News

University of Manchester students express concern over plan to merge Schools of Law and Social Sciences

By on
32

Loss of ‘identity and reputation’ among issues raised by LLBers

📸 University of Manchester

A plan to merge the University of Manchester’s Schools of Law and Social Sciences has been met with concern by students, with some claiming the move could have a detrimental impact on their future job prospects.

If given the go ahead, the Russell Group uni’s law faculty will integrate with the School of Social Sciences, which is already home to a range of subjects including economics, philosophy, politics and sociology.

Now, in an email sent to students and seen by The Mancunion, university bigwigs have said the move would benefit both schools, “with no academic disadvantages”. The email, signed by the university’s students’ union (SU) general secretary, Fatima Abid, and Olivia Meisl, the SU’s education officer, follows a report published in September which looked at both the pros and cons of the move, including the views and opinions of current students.

The tie-up will see the new combined school operate as the ‘School of Social Sciences’ from 1 August, subject to approval by the university’s senate and board of governors, according to the report.

But not everyone has welcomed the update. “My understanding from students I’ve spoken to is that they feel that the identity and reputation of the school of law will be lost with the merger,” said Anuli Changa, the law school’s head student representative. Claiming the merger could affect “employability opportunities”, she continued:

“There was also a general feeling that the consultation, survey and feedback would have little impact and that the decision had already been made. There are fears that the merger will put an administrative strain on the school of law and a lack of individualised support for a school which has four courses with different needs.”

The 2019 Legal Cheek GDL Most List

Becca Windsor De Taboada, a law and politics student representative, has similar concerns: “I made an effort to communicate to them, as a rep, that students were unhappy with the idea. The explanations as to why this merger was happening weren’t good no matter who I turned to, and the ‘asking us for our opinion’ aspect of it just seemed to be a bit of a farce.”

According to the report, the email stresses it will be vital that the law school keeps its identity going forward and reveals a “brand-testing” exercise is underway to asses the potential impact of the tie-up. The email continues:

“If the merger is approved, we will ensure that you continue to receive the high-quality education which we know you value greatly. On a day-to-day basis, a typical student is unlikely to experience a significant change, and certainly no adverse change.”

A spokesperson for the university said: “These proposals, which are subject to final endorsement by senate and the board of governors, would see both schools benefit from significantly increased opportunities to collaborate in areas such as research, access to external funding and support for students. We have been fully engaged with staff and students throughout this process, and will continue to listen to their views and ideas.”

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek's careers events:

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub

32 Comments

Anonymous

Presumably a cost reducing measure by the uni.

Anonymesmerise

Still beyond me how these mediocre institutions sell themselves as being “elite” simply for being part of the RG circle. I understand it’s better than unis like Newcastle/Sheffield, but in all honesty, not like it would make much different to anyone’s career prospects if these schools would merge or not.

Any UoM student is still likely to struggle to get into any decent firm/company simply because the university is not good enough.

Anonymous

What an odd and slightly embittered thing to write. Manchester is consistently ranked in the top 10 universities for law in the country, and its alumni are to be found in MC firms and in silk.

Anonymilk

Also UEA is ranked as a top 10 law school in the UK just to show how pointless said rankings are.

All UoM alumni at “top” institutions are simply there because the market was not this competitive in the 80’s/90’s.

UoM right now are going nowhere.

Anonymous

Show me on this doll where the University of Manchester touched you.

Anonymill

That won’t be necessary officer, this is a Magic Circle doll, it doesn’t even know what UoM is!

Anonymous

So the doll is already up its own arse. How fitting.

Don't Hate, Litigate x

I am guessing the person who wrote this went to Leeds Uni? Or another RG institution in Manchester’s shadow?

Love from a future trainee at a global law firm and Manchester grad (who has a handful of friends who are training at magic circle firms) x x x

Anonymous

It’s recycled from the Mancunion, the student union newspaper.

future trainee

laughable how wrong you are

Anonymous

Quite. Manchester graduates rightly have little chance to enter prestigious parts of the legal professional – ie, magic, silver circle, top US firms and leading Chambers. This is because such graduates are by definition intellectually second rate and badly educated. They have no place in a profession where clients expect the cleverest people to represent them.

Anonymous

“by definition second rate’…..are you really that stupid?

Anonymous

Not sure where you heard UoM we’re selling themselves as elite. Mediocre generally means of average quality. I think they’re considered above average.

Also what rubbish that a student from that uni would “struggle” to get into any “decent” form or company.. I know a few of people from UoM and similar universities who are at US/MC/SC firms.

You really have no idea what you are talking about.

Anonymous academic

I hear that the Faculty Dean has steamrollered this through, ignoring anyone who has disagreed, including students. The Head of the Law School resigned in protest, as has a senior administrator. A sorry way to run a university…

Anonymous

Well all those administrators’ resignations made the faculty dean’s job of turning 2 departments into 1 much easier!

Anonymous

‘All those’? One. But how many more could go and how would that impact on the experience of students in both Schools? What other changes may be next?

And the decision to merge two Schools into one has nothing to do with the number of staff in each one. See above and reference to ‘steam roller’ in leadership.

Anonymous

They did this at Brunel turned into the worst decision ever

Common Sense

IF the issue is about nomenclature, why not simply merge the titles to “School of Law and Social Sciences” or “School of Social Sciences and Law”. Then you maintain the perceived reputation benefits of being attached to the School of Law. Surely it is reasonably common practice for an entity resulting from a merger to be named so as to recognise its constituent elements?

In any case, if naming is the problem isn’t it all moot given that a prospective employer will surely focus on the name and classification of the degree and, to an extent, the university, as opposed to the name of the school within that university?

Anonymous

Common sense, indeed. Maybe a change of name had been suggested and discarded.

The quality of the degree is key, I agree, yet will future cuts in resources impact on this?

Anonymous

I fear that Legal Cheek will now not delete comments for ‘breaching the comments policy’ but for ‘getting side-tracked’.

There was a great debate about Churchill on here that has just disappeared without trace…

Anonymous

I thought it was relatively clear that University management do whatever the hell they like regardless of the opinions put forward by students or lecturers. Its just a mini government with the same lack of any accountability.

VPs getting paid too much money? No ones going to change that.

Anonymous

Seems like a stupid and unnecessary idea that’s being forced through by university managers. Will degrade the student experience and is clearly dragging Manchester’s name through the dirt. I wonder how many redundancies there will end up being.

Newsflash to all the butthurt Manc students

This is not the reason why you’re unable to get a TC or pupillage.

Anonymous

Birmingham
Bristol
Liverpool
Leeds
Manchester
Newcastle
Nottingham
Sheffield
Reading

Those are the Redbrick Universities.

Anonymous

Warwick, too. Dreadful place, packed with kids from comps. In fact, it looks like a giant comprehensive school.

Anonymous

Russell Group yes, red brick no.

Anonymous

Warwick is red brick.

Anonymous

add Oxbridge to that list – absolute disasters of lawyers – almost all oxford educated students stagnated in first year of their undergraduate degrees – FAILURES IN REAL WORLD!

Anon12

Hahahah yes!! so true! Every oxford student we employ is a mistake nowadays. Big changes going to happen in the next five years.

Join the conversation

Related Stories