Sunday, October 01, 2006

Students’ Union Responds to University’s Plans to Dump Core Government Subject

The Students’ Union is shocked, appalled and disappointed with the University’s subversive announcement yesterday in which they plan to close the Physics Department at Reading. There was no student consultation, they have ignored previous recommendations and they do not have the best interests of students at heart.

University Senior Management have gone against the recommendations of a previous exhaustive review which reported that there should be a continuation of the Physics department, that additional funding for staff would be committed and that a strong, viable Physics presence was key to fulfilling the University’s Corporate Plan.

That Review was as good 190 days ago as it is today.

The Students’ Union opposes these plans as they will undermine the academic integrity of the education of students at Reading, they don’t reflect the University’s own corporate plan and they do not represent what is in the best interests of a future generation of University students.

Ryan Bird, Vice-President Education said

This announcement comes a matter of hours before the University’s biggest Open Day of the year, and while we want to tell students that Reading is where their future lies, it was Sociology last year, Mechanical Engineering before that and Music the year before, course closures are announced year after year after year, so we cant promise students today that their department will be open tomorrow.

Physics is absolutely key to the understanding of Science and the world around us; it touches on a range of disciplines within our University from Maths and Metrology to Computer Science and Chemistry. This announcement jeopardises the good working relationships between departments and it is to the detriment of the aspirations of thousands of young people who want the opportunity to study Physics in Higher Education.

The Students’ Union always works with the University to deliver a better student experience and to deliver on the expectations of thousands of students every year; we are committed to finding a solution which is in the best interests of current, former and future students, primarily a strong, viable and active Physics department allowing students at Reading to have a better education.

Dave Lewis was angry about the University plans

Is this announcement in the best interests of students? No. Were we consulted? No. Is there any consistency in decision making? No. Did we agree with the University six months ago that Physics was safe? Yes. Will the student voice be heard? Yes.

In a year where students are being forced to pay more money to Universities than they ever have before, I am shocked that the University wants to shut the Physics department. It consistently scores well in student satisfaction, it benefits the University community and there are an increasing number of students who want the opportunity to come here.

Our University wants to be at the very top of the education ladder in the UK, and I think this is completely right, but any University that wants to cut out physics needs its agenda closely scrutinised.

The University say cutback. I say fight back.

The University say no to Einstein. I say yes to scientific discovery at Reading.

The University say no electromagnetic scattering. We say yes to the future of Physics at Reading.

The next few weeks will see an intense campaign of activity, both building up to the National Demo on the 29th October where we will say yes to a free, fair and well funded education, and a substantive campaign against these proposals.

Although this announcement is a surprise, the student membership is ready to fight, ready to win the arguments and ready for a future of Physics at Reading.

Notes to Editors

RUSU, independent from the University of Reading, represents the interests, diversity and needs of over 17,000 students. The Union is run for students by students, offering advice, services, support and welfare. They also run bars. The Students’ Union offers a variety of entertainments, events and campaigns for a diverse and demanding student population.
For more information contact President, Dave Lewis, 07973 503 401 or VP Education, Ryan Bird 07980 697 089


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