Student Officer Committee statement
Published Tue 9 May 2023 15:55
On Tuesday 2nd May, University Council met to agree the next steps of its cost saving measures. The University announced in January that they are reducing their budget by 13% in order to tackle a £45million deficit over the next three years. Two of the full-time Student Officers of UEASU are voting members of University Council – the highest governing body of the University, who are responsible for agreeing the final plans.
Students across all faculties are understandably concerned about their teaching staff and supervisors whose jobs are at risk and concerned about the future of their own education and academic success at UEA. The SU wishes to support all students affected in these precarious times and we are working to ensure that students voices are heard in the process. We want to offer our full solidarity to the Save UEA group who have been campaigning for students, as well as campus trade unions UCU, Unite, and Unison in their fight against staff redundancies.
We believed that attending University Council in our capacity as student representatives was enough to ensure that student feedback was listened to: we were wrong.
It has become apparent that the University has no plan to consult with or listen to the student body.
The current levels of uncertainty about the future of the institution are having a huge impact on the anxiety and morale of students, towards whom UEA has a duty of care. Students are still uncertain as to whether their lecturers, supervisors and advisors will remain here for the duration of their degrees; they are uncertain whether financial support will exist for students already struggling with a cost-of-living crisis; they are uncertain whether they will continue to be able to access academic and student support services. Until UEA commits to open and meaningful consultation with the SU, we have no confidence in their ability to address these concerns and no confidence that the current cost saving proposals are in the interest of students.
We will therefore continue to oppose the current plan at every opportunity.
We are deeply disappointed in both the University’s financial plan and its refusal to consult with students. Until the University decides to listen to our demands and consider the needs of students, we will be supporting and coordinating escalating student action in opposition to the current proposals.
We would welcome alternative income generation proposals and are willing to work with the University on these alternative plans, in conjunction with Save UEA and other student campaign groups. We urge the full UEA Executive Team to meet with us in good faith to discuss the student demands laid out below.
Our demands are as follows:
- A commitment to no cuts to any student facing services
- A commitment to zero compulsory redundancies
- The publication of a full Equality Impact Assessment on the proposal before the plan is implemented
- A commitment to meeting with the Students’ Union at the earliest possible opportunity and to work meaningfully with students on an alternative plan
- To share the financial accounts with all student union representatives, and to publish the proposed plan in full to all students
*In line with current SU policy passed at Union Council:
The Student Officer Committee