At a meeting yesterday, the Senior Management’s proposed intake reductions at the Frederiksberg campus and closure of four study programs, amounting to a total of 317 study places, was approved by an almost unanimous CBS Board – with only one vote against the plan. CBS Students and the Student Rebellion will continue to fight.
“We will definitely take this matter further. But it will be a longer and tougher political fight from here on. We must organize our next move. So far, we have kicked the ball one shot at a time,” says Morten Levinsen, a leader of the Student Rebellion.
His disappointment caused by the lack of support from the Board is clear.
“We had expected more support from members of the faculty and student representatives in voting against the plan.”
However, he is not alone, as CBS Students is also prepared to continue the fight, according to its president, Mads Taudal Nyeng.
“There’s still a lot we can do. There are still people to reach out to and convince that this is not the right course of action. And we are willing to take the fight straight to the politicians and the Parliament at Christiansborg,” Mads Taudal Nyeng says, and continues:
“This plan is only for the first 5%. There’s another 5% to fight for.”
He shares the feeling that the entire process has been a disappointment.
“The way it has been carried out by CBS has made the process worse. It is not a major request to ask that the process should be sufficient and grounded. It was drastic to put forward this decision without a vision for the future, and we believe this is a set-back for diversity at CBS. However, bearing in mind the lack of time and alternatives, unfortunately, we expected the proposal would pass anyway,” says Mads Taudal Nyeng.
The proposed reductions have sparked widespread outrage from faculty, alumni and students, and a student revolt launched in response has carried out a range of protests and happenings. More than 3,000 signatures against the plan were collected, and the day before the Board meeting, the Student Rebellion arranged a funeral for diversity at CBS and the future 1,000 female students who will be unable to attend CBS because the cut in study places hits mainly female-dominated programs.
All the objections appeared to convince the management to drop cutting two study programs.
“We are very disappointed about the decision, but at the same time happy that we managed to save two study programs. We saw the awareness and attendance grow and that was encouraging to observe,” says Morten Levinsen.
The main criticisms of the plan put forward by the Senior Management were that: the study programs were evaluated based on unemployment numbers, ignoring that maternity leave on female-dominated programs skewed the figures; diversity is lost when cutting female-dominated programs, talent and CBS’ international reputation risk being compromised along with the process, and that CBS lacks an overall vision.
“We share many of the concerns put forward during the internal consultations about how this plan jeopardizes the ambition for more diversity at CBS. We believe this is a set-back for diversity at CBS. They are removing the core of competence that the CBS management says it wants to spread, but there is no clear plan for how to do so,” says Mads Taudal Nyeng.
The reduction plan approved by the CBS Board is now in phase one. Phase two is likely to involve further reductions at the Frederiksberg campus. Consequently, at the Board meeting, the Senior Management also informed the Board of CBS of initial reflections for possible relocations and collaborations with other educational institutions.
The plan has been deployed because the Danish Government has asked the Danish universities in the four major cities to reduce their intakes by 5–10%. For CBS, this means a total reduction of 628 study places.
CBS stands to lose upwards of DKK 45-55 million per year due to lower student intakes. The adjusted model means that CBS will have to make cost cuts of around DKK 5 million more than in the plan that was presented on 12 November 2021.
The approved plan will be submitted to the Ministry for Higher Education and Science in the new year, reviewed by the Danish government and debated by politicians in the spring.