When Mandelson made his plans known a few days before Christmas, the country shook its head in disbelief. We know that it’s a tough economic environment, but surely the Government should make every effort to stop its most fundamental services from being affected, especially one that ensures the future of the next generation. Disappointingly, the University of York has followed in his footsteps, forcing arguably the most important aspect of the university experience, and so inevitably its students have to pay.
However, we must be aware that this is not an easy choice for Heslington Hall to make. Due to the current climate, the University is constantly having to make cuts to save money. Examples of this are found as recently as last term, when we witnessed the changes to our portering system. The huge furore that ensued at least ensured that the University thought twice before going after support services again. And that is the point. The University either has no other option, or believes that this decision will affect students the least.
The University can mitigate the detrimental effects of these cuts, and indeed, it is in a much stronger position than many other institutions. Its decision to ask some academic departments to find more savings than others seems on the surface a ridiculous and unfair one. It is quite sensible. Certain departments, such as sciences and other research based faculties, have a greater endowment as a result of their nature. It makes sense to ask for more from somewhere that can afford it more easily. The University surely would not want to hinder itself and its students, by taking unfeasible amounts from departments already on the breadline. Student-staff ratios and certain special circumstances were taken into account in order to be fair and to save students.
As yet, the University still cannot know the extent to which the budget cuts will affect York. However, it has a responsibility to effectively inform its student body of any changes that will further affect us.