Cuts to budget leave SHARE students worried for the future

By Maria Mellor

Funding cuts to the School of History, Archeology and Religion (SHARE) have raised concerns amongst staff and students.

Efficiency saving measures have been implemented, meaning that funding for certain services has been reduced.

An anonymous source said: “[There are] more students than ever before, but less money and fewer resources to support them.”

The school’s budget has gone up from £5.17M last year to £5.23M this year, however even more students were accepted into the school this year. Numbers have risen from 1387 to 1513, mainly due to a swelling undergraduate numbers coming into SHARE. This means that the budget increase is not proportional, and funding per student has dropped as a result.

When asked why there is less money per student for SHARE this year, a university spokesperson said “As soon as numbers were confirmed, the University made additional budget available to recruit academic staff in the School and to invest in the student experience, to ensure our students continue to enjoy an excellent experience.”

The new academic staff are currently still in the application process and won’t be hired until next year for ancient history and modern history.

A lecturer in hellenistic history was also hired recently. These recruitments will help with the raised number of students studying history.

Members of the religious studies department remain concerned about funding. A religious studies PhD student said: “We are the most understaffed department.”

Earlier this semester it was decided that the fund for postgraduate research expenses would be cut.

After complaints from students and support from Vice President Postgraduate, Alex Kuklenko, the postgraduate fund was reinstated at 50 per cent with funding from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS).

A history PhD student said: “We kicked up a fuss – if we hadn’t done that it wouldn’t have happened.”

SHARE uses honorary research fellows and associates who publish research as part of the university. They also can be required to teach undergraduates.

Gair Rhydd spoke to someone who was an honorary research associate last year. She said: “If they told me to teach I had to teach and in return they gave me library access.”

She added: “You have to show them that it’s worth their while to take you on for free.”

An anonymous source also told Gair Rhydd that there are concerns in the archaeology department due to the high cost of running courses.

There have already been cuts to funding for parental leave and sickness leave as CAHSS have withdrawn its previous 100 per cent support to schools.

A University spokesperson said: “The efficiency saving measures you refer to are University-wide.

“All Schools across the University, regardless of size and shape, have been asked to make four per cent savings as a result of increasing cost pressures and the impact of undergraduate fees not rising in line with inflation.”

They added: “There is financial support set aside specifically within budgets for covering parental leave and sickness absence. This has been reduced due to the current financial climate and it is hoped that it will be possible to increase the specific budget set aside for this in the next financial year.

“Funding for postgraduate expenses has been reduced by the School this year due to increasing financial pressures. It is hoped that this will be increased in the next financial year.”