Anger as uni bosses vote to axe courses

Bosses at Glasgow University have voted to axe a raft of courses despite months of protest from academics and students.

The cuts by the ruling Board will result in the closure of a high-profile drug misuse research centre, an end to Slavonic Studies and the scrapping of a stand-alone Liberal Arts programme at its Dumfries campus.

There is also continued doubt over the future of the nursing courses, which have been given a stay of execution for a year pending a Scotland-wide review of training provision.

Some evening and weekend courses for adult learners may also be scaled back as grant support for the Open Programme is now set to be phased out.

The university will also continue its withdrawal from social work courses.

A university spokeswoman said it would be doing “everything possible” to avoid compulsory redundancies.

Meanwhile, the city’s Strathclyde University also moved closer to a range of cuts in its academic provision after a meeting of the Senate, the body that represents academics.

The university had faced criticism over plans to axe courses in music, community education, geography and sociology and the Senate had been asked to back calls for a delay by the lecturers’ union, University and College Union Scotland.

However, the Senate rejected the delay and voted in favour of pressing ahead with the cuts, which will now go to the Court next week.

Dave Anderson, president of the Glasgow University branch of the UCU, said: “The implications for staff in these areas remain far from clear.

“We accept the university has had to contend with a 10% drop in public funding, but cost reductions have already addressed this and there is now no financial reason to cut jobs.

“The way the consultations have been handled has had a devastating impact on staff morale and demonstrates clearly the need for academic decisions to be made by academic bodies and not senior managers.”

At Strathclyde, Bill Johnston, of the UCU branch, said: “This is a travesty of academic decision-making. The Senate has set a dangerous precedent.”

News of the cuts came after a day in which students from both universities staged rallies in their respective campuses.

Professor Anton Muscatelli said: “The difficult decisions that have been addressed, coupled with the work that has been done to turn around our finances, means the future prospects for the continued excellence of the university are extremely promising.”

Sandra White, SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, said the cuts were “a serious step backwards.”