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University of Copenhagen
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Life Sciences fear subjects will be slashed

Hard hit at the beginning of the year, the Faculty of Life Sciences now fears that it could again bear the brunt in the latest round of layoffs

When University of Copenhagen tightened its belt at the start of 2010, the Faculty of Life Science was squeezed so hard that it was left gasping for breath.

48 staff members were laid off, and a further 52 took a voluntary redundancy package, more than at any other faculty at the university.

Now, following the Rector’s announcement that the university will have to shed 4-700 jobs due to the government’s austerity package, student representatives at the Faculty of Life Sciences fear further cutbacks and even the loss of smaller subject areas.

Stretched to the limit

»The Faculty is already stretched to the limit after the last round of job cuts, and there are no longer any staff eligible for voluntary retirement left«, says Ida I. Engelund chairperson of the Student Council (DSR) at the faculty.

»Further cutbacks would mean actual dismissals, and we fear that whole subjects would be closed down or merged with other subjects,« she continues.

Life Sciences is one of the largest faculties, she explains, and one which spends an enormous amount on research. Therefore, if PhD positions are slashed, as the rector warns, Life Sciences stand to lose out once again.

No real answers yet

Ida Egelund has put the subject of the cutbacks on the agenda at a monthly meeting to be held with the faculty Dean on Monday.

But she realises that, since the austerity package and the Globalisation Fund, which may provide funding for new laboratories at the faculty, are still being discussed on the political level, the Dean may have a hard time giving any real answers.

Too big for blockades

Students at the Faculty of Life Sciences took part in the demonstration in Frue Plads on Tuesday, and have been encouraged by their counterparts at the Faculty of Social Sciences to carry out blockades on Monday.

However, due to the size of the faculty, such blockades are not very practical, says Ida Egelund.

»We have a far greater number of students than there are at the Faculty of Social Sciences, so it is really not possible for us to protest by blocking teaching like that,« she explains.

At the moment, there are no planned protests at the Faculty of Life Sciences, she says.

»We are anxiously waiting to see what happens. Of course there will be more protests if nothing is done.«

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