingly joined my colleagues in leaving. I understand that it is this issue of teaching quality on which returning students are seeking legal advice.

Frank Webster
Former department head of cultural studies and sociology
University of Birmingham

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