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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 November, 2004, 15:44 GMT
Students voice fears on closures
Chemistry students are among those affected
Exeter University students have met the vice-chancellor to air their concerns over proposed closures of some courses.

The university wants to end degrees in music, chemistry and Italian to plug a funding gap.

The university has insisted that current students will be able to complete their degrees.

But many students say they fear that a gradual running down of courses and axing up to 130 staff will force students to other universities.

People do not know how the quality of the degrees are going to be affected
Rhys Jones
The university has said it will be offering staff short-term contracts on courses until they end.

Third-year chemistry student Rhys Jones, 21, said: "The staff are not going to want to work in a department that is hanging by a thread.

"I just feel really disillusioned about it. We were more confident when we went into the meeting than we are now."

Fellow chemistry student Jan Novak, 22, said: "None of the lecturers I have spoken to want to return.

"I will probably have to go to another university."

Vice-Chancellor Steve Smith is also due to e-mail each student with the university's plans.

According to leaked information, up to 130 staff are to be made redundant from next July, but many would be retained on short-term contracts as courses are wound down.

The university has said that courses will not suffer.

Union talks

Spokesman Stuart Franklin said: "We have a legal and a moral obligation to complete these courses."

The university says its projected deficit has risen from 1.5m this year to 4.46m.

About 4m will be used to fund any pay-offs and talks about the terms of redundancy have already started.

David Nicholson of the Association of University Teachers said: "We are not convinced about the deficits.

"The accounts from a year ago show a profit and a healthy level of reserves, so we want to explore with the university what has happened.

"Any proposals should be shelved while we are talking with the university."

More students from state schools
30 Sep 04 |  Education

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