‘The clustering has been under way for a while now, but there is no evidence that this will solve the financial situation’, says Antoon de Baets, member of the Personnel Faction. ‘We’re worried. Staff is forced to jump through hoops for a result that is highly questionable.‘
The cluster division is part of a new package of cost-cutting measures that was announced last summer by the board of the Faculty of Arts. Programmes will no longer be independent islands, but will rather belong to groups. These so-called clusters will have their own, more limited budget.
‘They’re making it seem as though this clustering is the best way to realise a favourable financial situation. But that is based on assumptions’, says De Baets.
The Personnel Faction bases its point of view on a letter to the faculty board. In the letter, the faculty council said they wanted to defer approval of the ‘sombre’ budget, because it ‘is missing a financial foundation and elaboration that shows that clustering will be the solution to the faculty’s financial situation’.
According to RUG board member Jan de Jeu, the financial situation is not that dramatic currently and the clustering is part of the rescue plan. ‘We share the concerns about the transition the faculty is going through and whether or not this will go well. But we definitely feel we’re doing the right thing’, according to De Jeu.
The Personnel Faction wants De Jeu to ask the faculty board for an explanation. But the board member does not want to do that. ‘We see no reason to take action at this point’, De Jeu says.
De Baets disagrees. ‘This achieves nothing. The Board of Directors want to make the RUG a sustainable university by 2030. But we’re afraid it might be a sustainable university without a Faculty of Arts. It will probably have perished due to too many clusters and not enough money.‘
The new cluster division will be implemented in September of next year.
The arts budget. The faculty will be in the red over the next few years. A more efficient organisation should ensure that they need fewer staff so as to put the faculty back in the black by 2020.