Lancaster University Chancellor Sir Chris Bonington CBE
United Kingdom

Last month our Vice Chancellor announced a "reduction in activities" for the Department of Continuing Education (DCE). This will mean a drastic cutback in the University's adult education provision in the North West and leave thousands of part-time students unable to complete their studies. For a university with Lancaster's long-standing and honourable regional commitment to adult education it is public relations disaster.

It is also an explicit threat to the jobs of the forty staff in DCE - staff are already being encouraged to look for other employment - and our 200 part-time tutors.

DCE staff were told of the Vice-chancellor's decision by their Head of Department at a staff meeting at 11am on Wednesday 19th March. The emails announcing the decision were then sent to DCE staff at 3pm that afternoon and, in a slightly amended form, to the staff of the whole university at 3.30pm. Members of Council and Senate were informed by letter. DCE staff are angry the news was distributed so widely before the department had a chance to contact all its students, p/t tutors and those staff away on leave for Easter.

A review of DCE activities is taking place but the remit and power of the review group is unclear. By his actions, the Vice-chancellor has pre-empted the outcome of this review. The trade unions have asked for full meeting of the University/Trade Unions Joint Consultative Committee to discuss this, but this has been denied.

We petition our Chancellor, Sir Chris Bonington, CBE to request:

1. A withdrawal of the threat of compulsory redundancies.

2. Proper, detailed consultation with campus unions.

3. A continuing Lancaster University Adult Education provision in the region.

4. A disclosure to DCE staff and campus trade unions of the full rationale for this decision.

5. Staff in DCE to be as fully involved as possible in any review of their Department.

6. Pending the results of any review, DCE to be given a 2 year breathing space to allow students to finish their courses and for staff to find other funding sources.

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The Lancaster University / Adult Education petition to Lancaster University Chancellor Sir Chris Bonington CBE was written by Rory Daly and is in the category Education at GoPetition.