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University of Huddersfield staff vow to fight brutal cuts to arts & humanities

16 June 2022

UCU has today vowed to fight brutal cuts to arts and humanities provision at the University of Huddersfield.

The pledge comes after the university threatened to sack 37 staff in the School of Arts and Humanities. The university claims it needs to axe the staff due to a fall in student numbers. Included in the proposed cuts are 11 staff in the department of History, English, Linguistics & Music; four in department of Media & Performance; three in the department of Arts & Communications; seven in the department of Fashion & Textiles; and five in the department of Architecture & 3D Design.

UCU said it believes the consultation document from management, which forms the basis for cuts, contains several inaccuracies, including student numbers, student applications and the number of full-time staff in the departments being cut. The union said the errors in the consultation document reflect management's slap dash approach and that it was forming counter proposals to the cuts.

The threatened cuts at Huddersfield come after other modern universities have been slammed for plans to cut arts and humanities provision. These include plans by the University of Roehampton to sack half its academic workforce,  by the University of Wolverhampton to cull around 150 courses and by De Montfort university to axe 58 staff. All the cuts target arts and humanities. And they follow a number of interventions from the Westminster government, which says universities should focus on preparing students for the job market and move away from what it describes as 'low value' courses.

Huddersfield UCU branch chair Gary Allen said: 'The University of Huddersfield wants to rush these cuts through with the bare minimum of input from staff, which is why it sent round a consultation document which we believe contains several factual errors. These cuts would leave valued and experienced colleagues without jobs and do huge damage to student provision. We cannot allow the university to push ahead unchallenged. We are surveying staff who are impacted and will use the results to help us form counter proposals to protect jobs and student access to the arts and humanities.'

Last updated: 20 June 2022