Dear Professor Humphris and Professor Maddison,
We are writing on behalf of the British Sociological Association, to express our very deep concern about the proposed redundancies in the subject areas of Criminology and Sociology and within the School of Humanities and Social Sciences more broadly. We understand the financial difficulties that many universities are facing in the context of inflation, fixed tuition fees for Home students, and the differential effect of the removal of the cap on student numbers. However, we strongly question the University of Brighton’s reaction to declare redundancies without planning for their impact upon specific subject areas and the ability to teach them.
We are in no doubt that this move will have profoundly negative consequences for sociological education and research at the University of Brighton. Senior members of the Sociology section contribute significantly to the research culture of Sociology nationally and internationally. Moreover, the targeting of redundancies on senior academics will have a detrimental effect locally in terms of their ability to lead and mentor early career colleagues at the University of Brighton. Their loss could result in adverse consequences for the next REF as well as creating potentially serious gaps in teaching and support for students.
Sociology is currently the 5th most popular subject at A level with over 40,000 students taking the sociology AQA exam this summer. This growing interest in the discipline is highly likely to result in more students applying to study Sociology at undergraduate level.
Sociology as a discipline is an essential part of any vibrant University portfolio of teaching and research. It plays a vital role in the formation of, for example, policy at local and national levels. It also equips students with the flexible, creative and analytical skills necessary for employment in the workplace of today and the future. Losing the staff who teach Sociology will negatively impact the University’s capacity to accept applications from students wishing to study Sociology and will likely affect student employability in the medium and long term.
On behalf of the British Sociological Association, we ask you to reconsider this deeply damaging decision and to urgently examine how to protect and promote the valuable contribution made by Sociologists and colleagues across the Humanities and Social Sciences to the University of Brighton, students and the wider communities that benefit from their teaching expertise and research excellence. We urge you to consider alternative ways of addressing the financial constraints that you face.
Professor Gurminder K Bhambra
President of the British Sociological Association
Professor Chris Yuill
Chair of the British Sociological Association on behalf of the Board of Trustees
Letter sent via email to:
Professor Debra Humphris, Vice Chancellor and Professor Stephen Maddison, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Brighton