Roehampton SU passes motion to oppose University cuts

Roehampton University Students Union passed a motion opposing £3.2m of cuts to the university’s Arts & Humanities faculty last Monday.

The motion passed at an emergency meeting of the Students Union Council with 21 of the 24 voting members supporting the proposal to publicly oppose the cuts.

Roehampton’s Arts & Humanities faculty is facing a slew of cuts which the university blames on the Covid-19 pandemic, but campaigners have complained is ideologically motivated.

A student-led campaign has been set up to oppose the cuts which has led to open meetings on the issue with staff and politicians such as Fleur Anderson, Labour MP for Putney.

Roehampton Students Saving Arts & Humanities said: “We are really pleased about the passing of the motion and that the RSU share our concerns.

“The support of RSU as representatives of the University of Roehampton student voice is vital.

“We hope we can work together to keep ensuring that students are represented, and their voices heard.”

Some staff in the faculty are currently engaged in talks over voluntary severance with the University as part of the cuts.

Disputes between the University and its staff predate Covid-19 and stretch back as far as the last round of UCU strikes early this year over workload and the casualisation of contracts.

A spokesperson from the University of Roehampton said:

“For the past few months we have been implementing a recovery plan to address the severe financial impact from the Covid-19 pandemic and we need to continue on this path to secure our long-term growth. 

“To support our long-term sustainability, we are planning to make savings in the Schools of Arts and Humanities where there has been a decline over a number of years in student numbers both nationally and at our own institution.

“These measures will put the Schools on a more sustainable footing to secure their longer-term future and also allow the University to invest in academic areas where the student population is growing.

“For that reason the University Council has endorsed a proposal to reduce the academic payroll in the School of Arts and the School of Humanities to bring them back onto a sustainable path.

“We have reopened a Voluntary Severance Scheme for the academic staff from these two Schools. We aim to secure the identified savings through voluntary measures.

“The significant majority of the academic staff employed across both Schools will continue in roles, even if the proposals are implemented fully, and we will continue to cross-subsidise these areas of our portfolio in the future.

“Despite the savings we are consulting on, we continue to be committed to the arts and humanities and they play a vital role in our future. We are living and working through the most uncertain and unprecedented time in recent history and we need to act promptly and decisively to secure our future sustainability.”

You can read more here.

Featured Image Credit: Andy Scott

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