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SANTA SAYS: Save Modern Languages at Aberdeen Uni

Santa paid an early visit to the University Office – but did Professor Leydecker make the naughty list?


By Kirsten Koss


Photo Credit: AUSA
Photo Credit: AUSA

Photo Credit: AUSA


Christmas came early for Senior Vice Principal Karl Leydecker on Thursday- with a special delivery from Santa Claus.


Earlier this week, the Students’ Union launched a ‘Christmas Cards to Karl’ campaign where members of the University community were invited to share their thoughts with the senior leader.


This fresh drive comes just days after the University Court announced an extension to the original forty-five-day consultation.


The University faced harsh criticisms after announcing a plan to cull the Modern Languages department. As the seemingly rushed consultation got underway at the beginning of December, all of the department’s staff were served so-called ‘Risk of Redundancy’ notices.


After a steadfast campaign headed up by AUSA, in conjunction with the Universities and Colleges Union; more than 15,000 staff, students, alumni and the public had signed a change.org petition.


As a result, the University Court was forced to increase the consultative period, and announced that applicants for the 2024-2025 would be admitted for Modern Languages joint honours programmes.


Despite the seemingly positive announcement, the University moved "Option One" to the top of their gift list.


This option would see an end to Single Honours provision, would cut course choices across modern language programmes, and would see 52% of staff made redundant.

It is for this reason that Students’ Union called upon students to express disdain for the new default position.


Students were invited to send personalised messages to Senior VP Leydecker, with the embattled Professor depicted as Ebeneezer Scrooge, surrounded by the ghosts from the Christmas tale – each one depicting a modern language.


In the first 24-hours of the call, the Students’ Union received more than 100 cards, which were delivered to Professor Leydecker in time for Christmas.


Students’ Union Vice President for Education Rhiannon Ledwell donned a Santa outfit to make the delivery. She said:


“Students, alumni, staff, and supporters are furious that jobs are still at risk, courses for next year cancelled, and those that remain are facing damaging cuts.


"Every member of the Modern Languages staff team has been ‘gifted’ a risk of redundancy letter this Christmas by the University, and they are spending the holidays fearing for their jobs and futures.

"Our community is giving something in return, to show the distress the threat to degrees and jobs has created. We are sending a strong message that we remain united against the University’s short-sighted plans, and that we will continue fighting until all jobs and degrees are saved.”


It remains to be seen whether or not Senior VP Leydecker was around to collect the cards, but one thing is for sure – the University community thinks he deserves coal for Christmas.

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