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UCU calls for Edge Hill chancellor to oppose job cuts

23 May 2024

UCU today called on the Chancellor of Edge Hill University to speak out against the attack on arts and humanities jobs at her university. Edge Hill bosses are planning to sack 11 senior academics, part of £1 million cuts in the English and Creative Arts Department.

Dawn Airey, the Edge Hill Chancellor, is an outspoken opponent of cuts to creative arts funding who chairs the National Youth Theatre. Airey recently argued in the FT that the UK's "creative superpower status" was at risk due to underinvestment.

UCU expects compulsory redundancy notices for the 11 academic staff to be served in the coming weeks. Edge Hill is pressing ahead with this attack on jobs despite having had £200million to splash on capital projects, and in the context of an 8.6% increase in applications for English and Creative Arts courses at the university this year.  

Local politicians from across the Liverpool City Region, including Liverpool Riverside MP Kim Johnson, oppose the job cuts and have sent messages of support to UCU members. The union called on Chancellor Dawn Airey to join her in defending arts and humanities jobs at Edge Hill.  

UCU regional official Matt Arrowsmith said: 'UCU is doing its utmost to protect jobs and defend high quality arts and humanities courses at Edge Hill. We urge Dawn Airey to use her position as Chancellor to speak out against these cuts, which will needlessly damage the university's reputation in the arts and humanities, taking an axe to provision even as demand for these courses rises.  

'Any intervention to this effect from Dawn would be a huge boost to our members facing this threat to their livelihoods, and would befit a prominent defender of the arts. We are ready to engage constructively with Edge Hill management and negotiate to avoid these job cuts. To safeguard the future of the university, they should be prioritising jobs and education over excessive capital spending.' 

Last updated: 24 May 2024