Written by Max Ashforth
Petitions arise over defunding to the pure mathematics department at the University of Leicester.
Freddie Mansfield, a third-year student, and Hannah Amliwala, a second-year student, recently started a student-led petition, that has gained 87 signatures, as of 4 March.
This petition was set up in response to one set up by staff, which has been signed by over 1,000 people.
The recent announcement has not been supported by all students, as Freddie stated: “I can’t see any positives about how the changes would benefit maths students.”
The changes set out by University of Leicester Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nishan Canagarajah, include the redundancies of 12 pure mathematics lecturers.
These redundancies would be followed by the appointment of three teaching roles.
Currently, staff split their time between teaching and researching the subject, however the plan is for this to be reduced to just teaching roles.
It is feared that reducing the number of staff in the department would deter prospective students from applying to the university.
The long-term impact and knock-on effects, which would result from these changes, cannot be underestimated, as Freddie outlined:
“Over time, the whole degree would be less meaningful. And for graduates, if the University was to go down in the league tables, then the graduates who have already worked really, really hard to get this degree, in the future, would be worse off.”
With redundancies looming, staff in the mathematics department are focusing their time on keeping their jobs.
With this in mind, students are likely to suffer as a result – with less time spent on responding to student queries, performance is likely to be affected.
The university press office was asked to comment on this issue, however no such reply has been received.
Max Ashforth is a first-year journalism student with aspirations to pursue a career in journalism. You can find him on instagram @Max_Ashforth.