I read yesterday that Warwick’s “Medical School and School of Life Sciences have been warned that the departments are under-performing financially” and that “bosses at the campus, in Gibbet Hill, Coventry, say if they have to cut staff they aim to find volunteers to leave their jobs in return for redundancy payments“. I then saw an earlier report in BBC suggesting that the situation was such at Warwickshire College. Were both institutions issuing job threats to instill uncertainty?
What caught my attention was the terminology used: bosses at the campus. I could think of other terms, more appropriate for those in positions of responsibility in a bank, a prison or a university…
The Vice-Chancellor for Warwick University is Nigel Thrift, who recently blogged about the need for civility in the Academe, “and the Lack of It”, he added. I was reminded of U. C. Berkeley’s Chancellor, Nicholas Dirks gets free speech very wrong, where Ken White appeared to lose his patience – and for good reason – with an email entitled “Civility and Free Speech”. There are news from this year regarding managers that work together with Nigel Thrift and their civility towards Professor Thomas Docherty, undoubtedly not related to Free Speech:
Warwick suspends prominent critic of higher education policy 11 March 2014
Warwick UCU calls for Thomas Docherty to be reinstated 13 March 2014
University of Warwick gags critic of ‘authoritarian’ sector 19 June 2014
UCU presses Warwick to sever ties with SGH Martineau after blog post 10 July 2014
Thomas Docherty to face insubordination charge in tribunal 24 July 2014
Thomas Docherty case: students and alumni drum up online support 1 August 2014
Thomas Docherty’s ban left University of Warwick students in limbo 13 August 2014
A new set of associations is forming in my mind:
Culture of fear – Durham Univeristy
Buildings over people – Kings College London
Speculative gambles – University of Central Lancanshire
Escort off campus – Kingston University
Culture of harassment – Imperial College
Chinese communist corporatism – University of Essex
People Management magazine – University of Sheffield
Office for irony detection – Warwick University
Spanish Inquisition – Queen Mary University of London
The vocabulary was selected by me, but most of it was published by others.
Does it call for a movement to take back the Universities from those turned into ‘professional’-‘university’-‘managers’?
Nigel Thrift calls for civility towards his class “(and it usually is Mister)”.
Will Universities require their own Robespierre to return under the control – and service – of the academic students (experienced and novices) and of humanity as a whole or can there be a civil way to save the Colleges from their down-hill road in becoming financially profitable business for those disposed to be “the bosses”?