In February the London Mathematical Society issued a statement in response to a proposal by the University of Leicester to reduce significantly the size of its Pure Mathematics Group and to stop supporting research in this area. We understand that the university has now begun to implement its plans, which include compulsory redundancies, voluntary severance packages, and moving some staff to predominantly (80%) teaching contracts.
The Society remains of the view that the reasons offered by the University of Leicester for taking this course of action are without academic or intellectual merit. We are disappointed that the university has gone ahead in the face of widespread national and international concerns raised by Learned Societies, the mathematical and AI communities, and by users of mathematics outside academia. We believe this will have detrimental implications for its standing and reputation, and for its students’ education.
We are particularly concerned to note the following.
- A disproportionate number of the academics who have left already, or who are targeted for compulsory redundancy, are women.
- The process will leave a significant number of PhD students without adequate formal supervision arrangements.
The London Mathematical Society is worried by the implications for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and by the disruption to the education and opportunities available to these PhD students. We remain of the view that a different solution should be sought for the challenges faced by the University of Leicester.