Thursday, November 11, 2010

Message from the office of the President and Vice Chancellor

11th November 2010

We do not know the precise details the scale and impact of the cuts on the individual universities and indeed are unlikely to know these until the new year. The President and Vice Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell has already made her views on the proposed cuts to the higher education budget very clear. In her recent communication to all students she said:

“The 40% cuts in the higher education budget over four years, means that Universities have been particularly harshly treated, especially given the cuts that we have already had imposed on us by the last government.

“We await the detail, but if these plans become reality they could have a devastating effect on many British universities.

“With our numerous different income streams it will also be a while before we know the precise impact on this University.

“Big cuts like these will inevitably have an impact on our activities and we will be faced with some tough choices.

“She has provided the following reassurances to students:

“Let me be absolutely clear; for those of you already enrolled on courses here, there is absolutely no question of your tuition fees suddenly going up.

“The University will clearly need to adapt to future financial challenges – but we will do so in a way that fulfils our key commitment to delivering an outstanding student experience.”

The University is already engaging with the elected representatives of the Students’ Union to discuss how the University may respond to any future reductions in funding and the President and Vice Chancellor has made it clear to the Students’ Union Executive that she and her senior colleagues are happy to meet with them at any time to discuss these issues. Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell also made it clear that:

“As an institution embracing academic freedom, we welcome the expression by students of strongly held views, and accept the right of those advocating such views to assert them.

“In particular, I accept the right of groups of students to organise, marches and protests as means of drawing attention to their causes. These protests must however be peaceful and lawful. The right to lawful protest in the University of Manchester is restricted, not by any limit to freedom of expression, but by the fact that a judgement has to be made eventually about the balance between the rights of the protesters to assert their views on the one hand and, on the other, the rights of others (students, staff and visitors) to go about their business safely, unimpeded and free from harassment.”

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