Department of Archaeology staff slam ‘unprofessional’ conduct to discuss closure

Affected staff at the Department of Archaeology have criticised the University of Sheffield Council for the way they handled a virtual meeting to discuss its closure on Tuesday.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 12:47 pm

Professor Umberto Albarella one of the teaching members of staff at the department, said they had no ability to engage or respond as their microphones and cameras “were kept off the entire time” during the meeting which lasted 13 minutes.

He said: “Colleagues in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield have today been informed that the University of Sheffield Council has decided to endorse the proposal of the University Executive Board to close our Department.

"This means the unequivocal end of Archaeology in the University of Sheffield. We received this information in a presentation by the Vice Chancellor, which lasted 13 minutes.

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A protest was held outside University of Sheffield in support of Department of Archaeology last month.
A protest was held outside University of Sheffield in support of Department of Archaeology last month.

"There was no ability to engage or respond as our microphones and cameras were kept off the entire time.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the decision taken by the university as well as the rudeness and lack of professionalism of the form of communication chosen by the VC.

"This is a decision that harms both the University and the City of Sheffield, within which our Department is strongly embedded. Our campaign to oppose this calamitous decision will continue. #SaveSheffieldArchaeology.”

On Wednesday evening, University of Sheffield has confirmed the closure of the respected archaeology department, despite massive protests across the country and abroad.

Vice chancellor Prof Koen Lamberts, said the the University was determined to secure the future of archaeology in Sheffield in the face of a very challenging external environment which has seen a significant decline in the number of archaeology students.

He said: “The decision by University Council to ratify the Board’s recommended course of action, following a review of the Department of Archaeology, does not alter the outcome that archaeology will continue to be taught and researched in Sheffield.

“Not only will we maintain and support archaeology at the University, we will work with our colleagues and partners to ensure it thrives through focusing on postgraduate studies and investing in key areas of excellence which have contributed to Sheffield’s reputation as a top 100 global university with world-leading research and innovation.”