Archive for October, 2009

05
Oct
09

So what happened to Linguistics at Sussex?

The following post was written in June 2009:

To all Sussex Linguistics supporters,

Today, University Senate, the highest academic decision making body within the University, met and discussed Linguistics. Even after they had agreed to put it on the agenda, USSU and staff had to fight to make sure it got discussed and that staff were briefed.

For the first time since the decision was announced, a full and comprehensive rationale with statistics and evidence was given, information that had been never made available even after constant requests for it. Senate members in the face of this felt they had no choice but to accept the University’s rationale, however this wasn’t the end of the discussion.

Senoir managements actions in handling the situation were widely criticised by academics, staff and students, lining up to pick apart the rationale they gave. From the lack of scrutiny, no consultation and no meeting minutes to refusing to talk with students and the resulting escalation of the situation, senate members openly voiced their anger. The committee were particulary insisantant to state this was a perfect case of how NOT to make important decisions. There was also large support to ensure that no students will face any disciplinary action over the camp.

Though Linguistics has not been reinstated as a degree program, we have saved Linguistics as the University is now committed to maintaining the course for the indefinite future as an essential element to English Language and other indisciplinary elements. Now they are looking into how to ensure Linguistics continues to remain a core part of English and the University in the future.

This is not the end of the campaign, as the Vice Chancellor, though refsued to apologise, has agreed to meet with Linguists to discuss the matter further next year. USSU will continue to oppose all cuts to our education and continue to remind the University that this is our education and that we need to be made part of the decision making process too.

Thanks to the hardwork and support of students, staff and activists, both locally and nationally, Linguistics’ future has been gurannted as a course and management shown they cannot run the university in such a top down, anti-democratic and haphazard manner.

Let this to be a lesson to all those facing cuts up and down the country, that when students, staff and unions organise and fight back, we can overturn managments decisions and win back our education.

Yours,

Lee Vernon
USSU Finance Officer