Unions unite in open letter on University of Aberdeen Language cuts

Students Union Vice President for Education Rhiannon Ledwell

AHEAD of a crucial University Court meeting on the future of modern language degrees at the University of Aberdeen, staff and student representative bodies have united in an open letter to call for the University to stop the consultation and protect the provision of language degrees at the institution. 

The Students’ Union, NUS Scotland, and local branches of trade unions UCU, Unite and Unison have added their voice to the growing campaign to prevent redundancies and save courses.

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The letter comes after a week when over 11,000 have signed the petition to save languages, the University’s Senate voted overwhelmingly to stop the consultation, and politicians from across the political spectrum supported calls to save languages. 

On Monday evening, staff and students will join at a rally on campus to show their support for the campaign and to demand that the consultation is halted until all options can be fully considered. Speakers at the rally will include local politicians Maggie Chapman MSP, Kevin Stewart MSP, and Councillor Simon Watson as well as representatives from the Students’ Union and UCU, including UCU General Secretary Dr Jo Grady.

Rhiannon Ledwell, Vice President for Education, said:

“This consultation has caused needless panic and upset among our university community and has united staff and students against these ruthless proposals. It is now abundantly clear, with the backing of all student and staff unions at the University, and of the over 11,800 people who have signed our petition, that the only people who think this consultation is remotely fair and legitimate is University Management.

“Court must do the right thing and halt the consultation, take time to explore all options to protect the provision of modern languages and ensure that any future consultation process is done correctly, not quickly. Failure to do so when so many eyes are upon us, would shatter the University’s claim to be ‘open to all’ and show clear disregard for students and staff.”

Aberdeen UCU Branch Chair, Dr Rachel Shanks, said:

“Staff across the University are shocked at how this so-called consultation has taken place. For months staff in one part of the university were not told of concerns while others have had time to create plans to protect jobs. It is wrong to make staff redundant and deny students the opportunity of studying modern languages degrees in the North-East of Scotland.”

The coalition of unions will be holding a rally to petition Court to uphold the vote and stop the consultation on Monday 11th December at 6pm on the Old Aberdeen Campus.

Visit www.ausa.org.uk for more information.

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