SBCS: QMSU Respond

The following motion was passed at QMSU’s Council meeting on 28 February.

12.0  Protecting the teaching of students in SBCS

Proposer:  Oscar Williamson (Vice President Education and Welfare)
Seconder:  Ozzy Amir (Mile End Campaigns Officer)

QMSU notes:

1.  The proposed restructuring of the school of biological and chemical sciences (SBCS) circulated to members of staff in September 2011, was passed by College Council last semester.
2.  Around a third of staff will be affected by these proposals, and will either be made redundant, removed from research positions or requested to take a severance package.
3.  Over 350 students have signed a letter outlining their concerns over these proposals, which has been delivered to QMSE and the Head of the School, Matthew Evans.
4.  1645 students and academics have signed an online petition outlining opposition to the proposals from Queen Mary and internationally.
5.  The head of school has stated that new staff will be ‘eased in’ to teaching, with a teaching load that increases from a starting point of zero hours over an unspecified period.

QMSU believes:

13. That University management have failed to consider the long-term impacts of these proposals and that the time scale under which these proposals will be implemented is damaging to the school.
14. The reductions in staff numbers will create a shortfall in teaching provision, which will adversely affect the education of current and future students.
15. The current student/staff ratio of 23:1 is not comparable to institutions like Oxbridge, Imperial and UCL who have research outputs of the calibre the university aspires to.
16. The new performance management system is only recognising research output and so dis-incentivises high quality teaching, leading to the students’ education being adversely affected.
17. The employment of teaching fellows is counter to the college’s own strategic aims of being a research led institution.  This means that non-research active staff will deliver student education. The whole point of attending a research-led institution is to receive the benefit of knowledge from those currently involved in their field.
18. It would be prudent for the college to halt their plans and reconsider these proposals in light of current student opinion and the concerns raised by staff and UCU.

QMSU resolves:

1.  Mandate the President of QMSU to take this issue to College Council as soon as possible.
2.  To call for the immediate halt of these proposals pending a full reassessment of its impacts in light of current opposition by both QMSU and UCU.
3.  To co-ordinate a joint open meeting with QMSU and UCU in order to provide students with information about the current proposals and its predicted impact.
4.  Formulate and execute a plan of action in order to effectively resist these proposals to ensure that the teaching of students is protected.
5.  Remain open to further active forms of resistance.

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