The Facts

Leeds University Cuts: the story so far.

http://www.leedsstudent.org/2010-09-16/ls1-news/leeds-university-cuts-the-story-so-far

An excellent breakdown of the major events of our campaign throughout last year.

Results of LUU’s survey over the ‘Economies Exercise’

Student attitude towards industrial action

The text reads: “One of the three trade unions on campus has been balloting its members for industrial action. In the past, this has lead to strikes and students experiencing a delay in receiving their results. Given the current financial climate surrounding higher education, would you support or oppose industrial action from staff at Leeds? If you’d like to give us your reasoning for this, please use the space below.”

There were a wide range of responses to the question of industrial action by staff, which is unsurprising given the topical nature of the subject. While there is a significant minority of students on both sides that are either completely supportive (22.3%) or completely against (15.1%) industrial action by staff, the most common response from students was that they are prepared to support some form of industrial action as long as it does not have an impact upon students (42.4%).
These results came in spite of the loaded phrasing of the question… The ‘current climate’ is exactly why staff are being forced to take action that defends jobs and education from the bosses’ attempts to make workers and youth pay for the crisis by cutting back on health, education, jobs and public services.

10 Key Facts About the Cuts at Leeds University

The university has begun to implement what it calls the “economies exercise” – this involves wiping £35 million off the budget, roughly 10% per school. This is despite making a profit of £11 million last year, having £80 million in reserves and engaging in massive building works across campus.

We pay £30.8 million in tuition fees to the university, fees that were brought in under the proviso that they would lead to better standard of education for all – not to cuts.

The UCU Lecturers Union estimates that this will result in roughly 400-700 job cuts – at every level, including lecturers, tutors, porters and cleaners. Contact hours will fall, class sizes will rise, and our university will have the worst student:staff ratio of all Russell Group universities. The UCU has passed a motion of no confidence in the Vice-Chancellor, and is already in dispute with the university.

There is a £20 million error in financial forecasting within the university’s budget (Yorkshire Evening Post, 27/11/09), but as of yet nobody has been held to account for this.

Jobs have already begun to be cut at the university. Security guard numbers have been cut by a third, and staff within the School of Biological Sciences have been given redundancy notices.

Our Vice-Chancellor is the head of the Russell Group of premier research led universities. He supports further rises in tuition fees to £5000 a year (The Times, 20/09/09), earns more than the Prime Minister and commutes into Leeds from Southampton every week by plane.

These cuts are not just at Leeds; the Labour government has recently announced massive cuts in higher education funding which will effect every single university in the country. The cuts are being piloted at Leeds, and a strong campaign against them here will improve our chances of stopping them altogether.

Campaigners recently fought and won to prevent job losses at Tower Hamlets College in East London. They did this by bringing students and lecturers together in a united front against cuts.

Our student union Executive have so far done little to stop these cuts coming in. They have representation on the University Senate, but have failed to mount any sort of campaign against these crippling attacks on the quality of our education. They have resolved to issue a statement to oppose the cuts but also to oppose strike action by the campus trade unions.

10 These cuts do not just affect us, but also the students who have not yet come to Leeds. Courses that are available now may be discontinued, and modules that exist now may not be available to future students.

The best way for us to fight these cuts is to unite together – as a student body and also as a university; with  lecturers, librarians, cleaners,  security guards, caterers and all the  staff members who make this institution what it is – a superb place to learn in a great city to live in.

We are Leeds University, and we must defend it!

General meetings of the Leeds University Against Cuts group take place every Monday at 5pm in the Union – get involved!

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