A proposition for the status of academic freedom in the UK

The United Kingdom is in violation of the UNESCO recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel as evidenced by the many instances where university managers frame and sack their ideological opponents.

The recommendation can be read here

http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=13144&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

Two recent examples from Universities, Warwick and Kent:

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/warwick-suspends-prominent-critic-of-higher-education-policy/2012013.article

http://www.riveronline.co.uk/content/2014/02/27/prof-kicked-campus

19 thoughts on “A proposition for the status of academic freedom in the UK

  1. From both those articles one thing is clear, they do not want protests what so ever. Any protests you want to make should be limited to the conference room and via meetings with the vice-chancellor where they can pretend to take your suggestion into consideration whilst steam rolling you.

    Besides who the cuts will affect the education of the students and welfare of universities, this is now a freedom of speech issue as well.

  2. Thank you fly-yeast man.

    Academic freedom is of course also a prime victim of the constant restructurings taking place.

    Other recent examples from University of Dundee, Lambeth College, University Sheffield and Durham University:

    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/dundee-job-cuts-plan-prompts-hundreds-to-sign-petition/2012615.article

    http://www.ucu.org.uk/7015

    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/sheffield-academics-baulk-at-hr-chiefs-sacking-threat/2011636.article

    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/college-heads-fear-for-durhams-collegiate-system/2011630.article

    Not to mention “working in a culture of fear” in the latter University:

    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/durham-scholars-working-in-a-culture-of-fear/2012147.article

    More is needed to protect the quest for knowledge in the UK. Urgently.

  3. Two months after I made my claim stories keep coming to the surface. Tip of the Iceberg.

    “Dr Soh was busy moving her laboratory operation from North America to the UK and trying to defend herself against dismissal and career loss after delivering only 20 lectures” – her full comment with details was taken of the Times Higher Education commentary underneath the report of her case:

    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/former-lecturer-at-imperial-college-london-wins-compensation-for-unfair-dismissal/2013168.article

    Applicants to UK academic positions should take notice. Will what you are prepared to teach be acceptable? It was not only Dr Soh – see also the story of Dr Yilmaz:

    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/bubble-bursts-on-economists-alternative-course/2013313.article

  4. A comparison with events that followed a horrible attack on academic freedom from the managers of the University of Saskatchewan (bringing shame to Canada and how far it has left its Universities in the hands of the wrong mindsets)

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/tenured-saskatchewan-professor-fired-for-opposing-university-restructuring-plans/article18665598/

    But then what a strong response in the direction that one would hope to see. Well done to everyone who contributed to this form of justice – a few days later:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/university-official-resigns-amid-furor-over-firing-of-professor/article18752199/

  5. I would like to refer also to the following conversation on twitter following David Colquhoun

    1. Thank you for providing the link to the report you prepared for UCU with Lucy Malllinson. That my blog receives your comment feels me with joy & pride. Your efforts in documenting the lack of academic freedom and providing formal advice of how to strenthen it are outstanding and please accept my gratitude. I copy from page 1 of your report, the opening heading.

      “Without such freedom there would have been no Shakespeare, no Goethe, no Newton, no Faraday, no Pasteur, and no Lister”.
      (Albert Einstein, speech given at the Royal Albert Hall, 5th October 1933)

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