Open the books! We need clarity and transparency!

As we’ve already mentioned on this blog, it appears to make no financial sense to cut attractive and established courses out of the University’s academic portfolio. We demand transparency and clarification as to the financial basis for these decisions. This demand should be treated as a matter of urgency.

It has come to our attention that the build up to the decision was relatively complicated and largely down to the systematic mis-management by the (now) ex-Dean, Roddy Gallacher. His negligence of HALE’s finances has led to wide justification in cutting most of its courses, decimating it and effectively getting rid of the faculty altogether. We have become aware that there has been months of mis-management and neglect by Roddy Gallacher, who actually took early retirement just a few weeks ago. HALE is currently in the care of DASS’s Dean.

The mis-management of HALE by Prof Gallacher has been systematic and unchallenged for a long time. He never once issued budgets for courses, which left staff unaware of how expensive their courses were and whether they should ever have made savings. He gave everyone in the department the impression that everything was OK and that courses were not gonig to be cut. These lies are shameful and are now proving massively destructive as a result.

The VC must take responsibility for Gallacher’s actions. He cannot pass the buck, as he has overall responsibility for the finances and academic reputation of this institution. Being a man with an education in an Art (Music) and a Humanities (Classics) subject, he must stand up and protect these subjects, as a matter of priniciple. He must protect these subjects and not let London Met reject its diversity for a ‘no frills’ approach. If London Met scraps its diverse educational offer, it will cease to be an instution worthy of our collective pride and care. If Prof Gillies is ‘Proud to be London Met’, he must protect its strongest asset: diversity.

It is now time to answer some real questions. We need to have clarity and transparency as to why HALE faces such drastic cuts. Why did HALE allegedly cost the University £12m in internal admin costs, when other departments cost just half that amount? Where are these figures coming from, and are they real?

Staff have been told that the decision has already been made to end courses, and that the deadline to submit courses to UCAS for applicants wanting to study in 2011/12 has now ended. However, this has yet to be confirmed and it is our understanding that the deadline has not yet passed. If the deadline is not yet gone, the decision should be reversed.

Prof Malcolm Gillies, the Vice-Chancellor of London Met, must act now. If he delays any longer, the UCAS deadline may well pass us by. It is imperative that he over-rules the decisions taken by the ex-Dean Roddy Gallacher, and re-instate HALE as a significant and properly structured department. It is no good for him to pass the buck and shrug his shoulders saying, ‘it’s not my fault, I shouldn’t have to micro-manage the Dean’s responsibilities’. Yes, we agree, but in certain situations, Professor, you must take command and overturn certain decisions, especially when cuts such as these proposed do not have a clear financial basis and will decimate the University’s culture, reputation, educational offer and the lives of both staff and students.

It is our belief that it will prove to be massively short-sighted to axe such important and significant courses. You must not abide by the government’s imposed ‘rigid timeframe’ and make sure these cuts are stopped now. We demand you open the books and provide clarity and transparency in the financial proposals to cut so many Humanities, Arts, Languages and Education courses.

More info to follow – obviously this is a complicated situation.


About wearelondonmet

We Are London Met - The blog of the student activists occupying London Metropolitan University
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