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Humanities staff angered by stress comments

Statements from the Dean have done nothing to cool off staff tempers at the Faculty of Humanities, as report uncovers a group of administrators that have heart palpitations and that cry their way home from work

The working environment for staff has gone so bad at the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Humanities, that »staff walk crying home from work«, according to a recent report by a Danish government agency.

The Danish Working Environment Authority (Arbejdstilsynet) writes that »staff have stress symptoms such as heart palpitations, that don’t subside when getting home. And several staff have difficulty sleeping«.

The report focuses specifically on the working conditions at an administrative department Uddannelse og Studerende, which has 60 staff.

Views the problems with seriousness

Dean of the faculty Ulf Hedetoft has responded to the coverage, saying he does not agree with the report, and that the dissatisfaction over working conditions was limited to five to eight staff members.

He added that he still »views the problems with the utmost seriousness. Nobody should become ill from going to work«.

But the Dean’s statements seem to have just added fuel to the flames.

Where are his figures?

Career counsellor Mike Wenøe, is a member of the faculty co-operation committee, and he says that staff are irritated by Ulf Hedtoft’s argumentation.

Staff talk of having T-shirts printed with the text »I am one of the five to eight«, which they will wear until he starts taking their stress seriously, he says.

Administrative staff representative Søren Balsløv Fransén also thinks the Dean owes them another explanation: »I want to know where he has his figures on who is satisfied and who is not satisfied: Has this been investigated?«

Students: They are sick, and unavailable

Student representatives at the Faculty of Humanities say they see a staff group that is not looking healthy.

»Me and my fellow students see the faculty administration as under great pressure – they are often ill and they are often unavailable,« says Mads Damgaard, a history student and member of the faculty’s academic council.

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