"For the Faculty of Law and Political Science of Nantes, burnout is today"

Lhe words “crisis” and “university” have formed a close-knit couple for decades, the alloy of which could not be damaged by the innumerable forums published by a strong community with feathers.

However, as enduring as it is, the university – like the hospital and the justice system in particular – is nonetheless subject to the risk of burnout, of which we never really know when and how it will occur. For the Faculty of Law and Political Science of Nantes (Loire-Atlantique), it is today.

The rupture materialized by an alert for serious and imminent danger concerning the health of the staff, sent on December 3, 2021 to the health, safety and working conditions committee (CHSCT) from Nantes-University. The dangerous exhaustion of faculty personnel was brought to light in a report that identified the causes and consequences ofa “low cost” university public service modelmistreating its users and agents, both teacher-researchers and administrative and technical staff.

Scarcity of means

This suffering at work has its source in a crying under-management and aggravated in recent years by a continuous scarcity of resources, despite the assignment of ever more time-consuming missions. While the supervision rate for 100 students (including teacher-researchers and tenured administrative and technical officers) is estimated in 2021 at 8.2 for all French universities and at 6 for law-economics-management universities, which is already notoriously insufficient, it is established for the Faculty of Law of Nantes at 3.2.

This figure alone should alarm all the supervisory authorities, but it is not. On the contrary, they do their best to assign their few agents ever more new tasks.

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Even though most of them are already forced to multiply overtime to compensate for the lack of staff, additional tasks emerge each year: more benevolent ones such as setting up professional development advice or individual interviews while “developing a competency-based approach”to the most incongruous such as introducing selection while having to accommodate, under the scrupulous control of the rectorate, the greatest number.

If it was necessary to give up having the 80 teachers of the faculty individually follow several thousand students, it was not possible on the other hand to escape the injunctions of the selection, so that it was necessary to treat 7,000 applications for Parcoursup and more than 15,000 for integration into a master's degree. Everyone will be able to calculate the number of hours needed to process 22,000 files, even expeditiously.

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