The Non-Tenured Research and Academic Staff Union at the Hebrew University
announced on Tuesday that it had reached an agreement with the institution
regarding the layoff of some 80 junior members of the Faculty of the Humanities,
which was announced by HU earlier this summer.
The settlement, which came
after long negotiations between the union and HU management, was initiated by
the Jerusalem Labor Court and states that the university will continue to employ
15 among the junior faculty members whom the institution had planned to lay
The Union petitioned the Jerusalem Labor Court to prevent the
dismissals in late July after HU had announced it would cut some 100 courses off
the humanities program due to low student registration.
Amitai, the faculty dean, told The Jerusalem Post at the time that the decision
to cancel courses had been on the radar for several months and that teachers
have been aware of the possibility since May.
“We’re facing budgetary
problems and need to deal with the overdraft situation here at the faculty,” he
explained, “The other thing is that we have too many courses; it is a faculty of
190 professors, a couple of hundred external teachers and over 1,100 courses,
which we are proud of, but we can only allow ourselves so many.”
university had also issued a statement on the issue, saying that the institution
offers “more electives in the humanities than any other academic institution in
“As part of its normal work processes, the university
regularly streamlines some of its activities, including reducing, where
possible, very poorly attended elective courses while at the same time
maintaining a high academic level.”
According to the agreement, no other
courses will be canceled on the basis of low registration, and the university
will be obligated to involve the union in similar decision making in
Eyal Elyashiv, the union’s chief negotiator, said they were
“pleased with the judge’s decision that the university could not make any
further unilateral moves.”
“We were very disappointed with the university
throughout the process, and we urge [university president] Prof. [Menahem]
Ben-Sasson to find a way to save dozens of faculty members who are about to lose
their livelihood, let alone during the holidays and on the eve of the academic
year,” Elyashiv said in a statement.
“We continue to work in order to
promote the burning issues that concern our members, and we hope that the
university’s administration decides to begin negotiations in good faith and
complete honesty,” he added.
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