In a bold move, staff members at the University of Kent have cast their ballots, signalling their support for strike action amidst a heated dispute over course closures.

The university administration’s decision to “phase out” six subjects and reduce 58 positions in response to financial challenges has sparked intense debate.

It’s reported 85% of University and College Union (UCU) members who participated in the recent ballot voted in favour of strike action. There was a 57% turnout.

The University of Kent, in an official statement, expressed its regret over the UCU’s strike decision. The administration remains steadfast in its commitment to engage in constructive dialogue with the union, seeking a viable path forward.

Coinciding with the ballot results, the university’s vice-chancellor, Karen Cox, announced she is leaving in May, acknowledging the well-known challenges faced by the higher education sector.

The affected courses include:

  • Art History
  • Music and Audio Technology
  • Philosophy
  • Religious Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Health and Social Care
  • Journalism

UCU General Secretary, Jo Grady, reportedly did not mince words in saying: “These cuts amount to a bonfire of undergraduate courses. They will have devastating consequences on the university and its local community and must now be halted immediately.”

The University of Kent is assuring students that every effort will be made to achieve staff reductions through voluntary means. Should strike action proceed, contingency plans are in place to minimize any adverse effects on students’ education and academic progress.

The UCU reportedly warned that strike action could commence as early as the end of April leaving the fate of these academic programs hanging in the balance and leaving the university community anxiously awaiting further developments.

By Ed

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