No Cuts at Solent University
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An open letter to Vice Chancellor Graham Baldwin,
We, the students of Southampton Solent University, are concerned about budget cuts that are happening currently within Solent. It is likely that these will negatively affect the quality of our education & student experience while studying at Solent.
Having been made aware, via local press, of the recent vote of no confidence in you as the Vice Chancellor, we are concerned that you do not have our best interests at heart. Due to how we were informed we are concerned not only about staff and students but also about the reputation of our University.
Already, the stress of these potential cuts has been causing visible stress to many of our lecturers, which is concerning for students. At our university our lecturers go above and beyond to help us with our studies and we want them to have job security and to be treated in the best possible way. This will mean that not only will the quality of teaching be upheld, but they will also be free of the pressure that comes with a large scale redundancy plan and changes to workload. This added pressure will also potentially result in key members of staff across all departments leaving their positions by choice, meaning that is a crucial time for staff and students to be coming together to support each other on matters such as this one.
With tuition fees potentially increasing year on year, redundancies and any changes to student support cannot be justified if the current high quality of teaching and student welfare at Solent is to be maintained. For Solent to succeed, the university needs to be able to still offer a variety of courses with optional modules that it can guarantee will run for the full length of the course to be able to continue attracting students, which is likely to become harder if staff numbers are reduced to this extent.
There are several of Solent’s key values that we feel have been ignored when making these decisions that will and are already negatively impacting staff and students, that you as a staff member will ‘have professional, open and constructive conversations, focused on finding a way forward’ and that you as a staff member will ‘communicate with others and seek feedback through a variety of different methods’ – we do not feel like constructive conversations have been happening, if the only way forward that can be found is to make changes to staffing arrangements when the university already feels understaffed, and we do not feel like you have been communicating well enough, with a major stakeholder group – us, the students.
In the student charter, the university has committed to ‘responding to the student voice’ and so a full response to this open letter is requested, detailing how you have come to the conclusion that the current staffing changes are necessary, and acknowledging that students at Solent are fully in support of Trade Unions & staff on this matter, and are in agreement that you should make a public commitment to have no compulsory redundancies.
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