QM’s student newspaper, QMessenger, has been commendably alert to the threat to students’ education posed by management plans for the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences. Two weeks ago it ran a front-page story on the head of school’s meeting with concerned students (from which staff were banned). This week there was another front-page story reporting the separate meeting between students and staff, organised by UCU after requests from students, who felt they had not been given the full picture. This latest issue also contains a cartoon on p.13, and a comment piece on p.8, from which it’s worth quoting at length:
The need for a second meeting with only the staff showed that there is a real gap between the Head of the School (and those senior to him) and the lecturers and academics who keep it running. There were more than a few suggestions that the million pound profit seems to be being transformed into carpets and nice furniture hidden away in the Queens’ Building instead of being invested into improving facilities for research.
That is the odd thing about this whole scenario. Staff are quite clearly saying that they need better facilities if they are to produce better research but they’re not getting it. Instead, a complicated plan is being introduced that it seems will cause a great deal of disruption to the School and surely will marr the University’s reputation. One academic said that two jobs currently being advertised have failed to attract any applicants – if they cannot fill two jobs, how will they fill the 10-20 more that could be available soon?