City of Culture university axes languages

24 July 2006

A university in the European Capital of Culture 2008, Liverpool, is axing its prestigious Language School and sacking staff.

Staff at the Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) were informed last month that the highly-respected School of Languages will close in September with the loss of around 20 jobs.

Staff from LJMU are today protesting at graduation ceremonies outside the city's Anglican Cathedral against the proposed cuts.

Members of UCU in Liverpool have accused university management of running a cynical campaign of misinformation to bring about the course closures and redundancies.

The union says the university diverted over four fifths of the Language School's funds and then said it was operating in deficit. The management has also claimed that the demand for languages is declining and recruitment is falling. However, the statistics tell a very different story. Student numbers for the 2006 academic year were as expected and recruitment to the school was as good as last year.

No members of staff were consulted about the planned closure and members of the University and College Union (UCU) have learned that even the director of the school was kept in the dark about the plans.

Joint general secretary of UCU, Sally Hunt, said: 'There is no valid reason for these job cuts and the university has categorically failed to provide any justification for them. What is clear is that the university has been plotting to get rid of the school for sometime. We remain baffled why, but we will fight their decision all the way.'

Secretary of the Liverpool UCU branch, Simon Rahilly, said: 'It is quite incredible that at a time when everyone in the city is gearing up to be the European Capital of Culture in 2008 Liverpool John Moores University management is axing language courses. The city is rightly proud of its famous Scouse wit, but it is no joke when Scouse is going to be the only language offered by one of the city's top universities.'

Last updated: 15 December 2015