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  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

"When we come together, we win" : University community unites ahead of pivotal Court vote

Updated: Feb 28

Staff and students have urged Court to remove risk of redundancy notices from staff in Modern Languages

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

Around one hundred people turned up to the rally on Monday evening

More than one hundred students, staff, and members of the public gathered in New Kings on Monday night to show support for lecturers in Modern Languages.

Speakers from UCU Aberdeen, AUSA, NUS Scotland, and other organisations addressed the crowd - urging members of the University of Aberdeen Court to remove risk of redundancy notices from staff.

Head of Modern Languages Professor Nadia Kiwan thanked students and staff for their support, telling the room:

“Your unwavering support has kept us afloat over these last few challenging months.”

“If the voices of staff and students aren't heard at Court on Wednesday, we will make our voices heard on the picket line.”

Chair in Hispanic Studies Patience Schell added that the last few months had been very difficult for staff in Modern Languages, noting:

“Staff have literally been working through the night.”

“These working conditions are because of our lack of security.”

In a department where 67% of staff and 70% of students are female, Professor Schell noted the profound impact to gender equality that cutting staff in Modern Languages would have.

Green MSP for North East Scotland Maggie Chapman also addressed the crowd.

She said:

“Reputationally, [the University] has taken a knock. And yet, University management is ploughing ahead.”

“We need to challenge the spurious claims about financial challenges,” Ms Chapman said, adding that she planned to join staff on the picket lines next month.

VP for Education Rhiannon Ledwell accused University management of “bullying and coercion” over pressure exerted on staff to take voluntary severance.

“Senior management is consistently making decisions without consulting our community."

“A University should be run by its community,” she added.

NUS Scotland President Ellie Gomersal also spoke, saying: “The entirety of Scotland's student movement is with you…”

“This is bigger than Aberdeen… this has repercussions all across Scotland.”

“When we come together, we win.”

A silent protest outside of the Sir Duncan Rice Library has been planned ahead of Wednesday's Court meeting.

Students and staff are invited to gather at 8 AM and welcome Court members to Aberdeen.

UCU members are set to strike for six days in March if the threat of redundancy is not removed from more than 30 members of staff.

University management has expressed disappointment with that decision, and have noted that savings from voluntary severance and early retirement could result in zero staff members being made redundant.


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