We have included a form at the bottom of this page which will allow you to sign the letter. You can opt for your signature to be publicly shown on the page, or only included with the letter. The letter will be sent via email to the Board of Governors.

 

Open letter to the University Of Brighton Board Of Governors

Dear Board of Governors,

We, the undersigned members of the University and those with connections to the University of Brighton, are writing this open letter to the Board of Governors to highlight the concerns generated amongst staff and students in the University community by the restructuring of Information Services and associated redundancies. We cannot see the value added to our work by this restructuring process. Rather, we can see the potential for the shrinkage in resources having a very negative impact. In particular, we feel that the restructuring – the manner of its doing, the proposed redundancies, its consequences – risks jeopardising the university’s reputation. It is due to this risk that we call on the Board of Governors as guarantors of the University’s reputation, its perhaps most important asset, to intervene to halt these plans.

Resourcing for IT

Since the UK went into lockdown in March 2020, the University’s resources for online teaching have been incredibly stretched. Teaching and professional services staff have bent over backwards to support students and colleagues but have not themselves been adequately equipped with training to use applications like Microsoft teams. It is clear to us that cutting the IT department in any way during this time is deeply irresponsible.

Hybridised learning into 2021

The likelihood that we will be delivering some element of hybridised learning in 2021, and the pedagogical opportunities such forms of learning might open up in the future, ensures that demand for IT expertise will remain high in the University. This makes the proposed redundancies in the IT department shortsighted and senseless. For the amount of money being paid by students there is an expectation for lecturers and auxiliary staff to have all the resources and training they require to deliver a world class education. There is a widespread feeling among students, one which is very dangerous for the university, that they are being short-changed.

Restructure during a pandemic

The timing of this redundancy process within the current academic year is ill advised. The University is operating in an unstable environment, which is being made more unstable by the consultation process, the resulting redundancies, and further outbreaks of Covid-19 causing more upheaval and uncertainty. This is causing a greater reliance on technology solutions to keep the University operating. Moreover, the fact that a considerable amount of time has had to be spent by staff in dealing with this redundancy process has adversely affected delivery within the University, and is likely to cause further disruption in January 2021 when organisational change is due to happen.

The work has not dried up

Redundancy typically means work has dried up. Within the Information Services department it clearly has not. From our IT colleagues, we know there is more work than existing teams can comfortably handle, and further to that, demand shows no sign of abating, showing every sign that work will increase during the remainder of this academic year. Indeed IS has had to adopt a filtering system for requests to reduce demand on current services. This situation will get worse following any compulsory redundancies. A net loss of people means less work can be done.

Loss of expertise

There is also the wider issue of skills and knowledge leaving the organisation, further compounding the situation. The University is losing staff with many years of experience and detailed knowledge of the various academic departments and consequently an understanding of the differing needs of those departments.

Reputational impact

Since the compulsory redundancies were announced, and with awareness of what is really happening reaching a wider audience, there has been considerable backlash against the decision from students, professional services, and academic staff. Other bodies, including the MP for Brighton Kemptown, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, have also seriously questioned the wisdom of this action.

The strong ballot results of UCU and Unison members at the University clearly show deep dissatisfaction with the actions of the UEB. The decision to call for industrial action was very reluctantly taken. However, there was little alternative given the stance of the UEB. Many students have been very supportive of this action and understand the circumstances through which it arose, and are understandably frustrated by the actions of the University.

We are calling on you, members of the Board of Governors, to halt the current erosion of the University’s reputation as a student- and staff-centred University. We believe it to be part of your constitutional remit to ensure that the senior management team at the University of Brighton take no action which could damage the University. Their actions currently threaten such damage.

The redundancy process should be halted and the restructure of IT support re-examined in light of the new conditions created by the pandemic.

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Yours sincerely


Name: Adam Hansen


Name: Lee Towers

Message of support:

This redundancy action is immoral and makes no practical sense.


Name: Dr. Patricia Prieto-Blanco


Name: Zulaika Beckford

Message of support:

Brighton Student Solidarity Group supports the strike. Students support the strike. END THE CUTS.


Name: Anne Daguerre


Name: Patricia McManus

Message of support:

I fully support this call to the Board of Governors. What is happening to IT services at the University defies belief. Maybe the Board of Governors can inject some realism into the incredible disruption and damage the restructuring plans threaten. If they do not, then I will need to question what the purpose of the Board of Governors is as it would not seem to be fit for purpose.


Name: Chris Cocking


Name: Dr Francesca Burke


Name: Charlie Turner

Message of support:

Cutting IT staff is a huge mistake, one which will be felt by both staff and students. It's not too late to rethink this awful decision!
Solidarity with all those affected!


Name: Dr Sandra J Williams


Name: Fiona MacNeill


Name: Sheila Cullen

Message of support:

I cant understand why the vuniversity is sacking loyal takented staff when there are jobs available and plenty of wirk to do. The fact that its christmas and we are in the middle of a global pandemic just shows the decision makers as heartless. How much money is this going to save in the grand scheme of things. As someone who works in IT I know the removal of these staff will make my job hardet. The service needs more staff not less


Name: Mike Hornsby


Name: Dr Joseph Ronan


Name: Tucker MacNeill





Name: Ryan Burns

Message of support:

You cannot improve a service by cutting staff.


Name: Charlie Allison


Name: Dr Khizer Saeed

Message of support:

IT services gave been the backbone of support to deliver Engineering and Computing programs.. Removal of these will make the delivery of programs very difficult.. In fact we need more IT then ever before during pandemic and beyond it.. No to It staff redundancies..


Name: Christian Hogsbjerg


Name: Nadia Edmond


Name: Josh Cameron


Name: Richard Weller

Message of support:

A University is only as good as the staff it maintains and the community it builds. These redundancies must be resisted.





Name: JIll shacklock


Name: Dr Mark Erickson

Message of support:

This is wrong for so many reasons but I will highlight 3
1. We need more IT support not less right now. This new IT support strategy which is leading to these redundancies was designed at least 6 months before the pandemic started. Times have changed, have they not?
2. The university seems to have no concern for staff morale. At the end of a frankly horrendous year when colleagues have worked heroically and in very difficult conditions, particularly our IT support staff who turned the university round so rapidly and provided such wonderful support for us all, we are now being told ‘no matter what you did, no matter how hard you worked, your job is at risk. Happy xmas’.
3. The optics on this are appalling. Everyone can see that this is a ludicrous decision, our students are appalled that this is being done, the media are amazed, the local MP is shocked, and so on.
Please ensure that the University senior management team reconsider this terrible policy


Name: Anita Rupprecht


Name: Annie Richardson


Name: Dr Julia Hartviksen


Name: James Ormrod


Name: Dr Daniel Burrows


Name: chris savory


Name: Flo Pietzsch


Name: Tom Bunyard


Name: Dr Lesley Whitworth

Message of support:

Making colleagues redundant while recruiting in the same department is morally indefensible - it isn't as if we don't specialise in teaching people new skills.


Name: John-Patrick Hartnett


Name: Alison Taylor


Name: Victoria Margree


Name: Gloria Whittaker


Name: Monica Dorobantu


Name: Carol Williams


Name: Bob Brecher


Name: Michael Neu

Message of support:

This is immoral.


Name: Noah Thompson

Message of support:

So everything is online but we are getting rid of our IT specialists? Great.


Name: Dr Stephanie Davis


Name: Morris Findley

Message of support:

Failure to address these strikes sends a clear message to all about how the university values its people. As a student, this is a scary premise.



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