University for Derry has called on Ulster University to protect the Magee campus when it makes its cuts to staff, student numbers and courses.
U4D chairman, Padraig Canavan said: “Northern Ireland already exports a university worth of students per year. The cuts underway to our university sector will continue to hollow out our undergraduate population - and this simply hollows out our future in very fundamental societal and economic ways.
“This is what has been happening in an accelerated way in Derry for decades with the resultant dire economic consequences. In light of this we ask the Executive to support proper financing for Northern Ireland higher education and for Ulster University in the face of these cuts, to maintain current numbers at Magee.
“Magee campus is essential to the economic well-being of Londonderry. We urge Ulster University to protect Magee as it implements the cuts that have been announced to staff, student numbers and courses.
“Northern Ireland and Londonderry in particular, desperately needs an expanded economy. Skills lie at the heart of our ability to expand the economy. We therefore ask Ulster University to take into account the economic impact of its cuts decisions. Londonderry has the highest unemployment rate in Northern Ireland and, indeed, the UK, so there is absolute need to protect Magee for the sake of our economy.
“Furthermore, we urge Ulster University to remain committed to its promise that all future expansion to be located at Magee. Hopefully at some point the Northern Ireland Executive will reverse its decision to cut higher education. When that happens we hope that Ulster University will continue to ensure that all growth is located at Magee.
“U4D also urges the Northern Ireland Executive to find the resources to fund higher education at the level necessary to expand our economy. We already have the smallest university sector in the UK, both in absolute terms and pro rata. It is an absurd tragedy that it is now being cut back.”