Briefing on the state of affairs in the UK academy

When a country needs a Council for the Defence of its Universities, something has gone wrong.”What is happening in your university? Help us record the rot”, CDBU asks. Various responses are being published on the creeping Stalinisation (sic) by the cadre of managers who perceive themselves as a new kind of officer class that is strangling the proper function of UK universities.

Rick Trainor receives an annual remuneration of £321,000. He should be asked to return every single pound he has received from this institution for the damage he is inflicting upon Kings College and its students. Voltaire once wrote “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize”. Martin Parker of the University of Leicester recently found out what he meantThomas Docherty, Sarah Sayce, John Allen are also learning.

“Dr Soh [unfairly dismissed by Imperial College] 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 statement was removed from the Times Higher Education commentary underneath the report of her case. The “culture of harassment” at Imperial College is apparently shameful but excusable. As is the “culture of fear” at Durham University.

Sackings at the University of Dundee. Threats of sackings at the University of Sheffield. Sackings at the University of Central Lancashire. Should Richard Horton’s warning to Queen Mary University of London applicants become a warning to all applicants to any UK University?

Individual resistence should be met with collective actions, as admirably shown by our colleagues at Lambeth College these days. Is there any UK-based academic or citizen who is not ashamed of what is going on in the country’s once admired Universities? And those students put in a huge debt by the bankers? Are they going to keep falling to the trap from here to posterity?

18 thoughts on “Briefing on the state of affairs in the UK academy

  1. Some resistance is on the view, please support:

    King’s College UCU members have voted for strike action:
    http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=7127

    Wednesday 25 June national day of action ‘Wall of Support’ for Lambeth College UCU, now into their fourth week of indefinite strike action in defence of their terms and conditions.
    http://www.ucu.org.uk/wesupportLambethUCU#

    King’s College action announced:
    http://www.ucu.org.uk/7145

    Dorothy Bishop writes at Times Higher Education:
    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/comment/opinion/no-logic-in-kings-college-job-cuts/2014249.article

    as heroic Lambeth lecturers’ strike reaches record-breaking fifth week:
    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/lambeth-lecturers-strike-reaches-recordbreaking-fifth-week-9581578.html

    If no reaction, “0-hour lecturers” adds will multiply: “Enthusiasm and flexibility… are essential” says Edinburgh Napier “University” in its recruiting announcement. Better still: “Our vision is to be ‘An enterprising and innovative community renowned internationally, with an unrivalled student learning experience’.” They know this is not their vision, therefore… the choice of syntax.

  2. This certainly requires its own post, but until then I add University of Essex here…
    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n17/marina-warner/diary

  3. Could universities become worse than banks in their reporting?
    Are university managers bad copies of bankers and boys in the City?

    See

    and

  4. Note that Exeter College Oxford, to its eternal shame, chose to appoint Rick Trainor as Warden, despite his record at King’s.
    Note that the Chair of the King’s College Council, Lord Douro, has just stepped down as a Director of the drug company Sanofi, formerly Sanofi Aventis, celebrated for the bribes it has distributed worldwide, and for the deaths which some of its drugs have caused.

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