SUSU Urged to Oppose University Restructuring After All Student Vote Results

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After the results of the All Student Vote into university restructuring were announced last week, a student group campaigning against the changes has said there is now a ‘clear mandate’ for SUSU to oppose them. 

A total of 2,335 students took part in the vote, meaning that it achieved quoracy.

92.6 per cent of those who voted believed that the proposals to close 50-75 academic posts would be detrimental to student experience, while 90.8 per cent of respondents said that the Vice-Chancellor should take a pay cut as part of the changes.

Only 15 per cent of the students who voted agreed that there had been ‘full and clear consultation’ on the proposed changes.

Now, Southampton Students Against University Cuts (SSAUC), a group campaigning against the restructuring, is calling on both students and the Union to step up opposition to the measures.

In a statement, the group urged SUSU to ‘Stand up for students and demand that university management listen to our concerns’. They said that Union President, Flora Noble, should propose a number of  measures at the University council meeting on Thursday, including a halt to all staff cuts until ‘extensive’ and ‘transparent’ consultation with both students and staff had been effected, and that no cuts would be made to ‘education and student facing services’ unless the Vice-Chancellor and other ‘highly-paid senior managers’ took a substantial pay cut.

SSAUC also encouraged students opposed to the changes to make their feelings known to the University by emailing Dr. Gill Rider, Chair of the University Council.

They added:

The result that followed shows very clearly that the student body are deeply dissatisfied with the decision to cut academic staff, the Vice-Chancellor’s excessive pay package, and the entire process by which the university management have led the university restructuring.

The SUSU Sabbatical Officers met on Tuesday to discuss the results and discuss what actions the Union should ask the University to take at the council meeting.

A University spokesperson told Wessex Scene:

Whilst the number of respondents in this vote (2,335) is relatively small compared with the approximately 24,000 students studying at the University, we nevertheless take these views very seriously. We will be working closely with representatives from the Students’ Union to discuss and explore the issues raised.

In particular, we welcome and encourage comments from our students on the current restructuring and, when the plans were first announced, we set up a dedicated email address for students as a channel for feedback, questions and replies. In addition, a number of open meetings have been held between students and senior staff, including the Vice-Chancellor, in the areas of the University most affected. Students will continue to be kept informed throughout the process.

We would like to reassure our student community that all of our staff are committed to ensuring the education, research and training we deliver will continue to be of the highest quality and that these structural changes will contribute to an improved student experience.

Students with questions or comments on the proposed changes can contact the University via email on shapingouruniversity@soton.ac.uk.

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Deputy Editor 2017-18, International Editor 2015-17. Languages student adjusting to being back in the UK after a year in Chile. Interested in Latin America, world news, media and politics.

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