Phillip Jones 0

University of Glamorgan, Law School - Staff Retention

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You may, by now, be aware that the tutors within the Law School at Glamorgan are currently in a period of consultation. Are they contemplating something rather uninteresting such as whether to switch to Decaf? No… Are they considering something more significant like the long, hellish evenings which lie ahead, marking our examination papers? No… Their attentions have been drawn elsewhere as they may not actually be around to mark our exam papers. All of the tutors within Glamorgan’s Law School are currently considering their employment status as they have entered a period of statutory consultation of their roles. The University is actually considering making tutors redundant. One has to assume that this is a cost-cutting measure designed to bring us within the budget settlement that the University has received from the Welsh Assembly Government and that the Law School has received from the University. What I don’t understand is this: We have paid or are in the process of paying for a University education and we have to assume that we are getting our money’s worth. There are circa 500 students in the Law School and we are each paying £3,290 to the University on an annual basis to provide us with our tuition. How exactly is £1.65 Million pounds of annual student funds along with all of the Central and Welsh Government finance received (and which they keep bleating on about in the news) not sufficient to keep the meagre number of teaching staff we currently have in continual employment? Perhaps somebody can give me some insight as to where exactly this money IS going? I’m feeling slightly confused. Vast amounts of our online resources have been cut or renewals are being reconsidered. You'll be lucky to find a book within the Law Library which doesn’t have a sticker on it making you aware that the content is “out of date” and I’m not exactly seeing the tutorial staff parking up their Bentleys in the morning! All of the year two law students are completely aware of the havoc that can be wreaked when A SINGLE tutor is unable to give lectures, although I’m sure we can all sympathise with the awful reasons behind it. All of the year three law students will no doubt be likewise aware of the difficulties. In the case of first year students, let me give you some insight: one lecturer being unable to carry out their responsibilities is likely the most unpleasant and grade-dragging experience you will have during your academic career and once you have that experience you would never wish it on anybody – not even your worst enemy… Even if a solution can be brought about, the simple fact of the matter is that experienced, qualified and excellent lecturers are already looking elsewhere for employment. What are we, as students, supposed to do if they do actually manage to obtain another job? Worse? What effect is this current period of consultation already having on the education we are receiving? How can any employer expect their employees to be ‘at the top of their game’ when they don’t know if they are going to be employed come the summer? What I’m asking is that someone from our University and someone from the Law School sit down in a room with Union officials and Welsh Assembly Government representatives to give consideration to exactly how this mess can be resolved. In a few years time we will be expected to join a profession in which the quality of our work must be beyond reproach. How is it possible for us to do this if our University and our Government compromise our education through financial cuts? In addition, when we entered into our academic careers at Glamorgan surely there was some agreement between Student and University that certain law courses would be available to us, as detailed within the published prospectus. How can such courses now be put in jeopardy by funding cuts before a consultation with law students has been held? Perhaps the answer lies in contract… In any case, I would ask that all law students at Glamorgan, their parents (who contribute to our education through their endless tax pounds and, in some cases, individual financial support), other relatives, partners and friends sign an online petition to make ‘the powers that be’ sit down in a room and at least attempt to sort out this simply unacceptable and awful mess.

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