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Plans to axe Liverpool University departments are shelved

15 May 2009

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Plans to axe the philosophy, politics and communications and statistics departments at Liverpool University have been dropped after protests from lecturers and students in the city.

UCU said today that it was pleased the university had listened to voices of the academic community and rejected the closures, but warned that many departments and thousands of jobs were still at risk across the county.
 
Following noisy protests at meetings to close the departments and a lengthy campaign by staff and students, the university has recommended that the departments should be given the opportunity to implement recovery plans in an effort to improve research performance. The three departments were originally signalled out for closure following the publication of the Research Assessment Exercise, which rates the quality of research in university departments.
 
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'No university can build and maintain an international reputation for excellence if it panics and starts axing departments every time it spots a short-term problem. The staff and students at Liverpool have run a brilliant campaign and we are delighted that the university has actually listened to what the academic community had to say.
 
'Sadly, these cuts, and the thinking behind them, are symptomatic of a wider malaise across higher education. Too many universities are considering knee-jerk cuts to departments and staff. We are calling for an urgent national agreement to ensure that no institution can rush through any closure plans without first exhausting all available options and ensuring job losses are the absolute last resort.'
 
Opposition to the controversial closure plans was widespread with local MPs taking the issue to Westminster.  Peter Kilfoyle, MP for Liverpool Walton, tabled a motion the House of Commons deploring the planned closures of the departments.
 
The full early day motion (1013) and a list of supporters can be found here.
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