Queen's axe hangs over 100 lecturers

May 29, 1998

Academics at Queen's University Belfast are outraged by plans to lose more than 100 lecturers in a Pounds 25 million restructuring plan.

Opposition to the plan to axe teaching in Italian, Semitic studies, geology, and statistics and operational research was expected at this week's academic council meeting, with a stormy meeting predicted for senate next week.

About 20 staff would be offered severance packages and 90 other staff "who are not effectively engaged in research" will also go, saving some Pounds 13 million. Queen's then plans to recruit 110 "high-calibre" staff, backed by a Pounds 12 million investment in key areas.

Richard Jay, president of Queen's Association of University Teachers, said: "The AUT is very concerned about the overall impact of a major turnover of staff. A general meeting was very opposed to the idea."

The AUT has also complained about the lack of consultation. "The generals had a lot of input, but the troops didn't," Mr Jay said.

The Geological Society has written to vice-chancellor George Bain warning that the plan means no geological degree course being available in Northern Ireland. It did not understand why geology is not more valued.

Professor Bain said Queen's had a strong national and international reputation and wanted to enhance its standing further. "We regret that some staff will leave as part of the change process, but it will be of enormous benefit to Queen's and Northern Ireland as we enter the new millennium."

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