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More cuts to UCPH admin, PhDs - Spring Festival cancelled

Popular activities for staff and students to be taken off the University of Copenhagen 2016 budget. Management plans also include slim down of administration and a reduction in PhDs

Events such as the Spring Festival, which in 2015 involved upwards of 10,000 staff and students, will not be taking place at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) in the coming year.

This is just one of many trims to the University of Copenhagen 2016 budget that will square the books following a government-imposed cut to Danish research and education. UCPH will alone have to reduce DKK 300m from its budget over the coming years.

“The government’s budget cuts on the education sector will result in layoffs and discontinued projects at UCPH from spring 2016,” writes management in a release on the internal site

The UCPH Spring Festival is one of the activities that is already slated to go (Photo: Sofia Popov)

Fears: Academic staff to take over admin

According to Rector Ralf Hemmingsen the government cuts have placed the University of Copenhagen in a tough situation.

“Reducing spending on administration is not without consequences. Doing so results in a loss of knowledge, projects and services, which will have an impact on research and education. The cuts amount to DKK 300 million, but if we place more of the cuts on research than we’ve already done, then we risk doing permanent damage to the University and our core activities. We’re between the devil and the deep blue sea,” says Rector Ralf Hemmingsen.

Vice-chair Ingrid Kryhlmand of the General Collaboration Committee represents staff, and she is worried about the scale of the cuts. “I understand the need for budget cuts, but the scope of the savings worries me. I fear that this will have a serious impact on administration, and that academic staff will end up having to take over those responsibilities. At this point, we need the management to make clear which tasks will no longer be carried out,” Kryhlmand says.

Deans to present more detailed plan

Søren Axel Petersen, student representative on the UCPH board, says that the cuts are now of a magnitude where they are hitting core education services.

“This is completely irresponsible of government. My fears include the reduction of subjects and programmes, and a reduction in the amount of feedback to students. Something that we have been fighting to have more of, and that I now fear will be unsupported.”

Rector Ralf Hemmingsen says that management is now “trying to determine where the cuts will do least harm, where we can increase our funding and how we can cut costs by doing things more efficiently. When it comes to the question of which tasks we’re no longer going to carry out, it will be up to the deans to present a plan.”

DKK 150 million is already to be saved by reducing PhD intake (DKK 105 million annually). UCPH management has released a more detailed plan of where cuts will be enforced on (needs log-in).

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