Over 12,000 people currently work at the institution, but the University of Manchester is set to change those figures, making 171 cuts—140 of which will be to academic staff and 31 support staff. According to The Times, ‘The school of arts, languages and cultures, the faculty of biology, medicine and health, and the Alliance Manchester Business School will be worst hit.’
The BBC have reported that the university has said the job losses were necessary for it to be a world-leading institution and would offer voluntary severance wherever possible. The reason for the cuts is up for dispute with the BBC, reporting that the University and College Union (UCU) secretary Sally Hunt has claimed the cuts were due to financial instability caused by “recent government policy changes and Brexit as an excuse to make short-term cuts that will cause long-term damage”. However, a university spokesman has responded to the university cuts by disputing Brexit being the cause. The spokesman declared that “Brexit is not the reason”.
Hunt is reported to have said: “It takes a lot longer to rebuild a department than it does to dismantle one. If the university wishes to maintain its position as one of our leading institutions it needs to rethink plans to sack large numbers of professors, lecturers and support staff to create what it has called ‘financial headroom’.”
It is said that Union members are potentially meeting on Friday to discuss the proposed cuts.
If one thing is of certainty it is the level of skill and expertise that these academics hold after years of education, but with that being said, academic staff and support staff are more than institutional commodities. The 171 cuts represent the number of individuals whose livelihoods will be effected, and not necessarily for the better. These people having dedicated their life to maintaining the university and contributing to its growth and success, they should not be perceived as one of many cuts, but as one of many people that the university is choosing to lose.
Generally speaking, what is most valued at a university that is willing to remove its academics and the teaching of expert knowledge and understanding from it’s students? The answer is money.