Kent axe hovers over 33 jobs

April 11, 1997

THE UNIVERSITY of Kent is considering heavy cuts to combat a funding shortfall of Pounds 2 million, and whether to create a development fund for staff and research initiatives.

An internal document circulated three weeks ago by John Slater, pro vice chancellor, suggests Pounds 3.3 million in possible cuts over the next two to three years. It identifies 33 academic jobs to be axed, concentrated in physics and chemistry (12), modern European literature (6) and classics, philosophy and religious studies (7). Eight posts would go in departments defined as "overfunded" following the research assessment exercise. This would be accompanied by a rationalisation of departmental structures and cuts of Pounds 1.2 million in central services, of which Pounds 800,000 would come next year. This follows Pounds 2.5 million cuts over the past two years.

Timothy Mead, secretary and registrar, said the document was for discussion, with alternative proposals invited. Heads of department have been asked to submit a response by today. The results will go to senate on May 7 and a specially convened meeting of council on May 9.

Dr Mead said: "The aim is to achieve academic and financial stability, and provide the opportunity for new developments." He said that previous job losses had been obtained voluntarily, and that this was still university policy.

Stephen Holland, secretary of Kent's Association of University Teachers branch, said: "We appreciate that the university has to save money. But it is only a planning document at this stage. It will have to go through a number of hoops before anything happens."

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