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Board meeting: No cuts to teaching

A three-hour tug-of-war between staff and student representatives and management finally resulted in a budget for 2011. Teaching will be spared the cuts. But no further specification of cutbacks were concluded

After a marathon round of bargaining, the Board of the University, could leave the meeting room in the central administrative building with a budget Thursday afternoon. But an amendment to the budget means that there will be no cutbacks to teaching, according to our Danish Universitetsavisen section which was present at the meeting.

A minority of two staff reps did not support the budget. They point to the fact that it will mean staff layoffs in spite of projected profits for the university next year: Management expects a DKK 57 million surplus, but 200 employees are still to lose their jobs.

The Board is the highest authority of the university, and not only approves the budget but makes out guidelines for its organisation, long-term activities and development.

Should not close our eyes to reality

Quoted on KUnet, chairman Nils Strandberg Pedersen argued vehemently for the cutbacks.

»It is not rational to sit around and wait for the catastrophe. We will get a university in dissolution if we have to make the cuts later. Most of the cuts are structural adjustments. They are to be made no matter what it is on the bottom line,« he argued.

»We should not close our eyes to the reality that we will face in the coming years. What is the purpose of postponing the cutbacks one year?«.

Cuts would not be passed on

Although the members of the Board were clearly split, the Board agreed on three fundamental issues, according to Nils Strandberg Pedersen:

The layoffs should not affect teaching; administration should be made more effective as a result of government cutbacks in funding; and changes to the university structure were necessary to ensure that the number of students and expenses of each subject were aligned, he explained

Rector Ralf Hemmingsen emphasised that keeping teaching out of the cutback plan would not just mean that the cuts would be moved on to another area.

Opponents feared the long term

A minority consisting of Ingrid Kryhlmand and Professor Niels Kærgård refused to give the budget their approval.

Ingrid Kryhlmand, representing administrative personnel, had proposed waiting for a final decision 17 December, giving board members time to weigh up the consequences of what they were deciding.

Niels Kærgård, representing academics, feared the longer-term consequences. He found it hard to see how the cuts would be implemented in practice, he said.

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