UCU Press statement 25 September 2009
University academics demand Vice-Chancellor takes public accountability for financial mistakeAngry academics at the University of Wolverhampton have called for the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline Gipps, to take public responsibility for a serious mistake that will lose the University money and threaten up to 250 jobs. The University over-reported the number of students who had completed their studies for the year and now the Higher Education Funding Council is expected to seek a repayment that could run into millions of pounds. The losses to the university’s finances from this mistake, on top of the restrictions on higher education funding that affect all universities, could lead to 10 per cent of jobs being slashed across the university’s sites in Wolverhampton, Walsall and Telford.
At packed meetings of the University and College Union, academics called for the widest possible campaign to oppose redundancies. With youth unemployment rising in the Black Country to the highest levels for a generation, they argued that it was irresponsible to reduce opportunities because of mistakes made by the University Executive. Furious speakers pointed to the way that Executive pay in the university had increased and performance bonuses been paid, even as those in charge seemed to be losing a grip on where the university is going.
UCU, the lecturers’ union, and UNISON, representing administrative, professional, technical and manual staff, are meeting with local MPs to discuss the issue and to make representations to the government about the university’s plight.
Meanwhile, the V-C of Birmingham, David Eastwood, is warning against the macho competition between v-c's about how much they can cut: