Letters: ‘find a sustainable solution to address UHI’s financial issues’

and envelope

Dear Orkney News,

It is with dismay that we learn about mass redundancies and budget cuts to UHI’s Executive Office. UHI is a valued and respected educational institution in the region, with a hugely important role to play in keeping and educating people within the local area. It is also important to note that Executive Office is not just Principals and senior managers, but provides critical head office functions like student support, finance, and ensuring academic quality. Jobs are also threatened in the University’s academic and research functions in areas such as nursing, optometry, history, biomedical sciences, and rural health and wellbeing.

The significant number of staff now facing redundancy are employed throughout Highlands and Islands communities, and we urge UHI to rethink its strategy and avoid creating unnecessary hardship for our staff and their families. Our staff are exceptionally proud to work for UHI, and especially of our recent national student survey results (www.uhi.ac.uk/en/media/news/uhi-rated-highly-in-national-student-survey.html), and we want to continue our focus on providing exceptional services to students throughout their time at UHI.

UHI receives a substantial amount of public funding, and UHI management are right to ensure all parts of the University are providing good value for money and are financially sustainable. Yet cuts of this magnitude, just as we welcome students for a new academic year, are alarming, and must raise questions about the potential impact on the quality of education and services our staff provide to the university’s 36,000 students.

We therefore urge all parties to come together – including UHI senior managers, staff, trade unions, the student association, and the Scottish Funding Council — to find a sustainable solution to address UHI’s financial issues without resorting to mass layoffs or any disruption to our students’ education.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Heather Fotheringham, University and College Union UHI Branch President

The ceremonial mace of UHI . A long mace object in gold resting on a table at the graduation ceremony in Kirkwall

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