The University of Leicester says it’s facing a big budget deficit, so it’s got to make some cuts. In the current British climate, that’s nothing unusual. However, the university has decided to cut a lot more from the maths department than elsewhere.
The way they’re going to do this is to sack almost everyone, then ask them to re-apply for slightly fewer jobs than there were before. Once it’s all done, 6 of the 21 mathematicians currently working at Leicester will be out of a job.
There’s some speculation that the reason that maths is going to be hit particularly hard is that it didn’t do particularly well in the last iterations of the REF and the National Student Survey.
The Universities and Colleges Union has started a petition against the cuts, disputing the size of the deficit and the need for so many job losses. They’ve written a response laying out their side of the story. The European Mathematical Society has also said it’s very concerned.
Tim Gowers has written a bit more about what he thinks is going on on his blog. As usual, there’s some good discussion in the comments as well.
via Yemon Choi