History UK has learnt that on 21 April 2021 History staff at Kingston University were informed that the BA History and MA History degrees were now closed, and that the remaining three History staff would face compulsory redundancy.
Since the undergraduate BA History degree was temporarily ‘suspended’ in 2017, and the postgraduate degree temporarily ‘suspended’ in 2019, the History department has been targeted for closure through what the University and Colleges Union (UCU) at Kingston has called ‘salami slicing by stealth’—staff numbers have shrunk from 10 to 3, and History has been unable to recover. The ‘suspended’ History degrees have now been confirmed as ‘closed’, and the three remaining staff have been informed that ‘zero’ History staff will be retained.
The news from Kingston follows recently-announced cuts to History provision at London South Bank University and Aston University this year, and at Sunderland in 2020, as well as earlier closures elsewhere. At all of these institutions, managers appear to have announced cuts without engaging meaningfully with the affected staff or students. Cuts are justified using dubious claims about the utility and future prospects of humanities degrees and their graduates that are unsupported by evidence. It is worrying that Kingston has also announced other staff cuts and course closures in Media and Communication, Film Cultures, and Politics, International Relations, and Human Rights.
As with those affected by cuts at other institutions, History UK supports colleagues and students at Kingston and will continue to advocate for the continuation of History provision at all kinds of institutions all across the country.
Do get in touch with us if you would like to support our activities or are affected by these cuts. We are on Twitter (@history_uk) and our DMs are open.